Wednesday, October 08, 2008

An "A" for Avery

The night before the Great American Beer Festival is all about excitement, looking forward and seeing what pre-treats await that you may not necessarily find at the GABF itself. In that sense, Avery Brewing came through in a big way tonight.

The Boulder beer geniuses rolled out a sextet of experimental beers at Falling Rock Tap House that challenged and pleased. (I tried four.) Writing about them is dicey only because I can't tell you exactly where you can get them yourself again. But if you happen to see Adam Avery or if they happen to have any left over tomorrow at Falling Rock, tell them you want the good stuff.

The best of the bunch, in my opinion, was the Reverend Rare, Avery's big Belgian The Reverend aged in an Eagle Rare Barrel. That's a lot of inside jargon, but the best way to describe it is a beer with both a lot of hops and a lot of ester characteristics that leaves a pungent, almost apricot-y backtaste to enjoy.

My friend Sarah had higher praise for the Bad Sally, which is the fascinating combo of Salvation aged 6 months in oak with a secondary Brettanomyces fermentation. I loved this beer too, as it came on with the bite of a Belgian sour but hit the tongue, gave a quick bitter aftertaste and dissipated more crisply than your average beer of that ilk.

The Platypus was a pleasant if almost wonderfully unremarkable beer that had a pale come-on but one of the cleanest finishes you could imagine. And then there was the Deviation, the Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest fermented with a Belgian yeast strain; I loved the complexity of this creation but was left with the odd impression that I was drinking a hoppier-than-average ESB.

But this is what the festival is all about: The best and the boldest in the American brewing industry today. Hopefully I'll see you over the next three days at the show while I try to bring you at least daily updates. If you want to come up and say hi, I'll be easy to find: I'll be the guy drinking beer . . .

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