So, after my disappointment with Baird West Coast Wheat Wine (reviewed here), I approached Shonan Barley Wine with trepidation. It is one of Kumazawa Brewing’s regular beers, though, and I’ve tried it a few times before, most recently in a two-hour nomihodai extravaganza at Mokichi in Fujisawa. So I knew what to expect. Kind of. Who knows what the bottled version sitting before me would taste like.
Open. Pour. No head. I’ve come to learn that this is a common feature with barley wines but at the time I thought it was the Wheat Wine all over again. The nose was different, though. It smelt right. Hoppy. Thick, and malty. Strong. I took a swig. Christ, it was bitter. Not sweet at all, all that sugar had gone into making the booze boozier (I truly am a lord of letters).
As I drank Shonan Barley wine, I felt warm, like I was drinking rum or port. The unpleasantness of other pretenders in this beer style was forgotten, and all was right in the Robson kitchen, at least for a short while.
Shonan Barley Wine One Line Review
Perfect in time for winter, get a bottle or two of Shonan Barley wine and get under the kotatsu, son.
Where to Buy Shonan Barley Wine
Shonan Barley Wine Second Opinion
Barley wines have always had a bad image in my opinion – working in a chain supermarket in the UK meant those tiny cans of 10% barley wine sold quickly when the local drunkards needed a quick fix. Shonan Barley Wine was heavy on the malt and bitterness but smooth on the palate. It was very drinkable and the lack of sweetness helped, rather than hindered, it.