Like many fans of craft beer when I hear the phrase “fifty fifty,” only one thing comes to mind. Eclipse and the beautiful rainbow of variants released each year. FiftyFifty Brewing Company in Truckee, Ca has become famous for its barrel aged stout that is released once a year. But guess what beer fans—FiftyFifty actually makes other beers as well!
FiftyFifty has followed in the footsteps of many other breweries by offering a yearly membership club that allows for members to purchase limited release beers directly from the brewery. This week’s review is a blonde barleywine brewed with tart cherries by the name of Cherry Annularity. It was only available to members of the Brewers Intent1 and was released earlier this year.
The beer pours a murky orange reminiscent of marmalade with next to no head that quickly fades to a partial halo of off white bubbles. I take a quick sniff of the glass and the first thing that jumps out at me is the tart cherries. My initial impression was that a fruited sour blended with a barleywine. It is a really unique bouquet that I found really inviting. Malty sweetness, caramel and oak with a healthy dose of sweet cherry juice. I was excited to try this beer when I first received it but after opening it and burying my nose in the glass a few times the anticipation was killing me.
As I raised the glass I was curious to see if the tartness from the nose would carry over to the taste and I immediately realized that there was nothing tart about the flavor of this beer. The malty sweetness of the base beer was the first thing I taste and it is followed by a fruity sweetness from the cherries. Malty sweetness, rich caramel, vanilla, oak and a touch of wheat2 are all there but the cherry finish is what really makes this beer stand out for me. Normally cherry is not my favorite fruit for a beer but it really works well in this beer. It is sweat a fruity without coming off as grenadine or artificial cherry flavoring like many cherry beers tend to do. The cherries take over the finish just a bit and but the oak helps to balance it out.