A Few Nights with Avery

Avery Hog Heaven

Over the past few nights, we’ve spent some time with a few of Avery Brewing Company’s unique beer offerings. While watching the Broncos vs. Steelers playoff game this past weekend, we cracked open a bottle of their Hog Heaven Barley Wine which I received for my birthday. As the boys in blue and orange pulled off a miraculous upset, we imbibed on this intense libation. Barley wines are something that I have only recently begun to experiment with, and to my recollection this skewed to one of the more potent that I’ve sampled. The beer pours a ruby copper color with a slight head and a hoppy, boozy and grapefruit aroma. For lack of better terms the flavor of this beer is big. Hog is intense on all fronts, at least to my palate. From all fronts I was bombarded with hints of malt, citrus, hop and booze. The best way to describe this shock is to take the freshest harvest pale ale of fall and amplify it exponentially. I have another bottle that I plan to cellar for some time to see how this beer changes with the passing of time.

Continuing the affair of the past few evenings with brews born just north and west of where I write these words, last night we attended our second night of Euclid Hall’s beer month (pdf) to partake in one of the month’s brew bites where they match a particular style of beer to selections of their delectable cuisine. Tuesday, the 10th, was sour night which entailed three sour beers paired with three bites. Lilikoi Mahu with roasted beet ambrosia. Immitis, another Avery barrel aged brew, with butter poached mussels. Finally, Duchesse de Bourgogne with a sourdough waffle tart.

My notes from last night are limited to Lilikoi Mahu, so I’ll reserve my thoughts for the remainder of this posting to it. Lilikoi, with hints of tartness and sourness, is a very fruity and sessionable beer. It pours a hazy straw yellow color and has an aroma of passion fruit, yeast and a bit of funk. The taste falls in line with it’s aroma. While I prefer a beer that is a bit more assertive, Lilikoi does take you on a journey from passion fruit, to hints of a German wit beer and finally to touches of yeast and sourness. The passion fruit found in it’s aroma and taste brought me back to the days of my childhood and juice boxes during lunch and recess. I’m very thankful to have been able to imbibe on such a rare offering.

What I feel like expressing more so than my ramblings about brews is my experience with Avery Brewing Company and Euclid Hall. In a world of homogenized bullshit corporate crap it is really uplifting to encounter and speak with, albeit briefly, with a few people who truly take pride in the work that they do and what they create. Many thanks to Adam for taking the time to personally respond to my inquiry about the aging of Hog Heaven and to Cicerone Ryan Conklin for taking the time to shoot the shit about Euclid Hall’s beer month and his thoughts on the subject.

Avery’s Meretrix

Avery Meretrix Release Party

Up until this past weekend I had never attended a bottle release party, especially one where attendance is a must to procure a bottle or two. I’ve been to my fair share of beer festivals and brewery parties, but this sort of beer event had alluded my attendance. To my recollection, few within the Colorado region have crossed my radar, and those that have presented scheduling conflicts. Therefore, I’ve always been jealous of friends in the North East who have taken many short whimsical road trips, through beautiful countryside ripe with delectable seafood and brew, to obtain a special releases from the likes of Allagash and Portsmouth Brewing Companies. Thus, when news of Avery’s release of Meretrix – a sour ale brewed with sour cherries and aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels – crossed my wire, Miss E and I decided we would make a rare trip to the People’s Republic with the hopes of acquiring a few bottles.

On a sweltering mid-summer day, with Miss E catching some flies while sitting shotgun, we headed northwest for our first special release party as well as first visit to Avery Brewing Company. In all honesty, I’m not that familiar with Avery’s offerings. I recently had Maharaja, their Imperial IPA, at Amato’s and enjoyed it. While I like their traditional IPA on tap, I found a recent 6er purchase to be a bit metallic on my taste buds. Other than that, I’ve knew little of their beers. Subsequently, we had little idea of what to expect from their tap-room and brewery. Upon our arrival around three in the afternoon, the brewery was alive with activity with beer-fiends packing the small tap room like bees to a hive. Impressively, the tap-room offered at least 15 beers conservatively speaking (more likely in the range of 20) and our favorite of which was Eremita, a sour ale.

We obtained a spot near the front of the line assuring us the eight bottles of Meretrix we had come to acquire. Having obtained a prime spot in line meant we were able to wait inside the brewery which was key given the heat of the day. A few minutes after the stroke of 5pm we purchased our bottles and headed back to the tap room to have a few more tasters and shoot the shit with some friends.

Avery Brewing Company

We’ve yet to try Meretrix, and I plan on writing about it when we do. We got three bottles for ourselves, one of which I will cellar for a year or so, and the remaining five will be given to friends and family. In hindsight, we didn’t need to get to the brewery so early to get the beer, as friends of ours were able to snag bottles long after the line had subsided. With that said, if I decide to attend their next barrel series release, I’ll still get there just as early to enjoy the fun.

Drink up.