Once I got wind that February 2007 was “strong beer month”, and reconciled that designation with the fact that its chief proponent, 21st AMENDMENT BREWING, are located about a football field’s length away from my office, I had to get in there and try as many of their six February-only offerings as possible. I did OK – a few weeks back you may recall that I reviewed their DOUBLE TRIPEL and thought it was pretty goddamn great. The subsequent two I tried the past couple of weeks – well, not so much. First up was their DOUBLE TROUBLE IMPERIAL IPA, a super-high IBU Double IPA monster that just didn’t do it for me. Harsh, the way some of the Stone Brewing beers are harsh, with just enough citrus flavor to keep it drinkable but really just a miss in terms of something I’d want to willingly try again. 5.5/10. Then right at the close of the “celebration”, I scooted in there to try the LOWER DE BOOM barleywine, and found that to also be something of a miss. They really tarted this one up with a boatload of hops as well (80 IBUs, really high for a barleywine or so I’m told), thus contributing to an astringent and just out-of-whack taste. Having had some incredible barleywines just last week, I feel reasonably confident that this one did not measure up. 5/10.
All that aside, kudos to 21st AMENDMENT for putting virtually their entire beer lineup to the side for the entire month in favor of these experimental, high-alcohol, small-batch brews. They are becoming a true leader in the San Francisco Bay Area brewing scene, even if they didn’t totally nail it with each and every beer they attempted to brew for “strong beer month”.