In the 60’s and 70’s, Chicago’s WGN television station had a magnificent set of programs for children. In some future post I will wax poetically about how Ray Rayner affected my outlook on life, but right now I would like to mention Frazier Thomas. In the hours after school he, of course, hosted Garfield Goose and Friends, which will probably come up in a future post as well. But on Friday evenings he hosted Family Classics and this is when I saw many of the most beloved films, including The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland and released in 1938 (by the way, Ms. de Havilland just celebrated her 97th birthday).
Immediately I fell in love (until she was replaced by Lauren Bacall in my mid-thirties), and I think I somehow compared every girl I had a crush on from elementary school through my early adult years. How can anyone stack up to her? I won’t go as far as to blame Olivia for my somewhat later in life marriage, I will just chalk that up to general immaturity and the fact that I hadn’t yet met Pat.
These thoughts ran through my mind as I opened a 22 ounce bomber of Avery’s Hog Heaven. Sometime I will take a photo of the basket of files and tools I carry from the bedroom to the kitchen table when I’m reviewing a beer. Let’s just say “Geek City” for now.
A casual search on the internet will tell you that proper serving temperature for barleywine is 57° to 61°, so I had some time before the first taste. Still I could pour it into the proper glass. Beautifully clear, copper color, almost like medium grade honey, and a very persistent head. Bottle stats were listed as 104 IBU’s or International Bittering Units (another future post) and a 9.2% ABV, Alcohol By Volume (please share this or don’t give your chauffeur the night off). As I was measuring the temperature, so I got to get some tantalizing tastes from licking the Thermapen probe (my, my…that just sounds wrong)
Lovely color, good head, and finally up to temperature, so I was looking forward to the first full sip. And it was….disappointing. There was a wonderful initial hit of malt sweetness but then the hops came storming in, overwhelming everything else. The label did say “dry-hopped”, I was forewarned. I would like to try this with some stronger cheeses, but I don’t see it going with any chocolate desserts which is what I usually pair this style with.
It is a well designed beer, it just didn’t meet my expectations.
I don’t think Olivia would like either.
Frazier Thomas http://cvillememories.com/networks_13.html
Olivia de Havilland http://disneysrobin.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-best-maid-marian-joan-rice.html