Horatian satire employs mild mockery and lighthearted wit to deride whatever it seeks to criticize. It is not motivated by moralizing or malice, it provides depth and nuance through sweetness and a lighthearted grace that is both affable and accessible. The fuck does this have to do with barleywine.
Norwegian people. We know the cliches: vikings, perpetual darkness, black metal, socialism medical death panels. But Norway is kinda like the Vermont of Europe in a many ways. Genial people, hearth drunkneness, strange traditions, negligent skiing and Lovecraftian lore.
Lervig was founded in 2003 when things weren’t this terrible. I would say its a NARKE Light of sorts but Swedish dudes would fjord their cropped pants pointing out that head brewer Mike Murphy is American. Lervig is old school, tightly wound, refreshing beers.
So when Lervig made a barleywine, the execution follows that framework of gentle lampooning of other excesses that makes it so pleasant. There’s no Rolos or Skor bar. You wont hear the wince inducing cliché “BOURBON SOAKED RAISINS” it’s a lighthearted approach. It opens leathery and dusted with nutmeg, the body that shredded 9% body fat just evidencing the sinewy sugar babies pumping through that figgy vascularity.
Barleywines can sometimes be merely defined by their strength. As though the utility in carrying an atlas stone is a virtue in itself. Lervig set out for a more deft hand and gives you that approach of someone who owns a Crowley turntable but uses it to play Sidney Bechet albums. The dissonance is powerful. Sure there’s some rozijntjes but its not ALL rozijntjes.
In being massive alone, some barleywines lose their focus and end up like women who wear beige cardigans and clumsily distressed denim. Sticky caramel calf high boots inducing yawns at the apple picking date. In European fashion, Norway decided to class it up and playfully present a softer more port and currant driven experience that satirizes the excesses of the genre by contrast.
It is extremely well done and leaves many American entries looking like dudes who wear Billionaire Boys Club and Amiri jeans. Effusive colonial decadence at the expense of taste.