With the commercial tasting portion of Vail’s Big Beers Belgians and Barleywines starting in just a few hours, we wanted to share the beers we’re most excited about and stops you should really consider making during the fest. Granted, there will be a TON of great beers on hand, but these need to be towards the top of your list.
Blink and You’ll Miss it Beers:
Single batch and rare items that you may never find again, and should seek out and try before they disappear forever.
The Smoothness – Great Divide – We raved about this beer which represents a collaboration between Great Divide and Jameson Irish Whiskey. Another chance to try this excellent beer that lives up to it’s name is fine by us! Quantity is very limited on this one so take this opportunity to get some.
BCS Rare – Goose Island – Distribution of this was very limited, so an opportunity to try it without busting open your own bottle is welcome. If you didn’t get this in your area, or the price was too rich for your liking…here is a chance to try this beer.
Batch 9,000 – Bell’s – a 12.5% ABV beer promises aromas of fruits, caramel, molasses and dark rum. It sounds so complex it’s either a total beautiful beer or a beautiful disaster. Either way, we’re excited to try this (and Bell’s has never steered us wrong before).
Out of State Opportunities:
Surly – This Minnesota brewery is very locally distributed, but highly regarded. An opportunity to try their great beers: Darkness, Abrasive, and Nein (their 9th anniversary beer) is worth your time and effort.
Wicked Weed – Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, Wicked Weed is a celebrated sour beer producer. They will be pouring some of their finest, and you need to try them. Chocolate Covered Black Angel and Angel of Darkness top our list to try.
Bell’s – We had a tantalizing taste of Bell’s distribution here in Colorado right around GABF last year. They have some big variants to pour such as their Double Two Hearted Ale, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout (which is probably as close to ‘Black Note’ as we can get).
Selected Purely Because We Like the Name of the Beer:
Cat Sabbath – Former Future Brewing Company – Double bourbon barrel aged? You have our attention!
Wardrobe Malfunction – Mockery Brewing – Wine barrel aged tart cherry strong ale sound good to us. We’re also fairly certain there will be wardrobe malfunctions at some point after (or during) the tasting…not from us…we swear.
Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru – Samuel Adams – A crazy sour beer that is a departure from what you might think a Samuel Adams beer is all about, but this beer always surprises us when we get to sample it. Tart and complex with a funky name, it’s worth a try.
Aged to Perfection:
Beers with a few years on them can develop amazing complexity and we see a few on the list that warrant some attention.
2012 Olde School Barleywine – Dogfish Head – We tried this the other evening at a DFH tapping and it is amazing! Full of dried fruit and balanced booziness, this is a fantastic barleywine.
2013 Snowed In – Copper Kettle – This Denver brewery makes some excellent big beers, and this relatively young bourbon barrel oatmeal stout gets better with age. Check into this beer during your Vail Big Beers journey.
2012 Flanders Red – Loveland Aleworks – They are pouring a trio of 2012 Flanders Red ales all aged in different manners. Definitely worth checking out.
These are just what is listed in the program…I guarantee there will be hidden gems all over the festival that are aged to perfection. Ask around, your friends likely have found some hidden gem being poured ‘behind the counter’ that you should ask for.