Sunday, 11 April 2010

Now Drinking: Stone Old Guardian Barleywine-Style Ale

In one of Douglas Adams' 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' books, he creates a scenario where a spaceship lands behind the sight screen at Lords cricket ground, but nobody notices it because the human brain has developed a technique of filtering out anything that it thinks is Somebody Else's Problem (SEP). This is essentially what I've been doing with this bottle of Stone Old Guardian Barleywine-Style Ale (11.3%abv) - not filtering it out as a problem, but just as a beer for another time.

But not today. Oh no, today, I've earned a beer through honest toil. I've got my jeans dirty, my hands covered in soil, and have planted a lot of herbaceous perennials in our narrow border. Feeling faintly emasculated by knowing what a herbaceous perennial is, but more to the point, hungry and tired after a bit of fork-wielding, I decided I needed nourishing, not only with food, but also strong ale.

There's something about strong beer that really hits the spot. I wrote about Schneider Aventinus Eisbock as being nourishment rather than refreshment, and so it is here. Maybe it's the unfermented sugars acting as a carbohydrate load - certainly, Old Guardian is sweet, but with enough hops to give it a (more or less) balanced drinkability. That said, this isn't a beer for the novice - you really need to know what you're letting yourself in for here. But it's a great barleywine, showing that classic interplay of malt sweetness and hop bitterness. World class, in fact.

And the food? Well, cheese on toast doesn't sound like anything special, and maybe that's the point. Some dried bread, a bit of melted cheese and some good beer - it sounds almost monastic in its simplicity. Maybe that's what's going on here - an honest recharging of the soul, lifting the spirit after a day's work. Once in a while, it's good to feel like you've earned a beer.


  1. I had Old Guardian with a cheese board a few months back and found it a true masterpiece yet more drinkable than expected. Quality stuff.

  2. It's an awesome drink. Which beers do you prefer aged? I am aging some myself. I know blondes are good young. Lambics should most definitely be aged. I'm currently drinking Lindemans right now. I don't have any Stone but that beer is awesome. I've had that before.

  3. Thomas here is a piece I wrote which details what attributes you should look for when cellaring beer.


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