I first tried Hog Heaven back in New Jersey, long before I ever entertained thoughts of living in the same town where the magic elixir is brewed. The reasoning was simple: it was a new barleywine ale on the shelf at my local New Jersey liquor store. What with strong ales of all stripes being my preference and barleywines in particular, I immediately grabbed a bottle. The flying pigs on the label didn't hurt any, either.
The beer is dark ruby red in color, with a nice dense head and intense hop aroma. Dipping a nose into the glass, you can't help but take several long pulls with your nose before ever taking a sip,and the whiffs are intoxicating in their own right. Once you take a sip, the deal is sealed. Strong alcohol flavor is balanced with an incredible one-two punch of malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. The malt and hops are in perfect harmony; this beer is not cloyingly sweet nor is it dryingly bitter. It's a lot of everything, but all flavors get their turn at the front of the stage and the end result is a beer that fills your mouth -- and your soul -- with the total beer experience. Immensely satisfying and delightfully sippable. This reviewer maintains that this is one barleywine that's drinkable year-round; it's that balanced.
Available in 22oz bomber bottles, this is one of my all-time favorite beers, and one or two are generally in residence on my refrigerator door rack at any given time.