For those of you that pay attention to this blog, you know I recently hosted a vertical tasting of one of my favorite beers, Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot barelywine. For those of you that do not know what a vertical tasting is, its basically a tasting of the same beer, over a period of different years, or "vintages". For this tasting, I had saved samples of Bigfoot from years ranging from 2009 to present. Six years of bigfoot! This was the first vertical tasting I ever hosted, and I learned a few things.....
Second, know a lot about what you are serving, or do what I did and invite someone that does! One of those in attendance was
Ben VanderMeer. For those in the "community" know that Ben is our local rep for Sierra Nevada. I will also say, having an expert there in not only the beer we were having, but the company that makes it was just awesome. Not only was he able to tell us much about the beer, and the brewing process, he was also telling us tid bits like Sierra Nevada's founder Ken Grossman's own preference on how, and when is the best time to drink Bigfoot! Not only was Ben an amazing resource of information about Bigfoot, Sierra Nevada, and the Arizona beer scene in general, he also brought a few unexpected treats to the party, mainly, a bottle of 2010 Barrel Aged Bigfoot (aged in Whiskey barrels!) which was nothing short of amazing! He also brought a few goodies for the tasting attendees (Sierra Nevada glasses) and even some décor for the party! Thank you SO much Ben, it was great to finally meet you, and I would like you to know you are welcome here anytime!
Like I said previously, this was a small event (just 9 people) mostly due to the limited space we had, and the limited amount of beer I had set aside (maybe I should set aside a 12 pack from now on??). So, myself, my wife, and a few of our close friends (all fans of beer, and trying new beers) and Ben all gathered around the table, settled in and enjoyed 6 years worth of this amazing beer. Just looking at the six sample glasses in front of me you could just SEE the difference. It seemed the older the vintage, the darker the beer got. All while maintaining that slightly yellow, almost manila colored hear. An aroma seemed to sweeten as well as the years go by. The big hoppy nose sort of steps aside, giving way to a more balanced, caramely sweet smell. The flavor follows suit as well. While the big, in your face hoppy character maintains throughout the years, it does mellow a bit, and balances out nicely letting in more of that malty character. My favorite years were the 2012, and the 2010. Both were just a smooth, sweet, cup full of hoppy sweet goodness!
So, again, my advice to you, when you buy bigfoot, try setting some aside for a year, or 2, or 4. You will be amazed at the subtle, yet very perceptible changes that take place in this beer. I know it takes an amazing amount of while power, but it is worth it, trust me!
I want to thank every one that was there, Daniell, Bobby, Chris, Julie, Nate, Sabrina and Ben, and especially my wife, Mrs. Czar for making this such a fun, and educational and stress free evening. I can't thank you all enough, and I can't wait to do it again, maybe next year???
You can see a complete set of photos from the event on our Facebook page here (like us while you are there if you haven't already!)
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar