Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron has released Bernese Barley Wine Ale, the beer that won last year's inaugural Bottle My Brew Ohio Homebrew Challenge. The beer, made by brothers Nick and Justin Herstich of Akron, is a dry-hopped American barley wine. It's 10.5 percent alcohol by volume.



Brewery co-owner John Najeway said the beer has great balance between the malty sweetness and hop bitterness.



The homebrew competition was sponsored by the West Point Market, Winking Lizard Tavern and Thirsty Dog. The brewery agreed to make the winning beer. (Full disclosure: I was one of the judges who picked the barley wine as the top homebrew.) 



Bernese Barley Wine is available now exclusively at West Point Market. It retails for $12.99 for a four-pack. It also will be sold on draft after Labor Day at Winking Lizard Tavern locations. Najeway said some of the beer also is aging in bourbon barrels and that version will be released later this year.



The packaging features a Bernese mountain dog named Mr. Buck and owned by Ernie and Bonnie Estep from Bath Township. Bernese is a large breed that hails from the Swiss Alps.



The deadline for entering the second annual Bottle My Brew Ohio Homebrew Challenge is July 13. It's open to all Ohio residents. For more details, click here.