Since both Carter and Norm were out of commission this week, and not wanting to break from the usual format, I've decided that means it's a two-for-one special for me! And, with all the MAC games already done for this week, that means you can sit back, relax, and drink all day Saturday and Sunday while waiting for more weekday #MACtion.
The first beer I'm reviewing is Great Divide's Fresh Hop.
Great Divide was established way back in 2004 in Denver, Colorado. It is still a relatively small brewery, only having 45 employees, but it is big in stature, having won 5 World Beer Cup awards, 18 Great American Beer Festival medals, and multiple other distinctions. To see if you can find it, they have provided this beer finder here.
Great Divide Fresh Hop pours a cloudy copper color with just a light head on top. It smells like a light beer but looks like a darker ale. However, when you taste Fresh Hop, there is a mix of flavors. It starts with a grassy, citrus flavor that doesn't last too long on the tongue. After the crisp flavor ends, you are left with a lingering caramel aftertaste, which is not overwhelming.
It is a smooth, lighter bodied beer with very little bitterness - as it has only 55 IBUs. It is a beer that is very easy to drink and, overall, it is pretty good. As far as the fresh hopped beers go, this is one of the better ones. At $6.99 for a 22 ounce bomber and 6.1% ABV, it won't get you hammered, but it will be a great addition to any tailgate or party. I give it an eight.
The other beer this week is definitely more seasonal. I also tried Parallel 49's Old Boy.
Canada might not be known for its vast beer distribution, but today I have found a beer from our neighbors to the north. Parallel 49 is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and have been churning out beers since 2008. While they mostly only distribute to the Northwest (Southwest if you're in Canada) they can be found in some other areas in the US. To see if they are available in your area, here's their beer finder map.
Parallel 49's Old Boy Classic Ale pours a dark and creamy black color. There is little head, but some lacing will occur during drinking. When you first smell Old Boy, it is a strong coffee/porter smell that quickly dissipates into a more ale-like scent. The scent would make you think it was a creamier, thicker beer but when you first drink it, you'll notice it doesn't taste like that at all. It is rather thinner and tastes of nuts and pine - a taste that lingers a little after each sip. It is a very smooth ale, clocking in at just 27 IBUs, but does have that malty feel to it. That is to say, the malts are there, you can taste them, but they don't overpower the beer at all. It's like an brown ale that got watered down.
At only 5% ABV, it's an easy beer to drink, but it feels off somehow. I think the thin body threw me, as from the look and smell of Old Boy, I was expecting a thicker beer. And at $6.99 for a 22 ounce bomber, it was like Bowling Green's football team this year - you were expecting something bigger and bolder, but you got a weaker version instead. Not that it's bad by any means, just an unexpected twist. I'll give it a seven.