Two things grab me when it comes to beers: shiny, flashy packaging, and limited edition. Yep, I'm just like cat - wave something shiny around and I'm all over it.
Beer doesn't tend to do flashy packaging, so it's the limited editions that grab me. Kona Brewing did a Pipeline Porter with Kona coffee beans? All over it. Winter comes and there are now 15 different kinds of winter brews? I'll try some.
The hardest part for me is when I like something - knowing it's limited edition or seasonal I feel like I should stock up, which is why this squirrel now has three $12 bottles of Black Butte Porter XXI in the cupboard. I mean, if it truly is limited edition and I like it, shouldn't I grab some so I can enjoy it at a future date? Because if I don't, and it's gone, that taste could be gone forever...
The point of all of this is I grabbed another limited edition beer and I apparently caught the tail end of the season, so whether or not I liked it I'm out of luck. This is Full Sail's Special Edition Old Boardhead Barleywine Ale.
I cracked this beer last week during an Ugly Betty marathon - yes, I know, the season has been over for two months, but we're just now cleaning out the DVR and besides, the beer came out in May too, so it works. I wasn't expecting a ton since this was my first beer since the Black Butte Porter XXI (can you tell I liked it?), but I was pleasantly surprised. I don't think I've had a Full Sail beer that I didn't like, but none of them have ever really grabbed me and become a favorite, not even the legendary Amber that made them so famous in the first place.
This beer also didn't necessarily have any specific flavor note that stood out, but was even, smooth, and just plain good. Can a beer just be good because it fulfills all of what you expect in it, without overpowering you with hops or barley or chocolat or coffee or raspberries or some other craziness mixed into the brew? I say yes - Old Boardhead did that very well. I enjoyed it and would drink it again.
But I can't, because it apparently doesn't exist anymore. So while that beer was a solid entry, in this case that taste very well could be lost forever. Or, at least until the Reserve 09 version comes out in October. Now I know early...I can prepare.