I don’t do new year resolutions as a rule but I’ve decided to start a beer “cellar” rather than simply drink what I have when I have it. I’ve had some great beers that would have lent themselves to ageing in recent years like Beavertown’s Imperial Lord Smog Almighty and Heavy Water, but I’m seemingly beholden to instant gratification. However it’s a flaw that I aim to remedy, and to start my collection I’ve chosen Five Point Brewing Co.’s Old Greg’s Barley Wine, a seasonal offering from the Hackney-based brewery.
Picked up from Dusty Dick’s Craft Beer Emporium in Crouch End and bottled less than a fortnight ago, it pours a deep amber and has barely any carbonation. The aroma is boozy caramel, toffee and orange marmalade, and while you can taste the alcohol (it comes in at 8.5%) it’s not overpowering or intrusive. As well as loads of chewy toffee-caramel there’s honey and fruity and floral notes from the Challenger, Target and East Kent Goldings hops. And while there’s some bitterness, this is a really, really sweet beer, with a syrupy, cough mixture mouth-feel and pleasantly lingering aftertaste.
This batch of Old Greg’s has been ageing at the brewery throughout 2014 and I’m looking forward to seeing how it fares in one, two or even three years (or next weekend). If you don’t have a bottle shop handy it’s available from EeBria, but the stock is limited so look lively.