I host beer tastings pretty regularly. Usually, we get things going with a crisp Pilsner or zesty Saison—something to kickstart the palate. But last week’s tasting was a little different, in that it was a celebration of dark beers and winter warmers.
Planning the lineup, it dawned on me that sherry is often served as an aperitif, and this made me wonder if a Barleywine with similar characteristics might work in the same fashion. We decided on a 2015 vintage of Old Greg’s Barley Wine from The Five Points, pairing it with some fried plantains spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
The beer had been conditioning for a year in the bottle, and as you can see, it had become pretty lively during that time. The hint of oxidation the beer had picked up really brought forth those oloroso-esque characteristics. Lesson learned: when it comes to beer and food pairings, it can often pay to step a little outside your comfort zone.