Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hibernation Ale

Hibernation Ale is another Great American Beer Festival winner from Great Divide Brewing Company, located in Denver, Colorado.  According to the label it won a Gold Medal in 1997 and Silvers in 2003 & 2006.  Additionally, if looking to pair the Hibernation Ale with food, the label suggests trying; Romano cheese, grilled beef tenderloin and an apple crisp with ginger ice cream.  I haven't had the opportunity to check out the pairings, but I did have the chance to taste a few of Hibernation Ales while home in Binghamton, NY for Thanksgiving. Here are my thoughts:

Aroma: A slight blend of cinnamon & nutmeg spiciness with a deep lingering scent of caramel. Lovely!

Taste: Not overpowering with the caramel but definitely a malt forward flavor; think butterscotch chips & you're headed in the right direction! Yet, very balanced with a subtle bite of hops that create a mild bitterness in the finish.

Color: A beautiful, deep, caramel brown like an amber stone that you can not see through.

Thickness: Medium to full body that coats & creates a welcome stickiness of toffee like consistency in your mouth. Gorgeous pour with one inch of creamy, tannish head that leaves a delicate lacing in your pint.

ABV: 8.7%; Welcome winter brews :)

Mom Factoid: Sometimes the Thanksgiving holiday literally makes me feel like "hibernating," especially after eating delicious turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, decadent desserts & enjoying craft beer in excess.  Ironically, it turned out that my favorite beer over the Thanksgiving holiday was appropriately named Hibernation Ale.  I knew from having sampled Great Divide brews in the past, that I was in for a treat with their winter seasonal and I was not disappointed. Overall, the beer is very hearty & warming like you would crave in a winter beer. But, beyond those characteristics, the beer is, paradoxically, fresh, (bottled on 10.14.11) and slightly hoppy; two sought after qualities in craft beer but not necessarily present in every style you taste. Bottom line, if you like to hibernate, like me, during the winter months, you'd be foolish not to have Hibernation Ale along for your long journey. Cheers!

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