Back in the 90's there were very few high alcohol beers being made in Utah. They either came from Uinta or Wasatch and they numbered two or three. In 1998 Uinta Brewing Company brewed Utah's first really "big" commercial beer. The Anniversary Barleywine. Uinta's Barleywine reined supreme for over a decade being Utah's strongest beer and as the only Barleywine made in the state.
In recent months challengers have come along (Uinta among them) to knock off the award winning Anniversary Barleywine as Utah's "biggest beer". But no one has made a true Barleywine until now.
On Monday Epic Brewing release Utah's newest Barleywine. Barley Wine Release One is a 10.1% ABV American Style Barleywine. This first edition was brewed late last year and was aged for a couple of months in Highwest whiskey and rye barrels to give just a hint of barrel aged depth to the Barleywine.
Pours a reddish-brown with a big fluffy beige head. The nose is malty and boozy with pine and citrus. The taste starts with raisin, pumpernickel and some sherry notes. Resiny hops come next revealing a touch whiskey. The finish is sharp with alcohol and bitterness lingering on the tongue.
Definitely an American-style BarleyWine due to its punchy hoppiness. This newest offering is good fresh and young but six months to a year will add to it's complexity. $8.29 each 22 oz. bottle.
Also from Epic. Release #2 of the Impy Stout was released yesterday (1/25/11). It's 9.2% ABV is a little less boozy than release #1 and seems to be less on the fruity side. A different yeast was used and they upped the dark malts in the grain bill. Look for it at some State Liquor Stores sometime in February.
Epic also has 20 barrels of Imperial Stout aging in a mix of Stranahans and Highwest Whiskey Barrels. The final product could be a blend or go 100% barrel aged. Don't look for this one anytime soon.
If your local liquor stores aren't carrying any of these or any other local releases please ask the managers polity to bring some in for you.