Coming home from my internship in Vermont, I was tired and hungry, so I stopped in a town market store somewhere in between Grafton and Bellows Falls. I was surprised to see a line of coolers in the back holding beer that I had never seen before, brewed by a company called “Rock Art Brewery” and featuring cave-drawing type art on their labels. So I picked up two, and this is the first that made it from the waiting shelf into my fridge and finally, tonight, into my glass.

I poured it and immediately noticed it was darker that I expected, and had a bit of sediment pouring into my glass. The smell was faint, and the first sip seemed empty of flavor. As I sipped further, though, I was able to pull out its flavors. It is certainly not the syrupy barleywine that I am used to, but it is instead earthier and maltier. I like that it isn’t terribly sweet, but in some ways that’s against what I know of the barleywine style. I think this one is a decent introduction, and is better than some other craft barleywines that I’ve had. 
I then visited their website to find that the Ridge Runner is a mild barleywine which would be a perfect description of this taste. Picture your favorite barleywine but toned down a little bit – the knob dialed down to let the low tones out to play. It is their flagship, so it was a good choice as an intro.
Rock Art Brewery itself has an extensive line of brews, including a stronger barleywine and several Belgian style beers. I am intrigued, at the very least by this beer, and might make another stop to get a few more bottles the next time I pass through the area. The brewery itself is in Morrisville, VT, about as far as I could drive away from where I live before hitting Canada. So, I probably will add them to the New England Brewery tour list, but the reality of my going there before the snow thaws is very unlikely.