Friday, September 3, 2010
Wednesday evening, Jacob from Radio Maria, sent out a Facebook message stating that Founders Nemesis 2010 would be on tap starting Thursday at 4:05. After I sobered up, and spent most of the day at work, I coerced a colleague into taking me downtown to Radio to have one.
This year's Nemesis is a black barleywine. Black is the new black. Everyone is making a black something these days. There's plentiful black IPA's. It's the new IT beer. That's not a problem. Some of them are really good.
Inside the bar, this one came out looking black, and opaque. It had a nice caramel head. There was some good tight bubbles, and good lacing as it was drank. I later took it outside to the patio, and it did have some see-through-ness to it. It was like a really dark tea, or thin coffee.
It smelled hoppy and malty, with maybe a bit of chocolate. It had a lot of effervescence. It felt sort of thin. Eventually, any beer that went over the edges on the pour wound up being very sticky and syrupy. It could easily be confused with a stout based on the appearance, and the thinness of the mouthfeel will remind you that it is a barleywine.
With the color, the flavor expectations are chocolate, roast, coffee. Those are there, but predominately it tastes like a barleywine. It's got a peppery flavor in it, that I associate with barleywines. Additionally, there was a slight metallic ting to it. It wasn't unpleasant, but kind of made my teeth feel weird. An alcohol flavor was also present.
Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. Some people liked it better than last year's wheatwine, but I think I liked that one better. It did remind me of that beer. Initially, the thinness of the beer made it seem like it would be a quick drink, but that's not the case. At Radio Maria, this beer is served in a snifter, it took me about 45 minutes to drink it. It seems like it'd be fast, but this beer is to be sipped and savored.
Some other comments I heard while drinking it were:
Eric (distributor): said it seems less like a barleywine and more like a black IPA. (I agree)
Matt (colleague who took me to Radio): I like this, this stuff's good. I would have to say after tasting this year's and last, I would say that last year's blew me away. And while this year's is delicious, it was a little underwhelming.
In Champaign Urbana, the beer is currently available on draft at Radio Maria. It will eventually be available at Blind Pig and Crane Alley. Bottles of this beer are available at Crane Alley, Seven Saints, and Farren's. If you want some to take home and enjoy (or age), bottles are available at Friar Tucks, Piccadilly, Corkscrew, and Sunsinger. According to Eric, there weren't many cases that made it into town, so if you want some, you should go shopping soon. Also, you may want to call around to those locations to make sure they still have it available.