Barleywine from the Clinton Administration: 1999 Lagunitas Y2K

Well since I drank a one week old Lagunitas bottle, why not bookend things with a 19 year old barleywine from the Clinton administration? Man I have so many questions about this barleywine, but I’m sure that much of the finer points have been lost to time. I called the number on this bottle to ask if they pasteurized in 99 and it actually connected to the Petaluma taproom(!) Mad questions tho: For example, when this beer was made, Arrogant bastard had only been made for two years, so what were they using to hop an aggro american barleywine? Since the likes of Warrior/Tomahawk style and high alpha acid hops weren’t in vogue or available then, they probably used a shitload of english or C hops to hit that then-staggering 65 IBUs. Here’s the rub: those hops have a shitload of beta acids. As a result this unexpectedly held up way better than expected. The twist top cap is adorable and this must have been stored impeccably because all the malty grool looks oddly appealing, the carb is on point, there isn’t that smegma around the water line on the neck. Things could be much worse. The nose is chanterelle mushrooms, record store, and thrift shop leather jackets. If you have fucked with old John Barleycorn or JW Lees you already know what kind of breakdancer cardboard that can be expected. However, there is a port sherry and charming muddy cognac thing that only comes with age.

I’m your Hume Cronyn this is my Jessica Tandy: this is candy. The taste is much much better than you could expect and it blows me away that this is not irradiated tampons at this point. It has a hoppy structure that is a faux wood character, old varnish, like when Gratitude slides into AARP status and gets that crushed conifer aspect. This should be far shittier, but it isn’t. For everyone polishing their pearl over how lambics age, I have had straight up red wine balsamic and this Life has stayed the course amiably, dumping its Zubaz pants with tootsie roll and old year book pages. The entire affair is just dripping with old toblerone and cybering on the family Gateway 2000 in the living room.

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