Beer Man

Great Divide is the latest brewery to bring back a throwback beer with Saint Bridget's Porter

The craft-brewing industry has been around long enough now that some of the older beer makers -- the ones that can remember being called "microbreweries" -- have started celebrating their histories by digging up old favorites that they no longer make.

The latest to do this is Great Divide Brewing, which will tap Saint Bridget's Porter at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 14. The "retro relic," which won a gold medal in 1996 at the World Beer Cup, was discontinued in 2010 to make way to some livelier styles.

See also: Left Hand brews throwback beers to celebrate its twentieth anniversary

"Saint Bridget's has such a legend status around here, and most of our employees have never even tried it," says Great Divide spokesman Doug Christie. "Besides Samurai, it's the one discontinued beer that fans write in and call in about with somewhat regularity, which, to me, is impressive, because we haven't brewed it in over four years."

At 5.9 percent ABV, it was described as an elegant, smooth porter, "brimming with the coffee and chocolate characteristics of dark barley malts."

Great Divide only brewed fourteen barrels of the Saint Bridget's on its pilot system as a way to honor its upcoming twentieth anniversary -- and because the beer had a St. Patrick's Day-looking theme; it will only be served on draft in the taproom.

As for other retro recipes, Christie says that since the pilot system is mostly used for experimentation and research, Great Divide doesn't have any immediate plans to brew another one. The brewers there are also going to be busy "nailing down" pilot beers for the brewery's twentieth anniversary party, taking place on June 14.

Other breweries that have been breaking out old beers include New Belgium, which began brewing "revival" beers like Loft, Springboard and Giddyup in 2013 and selling them only as part of their mixed twelve-packs; and Left Hand, which celebrated its own twentieth anniversary last year by making a limited amount of five old favorites like Jackman's Pale Ale, Deep Cover Brown and Tabernash Munich Dark Lager.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes