Posts Tagged With: Great Divide

TYIB Beer Tasting Extravaganza #1

To commemorate our one year of beer anniversary, TYIB held its very first–and very not last–beer tasting at Bar Great Harry. In order to delve into a discussion on the the stylistic nuances of beer, we reviewed two beers of three different styles. In a fight to the death type of situation, the reviewers pitted beer against beer, searching for the ultimate champion of the style.

that's right.

that’s right.

For this tasting, we explored the Black IPA, the Russian Imperial Stout, and the IPA. And the hangover (for some). The contenders were…

Yakima Glory, Victory Brewing Co.
There Will Be Black, Brooklyn Brewery
Titan IPA, Great Divide Brewing Co.
Hoppagedon, Napa Smith Brewery
Old Rasputin, North Coast Brewing Co.
Imperial Russian Stout, Stone Brewing Co.

cheers, all!

cheers, all!

The following reviews reflect the group’s opinions of each beer.

The Black IPAs

For our exploration of the Black IPA–a maltier sibling of the IPA–we reviewed Victory’s Yakima Glory and Brooklyn Brewery’s There Will Be Black, part of their Brewmaster’s series. Yakima Glory is named as such for the hops grown in the Yakima Valley in Pennsylvania.

 VS 

Yakima Glory, Victory Brewing Co., 8.7% ABV

yakima

Sight: Dark brown, burnt amber body.

Smell: Sweet chocolate and caramel aromas are quickly balanced by a hoppy citrusy smell.

Taste: Like its smell, there is an initial sweet, malty flavor that is almost immediately overpowered by a hop attack. The last note is a piney, earthy flavor.

Overall: For the most part, the reviewers took a liking to Yakima Glory. One reviewer said it was “good for a cold winter night,” while another called it “fierce.” Fellow beer enthusiast Amanda noted that it while it fell short of what she would expect of a Black IPA, it was redeemably well-balanced.

 beeruse-copy (average score= 3.375)

There Will Be Black, Brooklyn Brewery, 7.5%

therewill

Sight: Deep purple-y black body. Much darker than the Yakima.

Smell: The dominant aromas are chocolate, coffee, cherry, and dirt.

Taste: Some reviewers commented that There Will Be Black has a considerably weaker flavor than the Yakima Glory. One reviewer said it tasted like cold carbonated coffee. Other flavors include cherry, bark, and maple. We all agreed that it tasted like a Decello milk chocolate covered cherry…you know, the cheap kind.

Overall: While Yakima Glory’s take on a Black IPA was that of balance, Brooklyn Brewery focused on infusing as much rich, malty flavors into their Black IPA as possible. While not a fan favorite, reviewers were intrigued by the fruity, smokey flavors of There Will Be Black.

 (average score= 3)

THE VERDICT

After much discussion, the group named Victory’s Yakima Glory the clear winner of this round. However, we did agree that Brooklyn’s There Will Be Black is a better example of the Black IPA. For an everyday drinking beer, we recommend picking up a six-pack of the deliciously balanced (and alcoholic) Yakima. If you’re looking to further your understanding of the Black IPA, give Brooklyn’s a try.

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The IPAS

For our exploration of the IPA, we selected the only two IPAs on tap: Napa Smith’s Hopageddon (a double IPA) and Great Divide’s Titan Indian Pale Ale.

   VS 

Titan IPA, Great Divide, 7.1% ABV

titan

Sight: Clear chestnut/amber/golden body.

Smell: Some of the more creative descriptions of the evening were written about the smell of this beer. These include “grandma’s hard candy that falls out of your mouth” and “pizza dough cough drops.”

Taste: Again, there were some interesting adjectives associated with the flavor of this beer. Most agreed that it tastes like flavors found in a bar and a barn: there is a bit of a liquor, apple schnapps flavor with a grassy, hay taste.  One reviewer described the flavor like that of a starchy potato chip.

