Guest Review: Class of ’88 Barley Wine (Deschutes/Rogue/North Coast)

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10.2% ABV

Purchased at Final Gravity in Roseville, California ($7.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This barley wine is a collaboration ale brewed by West coast stalwarts Deschutes, Rogue, and North Coast to commemorate their mutual 25th anniversaries.  Each brewery made their own batch of Class of ’88 at their own facilities, and this Deschutes version pours a viscous, honey gold with a tight, off-white head.  The sticky-sweet nose jumps out of the glass with honey, saltwater taffy, and candied citrus.  It offers mostly dessert-like flavors up front, including taffy, caramel, and bubblegum, but it gives way to a profound, pine-and-citrus hop bitterness on the aftertaste.  Class of ’88 is pretty drinkable for a 10-plus percent barley wine, and it could be considered an encapsulation of these three venerable breweries’ mission statements – to make strong and “strange” beers palatable to the American tongue.  That said, it’s a little too sweet for its own good, and would probably be best in small portions only. (3 ½ toasts)





Chad Lothian

About Chad Lothian

Chad Lothian lives in Old Town, Maine. He is a craft beer enthusiast and homebrewer. Chad has travelled to brewpubs, breweries and brewfests all over New England.