Nov 14, 2007

Anderson Valley's Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

Ahh yes. It's offically Stout season...I know about a month or so ago we got a little teaser in Michigan of the weather to come. Then the temps crawled back into the low 70's for a couple of weeks and held off further explorations to the real dark side for a bit. Not now though.
With an elk drinking from a crisp blue lake & mountain ranges on the front label and a story on the back label that incorporates some of the local dialect-here's hoping what's inside the bottle can start up as much conversation as it's packaging.
This is pretty damn dark. Almost as dark as Victory's Storm King I delved into when I jumped the gun 30 or so days ago but really, I don't recall ever seeing something as dark as those. Colorwise it's right on hue with any previous oatmeal stout I've tried and a peanut butter colored head that faded fairly fast. A very roasted scent reminding me of an ealy winter bonfire. Warm and mellow caramel, oats and coffee flavor on the front end. Like breakfast on a cold morning where ya need something to warm your bones before you go outside to dig the car out of 8 inches of snow because even though the kids got a snowday ya have to go to work. Granted, one has to wait to the workday is done and the chillun' are in bed before relaxing with a laid back yet hearty brew but this one is a great reward. A slight bit of hops shows up in the aftertaste but it's not at all bitter because it's balanced by a smokey molasses and malt tinge strolling around through it.
The cap tells me that this is a "Solar Powered Beer." Being that it's the brewery is located in the old hippie enclave of Mendocino county if the claim was just a gimmick or catchphrase but, what do ya know, the brewery actually IS solar powered. That's pretty damn cool if you ask me. I don't what effects it might have on the brewing process, if any, but this is a very natural tasting beer and I will be on the lookout for whatever other Anderson Valley Brewing Company beers that may land on the beer shelves of this town.

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