The Great Beer Experiment Part 3: Colorado

The Back Story:

Colorado, most famous for brewing the beer that tastes as cold as the Rockies exactly the same as every other U.S. macrobrew, is perhaps at the forefront of U.S. craft beer brewing. Looking through the list of brewers in Colorado, you might recognize many award-winning and nationally-distributed brands that have found their way into your grocery store or wine shop. New Belgium, Oskar Blues and of course Great Divide are just a few that I’ve seen in several shops in my neck of the woods.

Great Divide is one that won my heart after I tasted their Espresso Yeti. The world has seen numerous infused beers before, what with the chocolate stouts, espresso amber ales, and framboise lambics of the world, yet few of such beers that I’ve tried have attained a synergy in their flavor quite like the Yeti. The attention to detail and patience in the brewing pays off with a flawless transition from beer to coffee flavors, and ever since experiencing that, I’ve been itching to try more.

When I was browsing the beer selection at A Southern Season, a gourmet shop here in the Triangle, I came across a few of Great Divide’s product that I hadn’t seen elsewhere. Anyone who has been reading my blog for awhile knows that I’m a fiend for IPAs, and when I noticed that Great Divide’s Titan IPA was on the shelf, I just had to add it to the week’s beer schedule. It’s actually a struggle to only choose one beer to represent Colorado for this post, as I have several favorites among these breweries. Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues, the best beer I’ve ever had from a can, was a strong contender, as were several of New Belgium’s products. Of course, I CAN always review those later…

The Results:

Great Divide Titan IPA bottle and pourThe appearance of the beer is a deep gold with a slight amber tint. Head retention is impressive though still a bit short. The beer is also slightly cloudy, with some kind of large sediment suspended, and a very fine carbonation.

The nose of the beer is a classic IPA with bitter, hoppy notes, orange zest, and a sweet maltiness. It also has a slight metallic undertone.

The mouthfeel of the beer is fairly full-bodied, almost syrupy, with a consistency of frothed milk. The acidity is tangy and persisting.

The flavor of the beer is very full and very strong, with an immediate, malty attack and citrus and grassy components. As the flavors fade, the hoppiness comes forward, contributing a pleasant bitterness that coexists with the malty sweetness very well, lending almost a sweet-sour candy kind of quality to it. The finish is a nice blend of bitter hops, sweet malts, and a hint of copper. All in all, this was a very impressively flavored offering.

This beer went especially well with a steak-and-cheddar sandwich. It pretty much calls for a flavorful, big meal to fully compete with its heft.

For the Casual Consumer:

This is a nice, strong, full beer, not especially suited to the beginner’s palate. It has a very delicious, very pure flavor, but getting past the body is key. As long as you’re prepared for the IPA experience, you’re in for a real treat. Just make sure you don’t take too long to savor it… the shorter head retention means the flavors and carbonation will start to deteriorate after several minutes.

The Conclusion:

For a midpriced craft beer, this is a phenomenal option. As long as you can get past the aesthetics, which are a bit unnerving with the very visible sediment, you will appreciate the beautiful, full flavor. Priced at about $2 per bottle or $10 per six-pack, you’ll get your money’s worth and quite a bit more. 7/10

In Case You Missed It:

Beer: Titan IPA

Producer: Great Divide Brewing

Region: Denver, Colorado

Vintage: n/a

Alcohol: 7.1%

pH: unknown

Price: $2 per 12 oz bottle

Purchased at: A Southern Season, Chapel Hill, NC

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