The holiday beer season is upon us. After the pleasing glut of pumpkin beers leading up to Halloween, I still need to catch up with some of my favorite winter time beers. I’ve already really been enjoying Hoppy Holidays from Schooner Exact Brewing and am looking forward to the release of their popular, Hoppy The Woodsman, sometime in early December. I’ve also been fortunate to have some of this year’s Sleigh’r from Ninkasi Brewing and a touch of Sierra Nevada Brewing‘s Bigfoot (the keg blew as they were pouring my glass, so I only got a bit). However, I have yet this year to have a Jolly Roger from Maritime Pacific Brewing, a Bifrost from Elysian Brewing or just about any other beers that only show up around the holiday season. I’d better get busy!
To that end, it’s time to start thinking about barleywines as well. One of my local favorites, Old Wooly Barleywine from Big Time Brewery, is set to release, as it does every year, on December 1st. That’s a Saturday this year, so expect Big Time to get a bit crowded.
Traditionally, Old Wooly is fairly hoppy, but with a solid and complex malt character to back up the hops. It’s one of the few beers Big Time Brewing bottles, but those bottles won’t come cheap as there is always a very limited quantity of Old Wooly. The only other places you’ll be able to find it on tap are at the Big Time Brewery or a few other select places around Seattle that tap Big Time beers.
This will be the second year that Old Wooly is being brewed by Big Time’s newest (and former) brewmaster, Drew Cluley. Drew was Big Time’s head brewer years ago but left to pursue other opportunities. Most recently, he was the head brewer for Pike Brewing Company in downtown Seattle. Drew left Pike Brewing last year to once again become Big Time’s head brewer and his brother in law, Bill Jenkins left Big Time to become the new head brewer at Elliott Bay Brewing’s Lake City Way location.
Mark your calendar today and be sure to get down to Big Time Brewery on December 1st to get your Wooly.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.