E.H. Taylor/Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Is One of the Best Barleywines

I’m neither a great man nor a stout man, but I am a great man for stouts. Embracing the malt in life while laughing at the prevalence of hoppy pale ales has led me to their opposite number: the malt terminator line, where the beer becomes an exercise in sweetness. You won’t find me ordering too many Russian or imperial stouts unless I haven’t tried them before. I give everyone a fair chance if their last name is beer. With that and my adoration of Col. E.H. Taylor in mind, Tasting Table had me test whether the whiskey brand’s first ever beer release, via collaboration with Sierra Nevada to age its Bigfoot barleywine in used Taylor barrels, was a bridge too far. I give you: Is Sierra Nevada’s E.H. Taylor Collaboration Beer Worth Buying?

It’s no spoiler to tell you that this is a fine barleywine, quite capable of passing an evening. It has a much lighter footprint (yes, yes, like the sasquatch, har har) than one would expect at 15% but it will catch up with you. The taste and flavor won’t drag you down like so many high ABV beers do, but as the alcohol does, or just the limits of how much malty sweetness one can tackle in a sitting, it becomes the labor you suspected was there all along. So…y’know, a dual nature, a paradox…all I can tell you is a pint with a charcuterie board was easy enough, while a smaller pour the next day had me gasping by the time I’d had three ounces. It’s definitely one to pair with cheese, and then it’s all you need. But you’re still best off splitting this among friends.