If you’re looking for a way to forget about that dismal 2010 Buffalo Bills season, those mediocre Sabres, or the 4″ of snow in your driveway, then lace up your boots and head over to Flying Bison Brewery and pick up the the “Herc”. This barleywine boasts a respectable 9.5% ABV. After a growler of the Herc, you could get anyone to sing “Shout” passionately enough at the Ralph regardless of what the unfavorable lopsided score might be. You can “Billieve” in this beer.
This beer used to be available via bottles, but as far as I know, it can only be purchased from the source itself now. So, if you happen to have a free Saturday afternoon, or find some free time while Christmas shopping, make it a point to seek out Flying Bison Brewery in Buffalo, NY.
(Edit – You can buy bottles at the brewery in addition to Growler fills, but I’ve not seen the beer in stores. In my opinion, this beer tastes much better in bottles. Not sure if it’s a batch that’s had more time to age? – Jake)
The brewery is located in the Riverside neighborhood of Buffalo, which is about as familiar to me as the back roads of Wyoming County. The older housing stock and run down warehouses really add a reminiscent charm to this once busy section of Buffalo. Keep your eyes open for signs for the brewery as it’s hidden behind a small warehouse, almost like a juicy secret patiently waiting to reach eager ears. While at the brewery its possible to sample and purchase other FBB staples like Aviator Red, Rusty Chain, as well as the current seasonal beer and some tasty homemade soda pop.
My first reaction to the Herc was a realization of how mildly sweet it is compared to other barleywines I’ve sampled. It’s drinkability, unlike most other intensely sweet beers of its kind, would have to be its shining feature to me. The Herc has a dark copper color and a noticeable malty smell upon pouring. As the beer hits your palate, slightly offensive yet rewarding alcohol notes dance on your tongue but mellow out into a pleasing carmel/toffee malty smoothness. In my opinion, the hops are not big players in this barleywine, which I actually find quite enjoyable. The soft finish and low carbonation make your mouth crave the next sip.
And…That’s what we hear, that’s what we hear… Rob
Name of beer: Flying Bison The “Herc” C-130 Barleywine Style Ale
Where I purchased it: Flying Bison Brewery (491 Ontario Street, Buffalo, New York 14207)
Rating: 6.0 out of 10
Visit the brewery website: flyingbisonbrewing.com