Great Divide Brewing “Hercules”

July 13, 2011

I’d be remiss if I began analyzing today’s beer without, at least, some mention of Universal Picture’s remake of The Nutty Professor starring Eddie Murphy. This movie provoked an almost unhealthy number of hours of mirth from my friends and I; one friend in particular. We’d goof off and endlessly quote the sillier scenes where Murphy plays his entire family while wearing different “fat suits.” The one line we’d repeat more than any other was Eddie, playing main character Sherman Klump’s mother at the dinner table, positively gushing over her youngest son’s perceived strength.

“Herc-a-lees! Herc-a-lees!”

A misspent young adulthood? Perhaps. You should’ve seen us at his friend’s wedding… the one where he was a groomsman. He got, shall we say, a little tippled during the reception and began pulling non sequiturs from the film, loudly, to anyone who cared to partake in his cleverness. I rolled my eyes, edged away from the cake-cutting ceremony and muttered something like, “I don’t know this guy!”

The real Hercules is a synonym for strength. A Roman god whose myth was lifted from the Greek Heracles, he was a child resultant from one of Zeus’ many dalliances with mortal women. Hera, Zeus’ wife, was once again seething with rage over her husband’s infidelity. It happened often in the Greek/Roman myths, actually. For reference, see Aphrodite, Dionysus, Perseus, Athena, Apollo, etc. Hera twisted Hercules’ sanity to the point he killed his wife and kids. When he regained his senses, the Oracle at Delphi ordered him to serve the king of Mycenea who charged him with seemingly insurmountable tasks such as rounding up or killing massive, brutish beasties and stealing the belts off of Amazonian women.

So, being half god, half human gave Hercules an unfair advantage over other mortals. Thusly, his tasks had to be proportionately heroic. This makes the name Hercules perfect for a strong IPA. Great Divide Brewing Company’s double IPA sports this moniker in demonstration of being more than the average, mortal beer… for being stronger than most and capable of achieving great feats others can’t. Displaying a hazy, coppery-amber hue, Hercules holds his head high and fluffy with nice, sticky trails of lacing wandering down the sides of the glass like footpaths along Olympus. Wow, that’s hyperbole simile, even for me! Brawny scents of pine, tangerine and grapefruit do battle with subtle, toffee-ish malt sweetness before they succumb to the big, spicy citrus. But like lopping a head off a Hydra, those malts come back in the flavor to strike a balance with the muscular hops. The outcome is never in doubt, however, and the bitter, astringent and even earthy hops claim victory.

It’s got big biceps in the form of 10%abv and a texture as thick as the impervious hide of the Nemean Lion. Tread carefully, ye mortals.