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Beer of the Week: Great Divide 16th Annivesary Wood-Aged IPA

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)


It's hard not to draw comparisons from Great Divide's 16 to similar wood-aged IPAs on the market, especially Cigar City's Humidor and Dogfish Head's Burton Baton

-- 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

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).