19th Anniversary Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

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19th Anniversary Ale19th Anniversary Ale

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
19th Anniversary Ale isn’t just a wood-aged ale. It’s a compass – a reminder of where we’ve been and where we’re going. Brewed with pure birch syrup and aged on birch wood, this beer embraces reverential tradition and revolutionary innovation.

Added by Jason on 04-29-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 384
Photo of calebjross
4.8/5  rDev +33.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 5

The first in what I hope to be many videos on my beer review channel. I present 19th Anniversary Ale from Great Divide Brewing. It's probably not in good form to make my first review one featuring a beer that probably isn't available anymore to most of you. Oops.

Watch my full beer review here, and subscribe for more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY8dBty7JuQ

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.53/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: center-pour into a tulip, pale-to-medium amber beer with a few fingers of off-white head, lace lines left behind

S: crisp hops of pine mingle with woodsy aromas over a delicate pale malt base

T: following the nose, crisp, bitter pie resin hoppiness, lots of wood flavors, touch of caramel-esque sweetness from the birch syrup, terrific malt profile

M: balanced between the soft and sharp, moments of bittering and coating sensation, brisk carbonation, medium weight

O: excellent use of birch, lending both sweet and dry moments; similar to a DIPA, but much lighter in feel and with great balance between the malt and hop character.Something of a hybrid between an English and American strong ale (think: Oaked Arrogant Bastard meets Fuller's 1845). An exceptional brew.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.35/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a Dogfish Head IPA glass

A - An aggressive pour yields an almost clear honey brass color with a timid white head. High specks and lower spider lacing.

S - Coconut shavings, woody, buttery caramel, salty, a quick swirl brings out a bready yeast.

T - Very woody upfront with loads of toasted coconut, spicy bitterness on the outside edges, sugar cookies, buttery malts, like crunch n munch light. Spicy alcohol fits in perfectly and really adds to the overall flavor profile. Finishes woody and brisk with a long woody aftertaste.

M - Full bodied but in a light silky kinda way, low carbonation has just enough lifting power to provide silky feel.

Wow! This is head over heels better than the last 2 anniversary beers GD has put out. The wood is dominate but in a very "non-powering" light way. The sweetness is lightened by the wood pairing with a savory salty/buttery character that really pulls everything together. It's not trying to be overly complex but succeeds in a simple but complex way.(If that makes any sense) This is a well made and very rounded brew. Happy anniversary Great Divide!

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.32/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

P: A crystal clear golden body with a nice milky off-white crown. Respectable retention with a garter of sexy lace inviting you to dive in.

S: Crisp toasty aroma. Apricots, smoked birch, toasted toffee, scotch, cardamom, salty caramel, cinnamon and sugar covered pecans.

T/M: Hoppy spices and lightly smoked birch and a sweet toasted malt base. Taste is very scotch like with an herbal presence, toasted toffee and tropical fruits. Syrupy/sticky mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Finishes dry with lingering scotch and smoked birch.

O: Surprisingly smooth for this thick palates booze monster. This is a successful woody in my opinion. The birch and scotch really ensures the palate and keep it guessing. I wish I would have picked up another on to age. Oh well. Cheers!

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Photo of Dan_Inreallife
4.32/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice golden color with a thin white head and strong lacing. Incredible oak and vanilla flavor with a very pleasant malty sweetness and slick mouth feel. Carbonation level is perfect for the style and the ABV is deceptive. It goes down very smooth for over 10%

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Photo of chanokokoro
4.27/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Great Divide Brewing Company branded snifter

Pours a deep golden with amber accents capped with a one and half finger fluffy bright white head that dissipates fairly quickly; splotchy lacing here and there. Fresh cut wood, grass, honey, and pear on the nose. Lightly sweet syrup, honey, and herbal/grassy notes with some breadiness midpalate. Finishes with fresh cut wood and accents of clean alcohol. Full bodied, syrupy and smooth; mild, gentle carbonation. This is truly an unique brew and a very enjoyable one at that. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.25/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on-tap at The Local Miami. Served in a Florida Beer Co. tapered glass.

A- Pours a clean medium amber color with a 1/4 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Slippery, non-resilient lacing leaves clots behind on the glass.

S- Very sweet, almost candyish type of aroma with some vanilla notes.

T- Initial sweetness soon turns a bit woody then right back to sweet in the aftertaste. Smooth but with a bit of alcohol fume trailing behind it. The sweetness is semi-fruity but in a red cherry/caramel/burnt sugar context. Ok, I got it: rum. Tastes like a very sweet rum. Still, the alcohol is concealed quite well even as it warms.

M- Moderate booze bite with a slightly syrupy feel. Medium carbonation and a body that's just a tad light.

