A Note on This Beer
Barleywine is my go-to brew for March Madness basketball. That might seem weird, but when I find a brew as silky smooth as the 12% ABV Bourbon Barrel-Aged Aminal from Corralitos Brewing I look for any excuse to sip it all day long.
Besides, this little underdog of a brew is perfect for supporting underdog teams, which I always do. This year I’m pinning all my hopes on UC Santa Barbara to go all the way. They’re not the highest ranked team out there, but sometimes those sleepers can surprise you.
Just like today’s Barleywine! It’s not super trendy, people don’t trade their cellars for it, and the ratings are good but not crazy good. Still, something about Aminal makes me think it’s gearing up for a title run.
Sure, Corralitos has a GABF medal under their belt, and Paste Magazine called them a Must Try Brewery. But these guys are so tiny that their brews almost never leave central California, so even your craftiest buds have probably never heard of Aminal. Give them a taste, and they’re going to be surprised.
They’ll never expect such a boozy brew to drink so smooth, but man does it ever! On the first sip they’ll be caught completely off guard by the depth of its toffee, dried date, and candied fig flavors. Its warm whiskey and oak notes and hint of vanilla are so nuanced and complex that they’ll wonder how Aminal has stayed under the radar. Shouldn’t a beer this good be well known?
It’s a lot like when Loyola-Chicago University made it all the way to the Final Four last year: nobody saw it coming and everybody loved it.
So next time you’re hanging out with a few buddies, watching a couple of games, take along a bottle of Aminal. That’s what I’ll be drinking while I root for Santa Barbara, even though they’re currently ranked #203.
But hey, they might surprise me.