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Half Pints' Burly Wine Day

Yesterday morning, even though it was a Saturday, we set our alarms for early and managed to get out of the house before 9am. (Trust me, that’s a miracle for us for Saturdays after the time change. Winter = sleepy.) What rousted us from our warm bed so early? Why, beer!

We visited the Half Pints Brewing Company’s Burly Wine day and open house. The Burly Wine, which has gotten some rave reviews, was available in the 2009 variety, along with a small selection of 2008s and 2008s aged over bourbon chips.

Burly Wine is a barley wine, or a very strong ale. They have rather high alcohol content, and actually improve with age (rather than going “skunky.”)

We managed to get to the brewery on Roseberry a bit after 9:30am and got in line. We snagged four bottles of the 2009, two of the 2008, and six of the 2008 bourbon. We also grabbed a six of Half Pints’ seasonal beer, Sweet Nikki Brown.

Burly Wine

After we secured our goods, we made for the tasting room to sample the beer we’d just purchased. Whew, that stuff is strong! I admit to liking my beers a bit less – uh, robust. For comparison, St. James Pale Ale is right up my alley. But I can see the Burly Wine being more of a sipping beer rather than a drinking beer. This is a beer that you enjoy slowly over the course of an evening… Almost out of necessity. (I admit to being a cheap drunk.) My husband, however, LOVES the Burly Wine, and is already figuring out how to portion out the bottles in order to age them in the most efficient manner.

Then we went on a tour with the Brewmaster for Half Pints, Dave. He called the company a home brew operation that got out of hand, and you can tell in the way he shows people around. He takes pride in every step along the way, and happily answered all of our questions about the brewing process. As my husband put it, “I enjoyed the tour because it was presented in the enthusiastic manner of somebody who obviously loves his craft, showing off his favourite toys.”

I asked if they were planning on doing a lambic anytime soon, since I love lambic beers so much. He said that he would like to do a lambic, but that they were really labour intensive. If they do come up with one, I’d really like to try it!

Anyway, we had fun, and we’ll try to make it back for next year’s Burly Wine day.

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