Monday, March 21, 2011

2010 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. located in Chico, CA is likely a name you've heard of, even if you aren't necessarily a big beer person. Their ubiquitous Pale Ale is one of the great brews that helped start the micro brew revolution and coincidentally it started me down my road to better brews as well. It's a beer I still love and enjoy its widespread availability.

The particular brew I am drinking tonight is a seasonal, yearly release from Sierra Nevada that usually comes out at the beginning of each year. The new batch for 2011 has been released and you should be able to find it on store shelves now or in the near future. I'm cracking a bottle of last years 2010 batch, as this particular beer ages great in the cellar if kept at a cool, steady temperature. At 9.6% ABV it packs a punch. Hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops. The name barleywine refers to the fact that it is brewed towards the strength of wine, expect using grain instead of fruit.

Pours out a deep, slightly hazy red orange with a big creamy two finger head of khaki foam atop the brew. Looks great in the glass and leaves sticky lacing down the sides with each sip. Aromas are a great mix of big caramel and toffee malts along with bold citric, floral hops. Pine accents with a fruity backbone. It really draws you in.

First sip brings a good chewy caramel / toffee malt upfront along with some sweetness. The hops roll in quickly with a great dose of citric, pine and floral flavors that meld into the brew. Hop bitterness takes hold and rolls through the finish of the brew with a touch of alcohol heat on the finish as well. Just a wonderful, hoppy barleywine.

Mouthfeel is big and chewy with perfect carbonation. It's really quite drinkable for its strength and has great balance. The hops are still chugging along great after a year and this brew is drinking very well. I'm looking forward to see how this ages further as the years progress. Definitely one of my all time favorite brews and one I look forward to every year.

Overall I gave this brew a rating of Unbelieveable. A true classic that is well worth seeking out!

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ridgeway Brewing Warm Welcome Nut Browned Ale

Ridgeway Brewing is located in the United Kingdom and every winter they put out a large line up of holiday themed brews. This is one of those brews that my brother was kind enough to give me for Christmas this year!! Here are my thoughts on this one...gotta love the label too:

Pours into my glass a dark copper color with a fizzy white head that lingers for a bit and then fades. Good clarity as well. Aromas start out with a nice light roast and some toasted malt accents. Nutty notes throughout along with a mellow fruit tone. Slight sweetness.

First sip brings smooth crisp malts upfront, lightly toasted and semi-sweet as well. Nutty flavors roll across the palate with a fruity undertone as well. Lingering nutty roast on the back end. A well balanced, easy drinking ale.

Mouthfeel is light, crisp and smooth. Good carbonation and easy drinking. Makes for a good session beer. Overall, a tasty English brown ale with well balanced flavor profile. Would have this one again sometime.

Overall I gave this brew a rating of Enjoyable! Worth checking out.

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