Friday, March 19, 2010
I love Alpine Beer Co. I believe they have some excellent beer, from their over-the-top Exponential Hoppiness, to what I believe to be the best Red on the market, McIlhenney’s Irish Red. I didn't, however, ever imagine them to be a contender in the sipping beer market. I never dreamed that I would be enjoying a large, full-bodied barleywine with an Alpine label on the bottle. I was wrong! This barleywine isn't just good, it’s “Great”! This big beer clocks in at 14% alcohol, is lightly carbonated, and should be served at room temperature. I am a proponent of a cold beer, and you can certainly drink this one at any temperature you prefer, but at room temperature all of the big, bold flavors come through. After being aged for a year in bourbon barrels, the warm, whiskey notes that this brew has picked up are noticeable and enjoyable. It pours a single-finger head, which quickly dissipates. Hints of sweet raisin and prune fill your mouth, but then trail off to a warm, dry finish. At 14% the alcohol is impossible to hide, but the warmth of it is perfect on a cool, winter night. I give this a solid 4 stars. This beer is very hard to find, but it is well worth the search. If you are looking for a “Great” barleywine, you can’t go wrong with this one!