LOCAL BEER OF THE WEEK: Cascade Barley Wine
This new weekly feature in the Andrews Journal will take a look at beers brewed in Cherokee County over the summer.
* Name: Cascade Barley Wine by Valley River
* Brewer: Mike Marsden
* Style: Barley Wine
* Alcohol by volume: 10 percent
* Food pairing: Dessert replacement
* Description: With just a sip of its perfectly balanced malt and hops, the brew blatantly displays its powerful flavor – leaving no doubts that it is indeed a barley wine.
When people asked for bigger beer, Valley River Brewery took on the challenge, creating the dark colored brew. With 10 percent alcohol by volume, brewer Mike Marsden used double the amount of grains used in normal brews. While including the myriad of English pale malt, he added cascade hops to the mix.
Unlike American barley wine that usually gives off a hoppy bite, the brewer went for a more English-style brew, allowing the hops to flow smoothly with the malt. Marsden said as the beer ages, the flavors become more complex, slowly mellowing together the malt and hops.
Because of the beer’s aging process and large amount of ingredients, it tends to hold a delicacy status among breweries. Marsden said most brewers avoid making barley wine because of limited storage space and the cost of its components.
Cascade Barley Wine’s warming effect and heavy body make it an exceptional dessert replacement beer. When pitching the beer to customers, the brewer said it sells itself.
“People are into those kind of beers,” Marsden said. “They go, ‘Oh, barley wine.’ ”