Barley John’s Dark Knight Returns, despite the silly name is actually my favorite brew at Barley John’s. Unfortunately, unlike many, I have not been a big fan of Barley John’s. I do like this brew though.Served in a small glass, the aroma in some ways stronger than the 13.5% alcohol in the beer itself. Straight away, it tastes less like a beer and more like a bourbon drink. It reminded me of Louisville’s Bluegrass Brewing Company‘s Jefferson Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout, just stronger. Did I say this tastes like bourbon?
I’m a sucker for slightly chilly weather and strong beer. Combine the two and I’m one happy camper. Thanks to everyone for hanging out, we had a blast. Thanks to Colin for being such a genuinely happy beermaker.
I enjoyed the sample pitchers as a way to try all the beers and was pleased that nobody got visibly disgusted by the rinse pitcher. The Little Barley Bitter would make a great end of a long day beer. The IPA….well….I wasn’t impressed. It seemed, judging from Colin’s tone, that the brewers at Barley John’s were aware this mix of hops was a bit of an experiment and in that regard it turned out well. Stacked up to other IPAs that I’m a fan of, though, it doesn’t hold up as well. The Wild Brunette, though is a great brown ale without being watery (something I’ve noticed in browns….could just be me). For a final act in the 4-part sampler, I don’t think anyone could top the Dark Knight Returns. I also don’t think any healthy American should enjoy any more than each of us poured. It was big, bold, complex and I think I may have napped for a few minutes after drinking what little I had. I particularly enjoyed the contrast from the aroma to the taste. The heavy bourbon smell was only mildly present in the flavor – a perfect balance for a beer of that style, IMHO.
It was great to get together with some friends and other Brew52er’s on Saturday to taste some of the great beers at Barley John’s. The brewmaster, Colin, was kind enough to drink a beer with us and talk about the brewing process for some of the beers we tasted.
The Dark Night is a thick, syrupy porter that really warms you up on a cool, windy day. I like the bourbon taste that comes through and aging in the bourbon barrels really smoothes out the beer. There are plenty of other good beers on tap as well; I also really enjoyed the IPA.
First, thank you to Colin at Barley John’s for coming out on a Saturday, hanging out and talking beer. It was awesome to try the 4 different beers on tap and even more awesome that it was warm enough to sit out on the patio.
I loved everything we tasted. The Little Barley Bitter was nice and light, Stockyard IPA was nice and hoppy (even though Colin says it’s a different combination of hops than usual) and the Old Eight Porter was smooth and rich. The Dark Night Returns, at 13.5% alcohol was definitely the most intense flavor. The bourbon came through in the right amount for me, and the slight buzz I got helped with the increasing cold wind.
By the time we finished we were all ready to go inside, warm up and grab some food. Keep an eye out for a real food review on Erin and Ben’s a, but I will say that my burger was awesome, and I’ve had some really good pizzas in the past.
So if you haven’t made it Barley John’s, do so. And again, thanks Colin for hanging out with the Brew52 crew!