O- Totally unique, very tasty and quite surprising.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Bottled on April 22, 2013.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear golden orange with a moderate amount of carbonation. Solid two fingers of white head that slowly recede into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: An interesting and sweet aroma of wood hints, caramel malt, fruit esters, and spices. Upfront barrel hints of wood, oak, vanilla, and whiskey. Big hints of the birch syrup. Spice hints of cinnamon and cardamon. Sweet malt presence with hints of caramel, toffee, yeast, and grains. Fruit esters of orange, apricot, tangerine, and lemon. Candied sugar sweetness. Also hints of butterscotch and honey. Fairly boozy. Quite a unique and interesting aroma.

Taste: As unique as it smells, a taste of wood notes, sweet malt, fruit esters, and spices. Big wood barrel taste upfront with notes of vanilla, oak, and whiskey. Noticeable taste of the birch syrup along with some butterscotch, candied sugar and honey. Fairly spicy with notes of cinnamon and cardamon. Malts with a taste of sweet caramel, toffee, yeast, and wheat grains. Citrus fruit esters of orange, tangerine, apricot, and lemon. Earthy with some notes of piney hops. Taste of alcohol is also noticeable to a degree. Taste is sweet but not cloying. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, syrupy, and slick. Fairly boozy but this goes down easier than expected.

Overall: This came out pretty good to me. Very unique, not sure what they were going for but it is tasty to me. Its almost like an aged IPA or barelywine aged on wood. Actually smoother than I expected.

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Photo of Bung
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Darker golden pour, nearly no head. Just a minimal run of white. Fairly viscous looking though.

Aroma, herbal and woody. Definete pancakes and syrup like sweetness.

Taste, faint citrus zest, quickly turns to a woody sweet. Malty caramel, some toasted malt notes. Some bitters and booze battle the sweet in the finish. The toffee stays with you though.

Quite coating, a good level of carbonation helps to keep the stickiness in check just a bit. A little warming, might be a better cooler weather beer. Would be interesting to see what some age does with this. It's perfectly fine now however.

Probably the closest thing I've tasted to some of Founders non-stout barrel aged beers. Rougher around the edges but very nice.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.14/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber served chilled into a goblet. Bottled 4/22/13.

Great Divide's 19th is a slightly hazy copper color with thin white head. It settles fairly quickly and leaes some spotty lace.

Aroma is sweet and hoppy with a distinct wood-aged character. That vanilla and caramel come through here.

Flavor is really intense and truly unique. They make a similar beer every year for their anniversary but it always seems to be a little different. It's basically a hugely bitter double IPA that has been aged on wood and, in this case, with birch syrup added. There's a earthy woodsy taste but I'm not sure about aging IPAs. Maybe a barley wine would be better suited.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. Very bitter but somewhat balanced with some subtle sweetness.

Overall a very good wood aged ale but maybe they could change things up for the big 20 next year.

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Photo of bpasquini
4.14/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Nice light copper color, very little head from pouring, head goes away quickly leaving very slight lacing around the glass

S: Smells boozy at first then is followed with some slight caramel and malts, the birch syrup is definitely present as well

T: Very malty, some caramelized sugar, very slight hop presence which is predominately pine, the syrup is slightly noticeable as well, has a slight bitterness at the end as well which compliments the taste, it takes your palate away from all the sweetness

M: Not what I was expecting, it is surprisingly light but the beer is heavy, you definitely notice a little bit of the syrup texture as well

O: Not what I was expecting at all, but still a strong brew, like the sweetness and slight bitterness mix, and the birch syrup really compliments the beer, wouldn't recommend going out of the way for this one but if you're looking for a new beer to try and its there I would recommend grabbing it

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.09/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The color is golden while the compact small head is off-white. Nice lacings.

S: Lots of syrupy-sweet caramell malt. The birch chips are very obivious (smells just like my home-made-birch-schnaps). Hoppy and very fruity. Vanilla and coconut.

T: Very sweet, malty and toffee. Birch, coconut and vanilla dominates. Dark dried fruits and even some nice fresh ones.

M: Body is actually thick and sticky, while carbonation is very mild. Aftertaste is both bitter and sweet, but not very long. Alcoholic and warming.

O: This is my first birch-beer, but I'm no stranger to birch in alcoholic beverages... Very nice and interesting. If all beers with birch is like this - they should replace oak to birch in beers from now on!
This beer would probably evolve if properly cellared.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.03/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz.

Pours a deep, slightly hazy honey gold. White sudsy lacing for a head.

Smells of honey, molasses, biscuits and rich citrusy hops.

