All that talk of alcohol legislation yesterday got my tounge all horny for some fruits of the gwcb\’s labor. Luckily, I was prepared. Sometimes when I\’m at the liquor store, I\’ll see something on the shelf and say, \”You and I both know I\’m going to drink the shit out of you eventually, so git\’cher ass in the basket, toot sweet.\” Last night I helped Brian change one of the headlights in his Mazda, and then following a lovely little dinner in the Whole Foods eatery, I returned home to quaff the sweet nectars of hops and barley and hops and hops, which I had procured a few days ago.
Today we will be discussing the Hercules Double IPA from the Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Calalala. I noticed a display of various 22oz Great Divide varieties at my local retailer last week, but since I had never heard of the brewery, I gave it little consideration.
Since HB645 passed last summer, there has been an obvious influx of new beers. 90% of them, however, come from Belgium and taste nothing like the wicked west coast IPAs that I have come to love so dearly. Occasionally, we\’ll gain new distribution of a domestic brewery, but they\’re usually from the East Coast and unless they start with Dogfish Head or Victory, I haven\’t been all that impressed. (I\’m looking in your general direction, Brooklyn Brewery.) Where is Laguinitas? Where is Anderson Valley? Where is Bear Republic? Where is Stone? Where the hell is stupid Fat Tire Amber already!! Fat Tire flows like Diet Coke everywhere else. Grocery stores in Atlanta would not be able to keep Fat Tire on the shelves, I guarantee. Possibly the worst offense is that there ain\’t even no Bridgeport in these parts. Why is that the worst offense? Because Bridgeport is owned by THE SAME COMPANY THAT OWNS PETE\’S WICKED, SHINER, AND IMPORTS MOOSEHEAD AND MODELO! (Modelo, for those of you who don\’t know makes a little-known Mexican lager called FUCKING CORONA.) \”Dear Gambrinus, how much Moosehead do you really sell in Georgia? You\’re not fooling anyone.\”
What was I talking about?
Ah, Hercules Double IPA. I gave it little consideration for the aforementioned reasons, but then Bob Townsend did a review of it in the AJC that made it sound less than abominable, so I thought I\’d run it into battle and see if anyone shot at it. Here\’s a visual aid for the rest of you left-handers out there:
Hercules pours a semi-cloudy orangeish amber color. The head was not quite as substantial as I was expecting from the \”tenth best beer in the world\” (according to the dorks over at ratebeer.com). Then I read the bottle and saw that this particular witches\’ brew comes in at 9.1% ABV, which would help to explain a slightly thinner head, I think. I have no idea what I\’m talking about.
The aroma was hop city. Big, bright, acidic, Northwestern hops, erupting from the head, right into my face. Additionally, 9.1% ABV is right at the point where you can start to smell the alcohol in the aroma of the beer. It\’s not quite the strength of a barleywine, but it\’s knowcking on the door, fo\’ sho\’. The flavor was exactly what I was hoping for–a hop shovel to the face, but despite the tastebud-wrecking alpha acid overflow, there was a nice, round, malty finish.
One thing you always hear when people favorably review double/imperial IPAs is that there are shit tons of hops BUT there is good malty balance as well. Yes, I am guilty of this. While I understand the need for balance, I think raising the malt to barleywine levels in what is ostensibly an IPA can be a bit much. Towards the end of the Hercules, I began to feel like my tonuge was covered in fur of the same orangeish amber color as the beer. I\’m not complaining, but there was a sweet tanginess that began to wear me down during the latter half of the bottle.
Is this one of the better Double IPAs in production currently? Yes.
Is it in my top 5? Maybe.
Is it as good or better than Maxuimus, Hop Rod, 90-minute, or Terminal Gravity? No.
Is anything better than Terminal Gravity? Not likely.
Here\’s your daily Zombie party photo:
Zombie party explanation: In August 1999, we had a joint birthday party / going away party for Gar\’s then girlfriend Ashley and Gia, respectively. We decided that the theme would be to dress like zombies. Gar also decided that since his \’85 Ford Tempo wasn\’t going to pass emissions, that we would film ourselves smashing it to bits in our driveway. Most who were there, and even some people who weren\’t there agree: Best. Party. Ever.