Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Great Divide 18th Anniversary Wood Aged DIPA

Locale:  Denver, CO
Craft Circa: 1994
Style:  American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV:  10%

Notables:  This is a limited but seasonal anniversary brew, brewed once a year released in late spring, early summer. 

Label:  It’s nice and definitive, however I think I like the 17th anniversary label a little better.  The label gives it that bourbon distillery look that indicates some sort of aging, either in barrels, or in this case, wood chips.  The only thing that could enhance this appearance is to put it in a decorative cardboard like case for presentation.  Maybe this is the eco-friendly route.  In that case… kudos for saving a tree. 

Overall:   Great Divide’s 18th Anniversary brew was opened, consumed, and it ironically was the anniversary of my marriage. We’re still new at this, only going on 4 years… although at times, it feels like it’s been 18 years!!! 

 It’s nice to know there is a reasonably priced, reasonably attainable anniversary beer to get your hands on each year.  If the 18th Anniversary ale is any indication of the subsequent beers to follow, it’s definitely something to look forward to each year, and find yourself a bottle when released. 

Solid all around.  The pour is a dark amber, the head lays thick, and the lacing is quite impressive.  Taking a whiff of it, the caramel runs the show, but the oak hints are a noticeable sidekick.  Maybe not as flamboyant as Daffy Duck, but more like a Scottie Pippen of sorts… either way, it compliments it nicely.

The flavor is that of sturdy dark malt, along with a conspicuous but not overwhelming oak hint.  One of the unique characteristics of this brew is that the heavy presence of malt not only acts as the backbone or support for the brew, but it also hits you up front which is rare for a DIPA.  The malt and the oak are up front, and then the grapefruit and dash of pine come in fashionably late, joining in on the fun.

The majority of IPA drinkers, including myself may expect a bit more bitterness, especially in a DIPA.  There is not a lot of bitterness here, but it doesn’t steer you away by any means, it works nicely.  The overall balance of the concoction is pretty exciting.  Between the oak, the wood chips, the malt, and let’s not forget the double dosage of hops, this artisan undoubtedly answers the call. 

This beer popped my Great Divide Anniversary Brew cherry, and it was gripping.  Look forward to next year’s batch, and here’s to another 18 years!

Acquisition:  22 ouncer - $11

Windfall: Per wiki, The Great Divide, another term for the Continental Divide of the Americas, is the continental divide that separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean.  There are various other hydrological divides in the Americas; however the Great Divide is by far the most prominent of these because it tends to follow a line of high peaks along the Rocky Mountains. 

These plates are constantly drifting, at about 7cm a year,  Heightening the Rockies, and lowering the Appalachian Mountains each way with its continental drift.  More importantly, that means the Great Divide Brewery will be in the Chicagoland area in about 23 million years; give or take a couple hundred years. 


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