Four weeks ago, Parish Brewing released the 2014 edition of their Grand Reserve barleywine ale. They threw an amazing bash at the brewery in Broussard, LA to celebrate the release, and any description other than "rousing success" doesn't do the event justice. They sold out of their allotment of tickets, and the brewery was absolutely packed on November 22nd. I spoke to folks who drove down from Shreveport to get their hands on some of this rare beer. I had to park nearly half a mile away from the brewery because I arrived an hour late.
I then proceeded to drop almost 200 bucks on beer because I, like everyone else at the event, am obsessed with this brew.
The beer has become a bit of a phenomenon. In three years, it's gone from 1,300 bottles brewed, to 2,000 bottles, to 5,000 bottles this year. It's probably sold out now because snobs like me are hording a case of it. We have bottles from previous years saved, and we only bust out bottles of this stuff at special occasions because we don't want to waste it (I'm saving a few bottles for my wedding next year).
I know, I know. I sound absolutely insane. I mean, I'm talking about beer for crying out loud. But here's the thing. This beer is that good. And then some.
It pours from the bottle a deep amber color with little to no head. It has a very floral scent that screams hops, but then you get a surprise. The initial taste is a lot of malts on the front end that gradually shifts to well balanced hops. The malts give it a really heavy mouth feel at first, but then you get the carbonation to help lighten things up as the beer moves around in your mouth. The flavor profile is very similar to last year, a strong up front taste of toffee and caramel, but a bit spicier than last year's brew. The finish is clean and smooth with hops and alcohol lingering in your mouth.
This beer gets 5 stars out of 5. I'm glad I live 10 minutes away from this place.