Monday, June 3, 2013

Berkshire Brewing Company - Rapberry Barleywine Style Ale

A few weeks ago, I was perusing the shelves in a Boston beer shop when I found myself faced with a problem I don't find myself faced with very often (anymore)- I was staring at a lot of beers from breweries that I knew absolutely nothing about. And, before it gets twisted, that is NOT a complaint. It was actually kind of nice to go into the beer buying process on kind of a blank slate. There have been many times where I bypassed beers I didn't know much about because I wasn't a fan of the breweries and then regretted not buying them later. So this time, I was just going to go with my gut. After struggling for a while (alright, a really long time), I decided to try a raspberry barleywine from Berkshire Brewing Company.

I didn't know much about Berkshire Brewing Company before my trip, but as it turns out, they're one of the bigger and more established breweries in the New England area. They've been in business since 1994 and have been growing ever since. They make a pretty impressive lineup of beers, including the seasonal raspberry barleywine that I came home with. Let's give this puppy a try.

Raspberry Barleywine Style Ale pours a slightly hazy reddish amber color with a really nice two-finger foamy beige head. I picked up a lot of raspberries in the smell immediately, and they came off with an almost candy-like sweetness. There were also some caramel and marshmallow notes mixed in. To me, the smell was a bit too sweet, as the raspberry smell began to smell a bit rotten the more I smelled it. Still, this beer was off to a solid start.

The taste opens with a lot of pureed raspberry sweetness mixed with some chocolate that made the beer taste like a raspberry truffle. There's a touch of tartness in the middle before a lingering finish of unripe red cherry, some caramel malt and cherry pit. Despite all the sweetness, this beer manages to finish a touch dry, which was really nice. The mouthfeel is slightly undercarbonated, which actually works here because it lets all of the raspberry sweetness shine. There's no doubt about it, this is a total dessert beer. But it's a really tasty one at that. I didn't ever really get any barleywine elements out of this one, but I definitely enjoyed it, nonetheless. Glad I chose this one.

Final Grade: B+

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 125

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