Druid Fluid and Big Foot are not Appalachian trail names, although they’d be great ones. Instead, they’re the names of two Barley Wines that I’ve taken a liking to this winter.
Judging by the number of of barley wines available at my local liquor store, which is housed in an old automobile dealership, it seems like there’s been a renaissance in the style lately. That or the buyer is just into seriously big ales.
Barley Wines, if you’re not familiar with them, are strong ales that have an alcohol content of 8-12% by volume. If you’ve ever done any home brewing, they have very high specific gravities, meaning that they are loaded with lots of malted barley when they’re made. They also tend to be very hoppy to counter the sweetness of the sugars, with IBU (International Bitterness Units) levels that will put a pucker on your face.
Druid Fluid and Big Foot are very highly rated by the Beer Advocate, a must have bookmark for any serious real ale snob. I discovered them the week before New Years and they’ve been haunting my kitchen ever since.
Druid Fluid is brewed by Middle Ages Brewing in Syracuse NY and Big Foot by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, makers of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
The great thing about barley wine, besides the fact that me wife hates it and doesn’t pilfer my supply, is the kick. These are big beers with high alcohol content and massive flavor. Take the Sierra Nevada Big Foot which I am savoring right now. It is very bitter with a huge body and lingering afterglow. Druid Fluid is a little less viscous and bitter in comparison, but an excellent beer to sip at when you are kicking back.
Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to spring. but I’ll miss my barley wines when it arrives.