Overall: Titan is a complex, multi-faceted beer that reviewer Amanda called the “sexually ambiguous store clerk”  as well as a “golden mystery.” This IPA has an unusual fruity starch flavor that is certainly worth trying once. And probably only once.

beeruse-copy (average score= 3.66)

Hopageddon, Napa Smith, 9.2%

hoppa

Sight: Cloudy dark golden body that looks like apple cider.

Smell: It smells like a breakfast of apple juice, cinnamon toast, and a fruity cereal.

Taste: Like it smells, this beer tastes like eating an overripe apple. There’s an lingering sweetness that balances the intense flowery hop flavor. Someone said it tasted like a cider with some hops.

Overall: For a double IPA dubbed Hopageddon, the group agreed that it was a dud. None of us were blown away by any sort of hops explosion that could usher in a new world. Napa Smith has here an odd double IPA that’s quite creamy for its style. Most reviewers appreciated the uniqueness of the beer, while others were simply confused and didn’t enjoy it (well, maybe just its high ABV).

beeruse-copy (average score= 3.5)

THE VERDICT

Both of the IPAs we reviewed were IPAs found off of the beaten path. Great Divide’s Titan is unique for an IPA and Napa Smith’s is the least hoppy and most fruity Double IPA of all time. While reviewers thought both were interesting enough, Titan IPA ends up living up to its name and comes out with the highest score in battle.

—-

The Russian Imperial Stouts

For our exploration of the Russian Imperial Stout–a historic style emerging in the 18th century–we reviewed two of the best: North Coast’s iconic Old Rasputin and Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout.

  VS  

Old Rasputin, North Coast Brewing, 9.0% ABV

rasp

Sight: Dark brown body with a small, creamy head that leaves a thick lacing as it travels down the glass.

Smell: Strong aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, and malts.

Taste: Reviewer Erica said it tastes like an espresso milkshake. Others described it as a german chocolate cake and a creamy chocolately dessert.

Overall: Surprisingly fluffy and airy, Old Rasputin was described as, pardon our French, “creamy as fuck.” Reviewer Amanda called it a “smooth journey through seduction” and that it was a “lovable” beer. Yeah, Rasputin, you creamy mystic you.

 (average score= 4)

Russian Imperial Stout, Stone Brewing, 10.5% ABV

stone

Sight: It looks like oil, with a pitch black body and no head.

Smell: Reviewer Suzy said that it smelled like “a shot I would be uncomfortable taking.” That shot must be Jameson, because others described the smell as such. There is also a woody and chocolately aroma.

Taste: We agreed that Stone’s Stout tastes a helluva lot better than it smells. The dominant flavors are fresh coffee, mocha, and dark chocolate, with a faint cherry note.

Overall: By this point in the night, there was more yelling of adjectives and less taking of notes However, we did manage to get our hands on one reviewer’s notes that summed up this beer by saying that it was “powerful, complex, and commands respect.” Thanks, Amanda, for your expert documentation skills!

 (average score= 4.08)

THE VERDICT

This final face off was the most hotly debated of the night (hello, the scores were 4 and 4.08). For readers at home, Amanda came up with this analogy on the fly: Old Rasputin is the lovely wife, with its creaminess, soothing quality, and warmth, and Stone’s Imperial is the gorgeous mistress, with it’s silky, dark, and intoxicating nature  (literally…at 10%, this was the most alcoholic of the evening). So, what do you want? The lovely wife or the gorgeous mistress? Either way, you win. These two are are both spectacular Russian Imperials–debatably the best of the style. The end of the night was a bit hazy after drinking all of these high ABV ales, but if I correctly recall, Old Rasputin, our lovely wife, was the overall winner for its exceptional creaminess.

beer makes us smile. the end.

beer makes us smile. the end.

Concluding Remarks: So, beer is awesome. After a night of smelling, moderate-to-heavy drinking, and discussing these beers, I think all participants walked away with a renewed love of all things malts and hops. We would like to thank everyone who came out and made this event possible, as well as Bar Great Harry for pouring us a gazillion beers. Stay tuned for more tastings and events in the future!

