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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Great Divide Brewing Companys "Denver Pale Ale"

When suffering though a heat wave like the one we just endured, I look for lighter, more drinkable beers to quench my thirst. Big, ten percent ABV beers are awesome, but when its 103 and humid, I just want a refreshing, well made small beer that won't make me pass out in the heat.

But finding a really good small beer, aka a 5% ABV beer, can be a challenge these days. Everyone is brewing big beers. Not a bad trend, but size isn't everything. And often times the simple basics of a great beer get lost (or masked) in the high alcohol taste of bigger beers. I wanted a small beer, damn it, but it had the have "big beer" flavor.

As I wandered the aisles of the liquor store last week, I walked by the shelf with the Great Divide Brewing Company beers several times. I stopped and pondered. I've had several beers from Great Divide before, and they never disappoint.  And I mean never. While my favorite brewers-Dogfish Head, Harpoon, and Stone Brewing- have all brewed art least one beer that I've not liked, I can't say the same for Great Divide. I've LOVED everything I've drank from them- the Hercules Double IPA, the Oak Aged Yeti stout, and the 17th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA. So why don't I buy more Great Divide I thought? Great question, to which I had no answer. So I picked up a 6 pack of their signature beer.

Denver Pale Ale
Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver, CO
5% ABV

The label calls this an "English Style" Pale Ale. I think this means its going to be more balanced in comparison to American style pales. I particularly like the logo on the bottle that says "great minds drink alike".

The label also says that "Denver Pale Ale is a world renowned classic pale ale with a malty middle and equally hearty compliment of hop aroma and bitterness".

World Renowned? Talk about tooting your own horn! I wondered if they could back it up.

The beer pours a light amber color, clear, with a tight white head. Its a nice color, but it definitely doesn't look like a "pale" ale. (I guess its time I learn that "pale" refers more to the style than the color.)

Smell is, in a word, AWESOME. It smells like warm white bread coming out of an oven- yeasty, doughy, with a malt back. I get no hop smell, but I don't care.

Mouthfeel is light, crisp, wet. Moderate to light carbonation on the tongue.

Taste- Yup, same as the smell, which is to say AWESOME. You get the taste of warm, freshly baked white bread, followed by some maltiness, then a moderate hop bitter finish, and its all in perfect balance. Its amazing. Its refreshing. Its comforting. Its super satisfying and thirst quenching.

I tried to look up the malt and hops used in this beer, but the web site didn't seem to list them. Several additional online searches also revealed nothing about the recipe. I guess they want to protect their "world renowned" status by keeping it a secret, and I can't blame them.

This beer is an easy 4.5 out of 5. And I think I now believe the "world Renowned" claim.


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