Beer Review: Hoptober Golden Ale [New Belgium Brewing Company]

Hoptober Golden Ale [New Belgium Brewing Company]

Hoptober Golden Ale
Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, Colorado)
Style: American Blonde Ale
ABV: 6.0%

Last weekend was the perfect transition from summer to fall, at least here in Chicago. Friday and Saturday were blistering hot, once again pushing into the mid-nineties, but then there was a miraculous cooldown beginning on Sunday that has since led us to the gorgeous autumn weather. The arrival of the new season also means that it is time for the craft beer fall seasonals to start hitting the shelves. My first selection: New Belgium’s Hoptober Golden Ale.

My beer style of choice for this summer was anything and everything IPA. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to stick with the hoppy ales as I ease back into some of the heavy hitters during the cold months.

Hoptober is a very interesting beer. When poured into a glass, it has a clear golden appearance. Its aroma is equal parts floral and fruity, and the hops really come through after tasting. This is significantly hoppier than most fall seasonals that I have had, and I love it. According to the brewery’s website, five different hops were used: Centennial, Cascade, Sterling, Glacier and Willamette. This results in a very unique array of flavors that bounce around all over the tongue.

I would be remiss not to mention the fruit, which manages to stand out amidst the hops. I noticed hints of all sorts of fruits, everything from mangos to oranges to grapefruits. Seriously, it’s all over the place, and that’s a very good thing.

As far as fall beers go, this one stands out amongst the pack. It was released just a week ago, and it should remain in stores through November. If you are a fan of hoppy beers, do yourself a favor and look Hoptober up. This may be my favorite offering from New Belgium.

8.5/10

Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout [Great Divide]

Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Brewery: Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver, Colorado)
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.5%

Oh man, do I love oak aged beers! I don’t know if I am just now noticing them or if they have exploded in popularity lately, but I seem to have been finding more oak aged brews than ever before. Great Divide’s Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout is the “sophisticated sibling” to the brewery’s regular Yeti Imperial Stout. I haven’t tried the regular stout so I won’t be able to compare between the two, but judging by the quality of this beer I am sure it’s great.

This oak aged stout pours very dark, almost completely black but with a mocha-colored head. Upon tasting, many different flavors come through. I noticed hints of chocolate and dark coffee, as well as a subtle vanilla touch that is caused by the oak aging. The tastes of roasted malts and hops are also prominent. The lingering aftertaste is strong and a little bitter, but I love it. This is a very easy Russian Imperial Stout to drink.

Compared to other similar stouts, Yeti is reasonably priced for a 22oz bottle. At 9.5% ABV, you definitely get your money’s worth as well. This is one of the better stouts I have had lately, and if you have any interest in oak-aged beers you really should give this a try.

8.5/10

Apparently there are also espresso oak aged and chocolate oak aged versions of this stout. Looks like I am going to have to take another trip to the beer depot!