Barley Wines of the Times

“Wines of the Times” means barley wines this month, as a New York Times (free registration) panelists curl up by the fireside with 25 or so.

The panel made Hog Heaven from Avery Brewing in Colorado its favorite, giving it 3-and-a-half stars. Flying Dog Horn Dog (Colorado), Anchor Old Foghorn (California) and J. W. Lees Harvest Ale 2003 (England) all received 3 stars.

The story notes:

The quality in general was so high that we could not possibly include all the ales we liked in our top 10. Not to be forgotten are ales like Dogfish Head’s Old School, which managed to mask its 15 percent alcohol behind fruitcake flavors; Young’s Old Nick, a creamy-rich British classic that is a mere 7.2 percent; and (Garrett) Oliver’s own Brooklyn Monster Ale, another creamy, balanced brew.

It also points out the difference between British and American offerings:

I was mightily impressed by the entire field. These ales were superbly brewed, and the range of styles was fascinating. Some – the British versions in particular – were sweet and creamy, yet not cloying, their complexity offering enough intrigue to keep me coming back for more. The American ales tended to be dryer, more robust and spicy, with heavy doses of American hops, which offer piney aromas and a pleasing bitterness.

Must be time to see if 2006 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot has arrived at the local beer store.