name: Hog Heaven
% alc: 9.2
type: Dry-Hopped Barleywine
vendor: QFC, Seattle
price: $7.99 (22oz)
Wine-like only in it's potential strength (8-12% alc.), swine-like only through its whimsical label art, this bottle was a bittered delight. I first gave it a sniff and was brought back to the days of elementary school and the tiny, tangy cello-wrapped sweethearts candies. This scent didn't translate into the flavor at all but it started me off in kind of a strange nostalgic direction. But on that note of sweet, I wouldn't claim this one to have that characteristic. Not tart, not sweet. "Intense bitter follows a brief caramel greeting," I scribbled illegibly in my notepad.
While it did definitely remind me of an Imperial IPA, to the extent that I was interested in looking up definitions, it didn't have the sweetness usually present in these high octane beverages. So I enjoyed this balanced bitter ale without being constantly reminded of it's strength.
The barleywine genre is certainly a loose term. It seems to be a catchall for brews in the higher alcohol range. They can come in all colors and tastes so you might have a bad one, and you may love another. Keep your eyes limber as you move down your regular beer aisle and you might find a barley-wine that's just your style.
review (/10): 7.0
recommended setting: Well, I would say England 1777 where the first Barley-wine was coined but... ok something more realistic. Perhaps a rooftop or balcony with a view, should a flying pig decide to drift on by you'll be the sole stumbling eye witness. Once you finish your pint and tumble down the stairs no one will believe you.
extraneous ramble (optional):