Barleywine Style Ales 

With winter weather making a comeback, I'm happy to see a new crop of barleywines hitting the Treasure Valley, because those big, bold brews with 10-12 percent alcohol levels are just the thing to ward off the cold. Anchor introduced barleywine to the United States back in 1976, and the newer wave of craft brewers are embracing the style. Barleywine typically rewards cellaring but can be delicious on release. Here are three of the best.

Anchor Brewing Old Foghorn, $2.99-$3.49

This mahogany pour topped by a thin, tan head offers heady aromas of spicy honey, stone fruit, toffee, light banana and a touch of mint. The flavors are a harmonious blend of sweet malt, fig, apricot, caramel and spice, with a touch of hops on the warming finish. It's great drinking now.

2018 North Coast Brewing Old Stock Ale, $3.49-$3.99

A dark amber in the glass, this one sports a two-finger head with decent retention. There's an intriguing hit of sweet cardamom on the nose along with fruity grain, raisin and plum. Just the barest bit of hops color the cream sherry flavors. It's 12 percent abv, and you'll feel it. This one needs time in the cellar to be at its best.

2018 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, $2.29-$2.79

A thick creme brulee-colored head lingers nicely and leaves a lovely lacing that covers this bright amber ale. The nose offers a heady hit of hops backed by soft toffee, citrus and toasted malt. Those hops provide a backbone for the chocolate, sweet date and candied fruit flavors. It's great now, but this one evolves beautifully.


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