Great Divide – Nomad

Tasting: April 2, 2012
Style: Pilsner

Great Divide Nomad

There are two main beer classifications – lagers and ales. The simplest differentiators are that lager uses bottom-fermenting yeast, while ale yeast is top-fermenting yeast and that lager is fermented in much colder temperatures than ale. Under these two main categories there are many varieties. A Pilsner is a lager that originated in the Czechoslovakian city of Plzen in the mid-1800’s. The key ingredients in a pilsner are German malts (most likely crystal malts) and saaz hops. German malts lend a nice sweetness, while the saaz hops offer a spicy floral bitterness. Pilsners are typically crisp and smooth.
Not 100% sure of the Nomad reference – Great Divide says, “This nomad may wander, but it has some serious roots.” I assume it references that this pilsner is brewed about a half a world away from the Czech Republic. Yet, they also note that this pilsner is in fact made with German malt and saaz hops. Saaz hops are a “noble” hop named for the Czech city of Žatec. They shouldn’t be bitter as they check in with an alpha acidity (AA) of 3.5 – 4%. To put that in perspective – big American hops usually run about 15-18% AA.

Pours bright yellow. Nose is subtle. First sip is of bread/crackers. Some subtle sweetness — not enough for my liking. Hops are surprising – strong black pepper, grassy. Crisp finish with some lingering bitterness. Really a ho-hum beer. I’d give this a higher rating on a hot day after mowing the lawn, but here at my keyboard on an average day — I’ll call it 82 points.

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