Living in West Virginia, I’ve been snowed in this past weekend. I had the good fortune, however, to be visited by my grandchild-seeking parents, whose Dodge Durango scoffs at the drifts that keep my Jetta garage-bound. So while greater Morgantown cowered behind locked doors, we headed out into winter’s worst for no reason in particular.
As I’ve mentioned before, we northwestern Pennsylvania residents are the kind of people who are MORE likely to go out into the world when life-threatening weather … well, threatens. It’s just something we’ve got to do. So the folks and I headed out into the snowy void on Saturday.
For a quick snapshot of the economics of snow, consider the below picture of the bread aisle at our local Kroger:
At the left is the cheapo bread; to the right are the high-end, Pepperidge Farm joints. This, to me, sends a clear message: We’re hungry, but we’re not particular. Being that we already had the essentials – and were not fearing the end times – we chose instead to pick up some other provisions: Ribeye steaks (which, in another fit of winter pique, would be grilled outside) and a bevy of nifty beers.
Among these was today’s beer, Red Hook’s Treblehook. I’m a big Red Hook fan – their Sunrye was a fantastic summer beer, and their Late Harvest wasn’t bad either – so I’m likely to be biased. The Treblehook is a barleywine, part of Red Hook’s Limited Release series. I started it at the halftime mark of yesterday’s Super Bowl (with a Yuengling lead-in), and finished just as the Saints wrapped up their win.
This is a big beer, both in size (1 pint, 6 oz.; 10.1% ABV) and body, which is what you’d expect of a barleywine (the name comes from the fact that they’re typically as high in alcohol as a wine, but made from grain rather than grapes.). The label marks it as a fall beer, but I’d put it up against any winter warmer. It’s a thick brew that warms up the throat as you drink. The mouthfeel is slightly syrupy but not too heavy – just enough to let you know you’re drinking something substantial.
You definitely get the hop aroma as you drink, but it’s not as floral as most hoppy beers. And like any good barleywine, that hoppiness is balanced by strong malt flavors, so you don’t get the bitterness of hop-heavy beers. If I have any gripe it’s that you get a lingering sour aftertaste after a while, but that’s hardly a hanging offense.
Treblehook might lack the spice of others’ winter offerings, but it’s an excellent beer to accompany watching a blizzard through your window … or the Colts choking a last-minute touchdown pass.