Three Good Ones At HAF
During yesterday's outing to the Holiday Ale Fest, I managed to cover a lot more terrain, and with just one exception, all the pours were in the good-to-excellent continuum. (The poor pour was Laurelwood's experimental black pepper Belgian ale, featuring too much pepper and a clash of disparate flavors.) But among the beers were three gems I wanted to highlight:
- 2003 BridgePort Old Knucklehead Barleywine. Seven-year-old kegs are one of the central features that makes HAF special. Not all aged beers work, but when they do, there's nothing like them. This keg had been well-handled and was only mildly oxidized. It was marked by a port-like, long sweetness, full of caramel. Amazing.
- Hopworks Kentucky Christmas. Mixing bourbon and hops is a risky business, but when it works, it works like a Swiss watch. The flavors locked together perfectly, balancing each other in almost shamefully tasty harmony.
- Widmer Black Dynamite. Flying under the radar is the most successful spiced experiment I tried. The black pepper and chocolate are both very assertive elements, and the result is dessert-rich. I'm not sure what I'd think about a pint, but the small pour I had was like liquid dark chocolate, dense and decadent.