Today marked the beginning of Maine’s oft-annual January Thaw and temperatures reached 41 degrees (and they say it should read 50 on Tuesday). To celebrate, we got up early and headed to Shawnee Peak for a down-right perfect day of hitting the slopes. The conditions were excellent and we returned home this evening sore in all the right ways.

To cap the day off, I settled in this evening with a 22 oz bomber of Barleywine from nearby Smuttynose Brewery in Portsmouth, NH. This is one of the tastiest Barleywines I’ve had; it features a nice, modest 7% ABV — unusually tame for a Barleywine — so you can have plenty. There is a gorgeous off-white pillowing thick head when poured, which quickly disappears. There are very strong fruit esters with a touch of caramelizing, grain and a pinch of hop on the nose. A tad on the sweet side, the mouthfeel — which is both creamy and chewy — boats a fantastic cocktail of esters (pear & date, maybe? I’m not great at differentiating the flavors) and citrusy hop flavours which end with a dry, grain aftertaste. With an overall rating of B+, plenty of BAers agree that this is a truly fantastic brew.

Elsewhere on the good news beer front, Standing Stone Brewing Company of Ashland, OR has begun working towards a “zero net energy” (making or saving more energy than you use) goal. Although admittedly a long way off,

Says owner Alex Amarotico, it’s sound business, and good for the planet, to take every step to shrink carbon output.

For more on the changes being made at the brewery to better our environment, click here to read the news from the Southern Oregon Mail Tribune.

[tags] Smuttynose Brewing Co., Shawnee Peak, January Thaw, Barleywine, beer, Standing Stone Brewing Co., Going Green[/tags]


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