"Beer does not make itself properly by itself. It takes an element of mystery and of things that no one can understand." Fritz Maytag, American Brewer and Founder of Anchor Brewing
I am well aware of how intriguing the title of this blog is. And now that I have your attention I am going to tell an amazing story that I've never shared with anyone. I'm quite certain it is going to blow your mind.
A few years ago on a Boy Scout winter camping trip in Pennsylvania with my two sons Jake and Sam, we took a hike that required crossing a wide shallow stream. So that everything would stay dry and not lead to dangerous, cold and wet conditions I took off my shoes, socks and long pants before attempting the crossing. One of the other scout leaders snapped a photo while I was in the middle of the stream. These were the days of film and there was quite a surprise a few days later when he had the pictures developed. In the background on the other side of the stream is Bigfoot. The photo is a bit grainy and some elements are slightly blurry, but Bigfoot is unmistakably lurking in the woods along the streambank.
I never would have believed that the stories about Bigfoot, Sasquatch or the Yeti were anything more than a figment of too much moonshine or a story to keep Leonard Nemoy employed, but there it was in all its shaggy man\ape-like manner. Oddly, none of us saw it or felt its presence and it never threatened or attacked. It was probably just very inquisitive about why a middle-aged man was standing in the middle of a freezing cold stream in February without any pants on. I suppose it had a point.
So, in tribute to these mysterious woodland beings, and finally being able to share the amazing and true story of my encounter with this wonderful legendary creature, this beer blog is devoted to beers with Bigfoot and Yeti in their name or on the label. I found three at my local liquor store and a quick Internet search turned up even more. So even if you aren't lucky enough to actually encounter Bigfoot like I was, you can ponder its existence with an interesting beer brewed in its honor.
The first beer I tried was Bigfoot Barley Wine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada. This is a huge delicious beer. It is very high in alcohol, almost at 10%, but the flavor is so intense that you never get that awful alcohol mouthfeel that some other big beers seem to have. Like most everything from Sierra Nevada, the beer is great. You may not like the style, but trust me, it is a fantastic example of an American Barley Wine and top-rated by BeerAdvocate and RateBeer. In case you have never tried a Barley Wine beer, BeerAdovcate describes it as:
"Despite its name, a Barleywine (or Barley Wine) is very much a beer, albeit a very strong and often intense beer! In fact, it's one of the strongest of the beer styles. Lively and fruity, sometimes sweet, sometimes bittersweet, but always alcoholic. A brew of this strength and complexity can be a challenge to the palate. Expect anything from an amber to dark brown colored beer, with aromas ranging from intense fruits to intense hops. Body is typically thick, alcohol will definitely be perceived, and flavors can range from dominant fruits to palate smacking, resiny hops."
The second beer I tried and that I am drinking right now as I write this on Sunday afternoon is Belgian Style Yeti by Great Divide Brewing Co. This is also a big bold and delicious beer. It is nearly black and as dark as the fur on Bigfoot. The bottle says it is an Imperial Stout and is "iconoclastic" and "mysterious." Like all Imperial Stouts, it is super high in alcohol, pressing nearly 10%. But the flavor is fantastic and there is barely a hint of alcohol that comes through the slightly bitter coffee and chocolate overtones. This beer is so delicious and I love this style so much (think Old Rasputin Imperial Ale) that if I didn't have to drive nearly 2 hours later today to get my daughter Hannah at camp, I'd have a second glass. But I'll put a cork in the bottle and have a very tasty treat waiting for my return. (As an aside, this was a horrible idea. I laid the bottle on its side in the fridge and upon opening the door this morning, the contents had literally exploded making an insane sticky mess. So, the best advice I can give, is to finish the beer when opened, forget trying to save it.).
The third beer I found was an American Brown Ale called Big Muddy Monster from Big Muddy Brewing in Murphysboro, Illinois. The bottle features Bigfoot on the label. At 6.5% alcohol it is a lot lower than the other two beers. It has some decent reviews on BeerAdvocate, nothing exceptional like the other two Bigfoot inspired beers I tried, but not bad either. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but it happily waits in my basement beer fridge right next to the six-pack of the Sierra Nevada Barley Wine Style Ale.