09 April 2009

Thomas Hardy's Ale 1998 (ENG)

L@@K VINTAGE! 1998! 

Looks like a bottle of this recently sold on ebay for $17.87. It's expensive, but not that expensive, though in auctions it only takes one person to overpay. 

Thomas Hardy pours a dark amber -- clear unless you tip the yeast in as well -- but I can't get much of I head. I could smell the underside of the cap all night: raspberry-chocolate, mmm! First taste of the ale is nothing like that, however. In fact, I primarily detect licorice. Also, a strong peppery, spiciness distinguishes this from other barleywines I've had (its 12%). Brown sugar, fruit, slight sweetness, just a whole lot going on. All in all, an excellent barleywine, but not above and beyond all the others I've had (e.g., Old Foghorn).

BTW, here's a piece from the late William Brand on the history of this beer. It looks like my bottle was in between Eldridge Pope's and O'Hanlon's brewing. The bottle only says 'Thomas Hardy Brewery Ltd." I'm somewhat proud to see, as is the case with Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, there's an American distributor at the heart of the fight to keep this ale flowing.  


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It doesn't matter if that bottle is too expensive because what I like is to collect different bottles of different parts of the world because I love that hobby it's my passion.