Along The Divide

The new year has brought an investigation into the tasty recipes created by the Great Divide Brewing Company of Colorado. A fan of their annual winter Hibernation Ale, I decided to look into other products in their portfolio, including their delicious take on a “wee heavy”, the Claymore Scotch Ale, which manages to produce a substantial malt presentation.

Oddly it is one of their more expensive¬† ales I found a bit disappointing, their Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Imperial Stout, at $10 a 22 ounce bottle, infused with oak chips and coffee, designed to impart flavor complexity. Instead I found an overpriced, rather pretentious presentation that can not quite decide whether it wants to be stout or coffee. Suffice to say I can not recommend this beer. There are much better Imperial Stouts to be had, although I am sure there are people who go YETI crazy over this. I am just not one of those, especially when classics such as North Coast Brewing’s Old Rasputian is once again available. Coffee Stouts have never been something I write home about. Adding coffee to an Imperial Stout is a bit of overkill, even if it meets the demand for the breakfast stout, which has become a craft recipe obsession in some circles.

California beers have grabbed my attention lately. EEL River Brewing Company’s certified organic IPA, is the Scotia, California brewer’s take on British tradition. Although that is a bit of a stretch considering the lively floral fresh presentation of hops, originating from the U.S. west coast, where lupulin effects become a cascade. Even those ales not aggressively hopped, such as North Coast’s Red Seal Ale, have this geographical distinction. Over the top India Pale Ales has been the rage for quite sometime, which has prompted many to abandon other styles in pursuit of this expanding market. But this becomes one dimensional after awhile, where malts are present to support the hops, rather than the other way around. Over-the-top hops is what some folks consider to be the mark of great beer. I thank the universe that this is not my only criteria.

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