Thursday, June 27, 2013

Herculean Memories

Several years ago my job required me to travel to Denver on a regular basis. As annoying as air travel was, and is, spending a few days in a great craft beer city made those trips tolerable. Without fail, I'd pay a visit to the Taproom at Great Divide Brewery to enjoy pints of their beers, including Great Divide Hercules Double IPA. The fact that Hercules is a favorite of mine is obvious from its frequent mention on these Musings. The beer was available, sporadically, in Virginia. I rarely bought it locally though. Why bring home well-traveled bottles when I was drinking it fresh, on draft at the source so often? However, I spied six-packs of Hercules on a store shelf recently, and since I'm no longer making those trips, I picked some up, for old times' sake.

Great Divide Hercules pours a deep copper color, with a thin but persistent beige head. The aroma is rich with pine and citrus hops, with some sweet malt thrown in. It's one of those beers that I spend as much time inhaling the aroma as I do tasting. And the taste follows right along with the aroma. The citrus and bitter hops are strong and intensely flavorful. There's a bit of sweetness in the background, but it serves only to balance and is not cloying. The mouthfeel is syrupy and sticky, and the bitter, resinous flavors linger in the mouth, for a long, long time.

This beer is as good as I remember. Digging out the Great Divide glass I brought home from the brewery helped to enliven those fond memories. Interestingly, during my visits to the brewery I'd often enjoy more than one pint of Hercules before heading off in search of dinner or to visit other breweries. These days, one glass of this 10% ABV drink is enough for the evening! I've still got five more waiting in the beer fridge to be enjoyed soon. I just have to find another evening with nothing else to do.

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