Honey and biscuit malt, rich and flavorful, with a mild bite of citrus hops.

Medium body with a mild fizzy carbonation on the tongue. Warms a bit going down.

A nice strong ale, goes down easy and has a good flavor. Very worth trying. Hides its strength pretty well until the mouthfeel where you really notice it.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear slightly orange golden color with a tight white head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of touches of wood with some syrupy sweet notes.

Tastes of the light wood notes with some toasted malt notes underneath along with some slight grassy hops. The birch notes lead off with some birch beer notes. Touches of sugary sweetness along with some wood. Toasted malt notes come through and add to some of the birch beer notes, but don't make it too sweet. Grassy hops come through next. Finishes with the wood notes.

Mouthfeel is full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is tasty, but the sweet birch beer notes don't get me too excited.

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Photo of ckollias
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this large bottle brew out of snifter glass.

A: Pours a golden hue with a thin white head that quickly dissipates leaving a wispy lace and no trail.

S: Floral earthy hop and malt aroma.

T: Very strong alcoholic and sweet flavor. Finishes like it starts – strong and sweet.

M: Heavy body and medium carbonation.

O: Very good DIPA – worthy of a try.

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Photo of Pencible
3.99/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear gold with a little off white head.
S: It smelled like wild honey and sweet caramel, with some biscuit and a little copper.
T: It tasted like sweet honey and sugary caramel, with some woody biscuit and a little copper. It had a sweet and clean aftertaste.
M: It was thick with moderate carbonation. Great big body.
D: This was a nice brew. I don't know birch that well, but this definitely had a unique and sugary scent and taste. The body was excellent, and the finish was smooth with well hidden alcohol, so it was easy to drink. Doesn't need age, but it might not hurt either. Very enjoyable beer, even if not terribly exciting.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

as far as I know the first deviation from the ipa anniversary beer line, but its a welcomed change. as much as I liked the 18th, I like this one too. it pours a honey color with maybe three inches of white head and good retention. its go a birchy nose indeed, much like the syrup in the life and limb or in that Alaskan pilot series bock I think it was, this has that same earthy sweet aroma, but the malt base is light enough to let it shine. really nice. the flavor is on the sweet side, which would be a detractor, except for that the sweetness is not malt sweetness or residual sugar in the conventional sense. its entirely different sweet, fro the birch, and its really nice in a lighter ale. the alcohol is there in the finish, but its not too intense. also the birch chips its aged on seem to only make a minimal contribution to flavor, giving some mellowness to the whole operation, but not potent like oak can be. the body is a little heavier than id like to it be, although not so much that a bomber of this isnt drinkable in one dose, because it surely is. the carbonation is very lively, which helps a lot, and allows the sweetness not to linger too long on the finish. this probably lacks complexity compared to the wood aged ipas that have been the hallmark of great divides anniversary series, but I appreciate the new direction. this is something very new, and easily worth the 8 or so dollars I paid for it.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Golden blonde with a hint of copper more towards the center. Poured with no head. You can swirl it to get a nice head on it though.

S: Surprisingly, I smell a lot of lemon and citrus. Very light and with what seems to be some floral pine. Swirling it really brings out the pine and a hint of creaminess. I haven't really smelled birch or birch sap but that is probably the lingering smell,

T: It tastes like a really hoppy barleywine or an oak-aged DIPA. It is mostly pine or I guess it would be birch in this case. I guess I don't know what I was expecting out of this since I wasn't even sure of the style of the beer when I first got it. I hate when they just say ale. I thought it was a stout considering how dark the bottle was. It's good and is quite in line with their previous anniversary DIPAs of which I haven't had any but still know where I could get them. It is quite good and reminds me a bit of fresh Bigfoot. It kind of tastes like you would think a pinecone would.

M: Solid carbonation with a nice prickly coarseness.

O: It's pretty great, just not at all what you would expect. I was expecting something a bit sweeter, but this is a pleasant surprise. Good stuff but I don't know how it would stand up to aging even at the relatively high abv. I feel like this is probably best fresh. It seems like the hops are the main part of it and there isn't too much of the birch aging in there that I can taste. Aging might just bring the birch to the front, which would be interesting but probably not too good though.

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Photo of mpedara429
3.96/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A slightly hazy amber color with a finger of off white head. Low retention and spotty lacing.

S: Toffee, booze, vanilla, and wood.

T: Similar to the smell. A strong bitter bite on the finish that is accompanied by woody and earthy tones.

M: Medium heavy body with a softer carbonation. Body is also sticky, smooth and creamy.

O: Its kind of unusual, but pretty good. The taste is different as it comes in a super sweet wave, and then a bitter earthy wave.

