Monday, December 23, 2013

Ready to Hibernate with Great Divide

This beer was a happy find for my co-taster Phil and me as we wind down our Beer411 Xmas countdown.

We are down to #2 … can you believe it?
We bring to you:

Great Divide Brewing Co.
Hibernation Ale | Denver, Colorado
ABV: 8.7%

We found this pint to be a little lighter than the winter beers we have been tasting, less heavy on the spice, which was refreshing. It was similar to a brown ale --- with a lot of that hearth appeal that makes it perfect for winter drinking.

About the Brewer:
During the late 80s, Brian Dunn spent 5 years overseas building farms in developing countries. Having grown up in a family that appreciated good food and drink, Dunn expanded his knowledge and passion for beer during his travels. Dunn eventually returned to Colorado, started homebrewing and went to graduate school. Upon graduation in 1993, when Denver’s craft beer scene barely existed, he set out to found what would eventually become one of America’s most decorated and celebrated craft breweries.

To date they have 45 employees and Great Divide has grown into winner of 18 Great American Beer Festival medals, recipient of 5 World Beer Cup awards, 12th in’s 2013 “Best Brewers in the World,”’s 2013 Top Brewer in Colorado, and 7th in Beer Advocate’s 2010 “All-Time Top Brewers.”

Not too shabby.
It’s nice to see something else being poured out of the Rocky region that isn’t a Coors Light

What they say about the Hibernation Ale
Hibernation Ale has been a celebrated winter tradition since 1995. This robust, dry-hopped ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile and hearty, warming character.

The pour:
A dark auburn, copper brown -- with a light khaki head that left a pretty lacing on the glass.

The nose:
Roasted malts, nuts, oak, burnt caramel, smokey, a little coffee and cocoa at the end

The taste:
Simply delicious. Medium mouth-feel, very easy to drink. Nutty, biscuity, smokey, smooth, a little dark cocoa and coffee. This pints has a good amount of carbonation on it and the alcohol gives you a gentle nudge at the finish, along with a bitter bite. It’s well balanced and warming.

The pairing:
My co-taster and I enjoyed this brew with meatloaf nachos. Yep. You heard me right. We had some leftover meatloaf, that was made with a lot Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, A1 and worcestershire sauce. We crumbled it over chips and cheese and all the fixins’ and these two were fast friends. The smoky beer paired with the BBQ flavored meat and cheddar cheese was a match made in heaven. This beer would be great as a standalone fireside warmer, but if you are going to pair it, I would say gouda cheese, a burger, ribs, pulled pork or anything in the BBQ realm would do nicely.

This is a sixer I would pick up and drink over and over this season.
A nice little winter change up. I will definitely keep my eye out for more Great Divide brews in the near future. I am very impressed.

Ok Toenee… tag you’re it.
Whacha got for our BIG finale?
Merry, merry Christmas cuzzin!

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