Autumn in Colorado is just about as wacky a season as you can find, with temperatures fluctuating between the 20s and the 70s...occasionally on the same day. So you'll need a variety of beer styles in your fridge. While you may crave a robust porter when it's approaching the freezing point, a nice fresh IPA is more palatable on a surprise sunny afternoon. Here are five local brews we've been enjoying, whatever Fall's weather brings.
'Great Divide' on Serious Eats
What have they been up to at Great Divide this year? They've expanded their tap room, added a new mill and grain silo, five 300-barrel tanks, and over 10 new employees. We stopped by their anniversary party to celebrate (and try some delicious limited-edition beers.)
Barleywines, even in a field of brews with ever-increasing ABVs, are among the biggest of the bunch. They're characterized by their strength, depth, and complexity. Barleywines fall into two categories: English and American. The original English interpretations place a greater emphasis on rich malt and can be darker and fruitier. American barleywines dial up the hop intensity but the best still maintain balance. The significant malt character in a proper American barleywine, often equal to or greater than the hop presence, is what distinguishes it from an imperial IPA.
If you want to try Black Tuesday, Kate the Great, Sexual Chocolate, Dark Lord, Surly Darkness, or a number of other great "cult" imperial stouts, you should probably prepare yourself for the possibility of waiting in line on release day, trolling Internet forums looking for trades, buying lottery tickets in hopes of winning a chance to buy a bottle, or paying incredibly inflated prices on eBay. But rest assured, there are plenty of top-tier imperial stouts available that require a lot less hoop-jumping to snag a bottle.
Am I the only one who isn't that interested in spiced beers? So often, there's a dried-spice flavor that just makes me want to cough. This English-Style Old Ale from Great Divide in Colorado is pretty much exactly what I want in a winter beer: it's full, malty, and rich without being oversweet; it's warming without tasting harsh; and it's the perfect partner for winter stews and roasts.