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Photo of BKBassist
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

A - Golden orange with a clean, small bubbled, fast dissipating head.

S - Oak (birch I suppose actually) forward, hints of vanilla and coconut.

T - I have no idea what a birch tree looks like or smells like or tastes like. To me, the wood notes in this beer are similar to oak aged beers I have had. It imparts a creamy, vanilla, hint of coconut and peach feel. The base beer of this was probably quite hoppy, as there is a DIPA like tropical backbone.

M - tiny carb, nice and solid feel. Typical of BA strong ales.

O - I like this beer. I can't say I can differentiate from a similar beer aged in oak, but it's drinkable for the ABV, pleasantly flavoured and well made.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Great Divide tulip. Pours a medium burnished gold amber with a two finger light khaki head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of sweet malt, oak (birch?), light fruit, birch beer. Flavor starts with caramel malt, woody vanilla, toffee, birch syrup then develops a woody, earthy bitterness, finishing with a lingering bitterness that seems more herbal than hoppy. Medium bodied with light creaminess. An interesting strong ale tastes like an oaked hybrid of scottish ale and a sweet Belgian quad. Overall different and flavorful, but the finish is somewhat stark and a little astringent. The alchohol is well covered, but this is definitely warming. I completely missed this beers very brief availability at home and found this bottle 400 miles away. Although it is almost a year old, it seems to have held up well. This beer grew on me as a drank it, perhaps as my tongue got bitterness fatigue, which made the finish more pleasant. I like the vanilla flavors associated with oak barrelling and know know that similar flavors are associated with birch chips. Glad I found this.

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Photo of beergoot
3.86/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a solid gold colored body with a nice yet quickly dissipating white head; thin sheets of foam continue to coat the glass. Very appealing citrus/orange and malt aroma; orange marmalade. Very soft, very smooth mouthfeel with a bold citrus, malt, and strong (yet well-tamed) alcohol presence.

Smooth and orange-y describes this high ABV ale overall. I can't say where there predominant orange-like smell and flavor come from, but it actually works well with the malts and boozy character. A rather unique yet intriguingly approachable big beer.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

10 oz. into a tulip at Capital Ale House in Fredericksburg, VA. From notes.

A: Pours a dark golden color. There's about a finger of white-colored head that's bubbly in texture. Head duration is solid, and lacing left behind is plentiful.

S: A rather sweet brew, as expected. I don't pick up much oak aging, but I do pick up plenty of sweet caramel, treacle, citrusy hops, and maybe a touch of dark fruit. It's not as hoppy as I anticipated.

T: It starts off with a prominent treacle flavor. This transitions into a faint bite of citrusy hops and booze drying out the aftertaste somewhat. Really damn good, if slightly lacking in complexity.

M: The feel is both thick and creamy, while the drying bite on the back end doesn't strike me as being remotely harsh. It's quite drinkable for something so big. Carbonation pokes through the full body quite well.

O: This exceeded my expectations slightly. Even if it's not the deepest, it's drinkable and more pleasant than its gravity would suggest. I enjoyed killing this, but I don't think it would have been this good straight from the bottle.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: shiny dirty orange, trace white head, firm lacing

S: lovely birch aroma, smoked/BBQ scent

T: sweet molasses, citrus, firm malt, long smokey/bbq finish

M: med body, hint of stickiness on the finish

O: Enjoy GD and this beer sounds fascinating, but wish
it was a little heavier. The ABV creeps up on you; the
body makes it very drinkable.


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Photo of CSeanGraae
3.84/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up on a whim, and have generally been a fan of Great Divide's brews. That being said, this one challenged my pallet. Overall, I have mixed feelings.

Served in: snifter

A: clear, golden amber - a color that is reminiscent of honey. Minimal, white head that doesn't hang around for long. Leaves a fine tinge of bubbles around the rim.

S: Floral character that reminds me of jasmine. A swirl reveals notes reminiscent of a moderately smokey scotch, with the high ABV coming in loud and clear.

T: Not your conventional taste experience. Challenging. Starts sweet and ends with a complex, bitter finish. Herbal, grassy notes follow the front end. There's a slight smokiness to the finish. Like a harder liquor, clear notes of alcohol can linger for a while after sips. Definitely reminds of of whiskey or scotch.

M: Lightly effervescent. On the low end of the carbonation scale. Has a modest, syrupy quality.

O: I'm intrigued. Maybe a bit confused. Did they intend to give it the character of a fine scotch or whiskey? If so, then mission accomplished. Not something I would choose to drink on a regular basis. Definitely a thought provoking brew though.

Note: this is my first review, so take it with a grain of salt.

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19th Anniversary Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
3.59 out of 5 based on 384 ratings.
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