Schooner Exact Brewing, Jolly Roger Christmas Ale from Maritime Pacific Brewing, Elysian Brewing's Bifrost, etc. etc. I'm a very happy beer drinker this time of year. And for Big Time Brewery fans and barleywine fans alike, it's that most wonderful time of the year. This Thursday, December 1st, will be the annual tapping of Big Time Brewery's Old Wooly Barleywine. I'm always a fan of this one, and I may be at Big Time this Thursday when they open to see if I can be the lucky one to get the first glass off the keg.
Usually fairly hoppy, but with a solid and complex malt character to back it up, Old Wooly is a real treat for Seattle craft beer fans, as finding it outside of Seattle is extremely rare. Big Time only bottles four of their beers (Prime Time Pale Ale, Atlas Amber, Coal Creek Porter and Baghwan's Best IPA), and they only sell those bottles at the brewery. The only other way to get Big Time beers is in the keg or on tap at Big Time or other local craft beer bars that carry Big Time selections.
In years past, every version of Old Wooly I've experienced has been brewed by Big Time's former head brewer: Bill Jenkins. Bill has moved on and will be the head brewer at Elliott Bay Brewing's new location up in Lake City (due to open early next year), so I don't know for sure if this year's batch was brewed by Bill before he left or if it was brewed by Big Time's new head brewer (former head brewer at Pike Brewing and, incidentally, Bill Jenkins' brother in law), Drew Cluley. They're both great brewers so it really doesn't matter. I believe Drew may have told me earlier this year who brewed this year's batch, I just don't recall and I'm curious. I'll have to ask Drew on Thursday.
Also, for those who've been living under a rock or don't follow my blog regularly, just another reminder that next Thursday is the Big Wood festival at Brouwer's Cafe. I will definitely be in attendance, so maybe I'll see you there.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.