flavor and character in all four continued to round and get chewier as the beers warmed, although not always with the exact same results, and evergreen and pine hop flavor also emerged with warmth. I’m still not sure which of the four I liked the best, although I do know that 18th needs more time. The cleanness and smoothness of 16th was its strength, but I liked the slightly bolder oak and hop flavors of 15th, and as noted above, once 17th warmed up, it became a completely different—and much better—beer. I’m not sure it completely turned the corner in comparison, but choosing between 15th and 16th would require favoring one distinct set of characteristics over another—they are, I think it safe to say, that different of beers at this point. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of those sampling would give the nod to 16th—I know Elli does—but I’m going to take the higher (and by that I mean lamer) road and abstain from choosing.Several of the distinctions drawn above were mainly apparent from trying the beers next to one another—I’m certain the oak character of 17th and 18th wouldn’t have seemed as aggressive if they weren’t being directly compared to the smoothness (or absence) of the other two. And the same goes for alcohol warmth and flavor—the smoothness of 15th and the even smoother 16th made the distinctions that much more evident in comparison. As well, the malt
From the bottle: “Based on our award-winning beer, Denver Pale Ale, this copper-hued treat is a celebration of everything Great Divide does best. Plenty of malty sweetness provides a backdrop for earthy, floral English and American hops, while French and American oak round off the edges and provide a touch of vanilla. Thanks to everyone who’s supported us for the last 15-18 years—here’s to 15-18 more!"
P.S. Oh, and Jeffrey, when it comes to beer, I’m hard pour.