Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale is our January 2014 brew of the month

Beer time?
Photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Finding Bigfoot is one of my favorite TV shows. Though I do not watch it religiously, I catch the reruns every now and then and am always sucked in. Why? Because the show is absurd, intriguing and hilarious. Do I believe in Bigfoot? I guess. Until there is scientific proof against Bigfoot’s existence, I will at least remain open-minded—and quenched by a beer that matches the legend’s stature: Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, brewed by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

Bold, complex and boozy, Bigfoot lives up to its billing as “a beast of a beer.” It is ideally served in a tulip glass and its color is a cloudy ruby-amber. Two fingers of dense, beige foam will dissipate slowly, leaving lacing stuck to the side of the glass as it settles. At arm’s length away, scents of raisin, caramel, alcohol and citrus entice the nostrils. Up close, the full bouquet of aromas is evident: grapefruit, mango, orange, caramel, raisin, fig, butterscotch, a little cherry licorice, pine sap and gritty hop bitterness. The roasted malts mentioned on the label slowly emerge as the beer warms.

The flavor is boozy and warming at first; however, the alcohol fades into the background and allows the other flavors to shine. Toasted malts create a foundation for molasses, pine, orange, caramel and raisin. There is a dark fruit influence suggesting cherry and fig. Citrus and tropical fruit are not as prominent, but at 90 IBUs the bitterness lingers around the molars and on the back of the tongue. Bigfoot is ideal for aging, so drink a couple bottles now and let one or two bottles mature.

  • Serving temperature: 45-50ºF
  • Alcohol content: 9.6 percent ABV
  • Food pairings: Suggestions listed on the beer’s webpage are bread pudding, mission figs, medjool dates and pungent blue cheese.
  • Where to buy: There’s no need to sneak through the woods to find this Bigfoot. Sierra Nevada brews are widely available around town and Bigfoot should be among the selection at most locations. The 2014 edition will be available starting in mid-January, but bottles from 2013 are still around and taste excellent after a year of aging.
  • Price: $9-10 per four-pack. Recently, a local retailer sold four-packs of the 2013 vintage for $7.

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