Categories: India Pale Ale, Stout | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Great Divide Colette Farmhouse Ale

Beer: Colette Farmhouse Ale
Brewery: Great Divide Brewing Company
Style: Saison
ABV: 7.3%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

——–

OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Pale, almost neon yellow, hazy body with a huge billowy white head.

Smell: Hell. Yes. This smells exactly as a Saison should: funky, citrusy, spicy, and sour. It smells like lemons that have been seeped in a gallon of wheat beer.

Flavor: Thankfully, it tastes almost exactly how it smells. It tastes like drinking extremely fresh lemons, with a touch of clove.

Feel: Thin body, Champagne-like carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Great Divide’s Colette is like the bizzaro, funky cousin of the Hefeweizen. It’s exceptionally tart, and makes me want to roll around in a field of lemon trees. It’s not spiced–instead, the four yeast strains used produce a banana-clove-like aftertaste, and the inclusion of rice creates a fresh feeling. At over 7%, which is undetectable, this is a near perfect beer. It’s balanced, perfectly carbonated, and has a complexity that makes you want to keep drinking until you realize you’ve consumed the entire bottle in three gulps. Whoops. If I’m so lucky, I’ll be spending much of my summer hanging out with Colette on a roof. Or anywhere, really.

Categories: Saison | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Great Divide Nomad

Beer: Nomad
Brewery: Great Divide
Style: Czech Pilsner
ABV: 5.4%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Bright yellow, clear body with a very slight tinge of chartreuse. A  thin head quickly recedes.

Smell: Wet, sticky Saaz hops and Munich malts. Finally some Saaz action!

Flavor: Sweeter than it smells, with a bright, intriguing flavor profile. It’s slightly citrusy, a little floral, and a helluva lot of malts ‘n hops. Saaz hops are pretty much the best thing ever, just saying.

Feel: Thin with full carbonation.

Concluding Remarks: Hot damn, this is incredible. Though it calls itself a Bohemian (i.e., Czech) Pilsner, Great Divide’s Nomad is a sassy offspring of the Bavarian and Bohemian Pils, traversing the geographic beerscape in search of hoppier pastures. It has the rich, almost spicy, taste of a Czech, with the delicious malt profile and distinctive watery aftertaste of a German. This might be one of the most delicious Pils ever. I seriously recommend stocking your fridge with Nomad this summer…if I can find some more. This was the last one at my local beer store, and it is with great sorrow to announce that I have not seen one since. So, if you find some, could you let me know? Thanks.

Categories: Pilsner | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Beer: Oak Aged Yeti
Brewery: Great Divide
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.5%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Black as the night in which you wouldn’t want to encounter a Yeti. Triumphant billowy dark bronze head, filled with huge carbonation bubbles. Lacing on glass looks like, well, lace. The head fades down into the brim of a Turkish coffee.

Scent: It smells like drunk. Tons of booze upon first waft. Then it gets fun: a strong hop quickly vanishes and is replaced with intense vanilla and marshmallows. As it is oak aged, the vanilla is the strongest note, and finishes with a date aroma.

Flavor: Vanilla, to coffee, to some bitter unknown, to bitter chocolate, to wood, to general dessert flavor. It kind of tastes like licking a tree, too.

Feel: Very smooth, medium mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

Concluding remarks: Don’t drink this alongside food; it will ruin your palate. This Yeti is a flavor destroyer, crushing all other inferior flavors in its path. It is an incredibly bold and powerful beer that needs to be sipped. Ultimately, it really doesn’t get much better than Great Divide’s Oak Aged Yeti. They do have a number of other Yetis, so look out: Belgian Style Yeti, Bretty Yeti (brewed with lager yeasts), Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, and regular Yeti. From what I hear, the Oak Aged (THIS ONE), Belgian Style, and Bretty reign supreme. Why not go ahead and do a little at-home taste test of your own?

Get on the Yeti bandwagon, uh, truck.

Categories: Stout | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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