Special Notes: Brewed with Barrington Coffee Roasting Company cold brew coffee, and Goodnow Farms cacao nibs.
Hops: Hop extract
Malts: Pilsner, Abbey, Turbinado Sugar
@untappd says: 4.03/5
Now I’m gonna have Kid Cudi stuck in my head all day.
Have you ever had a coffee barleywine? I’ve purchased two in my life—counting this year’s Bourbon County Brand release—but Trillium Brewing Company’s Cacao Day & Night is the first one I’ve actually ever tried. It’s definitely unique, but if you can get over the fact that you’re not used to tasting coffee in a beer outside of a stout, you’ll find a really robustly flavored barleywine that’s really enjoyable to sip.
I picked this one up on my trip to Trillium’s canton location couple of weeks ago, but I lost it in the back of my fridge. Don’t you hate when that happens? Anyway, it’s from the Day & Night series of coffee barleywines that Trillium has been putting out for a minute now. However, the variants of this brew usually involve different types of coffee. The coffee used in this one comes from frequent contributor Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, but the key ingredient is the cacao nibs from Goodnow Farms. This one is wonderful on the nose, and the flavors really push through too. Like I said, it’s a little weird when coffee isn’t in a deep dark porter or stout, but I really liked this one.
Established in 1979, Boulder is known as Colorado’s first microbrewery. It was started by two physics professors, Randolf Ware and David Hummer, and their associate, Alvin Nelson. At the time it was established, it was only the 43rd licensed brewery in the United States. For context, there are now at least 41 in just Colorado, according to wikipedia. The company has undergone several name changes, from Boulder Brewing Company to Boulder Beer Company to Rockies Brewing Company and then back to Boulder Beer in 2005.
The Killer Penguin, of which I have two different bottles on the sill today, is their Barleywine Style Ale. It’s a limited small-batch release which, according to Boulder Beer, is a “dark garnet red in color with a candied-fruit like aroma and flavor.” Boulder says it’s big and smooth, and “perfect to share among friends.” It’s one of their most rare and sought-after bottled beers. The 2009 bottle says they only brewed one 50-barrel batch per year. Not sure if that still holds true, though.
The first bottle you see is from 2009, and was gifted to me by great friend of the Windowsill, @one_ill_tom. He bought it on a trip to upstate New York, from a random bottle store that had a cellar sale. Aside from the coloring of the label, you can also see that this Killer Penguin was part of BBC’s Looking Glass Series of more experimental brews.
By the time the 2014 bottle came around, things got different. The label is darker and more menacing, and, frankly, better drawn. You can even see the Penguin’s other eye. The Looking Glass Series label is also gone… guess that branding was no longer being highlighted.
I’m not sure if I am going to open these, or try a little harder to collect more from other years, but whenever I do open them, I’ll definitely do a vertical tasting and let you guys know!
Head over to Instagram to check out more my great craft beer!
Can my Windowsills withstand 20 tons worth of barleywine?
A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I decided to use our cheat day (as it relates to diet, not… whatever you’re thinking) to get some pizza and drink some craft beer. I’d heard that PizzaCo, in Stratford, CT, had really great pies and a solid selection of crafty goodness, so we decided we’d go there to kill two birds with one stone.
When we got there, the pizza looked awesome, and the beer menu was on point. There was, however, one problem: it turned out they were directly across the street from one of my favorite breweries—Two Roads Brewing Company. As they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Our plans changed immediately. We decided to take our pies to go and saddled up to the Two Roads tasting room bar to eat it. Best of both worlds!
The 20 Ton Ale is one of the beers off Two Roads’ “Beers from the Vault” menu (and part of their Road Less Traveled series), but they also had bottles in the retail shop, which is where I picked this one up. Things got a little out of hand on Thanksgiving, and my friend Mike and I uncorked it and fired it up. It’s a blonde barleywine, which means you know it has some heft to it (12% ABV). It’s hopped aggressively with Northwest hops and made with heirloom malts. Overall, it was pretty tasty. Oh, and it’s named after the 20 ton crane that adorns the middle of Two Roads’ century-old building.
Love good Connecticut craft beer? Check out my Instagram page now.
As the great Beatles song says, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Every good beer hunter knows that sometimes you have to rely on the eyes, ears and hell sometimes even the feet and money of your buddies to get those rare brews. That’s how I ended up getting my hands on this bottle of the 2018 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine from Goose Island Beer Company.
I have the luxury of working in Midtown Manhattan—ok it’s not always a luxury—with access to an entire city’s worth of craft beer. A quick search on BeerMenus revealed the existence of a little bodega named the East Side Grocery, on 2nd Avenue, between 74th and 75th on the Upper East Side. Not only did the site say the grocery had the Bourbon County Brand Stout, it also said they’d gotten the Barleywine, the Bramble Rye Stout AND the BCBS Reserve. Say what?
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make the 30-block walk. Rather than give up, I did some digging and found a friend that lived near the store. Kristena didn’t know she was going to be a Windowsill hero when she woke up yesterday, but she stepped up to the challenge and, although the bodega was out of the Reserve and the Bramble Rye, she snagged me the Coffee Barleywine on her way home!
The exciting part about this beer is that it’s the first ever Bourbon County Coffee Barleywine release. It’s a traditional, malt forward English-style Barleywine aged in 4+ year old Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels. Goose Island worked with Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee, flying all the way to Guatemala to source some of the world’s best coffee—Finca La Soledad. I’ve never had a coffee barleywine before, and I can’t wait to try it!
Pop over to Instagram to see our other 2018 Bourbon County Brand Releases. Make sure you like and follow!
Ever wonder just what exactly a barleywine is? Contrary to its name, it’s not a wine. Wine is made with fermented juice. Barleywine is made with fermented grain—typically barley—which makes it a beer…a very strong beer. They are typically anywhere from 8% to 12% ABV, although they can be more, as you’ll find out in a minute. It’s that high-alcohol content, which is similar to wine, that earned this ale its name. The style has been around in name since Ancient Greece (although with a different recipe), but today’s version of the style uses hops as a preservative. @anchorbrewing is credited with introducing the style to American audiences, which they did with their Old Foghorn in 1976. Drink it a little warmer than your typical beer to get all that good flavor!
The Olde School is a pretty unique barleywine from Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. It’s fermented using figs and dates. The recipe came from a an old English cellarman’s manual Dogfish’s founder Sam Calagione found that suggested adding dates and figs to casks to re-carbonate them. Calagione recommends aging this beer, to let the hops recede a bit and push those fruity flavors forward. I found this brew to be pretty delicious. Very sweet. Very fruity. Very strong! I just wish I’d bought more than one so I could age a bottle.
Head over to my Instagram to like this one for real. Make sure you follow me for more great craft beer!