So, in honor of Global Craft Beer Forever, I pose everyone writes about the farthest brewery (including brewpubs) you have visited and specifically the best beer you had there. Again, not your favorite or any old brewery you've been to, but the one that is the longest haul away, be it by airplane, car, ferry, rickshaw, whatever.
Well, for me, that's a simple assignment. I don't travel much, even for beer. However I am fortunate to be able to travel to Denver, CO on occasion for business. When I do, I make a point to visit the Great Divide Brewing Company and spend some time with the friendly folks at their Tap Room. Readers of the Musings know that I am a big fan of Great Divide beers. Picking any favorite beer is hard, but at Great Divide I would have to say it's the Hercules Double IPA. Double IPA is one of my favorite styles, and I especially enjoy this intensely hopped offering from Great Divide. Right from the start I enjoy the enticing aroma of citrus and malt. I often remark that I spend as much time with my nose in the glass as I do sipping. The flavor is strong, citrus hops with sufficient sweet malts to balance. This is a boldly flavored beer, but still nicely balanced. The finish is slightly bitter with a touch of alcohol warmth. Hercules is a beer to sip and linger over. Behind the big hop flavor lurks 9.1% ABV.
My evenings out in Denver typically start at the Great Divide Tap Room. I'll check out any limited or new beers they have on tap, but rarely fail to enjoy a Hercules while there. After a Hercules or two at the brewery, I'll begin my stroll to other Denver pubs and eateries such as Rock Bottom, Breckenridge, Falling Rock, to name a few.
Great Divide beers have only recently become once again available in Virginia. My local retailer didn't have Hercules when I last visited, but I will certainly pick some up if it appears. As far as the second part of the Session assignment, to drink and compare a similar beer, that will have to wait for a more appropriate time for a big DIPA than this Friday afternoon!
There are many points of interest in Denver for the beer enthusiast. Just reviewing my old posts about Denver and Great Divide has me yearning to make a return visit. You can read about some of those previous visits here.
Update, June 6: Brian has posted the Session roundup here.