One of my favorite style of beers to have during the Holiday season is barley wine. Its actually one of my favorite style periods, but I sometimes have a hard time finding a really good one, some are either overtly hoppy or just completely unbalanced in another way. Therefore I'm always out searching for more, so imagine my excitement when at my local Central Market I see Santa Fe's barley wine Chicken killer staring back at me on the shelves.
The Brewery: As you would think this brewery is based in Santa Fe, and is New Mexico's oldest mirco-brewery, they distribute to only nearby states. They started brewing beer in 1988 using the former Boulder Brewing Companies equipment. In addition to the brewery they have a tap room and a pub right next to the brewery. While I've never had any of there other beers, Central Market does carry their pale ale and nut brown ale. After tasting this beer I may have to try them.
The Beer: This Chicken Killer weighs in at a robust 10% abv, pours a hazy cloudy amber with a quarter inch off white head. The head dissipates quickly but it leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The nose is full of toasted malts, rich and complex, raisins and concentrated fruits. The mouth is full of pale toasted malts, raisins, with a lower hop profile than some. Extremely smooth, with little of the alcohol showing up. Caramel malts show up as the beer warms as does something that I could only compare to brown sugar, it wasn't but it had that same taste. Very good beer, one that I could drink all night next to a fire. In fact I did sip on it for a good forty-five minutes and it only got better. This one is a strong A-. A beer that 100% of the folks at BA enjoy.