Mad props to DJ Butters for this one, a long time wanter, first time drinker. I had this the night I got engaged, I was feeling GREAT. This beer calls back to fonder days of Alpine Brewing’s barrel aging program when it wasn’t managed by the Stone BA IRS oversight committee, too soon? Anyway, let’s start feeling hella GREAT so we can keep on dancing.
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States
American Barleywine | 14.00% ABV
A: This is a turbid but milky little beast that lazily pours out of the bottle with low carbonation and zero fucks to be given. The hazy brown stares back at you and makes a nice little constellation of bubbles that foretell your impending doom. The lacing has a tough time sticking to edges because of the nice sheeting of clear alcohol on the edges pushing the malt crabs back down to the bucket.
S: This has a great smell to it, despite the age and the nose bump set spikes vanilla, caramel malts, oak, macaroom, light coconut and a hint of booziness that has been running the yard inside the bottle for years making people hold its malty pocket.
T: This beer is an automatic DUI machine. The taste has a slight hint of booze but imparts a generous amount of caramello, plum, dark fruits, and bourbon like a massive quad with a sweet entourage. I can see things getting dangerous real quickly with this beer, ex-girlfriends will be texted, the entry way will be soaking wet, these are all side effects of drinking Great.
M: Think of all the 14% beers that you have enjoyed over the years AND SHATTER THOSE CONCEPTIONS OF REALITY. This beer is exceedingly still and tepid but the dryness from the oak and malts balances out the sweetness amiably. It isn’t overly sticky, nor is it astringently drying, it comes off like a hug that lasts a little too long from a co-worker, but you’re ok with it because it smells like Rolos.
D: This is exceptionally drinkable and will wrap that Nissan Sentra around a telephone pole for you. Life upgrades thanks to Great. This bottle is small and so is your tolerance, even if you don’t think it is. Kuhnhenn BBBW could chill with this dude all day and they could tell mercenary tales about the core ass 14%+ antics they’ve gotten into. Again, this beer is a bitch to land so “drinkability” is relative to your Scrooge McDuck vault. Then again, if you still have several of these laying around, maybe you aren’t a Great person.
Narrative: Ian Ziering never thought that it would come to this. Just two decades ago he was riding high on life, starring in Beverly Hills 90210, loving the jocular stardom and all the pitfalls that Hollywood could bring. “Direct me to the excavation site Mrs. Gower-“ he commanded as a strode through the track home and into the lush backyard. A Labrador sat tied to a tree visibly curious about what had been uncovered. “Sweet Jesus” Ian Ziering gasped and fell to his knees “this is a seriously rare specimen, Yuban coffee can case, aging looks from the late 80’s potentially the golden Nickelodeon era.” Ian had become obsessed with unearthing time capsules. At first blush, it did not make any sense, and his small business model had several holes that warranted fiscal explanation. “You have quite the find here, notebook paper contracts from 11 year olds with what appears to be an agreement to always be best friends, Vanilla Ice cassette tape, Dino Riders toys. . .yes ma’am this is quite the gem.” Mrs. Gower was entirely unsure about what was so Great about unearthing these old gems, but standing in the presence of Steve Sanders in his aged glory held a special resonance.