Sunday, June 12, 2011
Brewer: Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver, Colorado
Alcohol Content: 6.1%
Official Description from Brewer:
"Fresh Hop Pale Ale is brewed with fresh, whole cone hops from the Pacific Northwest. We ship these 'wet' hops to Denver overnight and brew shortly after harvest, imparting an intensely grassy hop aroma and citrus hop flavor in a medium-bodied ale."
For any purist reading this blog I realize that I poured a pale ale into a Guinness glass. Behold, the world did not come to an end. Regardless of the vessel I choose the beer tastes the same. I do not worship at the beer glassware altar, at least not yet.
I love Great Divide. I am never hesitant to heap praise on their beers. Then I met Fresh Hop. Great Divide description of the beer is pretty spot on. I poured the ale specifically to avoid developing any head per Bamforth's suggestion. I inhaled the aroma deeply and could barely make out the citrus from the hops but the grassy scent was very prominent. The color was a beautiful dark orange but the liquid was cloudy.
Fresh Hop was smooth. You could probably take down a glass in less than three minutes and not even realize it. The taste was very blah, for lack of a description. I wasn't impressed, nor was I necessarily disappointed. I could not differentiate the taste of Fresh Hop from any other pale ale I've met in the past. At 55 IBUs I was surprised to find that the only bite to the beer came in the aftertaste. Then, only then did my taste buds take notice.
Suggestion: Eh, don't go out of your way to get Fresh Hop. If you're a hop head you'll be sorely disappointed. If you like a standard pale ale, feel free.
Value: Fresh Hop is brewed from October-December. As a seasonal beer the price was $9 for a 22oz bomber. I see no value as I can get Sierra Nevada Pale Ale any day of the week cheaper and I think it tastes better.
Michelle Factor: Michelle wasn't impressed either. She really did not care for the bitter aftertaste. In her words, "that makes it distinctly beer." To be honest, that means it wasn't hoppy enough. I think the extra hops in Double-Wide created the sweetness that she was fond of. Maybe Michelle is a hop head in disguise. No wonder she hates porters and stouts!