Friday, 29 May 2015

Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

Brewed in Boonville, California by the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout has a very curious label. It's festooned with a brown bear sipping fresh water from an idyllic water course in a lush, green valley. However, on closer inspection, the bear has a trophy buck's antlers. No explanation is given. Barney Flats contains a rugged but refined 5.8% alcohol, which is probably for the best, since it comes in a hefty 650mL bottle. According to the cap, this deep brown ale is produced in a solar powered brewery. It pours with a layer of thick, sultry cream head.

The nose is pretty modest, and is made up of rounded malt notes and a whiff of molasses. Barney Flats has a velvety mouthfeel, and is a treat going down the ol' gullet. Like the aroma, the flavour is understated. It leans toward malty, with shades of molasses, caramel, and brown sugar. It finishes gently, with caramel sweetness and just a pinch of hops.

For me, this beer's strongest suit is its creamy smoothness. Otherwise, it has a lovely flavour, but one that seems shy. I'd have liked it to emote a bit more and assert its presence at centre stage. I also loved the label. What's the deal? Is it a "caribear"?

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

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