There are a lot of beer companies that I have had and then forgotten about. Sometimes, you are at a bar and there is a special beer on tap, so you have a glass and it’s the most amazing beer that you have ever tasted. A lot of times, it fades to the back of the mind due to other circumstances, ex. events, conversation, too much to drink, etc. Sometimes you pick up a random bottle or two of a far off distant company, enjoy the beer, and then forget all about it. That happened to me with this company, Great Divide Brewing. Not that the beer was forgettable, just that I could not remember the company name…
My first dance with Great Divide came in the form of their Oak Aged Yeti imperial stout. An amazing beer that was big in flavor, that always stuck in the back of my mind. The problem was I could not remember who made it, I could only remember the clever name of it, due to me being a Sasquatch enthusiast. Sure I could have looked it up, but sometimes I am a bit lazy I guess. Anyway, while scanning the beer isle at my local grocer, I spied with my little eye this dandy of a brew:
Old Ruffian barleywine style ale.
Barleywines are one of my all time favorite styles of beer. My very first taste into the complex world was from Brooklyn Brewing with their Monster Ale, back in 2003. From then on, I have searched out for more and more barleywine ales to quench my thirst. Enter this beer…
At first taste, the familiar flavors of a barleywine hit you, but this beer hits you with a hint of hops. The label of the beer says a “huge hop character,” but I would not go that far. When I think of huge hops in a barleywine, I immediately think of Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot ale, which punches you in the taste buds with hop flavor. With GD’s Old Ruffian, the hops are more subdued, which makes this beer more drinkable in my opinion. I should point out though, when I say “subdued,” that is only in comparison to SN’s Bigfoot. The beer does boast 90 IBUs, which definitely puts it in the “hoppy” category.
The major difference of this barleywine compared to others that I have had though, is it is more balanced, drinkable, and smooth. All of the ingredients in this beer work well together, each one complimenting the other. I would go as far as calling it a more refined Bigfoot ale. That is in no way a knock on either beers, but at first taste, side by side, Old Ruffian will be easier and more enjoyable to drink. This is now the beer I am going to recommend to folks when they want to try out the style. Hands down, best barleywine that I have ever tasted.
Now that this beer is under my belt, I don’t believe that I will be forgetting the Great Divide name any time soon. And also, for style points, I need to pick up one of these:
Well done, now I need to go on a beer run…
Cycling jersey photo from Great Divide’s site.
10 days of riding. Tonight was probably the hardest to get on the bike, due to the temperature hanging around the mid 20s, and me being chilled all day. Very low motivation to get out and ride. But, what fun would that be?
Continuing with the night rides, I finished off the week with a ten mile ride along the Little Miami path. Beautiful, clear night for riding, with the moon almost full. Lots of light from the moon, and with the Magicshine, the path was like riding in the daylight.
I am amazed more and more at the quality of the Magicshine. For it’s relatively low entry fee, it is quite amazing. And to top it off, the battery life is not too bad either. Great deal if you happen to be looking for a bicycle light!
Relaxing into the night with a 2011 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, ride before work tomorrow morning…
Enjoying a 2010 Bigfoot! Absolutely amazing how different this beer is once it has aged for a year. Once the bottle was opened, the sweet smell of a Barleywine style hit me in the face, much stronger than last year. I am pumped to finally have a beer cellar!
So the turkey holiday is now over, Christmas soon after, my plan is to cut back my beer consumption quite a bit. While I do enjoy a good brew, I feel that I just need to take a small break from it. My plan is to just have one, at maximum, good beer per week. This is pretty tough, since it is my favorite time of the year for seasonal brews. Another part of my plan is to stock up on beers to put away in my cellar. Anyway, that is my plan, just to explain why there has not been any beer posts lately.
From the holiday weekend, had a couple interesting brews:
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Ale. This was an amazing beer. It was a mix of their Celebration Ale, Pale Ale, and their tap room only Oak Aged Bigfoot. It was a smooth, flavorful beer. It was also around 9.2% alcohol. Heavy. Everyone that had a taste agreed that is was pretty amazing.
I also tried out the Sierra Nevada Estate ale. This was alright. For the price, I would probably not buy it again. To me, it seems that it is just an organic version of their Pale Ale. It is pretty cool however, that all of the ingredients were grown on their own property. I would drink it again if they just made all of their Pale Ales in this manner. Basically phase out the Pale Ale they now produce, and only make it organic. That would be cool. It did have a pretty bottle though.
Those were the only beers that I had the chance to drink over the holiday. I was pretty pumped that I did not drink as much as I have in the past on such occasion. Now I am going to focus on storing some beers. Some that I am planning on putting back:
Sierra Nevada 2011 Bigfoot
Stone Brewing company 10-10-10 vertical epic
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary ale