Hole-ee-crap-n-fresh. What a long day. Got up, played some video games for about 45 minutes. Got the wife up. Got ready uber-quick. Drove 2 hours to Lebanon, NH to have a Thanksgiving(ish) meeting with my family (who drove down from Vermont to meet us). Lunch was excellent. Good food, good beer. I had a Rogue Brutal Bitter, which I’ll eventually post the review for. After 2 hours in Lebanon, we turned around and drove the 2 hours home. Took a 45 minute nap. Went over to church and taught a class. Swung by a some friend’s house after class for some champagne and chat. It’s now 8:53pm and our day is finally winding down. I’m passing the blog reins over to Silvio (as usual)…I need to find some food. Just realized I never ate dinner! Silvio, the stage is yours.
Ah Thanksgiving, that wonderful holiday where you labor in the kitchen for hours, battle traffic all day, and sit around a table with extended family you can hardly stand. This year, I’m thankful that my wife and I don’t do any of the above. Our tradition has become staying at home to cook for ourselves, eat together, and enjoy some great beer!
On my last run to the beer store I decided to pick up a few 22-ounce bottles and stumbled across Great Divide Brewing Company’s Fresh Hop Pale Ale. This is a pretty limited edition beer, only available from October to November, and is brewed with fresh hops from the Pacific Northwest shortly after they’re harvested. I’m a big fan of Great Divide, and this looked like the perfect brew to accompany a proper Thanksgiving feast.
The pour was great, with a nice foamy crown fed by steady carbonation from tiny bubbles and a crystal clear dark amber color. It’s got a pungent hoppy aroma, punctuated by grassy and citrus notes. My first sip was a bit underwhelming, unfortunately, and it definitely tastes different than it smells. I expected lots of grassy flavors, but the defining taste is a flat, bitter hoppy note. Even the hoppiness is subdued, and it comes across without a lot of body or the sharp bitter hops flavor that gets you in the back of your taste buds.
Expecting more, I let the beer sit for a few minutes to breathe. I’m glad I did it, because after about ten minutes the flavors from the aroma become much more apparent, and added a layer of fresh-cut grass taste onto the bitterness. As it sat out, I also picked up the 6.1% ABV alcohol taste.
I’m surprised at the Fresh Hop letdown, because Great Divide brews are typically more than you expect. I’m going to chalk up my letdown to the fact that I tried it so late in the availability season, and still recommend trying this brew, especially since its only available two months of the year, but definitely urge you make sure to let it breathe before drinking.