I’ve been checking the weather report to compare the temperature in Portland to Colorado Springs. While Oregon has been seeing snow and ice, the temperatures haven’t fallen below 0 or anything like that. The other night, while it was snowing, I had a fire going in the fireplace, I turned on the sci/fi horror movie “Grabbers,” and also decided that it was time to open up one of my favorite beers – the Phantom Canyon Winston Smith’s Barleywine.
I saved the 2011 and 2012 bottles to open for a special occasion. Ideally, I would have had the 2013 version that night as well, but living in a different state doesn’t make that arrangement easy. You, however, still have the opportunity to get down to Phantom Canyon and pick up a bottle of this absolutely fantastic beer, for a totally-worth-it price of $12.99.
So, how did the beers turn out? I had figured I could have waited about 5 years to open these, but I was glad that I opened them when I did. Both beers were absolutely fantastic. They were big and boozy, super complex, and exactly what the night called for. The 2011 was starting to pick up port flavors along with dark fruit, dates, figs, and dark cherry. If you still have a bottle of that, I’d recommend opening it soon, as the port/soy flavor is potentially a sign of oxidation. It still tastes fantastic, but might not for too much longer. The 2012 was slightly darker in color and was very whiskey-forward compared to the 2011. It too was picking up a lot of dark, complex fruit flavors, and had considerable caramel, toffee richness to it. I’d say you can keep sitting on this beer, but man it was sure tasty.
Huge props to Phantom Canyon on beers that are certainly hidden gems of Colorado Springs. Phantom still has some bottles left, so get in today and pick some up for the holidays. Phantom Canyon is located at 2 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs.