Split Thy Skull- A Barleywine Showcase

There’s tons of beer festivals now, so it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. For the 6th Annual Split Thy Skull festival, that special thing is barleywine. The event will take place at City Steam Brewery this Sunday, April 3, from 12:30-4:30 PM.

The Split Thy Skull Barleywine Fest is presented by Harvest Wine and Spirits and Harvest Country Store of West Hartford. The event began 6 years ago and was a more of a bottle share, in gratitude to loyal customers. It has grown exponentially, with over 100 different barleywines slated to be at this year’s event.

The barleywine style is a complex one- and some might find the high alcohol levels intimidating and shy away from it. ABVs range from 8-12 percent, which is elevated in comparison to some beers. However, it really is a beautiful style that is about much more than the alcohol. Time is an important aspect of this beer for several reasons. The brewing process is lengthy- the combination of a pale malt and a long boil gives it a darker color with the absence of dark malts. It is also a beer that is intended to be aged, often for many years. When drinking it, even the finish is long-lasting, due to all the flavors that are imparted.

The Beer Judge Certification Program groups Old Ales, English Barleywines, and American Barleywines in the Strong Ale category. Many of the beers available at this weekend’s festival will fall under the specific American barleywine style, which has origins from Greece and England. Arguably, the first modern barleywine to be brewed in the US was Anchor’s Old Foghorn Barleywine, which was introduced in 1975.

The Split Thy Skull festival is the perfect place to try a variety of offerings in this style, and an excellent place for people who are less familiar with it. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online ahead of time here or at the door.

Food will be available, as well as live music. No need to worry about parking, as shuttles will run throughout the event from both Harvest locations in West Hartford- 842 Farmington Avenue and 161 Oakwood Avenue.

Proceeds from the event will go to Heroes in Transition, a not-for-profit organization that provides assistance to veterans.

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