Denver is one of the world’s top beer cities. This is fitting, since Colorado is one of the country’s top beer states. I’ve been to the state a handful of times to visit my brother who lives just a quick drive from downtown Denver. I’m always amazed at the sheer quantity of breweries in Colorado before we even set foot in Denver. The choices are endless and there’s always new breweries popping up and putting out top quality brews.
To contrast, when my brother is in Jersey, visiting a brewery is often a full afternoon commitment. We need to first make sure it’s open (most Jersey breweries are still on a Thursday or Friday-Sunday schedule), and then set aside the thirty or so minute drive to get there. In Denver, the general consensus is that if it’s an appropriate time to drink, the brewery is open. And on your walk to the brewery, you will pass three or four others that you haven’t yet tried.
Standing out from the oversaturated market can prove to be an uphill (or up-mountain) battle, but Great Divide Brewing Company does just that. According to their website, their philosophy is simple: “Let’s do our part for the environment and run our business responsibly while giving back to our local Denver community. Whether it is donating our time, our beer, or working to brew with greener initiatives, here at Great Divide Brewing Co. we are passionate about our environmental and social responsibility.”
For those unfamiliar with the area... this all feels very Denver. Progressive, enthusiastic, and dedicated to giving back. Much like the city, the beer is brewed for the residents but welcomes with open arms anyone who wants to try it.
Great Divide’s Denver Pale Ale bridges the gap between beer aficionados and casual drinkers alike.”
The can of their Denver Pale Ale, much like the city itself, is constantly changing. “Every year, a fresh can will be released exhibiting artwork created by a new Denver artist," reads the webstie. I was fortunate enough to stumble on the first in the series – a can colorfully designed by local artist Josh Holland with cityscapes, landscapes, wildlife, activities, and food that all make Denver into the bustling city that it is.
The beer pours a golden-yellow. Resinous, yet approachable pine dominates the nose with a hint of reassuring citrus on the back end. The beer itself is what I like to label “crushable” – that is, you’ll want to drink this all day – and at 5% alcohol by volume, you can (just maybe not at that Denver altitude).
Great Divide’s Denver Pale Ale bridges the gap between beer aficionados and casual drinkers alike. There’s enough flavor there, but not too much to turn off people who aren’t into the hop-heavy IPAs. I had it over the weekend with my wife and my best friends, and it felt just right.
I’ve been searching for a “go-to” beer for awhile – and this one fits the bill. It can be paired with any food, any friends, and any location. It transcends season and would be equally good while snowed in or during a backyard barbeque. It may not get the attention of the beer community as much as the heavy hitting stouts of imperial India Pale Ales, but it's worth a permanent spot in any beer lovers fridge to break out year-round.