What better way to post my first review of a Beer than for that beer to be a Barley Wine. I am a HUGE fan of Colorado micro brew's (and not just becuase my girlfriend is from there), but they have such a wide range of brewers there all doing something seemingly different.
The Beer: Ahh yes Barley Wine, that beer that is so unlike other beers, but at its heart is nothing else, but a wonderful combinatino of barley, malts, hops, and water. This typically high alcohol beer is different from any other beer in my mind, a cross between a port and an ale. Heck, aren't served in pints, they are usually served in snifter shaped glasses that allow the aromas to pen up. The first barley wine in the states was brewed commercially by Sierra Nevada in California. It should be obvious why I like Barley wines as they are the closes beer to wine, both in alcohol levels and in complexity. Its a powershouse for sure.
The Brewer: The Great Divide brewing company is located in Downtown Denver. A typical story for a micro brew, Great Divide started about 12 years ago by Brian Dunn, a home brewer that took a HUGE chance and started up a brewery near the birth of the Denver beer scene. They are known for their unique six pack beers, but the awards come in for their line of "Really Big Beers" which include the Titan IPA, Hibernation Ale, Hercules Double IPA, YETI imperial Stout and of course the Old Ruffian Barley Wine.
The Taste: Using a snifter like glass I poured the beer in, and it was a nice caramel color, deep and rich smelling of caramel, sweet and hoppy. In the mouth there was an explosion of hops and fruit. As it sat in the glass the beer opened up even more as I sipped it and a creamy mouthfeel came out with specific hints of citrus on the palate. A truly wonderful beer and at 10.2% alchol you only need one, but it is amazing.