The Japanese philosophy of “kaizen” is an idea of perpetual gradual improvement through small efficiencies. Each segment is encouraged to constantly review and improve. This works fantastic when you are putting together GTRs or crunching to get the newest 200 hour Persona game out, but what about in art, or brewing, the merger of business and art?
Improvement in brewing has this teleological twang to it. Sure you can measure efficiency, BBLs, line goes up, but how do you measure improvements to the beer itself. Barrique will intentionally sacrifice kaizen efficiency for artful ends.
No one needs their lagers barrel aged. It is more time-consuming, expensive, and arguably hurts the bottom line, so why do these Nashville hucksters even bother? The end experience is unique. Perhaps sheer enjoyment is “elimination of waste” or the composite experience becomes more than the segments of the brewing process. Go crack a can of Wasioto and report back.
However, we are here to talk today about the nadir of efficiency, barleywines, the destroyer of Kaizen. They take time, tons of materials, normal people don’t order them, they derail your day with the abv, and your average angsty white dude will be rolo-mouthed telling you how he “WISHES HE COULD FIND HIS OWN RAMONA FLOWERS.”
It’s tough to reconcile the lager finesse with intense excess. Like posting your boyfriend on main: expect to lose some followers. This is above-average to well done, but it doesn’t represent what Barrique excels at. The barrel character is pronounced and punches with wafty bananas fosters, gingerbread, taste follows with imbalanced casky dryness, a long graham cracker meets Sazerac swallow, and those E.L. Fudge cookies without the center frosting.
Lager people are like Firefly fans or people who wont shut up about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. We get it, this is your identity. But barleywine fans are more like Eve Online players intent on slowly ruining their lives. I simply wouldn’t ruin my life with Barrique knowing their gentler touch is more comforting. I crave bottom fermented calf rubs.