Oh, St. Louis you are a treasure. I hate your winters but love your beers during those harsh winters. If you’re reading this blog then you know I have a passion for dark beer. I mentioned I would most likely include barleywines when I found one I actually liked. Well, since you can clearly read the title of this post you can probably guess what I think of this beer.
As you’re reading this, it’s January and I’ve finally made the move to Florida. Finally. But when I drank this beer, it was the middle of December and my oldest daughter was here to spend Christmas in southern Illinois. So, I’m getting to hang out with my grandson, who is the best little dude there is. On this night, my oldest daughter and I had a night out to hang in St. Louis before my move, and I hoped to get this wine drinker to drink some good beer for a change.
After spending a fair amount of time at Perennial sipping on some fabulous beers like La Cosecha (a barrel aged saison that my daughter loved because it was the closest thing to wine) and the amazing Fruits of Labor: Blackberry + Raspberry (a fantastic wild ale), we made our way to Side Project with the intent of checking out some more sours when this beer happened.
I’d been eyeing this beer for a while and thought I’d love to try it, because you know, it’s Side Project and I really wanted to try a good barleywine when the bartender came by and asked if we’d be interested in sharing a bottle of Anabasis with another patron. Well, that sold it for me and we immediately said yes.
Side Project categorizes Anabasis (Blend #3) as “a Barleywine brewed with American malts and hops but fermented with a strong English Ale strain. Aged for 24 months in Heaven Hill Barrels.”
Anabasis pours coffee brown with no head. None. Zero. Swirling it around the glass doesn’t create one either. It only leaves a slick dark film on the inside of the glass. Aromas are of fig and dates and bourbon sweetness. There’s quite a bit of grain here as well. I’ve noticed that a lot of Side Project’s stouts have similar aromas. I don’t know if it’s the grain bill they’re using on these, but it’s almost like a signature aroma for a Side Project dark beer. I love this aroma, so it’s all good. It takes me back to my younger days when I hung out on my grandfather’s farm. The aroma of a grain bin is special to me. I have fond memories of those days and my grandfather. So, essentially, this beer stirred a memory in me I haven’t even thought of since my grandfather passed away several years ago.
There’s very little carbonation on the tongue but it still has a bite, which is interesting. Notes of cinnamon, figs, dates, and a slight hint of chocolate. It has a full-bodied mouthfeel for something that’s not a stout, which is quite interesting. Anabasis tastes decadent, almost sinful. And the irony that my oldest daughter and I shared this bottle with a chaplain is not lost on me (seriously). So, finally, a barleywine I can get behind! Cheers!
- ABV: 14%
- Untappd Rating: 4.70
- Side Project Brewing
- Perennial Artisan Ales
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