American Barley Wine

Do not be fooled by the name, this is a beer, not a wine.

The American Barley Wine is a strong ale that is considered challenging to the palette. The beer carries a typically thick body and varies from an amber to a dark copper color. In terms of its taste, a Barley Wine can range from dark fruit to a heavy bitter flavor. American Barley Wines are bitter and more hop-forward, unlike their English counterparts which are more balanced and lower in alcohol.

The Origin of Barley Wine

Barley Wines originated in England during the late nineteenth century. They were originally conceived from the English tradition of producing small ales to celebrate festivities or special events. Although they’re produced from barley, this craft-beer is often compared to wine due to its strong alcohol levels and its aging process.

The first American Barley Wine was introduced to the United States by the Anchor Brewing Company in 1975. To distinguish themselves from their British predecessors, the company attempted a different approach to brewing. These American brewers adopted the traditional parti-gyle brewing technique, which originated from medieval Europe. To summarize the parti-gyle technique, brewers would produce multiple craft-beers from the same mash of grains.

Enjoy an American Barley Wine

A strong beer requires a strong food-snack to match. Pungent cheeses like Stiltons and other Bleu Cheese varieties offer a strong intensity which nicely matches the Barleywine’s bold flavors. For dessert lovers, consider sweet servings like bread pudding or a cheesecake to offer a nice contrast to the craft-beer.