Dean, the head brewer at Lighthouse, once told me he would never brew a barley wine. Why would he say such a thing? Perhaps historically, the barley wine was a special release reserved for only close friends of the brewery. It also was the demonstration of a brewer's skill; a testament to brewing ability. Call it a brewers signature. It is not that the Lighthouse team, doesn't possess mad brewing skills. Perhaps it is that Dean is a perfectionist. If you don't believe me: check out his carbon fiber, single gear, bike with the beer growler holder. Anyways I am getting off topic and indulgent. Perhaps this is due to my previous review of Joe's insider beer guide to BC beers. This writer also has insider stuff.. Actually, I don't. This is due mainly to my laziness and reclusive behaviour. Whatever, I have a bottle of southern hemisphere barley wine and 1/2 bottle of Chimay 2011 Grande Reserve in me. Let the opinions fly.
NumbSkull Imperial IPA (Lighthouse) = 9/10
Honestly I drank most of this beer while doing my previous post, so I have nothing left to draw from. So let's review this beer as the fictitious Australian barley wine style. The aroma was all south of the equator. Rakau and Galaxy hops are demonstrative of this style. Addition of citra hops blended in well. These gave a striking tropical fruit and citrus nose. Yes, there are malts. These are simple with syrupy, bready, sherry and Mackintosh Toffee hints. The linger was long with equal part hop/malt intermingle. This was a surprisingly easy to drink barley wine, despite the 9.1% ABV disclaimer. Does it hit barley wine status, yup it does according to BJCP. Watch for official release later this week. I scored my pre-release bottle from Hillside Liquor store. Thanks again.
Oh crap the Cicerones will need their info too.
Food Pairings: Braised tofu with a caramelized onion and miso reduction. Cheese options are aged Gouda or old cheddar. Wild game or duck poutine are other options for Captain Poutine aka. Noah's Ark palate. Other options would be dishes with spiciness or savory sweetness. Think Indian, Jamaican or Ethiopian cuisine. You could also end with a creme brulee or a fruit flan with signigiant spicy fruit toppings.
Glassware options: Choose a wide brimmed glass like a tulip or chalice. A tulip would be a wise choice as the aromas are pronounced yet head retention in slight. If not available, look for a modified tulip. OMG that sounded beer geek pompous. Scratch that: craft beer appreciation is serious business.
Cellar Potential: Not really. There was no dominate flavours that needed to mellow. Enjoy promptly.
Alcohol Content +1 9.1% ABV
Value +1 Buy it
Appearance +1 a reasonable description of beer flavour would be nice. But the local artwork is fun, despite the Comic Sans font on the label.