With so many new craft breweries opening up in Denver and all throughout the state of Colorado most people find themselves celebrating a business’s first or second anniversary. Even to go to a place celebrating its fifth it seems like it is a place that has been around for a long time. But in the heart of LoDo in Denver, Colorado there is a brewery that has lasted the course of time and in their tenure this microbrewery has witnessed dozens of breweries open, and some close, but one thing has remained the same at this small tap room. They are still open, and serving high quality beers to more and more guests on a yearly basis, and now they are preparing to celebrate their 19th Anniversary at their small tap room on 22nd and Arapahoe. Who else but Great Divide Brewing Company?
So how does such a large and iconic microbrewery celebrate their anniversary? With a celebration that is similar to a beer festival featuring only their beers. On top of all the high quality beers Great Divide always offers there will be beers released specially for this day of celebration. On top of great beer there will be food trucks available as always outside the tap room along Arapahoe St as well as live music from A. Tom Collins, The Parlor Pickers, Confluence, and the Royal Aces. Now due to the popularity of this event not everyone will get to go to this block party, and to go along with the celebration party Great Divide releases a special Anniversary Ale every year, and number 19 in this series was classic strong ale that was brewed with Birch syrup, and aged on birch wood chips.
In short there is only one word to describe this beer and that is complex. The beer pours a rich amber color and leaves a thick, white head on top which leads into an aroma that gives off a hint of sweetness, caramel, and floral notes from the hops. The flavor however is similar to the aroma at times, but also totally different. The initial flavor is the strong taste of malts and for s moment you think this is beer is going to only have one flavor, and that there is no way any other taste will come through. Then suddenly there is a subtle bitter and floral flavor and the hops do come through in a very small way, just enough to give a hint of their flavor, but the most surprising part of this beer comes in the aftertaste. The birch syrup adds a nice sweetness that does not overpower the beer, but instead helps balance out the richness of the malts and it creates such complexities that there is no easy way to describe it. There is sweetness, a slight smoky flavor, and the wood chips this ale was aged with also shines through. The aftertaste lingers but only for a moment making this strong ale easy to sip and enjoy, even if it is 10.2 percent ABV.
After 19 years of serving high quality ales, lagers, and stouts it is hard to believe that Great Divide can still exceed the already high expectations and come out with something as well rounded and delicious as their Anniversary Ale. What is even more impressive is that with each passing year this small brewery continues to grow and their anniversary celebration becomes larger and greater with each passing year. So whether you will be celebrating at the tap room or enjoying a bomber of Anniversary Ale raise a glass to Great Divide Brewing Company, they have stood the test of time and paved the way for new breweries all over and wait in anticipation of what number 20 will bring in 2014.
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