This beer kicks ass. This is my second attempt to review it. My first attempt to review it involved ordering a Hibernation, enjoying a very hoppy beer, getting home to write the review, and discovering that the super-hoppy beer I had just enjoyed has zero to do with an Old Ale, which is what the Hibernation is. Simply put: an Old Ale and hops (much less HOPS! *jazzhands*) have about as much in common as triremes and velociraptors. So I went back to the said drinking establishment, asked for a sample of the beer I was pretty sure they’d given me so that I could confirm what it was that I had in fact been drinking during the first go round, and then got a Hibernation FREALZ. I’ll review the Other Beer – the Free State Santa’s Helper – next. For now, here’s a real Hibernation Ale.
Name: Hibernation Ale
Origin: Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO
Style: Old Ale
IBU: not given
I drank this: on tap at Old Chicago, Olathe
It’s an Old Ale, so it’s malty. Very malty. Also, there’s some alcohol in here. Realistically, that could sum it up, but this is me and we all know by now that I can’t give you a fifteen-word review.
It has a nice, malty scent, but malty in that sort of way that, like with Oktoberfests, I’m incapable of describing it as anything else, so I will leave that where it is.
The Hibernation is a medium-colored malty-caramel-nutty-toasty-malty concoction of malts. The malts are great, but they weren’t what I noticed immediately on first sip – they’re really just the best way to sum it all up. The first thing I noticed when I sipped this beer is that it’s extremely heavy-bodied: thick, syrup-y, heavy-bodied like a champion Olympic weightlifter practically muscled THICK beer. With low carbonation. You know, like drinking syrup. Beyond that, it’s malts, as I said, with a hit of bite on the tongue from the hops, and a lingering (if light) burn of alcohol down the esophagus after the swallow.
The aftertaste provides the slightest hint of bitter hops – pine hops, mostly – which is largely overshadowed by toffee and Nutella tones (Nutella is hazelnut-chocolate spread from Europe and if you’ve never had any spread on a crepe, you’ve never really lived).
Basically, this is perfection in an Old Ale. I LOVE IT. Unabashedly and unashamedly love it. But then again, I love it enough to declare said love on the internet, but not enough to declare it my BFF beer – my BFF beer is still the Hibernation’s cousin, Great Divide’s Rumble. Being that the Rumble is unavailable until next JULY (SIGH AND SADNESS AND REMORSE AND GENERAL GNASHING OF TEETH BELONG HERE), it’ll work for a while. Enjoy one, especially if you find yourself among the hop-haters of the universe. This here beer is one of the maltiest of malt-fests I’ve ever encountered.