Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Great Divide to release fall - winter seasonals

Great Divide Brewing CompanyThe seasons go by so quickly these days and here it is harvest season already. Summer is now faded away and it's time once again for the fall and winter seasonal beers to come out. If you are like most, then you probably look forward to all those great autumnal and winter brews. Great Divide is already announcing the release of two of their seasonal brews for the public and they're throwing a party to celebrate the occasion.

Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver Colorado is releasing both their Fresh Hop American Pale Ale and their Hibernation Ale winter warmer at a tapping party on October 3rd at their downtown Denver brewhouse. Here is a copy of their invitation:

"Join us Friday, October 3rd from 5pm-8pm for the much anticipated 2008 release of Fresh Hop Pale Ale and Hibernation Ale. Fresh Hop is an American-style pale ale brewed with freshly picked “wet hops” from the Yakima Valley of Washington. Hibernation Ale is Great Divide’s celebrated winter tradition and many consider it to be Colorado’s original strong ale. Both beers will be available on draft and paired with a fine assortment of artisan cheeses and cured meats. $15 per person."

Sign me up! These brews are being released just in time before the annual Great American Beer Festival and will make for a great pre-festival celebration.

Great Divide Fresh HopFresh Hop Pale Ale is described as follows:

"The September hop harvest is a once-a-year opportunity to brew with fresh hops, also called “wet hops.” Given the perishable nature of just-harvested hop cones, they are shipped overnight to Great Divide shortly after harvest. The morning of the scheduled hop delivery in Denver, Great Divide’s brewers begin brewing Fresh Hop and are ready to hop the beer just as the fresh hops are delivered.

Using fresh hops is a big endeavor, requiring four to five times the volume of hops compared to the usual process of using pelletized hops. This complex process brings impressive results: Fresh Hop is an American-Style Pale Ale with moderate hop bitterness marked by a unique and intensely grassy hop flavor and aroma. Fresh Hop is a superbly refreshing, medium bodied, light-copper colored pale ale."

Great Divide HibernationHibernation Ale comes out on a very limited basis each year. Great Divide says:

"Hibernation Ale is Colorado’s original strong ale – it has been our winter seasonal each year since 1995. Since that time, Hibernation has become the most sought-after winter beer in Colorado. Hibernation’s massive flavors are so intense that it requires over three months of aging each year. Each summer, while our brewers are still spending their weekends in flip-flops and shorts, they prepare for July’s Hibernation brewing schedule.

We cellar Hibernation until late October, when it reaches the peak of perfection. This lengthy aging process gives Hibernation its revered malty richness, complex hop profile and hearty warming character, which is perfect right out of the bottle or cellared for longer periods of time. Hibernation is a lively treat that really beats the winter chill. This scrumptious, collectible, and imminently cellarable ale is only available for six weeks each year, from November 1 to December 15. Hibernation Ale is the perfect gift or accompaniment to your winter festivities."

While Hibernation may be coming out a bit early this year, I don't hear anyone complaining. We've already had some cold evenings here in Colorado this month and that brew has just the thing to keep the internal furnaces going. Seeing how this strong brew is the type that ages well, it may be worth buying a few of these and aging them a bit longer. It'll taste even better a few months down the road.

Follow-up note: The brews may be debuting at the tapping party, but they won't be on the store shelves until a bit later. Fresh Hop will come out around Oct. 7-10th and Hibernation won't be out until early November. Apparently they want to age the Hibernation a bit before official release. Look for a new label brand starting in October as well. Most Great Divide beers will sport a whole new look.

Read on: The sinfully delicious list of Colorado winter seasonals.

Related articles:
- Great Divide Hades Ale review.
- Great Divide St. Bridget's Porter review.
- Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout review.
- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout review.

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