Saturday, August 1, 2009

32. Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Just to drive home my rambling inanities from yesterday, we’re doubling up on the Great Divide. That technically makes this our Great Divide double-double, or, for those of you who don’t appreciate my confusing math, our fourth Great Divide beer. Just remember, that still makes my math better than the W’s. What did the W stand for, anyway? Wanker? But I digress. While beating up W, especially at this point in history, is tantamount to beating up a red-headed step child, it is really neither clever nor interesting. And it is certainly much MUCH less interesting than talking about beer.

Great Divide’s Fresh Hop Pale Ale has a bready, biscuity nose mixed with grassy hop aromas. It is a burnished copper color with a mild ivory head. The strong malty front—in turn bready and a dry biscuity, but well rounded on the palate—moves into some hop bitterness accompanied by some slighty sharp grassy and piney hop flavors along with some resiny aftertaste that continues to sit on the tongue into the finish, which ends crisp with a little lingering resinous bitterness. Malt flavors rise in conclusion of beer as it warms; it has a soft chewy mouthfeel and a well-balanced body that, like the 15th Anniversary, is reminiscent of the malt profile of the Denver Pale Ale (DPA). Fresh Hop has fresh and clean hop flavors without excess bitterness; there are more of the flavor aromatics from the hop oils present than the bittering qualities present, which makes for a hoppy but very drinkable beer. This is literally the beer that brought me back to Great Divide (well, not this exact one in particular)—yes, it’s the last lingering bottle from last year, but it still contains much of the fresh hop characteristics that made it enjoyable last fall.

From Great Divide’s website: “Fresh Hop Pale Ale is brewed with fresh, whole cone hops from the Pacific Northwest. We ship these ‘wet’ hops to Denver overnight and brew shortly after harvest, imparting an intensely grassy hop aroma and citrus hop flavor in a medium-bodied ale.”

ABV: 6.1%
IBU: 55


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