Saturday, March 8, 2008

Great Divide Saint Bridget's Porter review

Great Divide St Bridget's PorterDuring the cooler months, I tend to stick to drinking porters and stouts. Today's selection comes from Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver, Colorado and is one of their award winning porters - Great Divide Saint Bridget's Robust Porter.

This beer is supposedly named after the Irish Saint Bridget who reportedly turned her bathwater into beer for the local Irish clerics. Oh my, I can just picture a woman climbing wet out of a tub and suddenly that water turns to beer. Hmmmm. The packaging certainly portrays Saint Bridget as a sexy woman - somewhat of a Marilyn Monroe type. Who knows. It's a porter and I'm gonna drink it.

This batch of beer was bottled in mid-September, so it was already 6 months old. I bought the beer cold from the cooler at the corner store. I should probably have let it sit out a bit longer before drinking it as porters and stouts are best drunk at slightly cooler than room temperature.

This beer pours like most porters, dark with slight reddish overtones. The beer looked exactly like pouring a Coca Cola. Surprisingly, it has very little head to it. Only about 1/2 a finger's height to it which faded rather quickly into just the slightest of beads. The beer was dark but clear and showed very little light through it. I swirled the glass ever so slightly to bring up some bead and aroma. Instantly, I could pick out a nice chocolate and coffee-like malts in this brew. Just what I'd expect in a good porter.

The first taste of this beer was somewhat curious to me. I expected to be hit with a lot of maltiness, but instead, I got a cool and somewhat watery taste. I believe this beer was still a bit too cold and the was hiding much of the flavor that was still hidden. It left a nice smooth coat to the back of my tongue as it went down. The taste was not bitter in the least. This porter certainly didn't taste like it smelled at first sampling. I decided to let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before trying it again.

After a time, I swirled the glass once more and this time I could pick out a more hoppy aroma. This beer does change for the better with a warmer temperature. The taste actually improved quite a lot as it warmed up. Definitely do NOT drink this beer cold. Open it up and let it breathe for about 10 minutes before imbibing.

St Bridget's Porter packagingI gotta love the marketing on this beer. A sexy lady on the six-pack cover with the words "A religious experience" on it. Oh my yes. That's just what a middle aged beer drinker wants to see. Heh. The beer gave me a nice little "glow" after about 10 minutes into the experience. I was at first disappointed in it but as it warmed it got very tasty indeed.

The beer ranking sites gave this beer a good but not excellent rating. Ratebeer comes in with a 76th percentile and a 3.37 out of 5 ranking. BeerAdvocate thought this was good enough for a "B" rating. It seems that others who drank this beer got a lot more head when pouring their beers, so perhaps it was the fact that this beer was bottled 6 months ago made the difference. I think that the next time I try this beer, I'd like it to be a bit more freshly bottled.

For me, this was yet another decent porter. It certainly improved the more I drank it, but first impressions still mean a lot to me and when I drink it a bit cold I felt it lacked a bit of flavor. I certainly wish to give this beer a fair ranking and I'm tempted to drink a 2nd beer before making a final judgment. I'm liking it more as I get towards the bottom of the glass.

Great Divide did a quality job with this porter and I can see that it would have impressed some people enough to win some awards. I'd like to give this a higher ranking but for now I'll give it a 3.4 out of 5 ranking. Tip of my hat to the Irish Saint Bridget.

Update: This beer was retired back in 2011, but will return briefly in Spring 2014 in honor of Great Divide's 20th Anniversary.

Related articles:
- Great Divide Hades Ale review.
- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti review.
- Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout review.
- Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager review.

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