The connection between beer and bourbon is a longstanding one with breweries opting to age their beers in barrels that formerly housed Kentucky’s famed spirit. Today, Sierra Nevada, in collaboration with the legendary Buffalo Trace Distillery, is introducing a new brew for the masses, the Colonel E.H. Taylor Bourbon Barrel-Aged Bigfoot barleywine.
Sierra Nevada, best known as one of the early pioneers of the craft beer scene, usually leans into big hops flavor for its array of brews. Bigfoot, a seasonal barleywine offering from Sierra Nevada, was already a beast of a beer but they’re upping the ante with the release of Colonel E.H. Taylor Bourbon Barrel-Aged Bigfoot.
We’re pretty certain that most readers understand what bourbon is, but let’s take a moment to share what barleywine is all about.
Originating in England and hitting the market there in the 1870s, Sierra Nevada became just the second producer of barleywine in the United States in 1983. It is a big, hoppy beer that is a close cousin to wine but because grain is used to make the brew instead of grapes, it is given the designation of being a beer. The ABV on these bad boys can get up there with an average between 6% and 12% by volume. And given that the temps are cooling nationwide, the beer is typically offered around this time of year.
For bourbon drinkers, Colonel E.H. Taylor is one of the most coveted collections in the Buffalo Trace portfolio next to the nearly impossible to procure Pappy Van Winkle. This collaboration marks the first time E.H. Taylor is enterting the world of beer, merging E.H. Taylor Small Batch bourbon barrels with Bigfoot barleywine. The brew clocks in at 15% ABV and was aged seven years in all, spending the last year roesting in the aforemtioned barrels, pulling all those big wood notes and the like.
“The time in the barrels has changed the beer and made it so complex,” Sierra Nevada Product Manager Terence Sullivan said in a statement. “We love collaborations. But something of this magnitude—some of the finest beer and some of the finest bourbon in the world—it’s really something special.”
“Both Sierra Nevada and Buffalo Trace Distillery are pioneers in innovation amongst their categories,” Buffalo Trace Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley added. “Collaborating on a project like this is quite special. Both companies have made a massive impact on pushing the boundaries of craft beer and American whiskey, leading the foray into premiumizing the industry.”
Colonel E.H. Taylor Bourbon Barrel-Aged Bigfoot will be available in limited quantities in select markets and via Sierra Nevada’s online store. The beer’s packaging will be familar to drinkers of E.H. Taylor, with the big-format 750ml and packaging mirroring how E.H. Taylor packages their bourbon. Bigfoot will retail for $25 so get to shopping by following this link.
Stay tuned to CASSIUS and Spirit.Ed for a future review of Bigfoot.
Photo: Sierra Nevada/Buffalo Trace Distillery
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