THE BREWSKI REPORT Tommy Brewski: My Beer. My Life.

February 2, 2011

Great Divide Brewing’s Hibernation Ale Beer Review 2.2.2011

The Rich Goodness of Hibernation Ale

The Rich Goodness of Hibernation Ale

The Brewski Report Reviews Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale
File Date: 2.2.2011

File Name: Blizzard of ’11 Is A Yawner
The Beer: Hibernation Ale
Type: Old Ale
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 8.7% ABV
Brewer: Great Divide Brewing Co.
Web Site:
State/Country of Origin: CO, USA
Brewer Info: In 1994, Colorado’s craft beer scene scarcely existed, but Brian Dunn recognized Denver’s potential to be a great beer city. Combining his business background with his passion for beer, which was developed through his international travels and his experience as a homebrewer, he decided to start a brewery. He set up shop in an abandoned dairy-processing plant at the edge of downtown Denver and began brewing the beers that would eventually carry Great Divide Brewing Company to its status as one of America’s most decorated microbreweries and would help transform Denver into an international destination for beer lovers.

tbr-hiber-labelBrewer Brand Hype: Hibernation Ale has been our celebrated winter tradition since 1995. This robust, dry-hopped ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile and hearty, warming character.  8.7% ABV. October thru January.
Label: Same as above with: Suggested Food Pairings: Aged, hard Dutch cows milk cheese, roasted chicken, grilled vegetables.

The Brewski Review: The ‘old’ in Old Ale refers to beers that in times past, could have been left to age in wood containers of varying types for periods up to a year. Due to this the beer can pick up slight acid flavors. I didn’t detect that here, just plenty of roasted malt favors and a little on the bitter side for me. Overall, very good. With the high ABV content I drank it before dinner in the hopes that I could lay on the couch and pass out with a full stomach. But, I don’t think I needed the beer to fall asleep fast. We had a winter storm blow through last night that stretched across the nation. 100 million people were supposed to be affected by this. We didn’t get it as bad as they forecasted but they still shut down our plant giving me the day off (we’ll have to work Saturday to make up the lost production). Isn’t winter great? So many resources are consumed by pushing frozen water around. Time, money and physical energy, which, buy the way, is why I’m so wiped out. I even have a mondo-size snowblower to help move the snow around. If I ever build a new house I’d love to install heated sidewalks and a driveway. Then, I wouldn’t have any more excuses to not sit in front of the TV and drink beer.

The frozen liquid winter wonderland in my little slice of heaven.

The frozen liquid winter wonderland in my little slice of heaven.

Drinkability: Good. But not a fan.
Appearance: Rich ruby brown in color.
The Buds: Hearty indeed. Very hoppy/malty.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.0 out of 5.


March 25, 2010

New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Ale Review 3.25.10

Fat Tire Draft Drinkware of Choice.

Fat Tire Draft Drinkware of Choice.

The Brewski Report Reviews New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Ale and Eating Road Food for a Living.
File Date: 3.25.2010

File Name: Free Doesn’t Always Equate To Wise Choice.
The Beer: Fat Tire
Type: American Amber/Red Ale
Serving: Draft
Stats: 5.2% ABV
Brewer: New Belgium Brewing Company
Web Site:
Country of Origin: CO, USA
Brewer Info: As our aspiring young homebrewer rides his mountain bike with “fat tires” through European villages famous for beer, New Belgium Brewing Company was but a glimmer in his eye. Or basement. For Jeff Lebesch would return to Fort Collins with a handful of ingredients and an imagination full of recipes. And then there was beer. Jeff’s first two basement-brewed creations? A brown dubbel with earthy undertones named Abbey and a remarkably well-balanced amber he named Fat Tire. To say the rest was history would be to overlook his wife’s involvement. Kim Jordan was New Belgium’s first bottler, sales rep, distributor, marketer and financial planner.  And now, she’s our CEO. The other side of the New Belgium story isn’t as romantic as bicycling through Europe, but it gives testament to our dedication and hard work. And it goes like this: Jeff, an electrical engineer by day and tinkerer by nature, builds a homebrewing kit in his basement out of repurposed dairy equipment. His Belgian inspired brews garnered enough praise from friends and neighbors that Jeff and Kim take their basement brewery commercial in 1991.

tbr-fat-tire-logo-insertBrewer Brand Hype: Named in honor of our founder Jeff’s bike trip through Belgium, Fat Tire Amber Ale marks a turning point in the young electrical engineer’s home brewing. Belgian beers use a far broader palette of ingredients (fruits, spices, esoteric yeast strains) than German or English styles. Jeff found the Belgian approach freeing. Upon his return, Jeff created Fat Tire and Abbey Belgian Ale, (assuming Abbey would be his big gun). He and his wife, Kim traveled around sampling their homebrews to the public. Fat Tire’s appeal quickly became evident. People liked everything about it. Except the name. Fat Tire won fans with its sense of balance: toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors coasting in equilibrium with hoppy freshness.
Label: Tried this one as a draft beer.  No bottle to read while I drink.

