Beer of the Week: Great Divide Robust Porter

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Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Short Order 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.

Damn it, people, Coloradoans need some love right now. I think I've mentioned on Short Order before that, yes, I am from Denver. And it is a shitty, shitty time to be in the Rocky Mountain Club. See, Denver is a town that's all about playing, living, and breathing kick-ass football. It's in our blood - or maybe it's that mile high air. I myself am a rabid Donkeys fan. But with the offseason the Denver Broncos have been having, I'm feeling terrible about our fair city. But hey, at least we still have beer.

That's right - Colorado is host to some of the best microbrews in the country, second in number only to California (yet Colorado still employs more brewery workers than any other state). The beer in the Rocky Mountains is great stuff: bold, vibrant, fresh, cutting edge. And Great Divide Brewing, only of Denver's oldest and most sucessful craft brewers, is at the top of that list. This week, I jumped into one of their richest offerings, Saint Bridget's Robust Porter.   

Porter is a type of beer that is far less popular than it was, say, 10 years ago, owing largely to the rise of hoppy beers like IPAs. Heavy, dark, malted beers like porters and stouts are not always high on people's to-drink lists, but they should be. When done properly, porters can be complex creatures, full of toasy notes from the roasted and/or smoked malts used to make them. They're often sweet and malty, with a wide range of hoppy flavor, so they really pair up well with hearty foods. So how does Great Divide's version, a 1996 World Beer Cup Gold Champion fare?

Take a look at the pour to your right: now that's some head. GD's porter pours thick, with a foamy, solid head pocked with fat bubbles. The immediate aroma I got was coffee; deep, rich notes of coffee with cream, like a beautiful cup o' au laut. I took a long sip and got more of the same coffee vibe coupled with powdered cocoa and barley. There's not a ton of alcohol in this bad boy, just over 5%, so and, for a porter, it's not at all heavy. There's a fair amount of hops in this one too - not to the point where things get bitter, but just enough to calm the malt down to a nice rumble. Couple the fairly managable body and the smooth nature that comes from careful balance of hops, and I could sit down and drink a few of these.

So where can you get it? I picked it up by the bottle at Total Wine. Or, you could fly to Denver, get it on draft at Great Divide's tap house, and commiserate with the frustrated Coloradoans. After all, if any other football scene knows about disapointment in the wake of great success, it's the one in South Florida.   

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