2009 marks Pike Brewing’s 20th Anniversary. They intend to celebrate all year long with special events, culminating with an actual birthday party in October. To kick it all off, they’ll be hosting an Old Bawdy vertical tasting on Sunday, February 8th (details below). Old Bawdy is a barley wine style ale that weighs in at a voluptous 10% abv.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on bottles of the 2006 and 2007 vintages of Old Bawdy. This beer is aging very well. The vertical tasting, which will feature vintages back to 1994, should be nothing short of amazing.
While I cannot yet comment on the older vintages of Pike Old Bawdy, the ’06 and ’07 versions maintained a malty nose much more single noted than the actual flavor. There was not too much difference between the two. At least, too little difference to describe here. My nose detected only the slightest hint of hops, almost invisible behind a caramel or toffee scent. The alcohol aroma mellowed with age if it had ever been there at all. Lets face it, beer is for drinking and not for smelling. No surprises on the mouthfeel — smooth, thick and rich. On the tongue, the flavor was balanced. Now I noticed the hops, lurking around the shadows of the sweet malty goodness the aroma had asserted. The alcohol is noticable but not overwhelming. As it lingered on my palate, the initial thought was simple: this is a very good barley wine. Old Bawdy lives up to its name. It’s brash and naughty. At 10%, dare I say, this bawdy old girl is just a little bit dangerous.
For a brewer, making barley wine is not without its challenges. It is a bit like dating a beautiful woman. While the rewards might be great, she can break your heart with the bat of an eyelash. The same things that make her beautiful can also make her hard to handle. Pike Old Bawdy is not a waifer-thin super model or a pixie-skinned pop star, oh no. She’s a grand old dame. Sure, this broad’s got some miles on her tires, but you cannot take your eyes off of her. She will not be denied and lushously asserts herself on your palate, demanding the attention she so richly deserves.
Not for the faint of heart, the vertical tasting event will feature samples of Old Bawdy vintages dating back to 1994. The event will take place in the Pike Microbrewery Museum (at the brewery in Seattle). Space is limited and reservations are strongly suggested.
Pike Brewing Vertical Old Bawdy Barley Wine Tasting
Sunday, February 8, 2009
2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
$18.00 per person
$15.00 with WABL (Washington Beer Lover’s) passport
Pike Microbrewery Museum
R.S.V.P. to Michael St. Clair [email protected]