Lucky Lab's 2012 Barleywine & Big Beer Tastival


Lucky Lab’s 12th Annual Barleywine & Big Beer Tastival will be held this weekend at the NW Quimby brewpub. I attended a festival preview where Festival organizer, Ben Flerchinger, put us to work sampling 30+ carefully cellared beers. Yes, it’s a rough gig...

Barleywines (and other high alcohol beers) are unique because they evolve over time. Rough alcohol edges mellow and different flavors emerge. All good things come to an end and they eventually take a turn for worse. We tasted three that turned to various sorts of vinegar. Maybe you'd enjoy those in a nice vinaigrette over field greens?

Portland has a plethora of beer festivals. So why should you attend this one?  That’s easy. This is one of the few (if not only) festivals that enables you to sample a given beer (and vintage) over time. If you’re a beer geek that takes tasting notes (or if you have a really good memory), you’ll see what age can do for these beers.

Ben Flerchinger readies the tap
For a taste of what to expect, here are my tasting notes from last year.  If you don’t know much about barleywines, know that they contain a LOT of alcohol—typically between 9%-12% ABV. If you’re not convinced, here’s the statistical analysis to prove it.

The festival runs March 2-3, from noon to 10pm.  Admission is free and minors are welcome until 9pm. To taste, a $9 glass (comes with 2 tokens) is required. Extra tokens are $2 each. About 25 beers will be available at any given time. Give my favorites a try if they’re available:

  • Lucky Lab ’09 Old Yeller (Bourbon Barrel)
  • Lucky Lab ’07 Old Yeller 
  • Rouge ’08 Russian Imperial Stout

For more coverage of the fest, check out Portland Beer and Music, It's Pub Night, and Portlandbeer.org. For the latest taplist, check out Lucky Lab’s events page.


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