In August, we moved down to Arkansas where it remained warm through November. It is only finally now starting to be a bit on the cold side, so we were quite happy when a box containing a pair of Mad River’s annual barleyines – John Barleycorn – dropped down at our house. This California-crafted barleywine is incredibly deep, immediately starting out a bit on the sweeter side before hints of molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, and whiskey begin to peek through. The spontaneity of John Barleycorn continues as the effort continues to open up. It is the high ABV that allows the more nuanced elements to come out rather than breaking down into a singularly sweet or alcohol-forward offering, ensuring that one that cracks a 12 ounce bottle will be as involved in the beer with their last pull as it was when they first opened it.
What we were most impressed about with the John Barleycorn Barleywine had to be how well the alcohol disappeared into the mix. Sure, one cannot take big draws from their bottle or glass, but the bite a nearly-10% beer has is not observed here. Rather, it does a tremendous job in moderating some of the elements that tend to be more assertive in the barleywine style, including the aforementioned sweetness. Cheap, approachable, and a true adherent to the barleywine style, we’d definitely pick up John Barleycorn on the regular.
For additional information about the Mad River Brewing Company, a full list of the beers that they create, and more information about their day to day operastions, one would do well to check out their main domain or social media profiles. John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale is a must-have for anyone that fancies themselves fans of the barleywine style.
John Barleycorn Barleywine Ale (Mad River Brewing) / 9.8% ABV / https://www.madriverbrewing.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/madriverbrewing/