Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Microbrew Review of Great Divide Brewing Company's St. Bridget's Porter

Great Divide Brewing Company's St. Bridget's Porter

I've sampled a few craft beers over the past year produced by the Great Divide Brewing Company which is a microbrewery based way out in Denver, Colorado. Typically, I've enjoyed what I've found locally in Western Pennsylvania from these folks, so I was a little excited to find a new and untried offering from this brewery in my local haunt's coolers last weekend.

I spied a 12 ounce bottle of Great Divide Brewing St. Bridget's Porter and quickly grabbed one along with their Hiberation Ale (a seasonal brew to be reviewed later). It sat in the fridge a few days but the lure of trying something new brought this one upstairs to the sampling room this evening.

Upon inspection of the somewhat bland bottle label design, I'm impressed to read that this beer is a 1996 World Beer Cup Gold Medal Winner in the Robust Porter judging category. Well, we're off to a pretty good start knowing that I guess. Brewed date of third week of November (2006 I assume) is notched on the label edge. This is good too, because although it's not brewery fresh, just knowing how old it is is a far cry better than many microbrews I've tried, where you just don't know how old what you're drinking really is. It's hard giving a beer a bad review if you're not sure whether or not it's maybe just past it's drinkable prime. Label describes this beer as "an elegant, smooth porter" and does give a little interesting history of the real life Saint Bridget, the microbrew's namesake. You'll have to pick up a bottle if you want to know the rest of the story behind this beer's name.

I poured this one carefully into an unchilled 10 oz. mug and noted only about a half finger cocoa butter colored head that hung out for about a minute or two at best and then split. Not an overall opaque appearance sitting in the glass itself but I would compare the sight of this one pouring into my mug as the same similar thin impression I'd gotten recently while pouring a Yuengling Black and Tan. Not real thick.

First sip to my lips brings a watery feel. Thin I guess is the word to describe. I experienced a fairly strong coffee presence, but not a lot in the way of "chocolate characteristics of dark barley malts" as the label touts. I may have picked up a bit of toffee mixed into the porter-like bitterness but, flavor wise, I just wasn't picking up on a whole lot else. Maybe it's just a bad night for the old taste buds, but I really tried to pick up on all the nuances that makes Saint Bridget's Porter what it is...or should be.

Overall, I can't say that Great Divide Brewing Company's Saint Bridget's Porter is a badly put together . I just can't say it's one of the better porter style beers that I've personally tried. I supposed, having tried some other numbers from this Colorado microbrewery, and liking those very much, my hopes and expectations may have just been set too high for this. And that's really not a good habit to fall into if you're a microbrew enthusiast. I shouldn't have gone in with any expectations, just an open mind and a clean palate. My bad, but something easy to fall prey to as everyone has their own favorite breweries based on past experiences. On the other hand, the label did boast of it being a 1996 Gold Medal winning microbrew. But then again, it's 2007 now.

I'd best describe this beer as an average robust porter. Nothing to turn your nose up to, but nothing to sniff out at any and every cost either. Being on the somewhat watery and thin side in my opinion, it would be a beer that one could easily down several of in a session without becoming a slobbering fool. If I see Great Divide Saint Bridget's Robust Porter somewhere locally here in the future, I may give it another shot just to be sure. Maybe it's just that I'd like to erase the disbelief that it wasn't more than I imagined it'd be. But you need to be the judge. It's worth a try, especially if you're into the porters. Let me know what you think and be sure to try other products if you do get a chance. It's rare to go wrong with what they typically brew so right.

You can check out more reviews of new microbrews and fun microbrew and craft beer related info at Microbrew Review or My Squidoo Lens. Check out Summer Microbrew too!

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