Saturday, October 04, 2008

Good News from Great Divide

The hop-heavy brewery rolled out a couple of its classic seasonals last night, and I can report gladly that they are worth a trip down to 22nd and Arapahoe to try.

The Fresh Hop Ale - made with hops harvested in September and inserted into the brewing process the moment they arrive at Great Divide - is one of the mellowest American pale ales around. Compared to the brewery's other hop monsters, such as the Hercules Double IPA, this beer almost feels light. But it's not in any way a slight taste. Though we were munching on cheese and cured meats at the rollout, I could picture this going perfectly with a brat or a slightly spiced chicken breast that you just yanked off the grill.

The Hibernation, meanwhile, is no sipping beer. Big and chewy, the newest iteration of this aged winter strong ale feels, well, stronger than in years past. It's super malty and its hop characteristics linger in the background. It also has a potent bitter finish, as if to remind you that it took a while to age and you too shouldn't rush your way through it.

The most interesting offering of the night, though, was a 2007 Hibernation. Normally, I expect a big beer to become stronger as it sits longer. This, however, was a tamer and more enjoyable version of the beer. Its bitterness had become a full chocolate flavor, a murky beer with a lot going on. This is the one I'd recommend that you get down to the brewery for quickly.

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Wish I could have been there. Perhaps later during the GABF week I can sneak down there and try some there.
I haven't tried the Fresh Hop in about 3 years. Like a lot of people I think I was expecting a hoppy american pale ale type of beer since they used the word "Hop" in the name. But now that I know more of what to expect, I'm anxious to go get some more and see if I can discern the difference that the fresh hops makes.

Love the hibernation ale. I think I still have a 6-pack from last year sitting in my basement that I'm looking forward to opening someday.
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