With any sort of beer tasting – or wine tasting, or whisky tasting or whatever your beverage of preference is – you’ll often find that people say that it has “hints” of one flavour, or “notes” of another flavour and this is because more often than not the drink won’t taste exactly like what they’re saying, but will bear enough of a similarity that it will remind the person of those things – whether it’s caramel, vanilla, spice, dried fruits or whatever. But sometimes you’ll stumble across a beer that will taste exactly like an item of food, so much so that it could have been liquidised and bottled. Old Greg’s Barley wine is one of those beers.
Old Greg’s Barley Wine is a special edition annual beer produced by Five Points Brewing Co. It’s brewed on New Years Eve, and aged throughout the year. Which year this brew came from I honestly have no idea – I checked the bottle and couldn’t tell. But that doesn’t really matter because no matter what year this is from, it’s a darn fine beer but one that is likely to be an acquired taste.
Visually, Old Greg’s Barley Wine doesn’t have a lot going for it, it’s a dark brown, quite muddy and looks rather flat. It’s not a feast for the eyes, that’s for sure, and you’d probably be a bit hesitant if it was handed to you. But looks can be deceptive, and when you take a nose of the aroma, that’s when you know the beer will be packed with flavour. It’s heavy on malty flavours, dried fruits, especially raisins. It reminds me of when my Mum would make Christmas Cake every year so, for me, it’s full of nostalgia.
If there’s a heavy hit of fruit cake in the aroma, then it’s even stronger in the taste. Old Greg’s Barley Wine is like having a glass full of fruit cake, with malt, brown sugar, raisins, sultanas, and dried cherries packed in there. And at 9.3%, it’s strong, boozy and very, very rich. It’s definitely a drink you could only have one of, and it might not be to everyone’s tastes, but if someone handed it that to me and said they’d managed to fit a Christmas Cake into a glass, then I would believe them. If this sounds like the kind of flavours you’d enjoy, then I would definitely recommend giving it a try.
This is like drinking a fruity Christmas cake in a glass.