I really do like Largo’s Barley Mow, and I love the fact that they’re becoming a statewide brand. It’s just their visual brand I’m a little confused about.
When you take a look at the packaging of the products coming out of other Florida breweries, they all are either generic tropical, sportfishing, or Florida History.
And then you have Barley Mow, whose designs are dark, foreboding, and creepy at least. Putting their cans up on a store shelf with other Florida beers is like slipping a Bauhaus CD with your friend’s Jimmy Buffett collection.
And while Bela Lugosi’s Dead is a great song, it’s sort of an odd follow up to Coconut Telegraph.
Take The Huntsman (Red Ale, 7.5% ABV, 61 IBU), for example. That is literally and undead skeleton on an undead horse. Controlling a pack of undead hellhounds. Tell me that’s not creepy at all.
Naturally, that fits the beer inside, which it a strong red ale. Barley Mow even comments on how this brutal hunter of death is such a natural mascot for such a bold beer.
The weird thing is, for such a big, scary red ale, Barley Mow did a fantastic job of balancing it out.
To be sure, they upped the hops in the beer quite a bit with a big, herbal, pine resin addition of hops that add boldness without becoming an all-out assault of citric bitterness.
But the malty base of a quality red ale is there as well. It’s loaded with rich caramel goodness, with hints of a milky candy goodness. On its own, it’s incredibly sweet. Add those hops in there, and you get a melange of incredible flavors that are very well bended together. Easily, my favorite hoppy red ale.
It’s just not exactly a can whose artwork I can show my daughter for many, many years.
Drink Florida Craft,