On Tap Winter 2018

ON TAP | WINTER 2018 | www.ontaponline.com 36 veryone has a favorite way of keeping warm this time of year – sitting by the fireplace, cozying up next to a favorite furry friend, or crawling under the covers and cranking up the space heater. When out on the town, though, it’s often most convenient to warm your innards with something in the form of liquid. Enter barley wine. “Most people’s palates tend to gravitate toward darker, richer beers and drinks,” says Bill Madden, chief executive officer and executive brewer at Mad Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church.“Barley wine is a super-strength beer, created back in the day when kings and queens of the royalty in the UK were looking for a replacement product for their wine.” Madden adds that barley wine is roughly the same strength as wine, which tends to be 11 to 15 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). British- style barley wines run from about seven to nine percent ABV, whereas a midrange, American-style barley wine is typically 10 to 12 percent. Mad Fox’s Sobberknocker will be one of 35 barley wines served at the brewery’s barley wine festival, the largest of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic, at the Falls Church location on February 24-25. “We’ve been doing [the festival] for the last eight years,” Madden says, pointing out that there is no entrance fee for the festivities. “It’s a packed house. The goal for the aficionado is to make it through the day. We usually have two sessions, [and] at a minimum, we’ll have 16 barley wines at each session. Everybody tries to sample them, so they’ll be sharing samples with their friends and trying to get through all of them in one sitting.” Madden says people are pretty happy after the first session, adding, “You can guess why.” Lovers of the local beer scene should be especially happy about the brands on the festival taps; Madden worked his magic on some local brewers who agreed to serve some of their barley wines. For example, Mad Fox will be the only spot outside of DC Brau where locals can try the craft brewery’s Sleeping Standing Up, according to co-owner Jeff Hancock. “Every year since our inception, [Madden’s] been asking me to brew a barley wine more or less specifically for the fest,” Hancock says. “We’re going to give [Mad Fox] our first couple of sixtels of barley wine.” Hancock explains that his brewery riffed on the first of two barrels in order to reduce the amount of roast seed it contained. “We had a strong beer sitting around that we definitely weren’t going to get rid of by any stretch of the imagination,” he continues. “We just figured out a way to get creative with it.” By Joel Goldberg Photos: Courtesy of Mad Fox Brewing Company