Friday, April 18, 2014

Cape May Brewing Company, Sawyers Swap

With a baker’s dozen or so of different beers to choose from, Cape May Brewing Company has found a recipe that stands apart from the rest of the herd in color, taste, richness, and appeal. They have leapfrogged themselves over the juvenile brewing stage to within pole position of other major craft brewers. I’m impressed with what they bring to the table in terms of aroma, color, and malt to hop ratio to create this off-type, not quite as popular, barley wine beer. Awesome idea, courageous style choice, and perfectly executed. A well-rounded session beer, very strong, but well disguised by its multiple layers.
A complex, masterfully crafted beer with a ton of elements to pick out and try to separate. On a side note, I love the old school, 1800’s, Civil War soldier label for this bottle! Very classy with a simple, yet almost commanding look and absolutely appropriate for this style of beer. It reminds me of an old style beer from that time period, so the correlation between label and taste is precise.
Overall, I would give this an 83%. I loved the different aspects of their creation. Not hoppy, very malt forward, and notes of barley and caramel. I didn’t pick up on the toffee as much as other people have proclaimed, but it is certainly a very intense, barely style ale comprised of grains and molasses. Medium bodied, non-lingering finish, but a very delicious brown ale that is absolutely worth a try to expand your horizons and get away from the millions of IPA’s out there. The one thing I appreciate more than anything about this beer is the fact that they tried something different. Every craft brewery has an IPA, due to its popularity and demanding appeal, so it’s a breath of fresh air to try a beer that hasn’t jumped on the “IPA bandwagon” and went a different direction with a barley wine ale. Well done Cape May….and thank you for bringing back a vintage way of producing such a good variation of a typical ale!
ABV 9.6%
Personal Rating: 8.3/10
Style Rating: 9.6/10

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