The Brewski Review: Drank this one on a business road trip.  The glass was tall and the beer was cold.  It was good.  Being sent out on the road can have it’s advantages.  Food and beverages paid for by the company.  A great deal if you like to eat out.  But, unlike others, I try not to eat out much.  Eating road food for 3 or 4 days in a row becomes quite unappealing. No matter how healthy its claim, I always feel as though I’m doing more damage to my body than good.  Couple this with my low salt diet and only then you can understand my quandry: eat like a rabbit or eat tasty food laced with two times the DRA of calories and sodium. I can also keep this in perspective by considering truck drivers and other individuals who don’t stray too far from the interstate system or have time to seek healthier alternatives than gas station food.  Yikes!  It’s even more challenging for them to keep their arteries from clogging. Slice it anyway you want, I could never be a road warrier.  Night after night of late night dinner and drinks is not something I could physically do for extended periods of time. So, I give a thumbs up to anyone who can manage this feat.  You have a much stronger constitution than myself.  And, what a perfect segway from talking road stories and business travel than drinking a beer called Fat Tire. Fat Tire was a little sweet to my palate but I like that.  Overall, it was good with just the hint of bitterness.  Give this one a try all you legions of road soldiers.  I think you’ll like it.  Keep the tires fat and not your gut: eat smart and drink in moderation (but not while driving).

Drinkability:  Enjoyed this one.
Appearance: Pale Amber.
The Buds: Sweet. Mildly bitter.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

September 20, 2009

Breckenridge Brewery Autumn Ale Review 9.20.09

After Rakin', it's Breckenridge Brewery's Autumn Ale

After Rakin', it's Breckenridge Brewery's Autumn Ale

The Brewski Report Reviews Breckenridge’s Autumn Ale.
File Date: 9.20.09

File Name:  Professional Drinker?  No.  Professional Cart Pusher?  Yes.
The Beer: Autumn Ale
Type:  Old Ale
Serving:  Bottle
Stats: 6.7% ABV
Brewer: Breckenridge Brewery
Country of Origin: Breckenridge, CO USA
breck_brewery_logo1Brewer Info:  Back in the 1980s our founder, Richard Squire, had a dream – to ski all day and drink great beer every night. Since he lived in the snow-kissed Rocky Mountains, fulfilling the skiing portion of his dream was easy. But the great beer part – at a time when a “microbrew” was a rarity – that was another story. So Richard started brewing his own, more flavorful beers for himself and his thrill-seeking ski pals.  His homebrewed creations were a hit, and soon Richard was spending more time brewing than skiing. So he chased after another dream – making exceptional beer for a living. In February, 1990 that dream became reality when Richard opened the original Breckenridge Brewery & Pub in the town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Richard’s ski bum days were over, and so were the days of bland beer for the folks in Colorado’s ski country.

Brewer Brand Hype:  Breckenridge Brewery’s fall seasonal combines the malty goodness of a German lager with the clean crispness of an American ale. Brewed with Munich malts and a delicate blend of Bavarian hops, our Autumn Ale is a full-bodied treat with a nutty-sweet middle, a warming alcohol level and notes of toasted grains. A pre-winter winner.
Label:  Munich Malts & Bavarian Hops.  Deep Mahogany Fall Season Ale.  Warms the Soul, Soothes the Spirit.

The Brewski Review:  I went shopping at the local market the other day with my wife and kids.  Normally it’s a race to get the necessities and rush home before the toddler meltdown begins.  Today was no exception but I did make the effort to check out the wine section.  Yes.  Believe it.  I like to consider myself a cultured individual but I in no way consider myself a serious professional like others (Yes Matt, I’m referencing your pro-athlete status for the buy-it-by-the-case ‘Three Buck Chuck’.).  Unfortunately, my hankering for a bottle of red was left unfulfilled after checking the Brewski household stock of vino: 0 Red, 7 White.  No base hit here.  As Bob Uecker would say….’Juuuust a bit outside.’  As I strategically perused the aisles I was careful not let my infant son, Mr. Grabby Hands, get within arms reach of anything breakable.  Since I wasn’t in the boxed wine section (What I won’t do is buy my wine by the carton – part of the pleasure in drinking from the bottle is that I can fist the neck and pound it.  Just kidding.  But the pour, like beer, is part of the fun.) this was rather difficult.  But, I did happen to pick up a couple of nice bottles.  We’ll see how they taste.  Maybe I’ll write about it.  I’ve done cider so let’s just do all alcoholic beverages.  Maybe we can do moonshine as well.  Anyway, I never did drink that bottle of wine.  Instead I popped open this Breckenridge Autumn Ale. ‘After rakin…Autumn Ale” so says the label.  It was tasty and enjoyable but it wasn’t what I had in mind.  It was a worthy Old Ale, one that I would drink again, but I was on the bench for something more ‘fall-like’.    

Drinkability:  Worthy.  Not for the adjunct lager crowd though.
Appearance:  ‘Dark Mahogany’ color as noted by BB, but I’d say closer to black.
The Buds:  Thought it was tasty but just I’m not sold on Old Ale just yet.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5

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