Over the past year, I have gone from knowing nothing about beer to being what I like to call an “avid amateur”. If you had known me a couple of years ago and asked what I knew about beer, I would have answered “that one is brown and that one is white and bubbly” or something along the lines of complete beer-illiteracy. I have at least become slightly more fluent in types of craft beers and have begun to discover why I enjoy the different varieties.
I intend on continuing my series of comparing beers and highlighting beer styles to not only provide an introduction to a variety of beer but to provide a more open approach to learning to “speak” the language of beer with my very apparent “laymans” terms.
I know for many beer connoisseurs, my verbiage will be nothing short of blasphemy and hell, I might get it all completely wrong at first, but I want to show that I am still learning and for those that really don’t know much about beer, but want to learn, to be able to learn right along with me, totally judgement-free.
For my first installment, I chose to highlight two beers that are amongst my favorites: Weyerbacher’s Blithering Idiot and Insanity.
Blithering Idiot, Weyerbacher’s Barleywine ale, is brewed in a traditional British-style. Insanity is the glorious result of aging Blithering Idiot within whiskey barrels. Both ales are 11.1% ABV, which can creep up on you quickly, considering how smooth the beers taste. Blithering Idiot has a noticeable reddish-copper tone, while the Insanity is a more creamy, mahogany hue. The flavor and notes you pick up on while tasting each beer are very contrasting. Giving off a stronger caramel and fig flavor, Blithering Idiot seems to finish with a more fruity note. Insanity, meanwhile, has a consistent vanilla, oak and whiskey aroma and the flavor lingers on your palette. Insanity definitely has a creamier texture to it and seem more full-bodied. This ale is maltier due to the aging process.
While tasting, I had to experiment to figure out what cheese paired well with both ales. Anyone that knows me knows my affinity for cheese. So, of course, plenty of varieties were available within reach in the fridge. I found that Wegmans’ brand of raw milk bleu cheese went with both beers, but seemed to have a sharper, more intense flavor when paired with Insanity. Pairing with other creamy bleu styles of cheese, like Roquefort or Gorgonzola, is your best bet.
Blithering Idiot is not a beer that needs to be imbibed immediately, however. I bought some extra bottles and plan on setting them aside for a few years for aging. Weyerbacher attests that the “best by” date can be set upwards of 5 years beyond the bottling date. I can’t say they are going to last that long, but I will definitely be back in a year or so, after popping one open, to discuss how the Blithering Idiot has aged and how the taste has evolved.
For more information about Weyerbacher and their current beer portfolio, be sure to check out their website at www.weyerbacher.com