You and I need to talk about Barleywine for a second. First, it’s not wine, It’s very much a beer, one that happens to be perfect this time of year. It’s a strong beer, with an ABV (alcohol by volume) that’s usually north of 10%. Generally sold in the larger 22 ounce bottles that promote beer sharing, and the flavors are beautiful with the foods we serve during winter gatherings. Barleywine is usually amber or dark brown, gorgeous fruit, spice and vanilla flavors. It’s not hoppy like those bold summer beers, it’s deep, malty and often slightly sweet. It’s a bold beer, but one with a character and depth that will surprise your “I don’t like beer” friends. Want to turn a bourbon drinker into a craft beer fan? This is a great start. I used Odell Woodcut 8. A beautiful, rich, dark fruit, vanilla and oak flavored gorgeous beverage that’s perfect to bring in lieu of wine to that holiday gathering.
Barleywine’s are not only perfect to serve with a huge spread of roasted meat, pumpkin pies, and candied yams, it’s also perfect for cooking with. The flavors are huge, making a little go a long way. Which will incidentally leave you with even more for that snifter glass you should probably be serving this out of.