Hardliver Festival 20th anniversary & why barleywine matters

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Hardliver Festival returns to Brouwer’s Cafe on Feb. 26 & 27

Curious about the beer lineup for the 20th Hardliver Fest? See it below.
Beer styles come and go. What’s most popular today loses its fancy tomorrow. Over the course of craft beer history, amber ales gave way to pale ales, then pale ales gave way to IPAs. Lately, the haze craze envelopes our world like a thick layer of fog. It too shall pass. One historic brew that survives the ages and continues to cut through the murk is barleywine. It’s always been there. Serious beer lovers adore the stuff, deeply if only occasionally.

The first beer marketed as “barley wine” was Bass Brewing’s No. 1 Burton Ale. That was about 120 years ago, but historians suggest that the style originated more than 400 years earlier. Legend has it that this burliest of beers was originally created at the behest of a thirsty English king who was looking for an alcoholic alternative when war and politics made it infeasible to serve European wine at his feasts.

Beers of such intoxicating girth were expensive to brew, which made them unobtainable for the common folk. For centuries barleywine (or whatever they called it) was only an option for the richest of the rich. That is no longer the case, which is something to celebrate. Today the beer of queens, kings, and the upper ranks of the aristocracy is available to us all. It is our duty to drink barleywine. If for no other reason, because we can.


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Brower’s Cafe in Seattle celebrates this happy fact at its annual Hardliver Festival, which enjoys its 20th anniversary this year. In the past, the event saw as many as 50 barleywines on tap at once. Like barleywine itself, Hardliver Festival has changed over the years and adapted to the whimsies of time, but it still remains true to its foundation. In other words, this year’s event will look a bit different, but it is happening. Here’s the announcement from Brouwer’s Cafe.

Beer Lineup for Hardliver 2022

  1.  Anchor Old Foghorn ’12 (9.4%) San Francisco
  2.  Big Time Old Wooly ’19 (10.3%) Seattle
  3. Boneyard BA Mr. Centaur (13%) Bend
  4. Block 15 Hypnosis (12.5%) Corvallis 
  5. Dogfish Head 120 Min ‘17 (18%) Delaware
  6. Ecliptic Rye Barrel-Aged Orange Giant ‘21(15%) Portland
  7. Engine House #9 Sekiu BA Barleywine Batch 2 ‘21(10%) Tacoma
  8. Evil Twin Freudian Slip Barleywine (10.5%) Stratford
  9. Ex Novo Nevermore ’21 (12.1%) Portland 
  10. Fremont Brew 3000 ’19 (13.2%) Seattle 
  11. Fremont Ye Olde Centaur ‘20 (10%) Seattle 
  12. Firestone Walker Sucaba ’13 (12.5%) Paso Robles
  13. Fort George Etym BA Barleywine (15.1%) Astoria
  14. Fort George Etymology BA Barelywine (14.7%) Astoria
  15. Fort George Ology BA Barleywine (14.9%) Astoria
  16. Georgetown Magpie Tiny Town (15.3%) Seattle
  17. Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws ’18 (11.5%) Portland 
  18. J.W. Lees Harvest Ale Calvados ‘10 (11.5%) Middleton, EN CASK
  19. Lumberbeard BA Barleywine ‘22 (16.2%) Spokane 
  20. Machine House Barleywine (10.5%) Seattle CASK
  21. Matchless Ol’Lifewine BA Barleywine’21 (13.4%) CASK
  22. Midnight Sun The Curse Barleywine (12%) Anchorage 
  23. North Fork Dad of Son Of Frog (11.5%) Deming
  24.  Oakshire Barleywine ’15 (10.4% ) Eugene
  25. Old Schoolhouse Brewer’s Reserve Barleywine ’19 (10.5%) Winthrop
  26. Pelican Mother of All Storms ‘21 (14%) Pacific City
  27. pFriem Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine (11%) Hood River 
  28.  Reuben’s Brews 3 Ryes Men ‘19 (13.7%) Seattle
  29. 29.  Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine ’12 (9.6%) Chico
  30. Skookum Barrenwood ’19 (11%) Arlington
  31. Three Magnets Old Skook Whiskey Bbl-aged (11.6%) Olympia 
  32. Varietal Ritual of Oblivion (12%) Sunnyside

Hardliver 2022 — 20th Anniversary

February 26th and 27th at Brouwer’s Cafe in Seattle


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20 years? What were you doing 20 years ago? Was it even legal for you to drink? Did you even know what Barleywine was? Or were you at the Phinney Ridge Center for the inaugural year of this event? 20 years of flogging your livers, so it’s time to celebrate! 

We wish things were different, that we could throw one giant party where everyone hung out all day, drank through the list of beers, and enjoyed the malty goodness. But, Covid has yet to release its viral grip, and while there might be enough alcohol in Barleywine to stop almost anything in its tracks, keeping our events scaled back seems like the right thing to do for now.

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Originally held in the Phinney Ridge Center as a Bottleworksfestival, we opened the doors to Brouwers in 2005 with Hardliver as the kickoff. And it’s been one of our backbone events since!

The show must go on (in one form or another), and why not add a little comfort and familiarity to all this chaos. So, we’ve decided that Hardliver 2022, the 20th Anniversary of this great event, will take place! It’s scheduled for Saturday, February 26th and Sunday, February 27th, and while we wish we could showcase 50+ Barleywines for this 20th year, we’ll instead have 25+.

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Cheers to 20 years and 20 more!! May your livers be strengthened by the merriment of consuming Barleywine!



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