Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie
will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:
How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find
it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer
you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.
Walk softly, and carry a big ass piece of wood.
Wood-aged beers are pretty hot these days, especially for drinkers looking for a smoky, slow-sipping beer that drinks more like a whiskey or Scotch. Last week, we talked about Tampa-based brewery, Cigar City, and its Humidor IPA, which won a silver medal at this year's Great American Beer Festival. Next up: Great Divide's 16th Anniversary Wood-Aged Double IPA.
Great Divide's been making this anniversary brew for at least a couple
of years now, combining caramel malts and English pale ale style hops
and aging it on French and American oak chips. This sipper clocks in at
10 percent alcohol, and will run you about $10 for a bomber (22 ounce)
-- the latter sits in oak tanks for a month after fermentation and is
probably more widely available than 16 (even though it's also a limited
brew). Where you rank it next to the two depends on what you like out
of an IPA.
Seeking bold hops with lots of citrus and mild hints of wood? Stick
with the Cigar City, my friend. The Burton Baton won't do you wrong
either, but adds some honeyed sweet fruit tones to the mix. The Great
Divide, on the other hand, is deeper in color and not as hop forward as
the other two. The oak is bitey, but not overly so. This is a far
smoother, less hoppy beer. But then again, if you're looking for strong
oak, bitter hops, and that leathery, peaty aroma of long wood-aged
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alcohol, you probably will feel a little disappointed in GD 16.
Still, a solid wood-aged beer worth picking up and trying if you
haven't had it. Find it at BX Beer (and maybe a few bottles lingering
at Total Wine).