English beer writer and historian Ron Pattinson spends his days scouring the archives of ancient British breweries in hopes of finding century-old recipes of beers long dead. He posts the recipes on his blog at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins, named after the iconic British brewery, and writes about them in his many books.
For Jim Jamison, owner and head brewer at Bothell’s Foggy Noggin Brewing, those recipes are more than just historical artifacts, they’re inspiration.
Jamison, who focuses on English-style beers, recently recreated one of those old recipes, brewing Tennant’s 1954 Gold Label Barleywine to the exact specifications it was once brewed. He made two versions: a spot-on re-creation and one aged 12 months on Hungarian oak.
Both beers will be available to try at Foggy Noggin’s second annual English Barleywine vertical tasting Jan. 25 at the brewery. Jamison will also be serving four versions (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017) of the brewery’s Duck’s Ass English Barleywine. Tickets for the event are $50.
To brew a beer that is more than 60 years old, it’s key to not only obtain the correct malts and hops from England but dial in the pH level of the water the Sheffield brewery used to make the beer. Jamison said he was surprised at how long he had to boil the ingredients: three hours compared to the usual one.
“That’s a lo-o-o-ng time,” Jamison said.
The result is a barleywine gold in color and full of flavor. For an 11.5 percent ABV beer, typical for a barleywine, it doesn’t have much in the way of hot “alcohol” flavors and retains much of its rich malty backbone and sweet fruity esters. There’s also a slight hop finish.
“Traditionally this was a bottled beer,” Jamison said of Tennant’s Gold Label Barleywine. “Guys would go to a pub, order a pint of bitter and a bottle of Gold Label, drink half of the pint and then dump in the bottle. It was all about getting the most alcohol for your money.”
Duck’s Ass is more of a classic barleywine. Made with loads of dried fruit like plums and English-grown floor-malted barley, the barleywine is richer and sweeter than the Gold Label. It’s also a big beer at 11.2 percent ABV.
Jamison hosted Pattinson for a book reading and beer event at his brewery in 2015. He brewed eight beers for that occasion and hopes to get Pattinson to return in the future for another event, possibly with other local brewers. Pattinson’s book, “Tour!”, about his adventures in America, is available on his website.
Skip Rock unveils Double Barreled Rum: For the second time, Skip Rock Distillery’s Ryan Hembree has aged Skip Rock’s Amber Rum for nearly four years in two different barrels, creating a unique spirit that is worth the wait.
Having aged the previous version in bourbon barrels and then red wine barrels, Hembree aged this version in bourbon barrels and later port barrels from Lantz Cellars. The rum has been in the port barrels since April of last year, giving it big berry aromas and dark fruit characteristics that most rums only wish they could have.
“We wanted to create something that was really unique and different,” Hembree said. “It takes some patience, but we think the end result is worth it.”
Skip Rock will release the bottles on Jan. 19 and 20, selling them at the distillery only.
As for the Lantz Cellars barrel that has now tasted port and rum, Hembree said he’s had a few inquiries already.
“A lot of brewers want this barrel now,” Hembree said, laughing.
Skip Rock will take part in Bellingham Cocktail Week from Feb. 1 through 8.
San Juan Cigars, which makes rum and whiskey infused cigars, will be hand rolling cigars at Skip Rock Distillery Jan. 19 and 20.
Naked City Camano kicks off 10-for-10 series: Naked City Brewery, which opened a location on Camano Island last year, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with what it’s calling the Decima, a poem in 10 beers. Each month, Naked City is collaborating with another brewer to create 10 unique beers in its 10-for-10 Series.
The Camano location is hosting a kickoff of the 10-month celebration with a party at 6 p.m. Jan. 2. The first beer is an imperial saison brewed with lemongrass, orange peel and Montmorency cherries and in collaboration with Stix Pizza and Brewing Co. Other breweries collaborating with Naked City include Everett’s Lazy Boy Brewing, Silver City and Farmstrong Brewing.
Visitors can pick up a Decima punch card at either Naked City location. When completed, punch cards can be turned in for a complimentary 10th anniversary Decima pint glass.
Cereal Killer Series announced: After last week’s release of the first beer in its Cereal Killer Series, a New England-style IPA brewed with Trix, Middleton Brewing announced most of the other cereals it plans to brew with over the next 12 months. Each month, Middleton will release a beer brewed with cereal.
The lineup includes: Reese’s Puffs Imperial Oatmeal Porter (February), Captain Crunch English Brown (March), Honey Smacks ESB (April), Cheerios Belgian Golden (May), Fruity Pebbles Gose (June), Fruit Loops Oatmeal Pale Ale (July), Apple Jacks Saison (August), Cocoa Puffs Doppelbock (October), Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milk Stout (November).