This past Tuesday, The Common Table tapped the first aged barley wine from Peticolas Brewery. Michael Peticolas initially planned to age the brew till this November, but after tasting a little recently he's having a hard time sitting on it. The early release is one of a few the brewer has planned for the 70 kegs of limited edition beer he plans to carefully distribute around Dallas, potentially whipping up a fervor that could rival the euphoria showered on McDonald's elusive pressed-pork sandwiches.
The keg is still flowing at The Common Table, but when it's kicked you won't be able to drink any more till the next one lands at Craft and Growler. That release is tentatively scheduled for July 3, and considering suds at the beer filling station are sold up to 64 ounces at a time, that keg is likely to disappear quicker than a funnel full of High Life at a frat party.
"This is probably the first beer I departed a little from the style guidelines," Peticolas said when asked what makes The Duke so special. Normally the brewer strictly adheres to rules laid out by the Great American Beer Festival. This brew however, is inspired by a barley wine he tasted from New Glarus Brewing Co. in Wisconsin. It's lighter in color because of the malt chosen in the brewing process, and while the switch won't allow the barley wine to win any GABF awards, it in part makes for an exceptional barley wine.
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The beer will only get better as it ages. So look for demand to increase as each keg is released. It's hard not to fantasize about secret underground tappings at local bars in the coming months, but Peticolas is sitting on the details. Here's a clip from the brewery's web page ...
Our 12 percent barley wine, The Duke, is aging nicely. We plan to drop a couple of kegs into the market as the year continues, but won't release much until the end of the year, if not next.
That's right, 12 percent.
If you're lucky enough to bump into The Duke, be careful. If Peticolas' imperial red ale is the Velvet Hammer, then the Duke is the Hammer of Thor. You might want to eat a cheesesteak or two before you imbibe. Don't say I didn't warn you.