Yesterday I went to Lucky Lab for their annual Barleywine and Big Beer Festival. My friends and I walked out to the fest in the morning to beat the crowds and be there by the time the doors opened. I spent a long time at the fest last year, but list year there were fewer beers available (at least during the time we were around) that I really wanted to try, so I kept my list small and focused, and we were in and out before there were any lines. The beers I sampled this year were:
- 2007 Lucky Lab Old Yeller
- 2009 Lucky Lab Son of Old Yeller
- 2007 Anchor Old Foghorn
- 2009 Ninkasi Critical Hit
- 2009 North Coast Old Stock
- 2010 Emelisse Barley Wine
- 2008 Rogue Old Crustacean
Of the beers I tried last year, I remember son of old yeller and 2006 old foghorn being among the best of the batch for my tastes, so I was glad to revisit vintages of each. The 2007 old foghorn was significantly different then my recollection of the 2006 last year. Last year I said the 2006:
"was a model for how well some beers age. All the flavors of the beer were perfectly melded and softened, and it definitely drank better than a beer that clocks in with that ABV should."
This year my experience with an equally old version of the old foghorn was quite a bit different. While it was enjoyable, I felt like it was more sharp and tart than mellow and melded. It was one of the beers that I tried at this years fest that immediately drew a strong contrast from to my other samplings.
The son of old yeller was great again. The vintage Old Stock and Old Crustacean were as good as expected as well. A big surprise for me was the Emelisse Barleywine. I'd never tried this beer before, but the temptation to try the only 2-ticket beer of the fest proved too much for me to overcome, and I guess I'm pretty glad it was. It certainly had the flavors I associate with common belgian yeasts, but it was unmistakeably a barleywine. I think a lot of the time when you get the barley wine strength using belgian yeast, you end up with something strong triple or quad-like, but this was pretty unique from those styles for sure. Besides the surprise the 2007 Old Foghorn provided, the only other miss for me was the Ninkasi. It wasn't bad; it just wanted suited for my tastes. I should have expected what I got though, as it was decidedly "Ninkasi".
After we went through our samplings, we walked over to Henry's for their Happy Hour lunch. I got a cheap burger and some Gorgonzola fries, along with a Goose Island Matilda on tap.
From Henry's, it was on to the Rialto to shoot some pool. I had a Widmer KGB followed by a Widmer Drop Top, and reigned victorious over the table.
Another good day in Portland!
EDIT: It should be noted that while I love how dog friendly the lucky lab is, and I'd love to take mine there; Daisy spent the day asleep in her custom made bed, due to the fact that she hopelessly tries to eviscerate any canine she senses in her presence.