Today is my birthday, and as is the tradition for the Advent Calendar, my pick is a vanity beer: not necessarily a holiday beer, but a stellar example of something I’d love to crack open for my birthday. And, as it happens, I have a 2007 bottle (the first year ever bottled) of Alaskan Barley Wine sitting in my fridge right now, which I plan to open tonight.
This Barley Wine is a powerhouse of a beer, clocking in at 10.4% alcohol by volume and winning a slew of awards over the years. It’s nicknamed “Big Nugget” with a backstory that should be award-winning, too:
Alaskan Barley Wine is produced in small batches each year. Typically this higher alcohol beverage is brewed in the spring, cellared in the tunnels of the Alaska-Juneau Gold Mine for the summer and retrieved in time for its release at the Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival in January. The cool tunnels of the mine shaft provide natural refrigeration and a prime environment for the aging process.
Barleywine is one of my absolute favorite styles of beer, but I have not actually had Alaskan’s yet. That’ll change tonight, and I might post some notes later about the (vintage) beer. Then again, I might not… it is my birthday, after all.