Thursday, January 13, 2011

Great Divide Hibernation Ale, bottle

Sometimes you wanna go where.... well, you know. But this week I just wanna hide out. Light and noise sensitivity are high, and I'm certain that my own thoughts are more interesting than whatever they're talking about at the bar right now. 

This is what the fridge stash is for, and tonight's lucky chosen one is Hibernation Ale--if properly branded, a perfect beer for a recluse on a cold night.

Great Divide is an underrated brewery, which is to say that I don't hear it talked about much here. I consider it the Colorado analogue to Sierra Nevada, and I promise that I drew the mental comparison well before the mountain thing occurred to me. What I mean is that they each brew many different styles--common styles, traditional styles--and do them all quite well, albeit at the expense of inventiveness. It's an approach I loathe in music, but I don't mind it with beer.

Having said that, Hibernation is a mess. But don't take it from me; take it from the snobs on Beer Advocate who give it... an A-minus?! I usually believe in the wisdom of crowds, and 824 reviewers can't be wrong, except this time, because they are. 

Well, no, maybe I was just looking for something different. But when I think "hibernation," I don't think double-IPA, which is almost what I'd consider this. Yes, it has a creamy head and some subtle toastiness to it, but it's bitter and citrusy as any I'll-be-damned-if-this-isn't-Stone west-coast hopped-out bullshit. What the fuck, Denver? I don't know a ton about bears, but if this is what hibernation tastes like, my tongue is on its own circadian cycle.

I'll admit that it holds the 8.7% ABV remarkably well, and the hops are deliciously aromatic, if overpowering to the taste. But seriously, this is supposed to be a winter beer? I think with the moderate temperatures and the year-round snow they get out there, those Denver folk don't really know their seasons apart. Just a hunch.

Grade: M, for misleading. I wanted to sleep tonight. Hibernation has nothing to do with this beer. In fact, it's one of the more stimulating beers I've ever had. Like Bengay. Now I'm wide awake, and I can't even finish this. Extra nutmeg in the bedtime oatmeal tonight! Thanks for nuthin', Great Divide.