Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spot a Bigfoot or four at Midway Pub on Friday

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Cellaring is a thing
  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • Experience the benefits of beer cellaring at Midway Pub's Bigfoot Barleywine vertical tasting Fri., Feb. 28.

For Creative Loafing's food issue a couple years ago, I wrote about beer cellaring, an increasingly common practice among craft-brew obsessives. The piece caught up with local cellar-ers such as Brick Store Pub co-owner Dave Blanchard, who has been collecting and aging beer for years. Between Brick Store's basement beer vault and upstairs "cellar" (above), the pub has amassed thousands of beers.

"It is so much fun to pop something that's five or six or seven years old next to the same beer fresh to compare the changes," Blanchard told me at the time. "Sometimes subtle, sometimes drastic. That's the really fun part is not knowing what you'll get."

He was talking about vertical tastings, which involve comparing several vintages of an annually released beer in one sitting, and are one of the primary functions of cellaring.

Stouts, Belgian-style sours, and barleywines are some of the most commonly cellared beers. The latter is a boozy, complex ale that originated in England, but has been produced in a slightly different, hoppier form in the States ever since San Francisco's Anchor Brewing debuted its Old Foghorn Barleywine Style Ale in 1975.

On Friday, February 28, Midway Pub will host a vertical tasting of another OG of the American barleywine world, Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale. The veteran California (and soon to be North Carolina) brewery introduced its "cult-classic beast of a barleywine" in 1983, and have since advised consumers that, "under the proper conditions, it can age like a fine wine, developing new flavors and character as it matures in the bottle."

Midway will have a smaller-than-usual keg each of Bigfoot 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, all of which star pouring at 5 p.m. on Friday. Co-owner Carsten Green says they'll be doing a four-ounce vertical sampler flight of all four beers for those who want to taste and compare. Midway will also be selling individual four- and eight-ounce pours of each. Green thinks the Bigfoots will last through the weekend.

Local Sierra Nevada sales representative Lance Deen will be in attendance on Friday, "handing out swag knowledge" and mingling with customers.

"If we can pull it off, we might have someone dressed up in a bigfoot costume for photos and general shenanigans," Green says, resulting in at least one local beer writer recoiling in abject terror.

Luckily, it's nothing a few barleywines can't fix.

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