Brewery – DogBerry
Beer – DogAvon
Style – Barrel Aged Barleywine
ABV – 13%
This bottle contains 12ounces of our DogAvon Barleywine that has been aged in a combination of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvingnon red wine barrels of French and American Oak. The Dog is brewed only once a year. A small amount of our 2017 vintage was reserved and aged in these special barrels for 9+ months. Enjoy this rich, full bodied beer with notes of plum, vanilla, wood, and a fine balance of sweetness and a hit of booziness. Enjoy now or lay it down in your cellar to be savored as it continues to mature.
Dogberry isn’t known for putting out a ton of packaging. It wasn’t until February of 2018, in fact, before they released their first packaging at all in the form of a couple six packs of cans. 2019’s fourth anniversary celebration of the brewery brings with it their first ever bottle release, and it’s a big one – their annual celebratory barleywine.
The release is a big one for a couple of different reasons. To start off, this is a big beer for DogBerry. While they certainly have made a few big beers before (Three Bagger, Mar’s, Supernova all come to mind) their usual is nice, middle of the road beers that you can have more than one or two of and not forget where you are. The beer is also an unusual one for the small brewery in that it’s barrel aged. They’ve dabbled with barrels in the past, but never really dove in. You don’t see barrel aged DogBerry beers often, but when you do you know it’s something special.
It’s fitting that DogAvon is only brewed once a year and released for their anniversary – it’s a special beer that requires a special occasion. DogBerry isn’t the type of brewery that will artificially create a special occasion, either. It has to be genuine or they won’t let it slide.
My Thoughts On Barrel Aged DogAvon
I love how much of a departure this beer is, not just for DogBerry (who doesn’t shy away from using big hop flavors to balance out their love for rich English malts) but how much of a departure it is for Barleywines that I tend to get my hands on.
It seems like big, hoppy, American barleywines are the go-to for a lot of breweries… and I enjoy those too, don’t get me wrong. But this tastes like a beer that has not only spend some time aging already – that is prime for even more. You can crack one of these open “fresh” and really dive into a depth of flavors that sometimes you have to wait a while to watch develop in other beers.
About those flavors – I think rich is the best way I can describe the malt profile here – I get some dark fruit in the aroma and a biscuity breadiness alongside it. The flavor is big and rounded, with notes of chocolate hiding behind a big, dark fruitiness that is definitely reminiscent of plums.
This beer is definitely at home in the cold winter months. A warm fire, a comfortable chair and a cigar are begging to find their place alongside a snifter of this, slowly warming up to room temperature where things only continue to develop and jump out at you. It’s beautifully done, and a real showstopper after you feel like you “know” the beers of DogBerry well.