As mentioned on Durango's first, best and only beer blog last week, Carver Brewing Co. has tapped its Big Grizz Barleywine Ale, a potent English-style beer meant to keep your spirits high and chests warm in below-freezing weather.
I managed to stop in for a Big Grizz on Sunday night as temperatures dipped into the teens. A lovely server brought a little goblet to my table in exchange for a mere $3.50.
Apparently, it was from the 2009 batch, a keg that brewer Erik Maxson must have squirreled away to see how the old bear ages.
Well, it turns out. It has a hint of sweetness and a little fruitiness that is well balanced by hops. It sports fairly assertive carbonation that cedes to the amber-colored 11 percent ABV body. A full texture gives the ursine beverage a substantial heft appropriate for the style.
I like it. Call it an A-, almost an A. Big Grizz is the only barley wine in town, and many thanks for that. Durango is far too cold to be left without a barley wine.
One nitpick about the name: Big Grizz? Carver's names most of its beers after local phenomena. The Durango area has bears, but not grizzlies.