Since it is fall, it’s time to break out the darker beers. Around this time of year, Oktoberfest style beers rule the roost, but another style lies just behind the popular ones: doppelbocks. This type of beer shows up and stays for a while at my household during the fall months. Let’s see how this goat fares, enter Wolfgang:
Once poured in your glass, this bock looks like it should, nice and dark brown. One interesting characteristic about this goat is that the head sticks around for a bit, with excellent lacing. Smell wise, dark fruits like raisins stick with you. Taste wise, this beer delivers. Smooth sweet caramel flavors blend with bread like malts in an excellent way. Like most Great Divide beers, this beer is amazingly smooth. I would even say almost creamy. This is a very tasty doppelbock that rivals some of my favorites of the style, mainly Ayinger’s Celebrator. The main difference between the two though, is this beer hits you with 8% ABV. Not too shabby in my book, especially when you remember that Celebrator is only around 6.7%.
If you are looking to dive into the style of the bock beer, definitely give this goat a go, it will be worth your while. Once again, Great Divide delivers. Well done!
I like Great Divide. To me, they are one of the better craft brewers in the industry these days, that you barely hear anything about. Well, maybe there is more play out West, but here in the Midwest, nothing much is mentioned about this company. That is a damn shame. Last week, I decided to pick up this special sixer to do a write up for IPA day, but missed the boat entirely. So, fashionably late, enter the Rumble:
Great Divide’s Rumble is an oak aged India pale ale, which is a little bit outside of the norm. And for an IPA, this beer is not what you would expect.
At first glance, this beer looks like a normal IPA. Nice coloration, and a nice sticky lacing that hangs out on your glass for a few minutes. The aromas are a nice mix of oak, vanilla, and a tiny bit of hops thrown in, just because it is an IPA. Once tasting though, this beer delivers. Up front there is a small bitterness, that gets taken over by caramel malt sweets. Vanilla decides to show up in the middle, then the beer finishes with a nice, small hop flavor that rounds out this delicious beer. Not your normal hop monster IPA, but more of an almost creamy flavor IPA. It feels weird to say, “creamy IPA,” but that is what comes to mind. My only drawback to this beer is the weird aftertaste that I get from drinking it. I would almost describe it as a resiny aftertaste, not immediate, but shows up a couple minutes after the swig is down. Just a minor drawback, and nothing to make me avoid buying this beer again. And buy it again I shall.
This has been a great beer to celebrate my late IPA day. I would definitely recommend it if you need a break from burning out your taste buds on some of the greater hop concoctions out there. A creamy IPA, who would have thought?
Well done once again Great Divide!
The summer season requires a nice, summer drink. Here in Ohio, it has been unusually warm, which in turn makes me unusually thirsty. Lighter style beers fill this warm weather niche, and luckily for us Great Divide offers up a true gem with this one. Enter Colette:
Colette is a Farmhouse ale, a saison with a Belgian style twist. Open the bottle, and you start to get an interesting, almost grassy yeast aroma. Once poured, this intensifies, and the beer settles into an interesting golden straw color, reminiscent of much lighter beers with much larger marketing budgets. This beer could not be more different than it’s mass produced distant cousins. Start to drink this dandy and you will completely forget about the rice water beers that you might have had once upon a time. Some sweet malt, somewhat of a lager style yeast, a fruity tartness, and an earthiness that I have not had in a beer before. Simply put, it’s amazing.
The flavors are complex, yet rustic. It is dry, yet satisfying. This is a beer that surprises you, with so much going on and such a simple, deceiving appearance. To call this beer a simple saison would be a tragedy. If you are unfamiliar with the style, just save yourself some time and start with Colette.
Once again, Great Divide delivers! Well Done!
Barleywines are big beers, and in my household they are commonplace. There is nothing like settling down after a nice dinner with friends and enjoying one of these big beers over conversation. I feel that is what they are made for. Let’s take a look at Stone’s offering, and see how it stands up to some of the other brands. Enter the Old Guardian…
After warming the beer up for a bit, just during the course of dinner, it pours like a good barleywine should; a nice ruby coloration and sticky, foamy head that dissipates on it’s own time frame. The beer has a pleasant, faintly sweet aroma, which is also there in the taste. But that is not all. The beer has a great, familiar Stone hop flavor, mixed with some malt sweetness, and candy sugar flavors. Not over the top sweet like some barleywines, and also not over the top hoppy, this beer is a delight. The beer finishes up with a nice warm alcohol feel, that reminds you that this beer is big, 11% ABV big. Drink a few of these and you will feel like you have been banging your head against a tree, maybe like this guy:
Again, barleywines are one of my favorite styles, and this beer ranks up with the best. I would put it, flavor-wise, in between Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot and Great Divide’s Old Ruffian. Definitely in the top tier of barleywines. This is a great beer that should be enjoyed slowly, or that 11% ABV will remind you that you are not a woodpecker, with their special adaptations to keep them from getting headaches. Regardless, well done Stone, always a pleasure!
Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld. Not your typical namesake for a beer. But, Great Divide Brewing Company is not your normal brewer. Time for Greek mythology:
Hades, the eldest son of Cronos and Rhea, (Titan siblings) older brother of Zeus. After his birth he was devoured by his father to prevent an eventual uprising among the Gods. Luckily for Hades, Zeus freed his siblings, then with the help of Hades and Poseidon (another brother) they overthrew their father. Afterwards, I’m sure a party ensued, and the three split up kingdoms to rule; Zeus the sky, Poseidon the sea, and Hades drew the short straw to rule the underworld.
Fast forward quite a few years, and many Greeks viewed Hades as evil. I believe that in reality he was just misunderstood. From most accounts, he was a just and fair ruler of the underworld. Unless you tried to take one of his constituents, or messed with his wife. You can’t blame him for that. Also, he loved dogs. And since his beloved canine was the Cerebus, obviously he was a supporter of his local pet shelter (That was an ugly dog). Take all of that into account, and I bet spending all of that time in the darkness of the underworld probably gave him an insatiable appetite for a good brew.
Whew, that took a little longer than expected. Enough of that, enter Hades, the Belgian style Ale:
Out of the bottle, the beer pours a nice golden hue, similar to the mineral. Since Hades is the God of the Underworld, that includes all minerals, so this is probably appreciated. The carbonation is evident on the pour, and it rushes to the brim of your glass as fast as a cheetah, only to retreat at a leisurely pace, leaving behind very minimal lacing to the glass. The aromas of this beer hit your nose while the glass is still sitting on the table. Very fragrant and strong, with hints of some sweet malts and Belgian yeast. The taste is really surprising, with a small hop bite, but mostly a yeast flavor stays for the duration, and finishes nice and dry. I would call this a great recreation of a Belgian ale, with an American edge to it. I will definitely be buying more of this, especially for summer lawn mowing sessions.
This beer delivers, I would venture to say as well as Charon the ferryman delivers the souls of folks to the underworld.
Once again, well done Great Divide!
Flannel has always been a staple in my wardrobe. Ever since I was a kid growing up in the middle of nowhere, flannel was just part of the local uniform. Functional and stylish. At least until the 1990s. Every now and again, much to my wife’s chagrin, I break out a few pieces from my rock and roll days and sport it like a trophy belt buckle. Not that I have one of those or anything… anyway, when I caught a glimpse of this beer, I knew it had to come home with me:
Enter Great Divide Brewing Company’s Hoss Rye Lager. Right off the bat, with the subtle lumberjack flannel backdrop of the label, this beer screams “I love Soundgarden!” Well maybe not that exactly, but I am sure it screams something.
Normally, I do not get myself all excited over lagers. Sure, there are a few that are quite tasty, and since I have been jamming on Great Divide’s products here lately, I thought this deserved a spin. After a sixer of this, here are the thoughts:
Right out of the gate, it pours a nice amber color. I love a beer with a good color palate, and this beer does not disappoint. Beautiful color that you normally would not see on a lager. One of the beers best attributes though is the smell. Flagrant sweet smells hit the nose coming from the malts, and some darker fruits. This leaves a little to be desired once it hits the mouth though. Granted it tastes great, but the smells from this beer are heavenly for a lager. Apart from that little note, the flavors of this beer make it a great Oktoberfest/Marzen style that makes me wish it were fall. Smooth and easy to drink, the rye spiciness gives a different touch to the flavor which then finishes nice and dry. This is a great version of the Marzen style, and I am planning on remembering this beer anytime that I want to pretend it is October.
So take a flannel bottle, and put some Oktoberfest style brew in it, and that makes a winner in my book. It makes me extremely happy that this beer is available year round, so it can be Oktoberfest at any point in the year. So by the transitive property, that also means that I can wear flannel at any point of the year as well. Double win. Now off to drink and listen to Soundgarden…
Cheers to you Great Divide!