It’s officially the longest day of the year. When it’s cold and daylight is minimal, lots of us like to drink a beer that’s bigger, bolder, and stronger. We have two big beers, in addition to our other winter seasonals, on tap at the present. We assure you, these beers are big, bold, and strong.

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It’s the season for Barley Wine, a beer style that emerged in England in the 1800s. A lot of people ask if Barley Wine is considered a wine or a beer. It is a beer, as it is made from the four defining beer ingredients: water, hops, barley, and yeast. But the style is known for its high alcohol contents, which are closer to wine than beer. Our Barley Wine, which we call the Broken Tine, is right at 10% ABV.

The Broken Tine got its name when, brewing the first batch (now three years ago), brewers Cole and Tyler broke their rake, emptying the lauter tun of all the spent malt. Lots and lots—1,200 pounds—went into this brew. So, as is characteristic of the style, the Broken Tine is quite sweet. Lots of malted barley creates lots of sweetness in a beer, because barley is laden with sugar. The maltiness of the brew is counteracted by large amounts of hops. We decided to use a German hop, typically used for bittering, as the aroma hop. After Tom Britz, of the Glacier Hops Ranch, held up a sample of Magnum for Cole to sniff, Cole knew he wanted to try to use Magnum, one of the ultimate bittering agents, for aroma instead of bitterness.

A mixture of American and British hops help to round out the bitterness, but both malt and hops are prominent (as well as the alcohol). “On all accounts, in terms of malt, hops, and alcohol, this beer is incredibly pungent,” says our brew master.

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The other big beer? We are releasing it today. It is our Ator Doppelbock. We’re proud to be bringing out our fourth batch (how the time flies).

Doppelbock is a very old style of German lager. It came about hundreds of years ago, when monks used to go on long fasts. This heavy, heavy beer style with tons of body was designed to provide just enough sustenance to the fasting monks. It then became refined into its own distinctive style.

Salvator Doppelbock, brewed in Munich by the Paulaner Brewery during the 18th century, was the first commercial example. Since then, nearly every Doppelbock has had a name ending in ‘ator.’ Ours is simply called Ator.

Like the Broken Tine, the Ator is sweet—but it’s a different kind of sweetness. It’s especially caramelly. As it was brewed using the traditional triple decoction method, you can also expect the roasty characteristics of classic German beers. It took lots of time to let this one lager. A lager that clocks in at 8.0% ABV has to condition for a long time, before its yeast settles and it tastes right.

Here it is, just in time for Christmas (we brewed it in September!).

Before 2018, come in and try these big beers, perfect for this time of year. Happy Holidays from all of us at KBC!