January 05, 2010

1995 Old Knucklehead - best beer ever?

My neighbor took me to a wonderful winter beer party at her friend's the other day. There were lots of people and beer I didn't recognize, but everything worked out wonderfully. Of particular note was perhaps the oldest and likely the most delicious, entrancing beer I've ever consumed.

Some kind soul brought a 12 oz. bottle of the 1995 Bridgeport's Old Knucklehead, the annual barleywine from this legendary Portland brewery. I don't always enjoy aged beer, which often shows me a gluey aroma that may be interesting but also a little revolting at the same time. From my modest pour in an Oregon pinot glass from Riedel, I got a whiff of that at first here, and then things turned remarkable.

Deep bronze color and aromas of maple syrup and roasted everything good. Then similar flavors, which were good enough. But the texture and balance were perfect. I'm not usually this way, but I felt speechless. Was I carried away? This was early in the party, but no one else seemed in rapture like me. I mentioned my thoughts to a few others who thought, yeah, this was good. But I could still taste it and recall the way it felt, and I still can. That's remarkable beer (or barleywine, for the pursits out there), and I'm left wondering if I've ever had any other so good. Thanks Alan.

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