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Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale

December 3rd, 2009 beckel

Here I have a bottle of this years Fresh Hop Pale Ale from the fine brewers over at Great Divide complete with their new lovely label design that makes me want to hop right into this bottle, no pun intended. Great Divide out of Denver, Colorado creates some lovely big brews such as their Hercules Double IPA and many varieties of their massive Yeti Imperial Stout, this ale however isn’t so big coming in at an average 6.1% ABV. Regardless I am sure it will be big in fresh hop flavors and aroma and I can’t wait to give it a try. This ale pours an attractive light amber hue that is very translucent. Over three fingers of tight white head was easily produced and lasts for a number of minutes leaving only a small amount of lacing around the glass. The bottle states the words “Grassy” and “Citrusy”  which is a spot on description of the hop aroma reminding me a lot of lemon grass with a nice sweet gentle malt character to contrast. Quite unique. Flavor is quite refreshing. Initially I get nice pale moderately sweet malt notes, followed by grassy and slightly floral hop esters and a good dose of lemon, lime, and other citrus near the finish. While I expected a more robust nose on this ale due to the fresh Pacific Northwest hops it really is a deliciously hopped pale. Body is medium and mouthfeel is quite clean and smooth. Though I am of course a fan of massive hop additions I really appreciate that Great Divide decided to make this Pale Ale as approachable as it is. Hop notes are plentiful and delicious but contrast wonderfully with the mellow malt present creating a melody of flavors that are very palatable and not overly bitter. While no India Pale Ale I believe this ale will satisfy both hop lovers and those who are more weary of hops with a variety of delicate flavors I rarely get to experience living in the Midwest. While not realistic in any way, I would happily add this ale to my list of staple beers if only it were available in larger quantity at a more consumable price on a regular basis. If you despise hops don’t try this beer, but if your open minded you have no excuse. Cheers to Great Divide on another quality ale. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Great Divide Ghocolate Oak Aged Yeti

August 25th, 2009 beckel

Today I have the most recent iteration of Great Divide’s Wonderful Yeti Imperial Stout. If oak aging this brew and adding espresso wasn’t enough to knock your socks off, this time around a good dose of cocoa nibs were added as well as a gentle dose of cayenne. The hops have been reduced a bit to emphasize the chocolate notes and I must say the way it allows the vanilla notes from the oak aging to flourish is fantastic. I was able to try a small sample of this brew about a month ago when it first hit the shelves of The Four Firkins and can’t wait to consume some more. This beer pours a very dark black hue that is almost completely opaque only allowing the smallest amount of light through the rim. Plenty of wonderfully tight creamy light milk chocolate colored head is produced  and lasts for many minutes slowly creating a good deal of lacing around the glass. Aroma is of sweet dark malt, gentle hints of cocoa, a bit of alcohol, a nice creamy vanilla note and very little bitterness. Flavor is absolutely delicious. Tastes of sweet chocolate, smooth clean dark malts, sweet vanilla notes and a nice level of bitterness to balance. Cayenne is easily identified in the end and creates a wonderful contrast to the rich flavors present in this brew leaving you with a clean gentle spice taste. The body of this beer is moderately heavy and the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Provided you note this 9.5% ABV Imperial Stout is a bit of a sipper it is the most drinkable Yeti I have yet to consume. If you are into strong stouts and enjoy chocolate you should absolutely purchase this beer, just don’t get scared of the little pepper. A wonderful example of the inventive spirit and quality of brews produced by the good folks of Great Divide Brewing. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Great Divide 15th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA

August 6th, 2009 beckel

Here I have what is sure to be a brilliant beverage from the skilled brewers of Great Divide to celebrate their 15th anniversary. Based on their most popular beer, Denver Pale Ale but hopped up to 90 IBU, aged in French and American oak and brought up to a serious 10% ABV with a solid malt profile. I can’t wait to indulge. Upon opening this 22oz bottle at close to room temperature plenty of carbonation built up in the neck and slowly continued to overflow until I simply decided to pour the beer filling the glass over a third with creamy tight off white head which slowly dissipated. Color is a deep red hue and incredibly translucent. Aroma is wonderfully full of floral and fruity hop notes as well as a good deal of sweet malt and just a dash of alcohol. Wow. Upon my first sip I can see how intensely the oak aging effected the brew as a nice smooth vanilla flavor is one of the first characteristics I notice. Further the malt profile of this beer is no joke providing a wonderful array of sweetness and gentle dark pitted fruit notes. In case you forgot this is an IPA and not a Pale Ale present is a bouquet of fruity and floral hop notes from hearty passion fruit to gentle pine. The more I drink of this brew the more I notice how well the various attributes of this beer play together. The malty sweetness is plenty to balance the hops and contrasts with the fruity notes very well. The finish of this brew is plenty bitter but is softened by notes from vanilla to caramel and a hint of brandy. Body is a bit heavy but the mouthfeel is very smooth and clean. Though there is no questioning that you can taste alcohol in this beer there are plenty of other enjoyable flavors to distract ones palate provided you are accustomed to drinking stronger brews. This is a limited brew so if you enjoy strong Pale Ales or oak aging and aren’t opposed to fruity and floral hops I would find a bottle of this brew quickly. Unquestionably a well balanced ale and a wonderful adaption of Denver Pale Ale that I would happily enjoy any day. I found my bottle at The Four Firkins but I would call ahead wherever you intend to purchase it to make sure it is available as most retailers received limited quantities. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Great Divide 15th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA

