Marin Brewing's Arne Johnson knows a thing or two about fermentation. His parents, both avid homebrewers, began to show him the ins and outs of beer production when he was only 13. Thirteen. At that age, we thought we were big kids for selling our He-Man action figures at a garage sale. Dozens of medals later from the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival, and Johnson is widely regarded as one of the country's great brewing talents.
See also: Meet Armstrong Brewing Co.
This week's featured brew is a special version of the brewery's award-winning Old Dipsea Barleywine. This decadent annual variation has been aged for a year in a combination of Heaven Hill and Wild Turkey bourbon barrels. The result is lush layers of oak, vanilla and dulce de leche on top of a base of firmly hopped barleywine with notes of caramel and dried fruit. The beer was also inoculated with the wild yeast brettanomyces, which will develop with time in the bottle, yielding an earthy complexity. The 9% ABV shows with a slightly warming finish. Your belly will thank you for the comfort.
The beer is beginning to trickle through distribution networks, and is currently available at the Larkspur brewery for only $10 per 22oz bottle (6 bottle limit). As a bonus for fans of big brews, the Star Brew wheatwine is also currently on tap for comparison. The sun is shining, the weekend is here, and the barleywine is bottled. Did we mention that the ferry drops you off a few short steps from the brewery? Get on that.