Another bottle from my recent foray into NH’s other brewing company, Pennichuck. This one intrigued me because it was an aged barley wine, something you don’t see very often. Barleywines are already so sweet, to add the whiskey flavor and the aging would surely bring it to a level of sweet that is almost unheard of – unless its balanced by something else.
This one poured dark brown, with a head with teeny little brown bubbles. The smell is of a sweet alcohol, and even maybe some wood? I love barleywines so I was really excited about this one. And I finally could surrender to the 12.1% alcohol, as I have no where to go this evening, nor do I have to wake up early in the morning tomorrow. Yay!
For something that should sting so much of alcohol and should, in theory be sickeningly sweet, this one is as smooth as anything, and is an absolute delight to drink. It tastes lightly like barley, slightly like malt, but wonderfully complicated. You can’t get any smoother than this in something which should bite. This is a beautiful symphony of flavors. If anything its only fault is that it doesn’t have that sweet sting of a barleywine, but that’s really a feat of brewing to make this one feel like less alcohol than it actually contains.
I’ve got to say that I’m impressed here, this is one that I’d recommend to lots of people to enjoy as a fine beer for a fine dinner, or to simply serve to friends and then tell them that it’s beer. As with their other beers, this one’s title, Pompier means fireman in French (the owner of Pennichuck is a Firefighter/EMT) due to the French strisselspalt hops used in the brew. This has been a wonderful brew to sip this evening, and I can’t wait to try more. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything which used those hops, which is why this might taste so different to me. But so far, I’m impressed.