Great Divide Hibernation Ale

October 1st, 2008 beckel

While at the store the other day I was torn between which Great Divide Ale I wanted to purchase. After much contemplation I determined I should pick up the one I hadn’t tried before, Hibernation Ale an English Style Old Ale. This lovely beer is touted as their winter beer and appears to have been a success since 1995. This dry hopped ale is brewed in July and cellared until late October to allow it to properly mature and ferment, with that said I am assuming I have a batch from last year and plan to cellar as much as I can manage to not drink to see how delightfully it matures further. Winning multiple awards from 1997 to 2007 and likely beyond I’m sure this brew will prove to  be a delight. Pours with a few inches of light tan head that evaporates quite slowly. Appearance is a dark red that looks a bit like a ruby under light but is still only partially transparent. Wonderful malt aromas hit the nose immediately, nicely roasted and not overly sweet, slight alcohol is present but over all a very smooth scent. This is definitely a Winter Ale, roasted malts hit the tongue first followed by a hop like bitterness that is underwhelming but very nicely complimentary. The mouthfeel of this beer is medium but aside from its slight thickness it is quite drinkable if you don’t mind strong beers. With a 8.1% ABV this Ale will keep you warm but does not taste particularly alcoholic because of the wonderful roasted malt and hop balance. As you continue to drink you will notice the sweet malt flavors that accompany this beer making it a wonderful choice for any cold night, in my opinion a good beer for any night. I am very pleased to have been able to enjoy another lovely Great Divide brew, anyone who likes gently roasted malts and flavorful nicely balanced beers will likely appreciate this one. Otherwise anyone who doesn’t mind good ale and wants to keep warm will also be satisfied. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Great divide Hibernation Ale

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

June 30th, 2008 beckel

Here is another lovely beer from Great Divide Brewing out of Denver, Colorado. This beer pours a hazy dark orange color. Head is dense, white and quite plentiful. Smells slightly of orange and other simple citrus, many hops and a bit of alcohol gently dulled by malt. This beer has great flavor, quite hoppy and a tad bitter in the end. Some alcohol is present in the flavor, which is understandable considering its 9.1% ABV but is not overpowering in anyway. Storming in at 85 IBU this beer certainly has a big hop profile but is smoothed out very nicely by malt flavor. This beer is best colder and amazingly well balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth and quite light. Anyone who likes hoppy bold beers should give this beer a try, it is a bit intense but not overpowering…unless you drink too many. Try it out and ride your bike.

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

Great Divide Wild Raspberry Ale

June 19th, 2008 beckel

A raspberry ale wouldn’t normally catch my attention, but Great Divide makes some beautiful beers. So when I saw this ale at the store I had to pick it up. This is a beer I have been meaning to try for some time and I must say it does not disappoint. It is fermented with hundreds of pounds of red and black raspberries because Great Divide does not joke around with their beers and this is no exception. Pours a lovely bright raspberry color, quite deep in color but definitely filtered. Head is decent if poured properly in the middle of the glass but settles quite quickly, very white in color. Smells strongly of fresh raspberries not syrupy at all, with a hint of malt coming through to smoothen out the scent. Incredibly aromatic even from a decent distance. Tastes strongly of raspberries with a nice simple malt after taste. Very well balanced for a fruit beer, does not seem fruity at all. Clocking in at 5.6% this is definitely a real ale (with fruit flavor…). Mouthfeel is very smooth. This beer is not overly complex but it is certainly very tasty. The raspberry tones can be a bit tart here and there, but it is not a sour beer. Over all a quality beer, would definitely hit the spot for someone who does not like an overly complex beer, but wants something flavorful and a bit fruity. Even if you do not like fruity beers this one is worth trying as well as many other grand Great Divide beers from Colorado that I’m sure I will write about in the near future. Drink the beer and ride your bike.

Great Divide Wild Raspberry Ale