Friday, January 7, 2011

Great Divide Hibernation Ale

Finally an outstanding winter beer! I’ve tried quite a few since the weather turned cold, and I hadn’t found any I cared to drink again besides old standbys like the Sam Adams Winter Lager and the Samuel Smith Winter Welcome. I picked up a bottle of Hibernation Ale not knowing what to expect. Score! Although technically not a winter warmer (it’s an old ale), it is most definitely a winter beer. Like most winter beers, it’s sweet and malty and high in alcohol - ideally suited for these miserable cold nights we still have to endure for the next two months. Unlike most winter beers, though, it balances its sweetness with smoky malts and an aggressive hop profile. The big flavor tickles the taste buds with notes of caramel, chocolate, toffee, and dark fruit, kicks in with toasty complexity, and finishes bitter with piny hops that pack a punch but don’t upstage the malts. With every sip, I get that warm and fuzzy feeling. Just as importantly, this is one of the most delicious beers of any style I’ve had lately. Fat-bodied, complex, and wicked smooth, the Hibernation Ale almost makes me wish the winter season were longer!

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