Hercules Double IPA offers a cornucopia for the senses, First Draft columnist Rob Neal says.

Great Divide Brewing hit the ground running when it opened in 1994 in Denver. Within three months of brewing its very first batch of beer, Great Divide was awarded a medal at the Great American Beer Festival.

From the moment it opened its doors, Great Divide has thoroughly dedicated itself to making "big beers." Some of these progressive, bold offerings have included wood-aged beers, barley wines, smoked ales and double India pale ales.

Hercules Double IPA is not a brew for Joe Sixpack. It is malty, sweet, bitter, potent and aromatic. A veritable cornucopia for the senses, this double IPA is unforgiving and aggressive.

The brew pours a very dark orange color and has an ample, off-white head with good carbonation. Aromas of orange peel, toffee, spruce and hazelnut will dazzle – make that attack – your senses. It has flavors of Tootsie Roll, grapefruit, caramel and a hint of toasted vanilla bean. It finishes sweet at first, but the spiciness from the hops dries out the finish.

At 10 percent alcohol by volume and with 85 international bitterness units, or IBUs, Hercules is immensely assertive. Without a doubt, Hercules is one of the very best double India pale ales in the world, and pairs nicely with a creamy blue cheese. It's available in 4-packs and retails for $13.99.

Rob Neal is a home-brewing consultant at Gentile's, the Wine Sellers. Check out his blog at brewski-bros.blogspot.com.