Brewery Love: Avery Brewing

Hello Foodista.com readers!  We’ve put together a special post just for you, but unfortunately this isn’t it.  So read up on how awesome Avery Brewing is if you’d like to, and then click here to pop over to our food pairing post.

Cheers! – Don and Jim

 

Usually, a brewery makes one or two beers I love, a bunch of stuff that’s decent and one or two clunkers that I think are awful. New Holland is a good example of this.  My favorite beer in the world is their amazing Dragon’s Milk (which I should stop talking about if I ever hope to find any on the shelves), their other stuff like Night Tripper is more than serviceable, and their Charkoota Rye was dreadful.  Flying Dog is another brewery that fits this bill, and I’ll even lump Dogfish Head in here as well, which makes sense, given the risks they take with their beers – no one’s gonna love them all.

But there are a few breweries that can do no wrong in my eyes. I thought it was time to give them some love, starting with Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colorado.  

I have to admit, that Avery snuck up on me. They really weren’t on my radar as a top-tier brewery, and I was always annoyed how their bottles are topped in foil. Sure it looks good, but it also makes me think that a fleck of foil is going to get into my glass.  But over time, I started to realize that everything I had from them was either very good or downright excellent. Foil be damned, these guys are pros.

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First, I had their Reverend, a Belgian Quad, which was quite serviceable for the style, but didn’t quite stack up against the big boys from Belgium that I was sampling at the time. Still, I picked up the bottle to see what I could learn about Avery.

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Then I had a Maharaja, their double IPA, and was enchanted with its huge hoppy profile and sweet notes of tangerine and pineapple. It was instantly my favorite of the style, beating out Pliny for that honor.

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Then I had their Kaiser imperial Oktoberfest and that, too, was awesome.  Again, there were subtle notes pineapple in there that really captured my attention.

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And this past Sunday, I had their Czar imperial stout,  which treated me to a lush sweetness that made my toes curl.  Not too roasty like some, and not as full-on sweet as a Southern Tier Oat, I think it could be the best I’ve had.

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I’ve probably had other offerings from these guys as well, but these are the ones that stick out.  Sure, the beers above are all big, imperial beers served in bombers, which are my favorite types of brews.  And three out of the four are from their Dictator Series, so it’s not a huge sample.  But it’s enough.  Every beer I’ve had from these guys tells me they like what I like, and they brew their beers accordingly.

Now I’ll admit, I haven’t had their everyday offerings like Ellie’s Brown Ale or White Rascal, but I’m certainly inclined to give them a shot.  It’s just that I don’t drink a lot of sessionable beers, and every time I see that red “A” on the bottle neck, I begin to salivate thinking about what’s in the big bottles.  And like Pavlov’s dog with a debit card, I reach for those instead.  I’ll apply a little discipline next time and expand my knowledge of Avery’s lineup.  And hopefully the love affair will continue.

How about you?  Are there any breweries that you just adore, trusting them to deliver a great beer, regardless of style?

As always, let us know below!

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Categories: Beer, review

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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36 Comments on “Brewery Love: Avery Brewing”

  1. November 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Not only do they make great beers, but they are good people! I was in Bolder a couple weeks ago for the Beer Bloggers Conference. The Friday of Registration, I sent out a tweet around 8am to see if any other bloggers wanted to head over there for lunch. Be for I knew it there was 20 of us headed there. So out of courtesy, I called up the tasting room to expect a posse of uber beer geek to invade. Not only were they super accommodating of our group, but they also gave us a personal tour of their Barrel Room, where we got to try some of their sours straight out of the barrels as well as a triple Dry hopped DuganA.
    (http://www.simplybeer.com/blog/2010/11/10/day-1-beer-bloggers-conference-avery-oscar-blues-and-bring-your-own-bottle/)

    So yes, they are one of the Great American Craft breweries, in my opinion too!

    • November 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

      That sounds awesome, Peter. One of their sours (forget the name) that I had at the Rare Beer Tasting at GABF was by far the best I’ve had. But you know me, I hate sours, so I’m hardly an arbiter of taste. But still, I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed myself in the barrel room.

  2. Rob Crozier
    November 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more – Avery is definitely in my top 3 breweries. Like you, I have only tried their big bottles and not their everyday offerings but I can’t imagine there’s a big dip in the quality.

    • November 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

      They really snuck up on me, Rob. No hype, no recommendations, just the realization that I kept having a beer and going “wow” and there was a big red “a” on the label.

  3. Evan
    November 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    Mmmmm….. I’ve got a bottle of Hog Heaven I’ve been aging a few years. Been tempted to grab it lately.

    • November 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

      I have a new one in the garage that’s not going to see Saturday morning. I only age by accident.

    • Evan
      November 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

      Oh, and my favorite, “can do no wrong” breweries: Black Raven, and Firestone Walker

      • November 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

        I haven’t had either. I think the only way I’m gonna get any Firestone out here is to buy some Trader Joe’s beers.

      • Evan
        November 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

        I know a guy who can get them. Jus sayin

  4. November 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    I’ll skip Minnesota breweries so I don’t come off as a total homer (even though I have an undying love for anything Surly, Schell’s & Brau Brothers and you should try anything you can from any of them!)

    My #1 “Can Do No Wrong” brewery is Founders. They’d be one of my favorite breweries with just their Harvest Ale (which sadly didn’t make it to any of my stores this year), Backwoods Bastard and KBS but when you throw in Breakfast Stout (probably my #2 coffee beer), Nemesis and their Imperial Stout that’s a lineup to be reckoned with. I could keep going with Devil Dancer, Double Trouble IIPA, Old Curmudgeon, Dirty Bastard and even Cerise but I think you got my point by now.

    I agree with you to a certain extent about Dogfish Head being too varied to enjoy their entire lineup but maybe I’m just blessed with an optimistic tongue because I’ve loved everything I’ve tried from them. Palo Santo Marron, 90 Minute and ImmortAle belong in a hall of fame, gigantic beers like 120 Minute, Worldwide Stout & Raison D’extra are way too drinkable to be 16%+. What’s that? You want crazy off the wall stuff the likes of which you’ve never had? Here’s some Theobroma, Pangaea and Midas Touch for ya. Throw in my favorite coffee beer (Chicory Stout) and they’re pushing Founders for my personal favorite.

    I’d say the one that would currently be #3 on that list for me is Bell’s. Hopslam & Two Hearted might be the best one-two IPA/IIPA punch in the business. I love their Cherry & Java Stouts, their Expedition Imperial Stout is fantastic and then they throw in an amazing hybrid like Hell Hath No Fury. Great lineup, top to bottom.

    The up and comer, because they’ve only been in MN for about a half year, is Odell. I haven’t had a ton of their stuff yet but so far, so good. They could be #3 next year at this time for me.

    Cheers!

    • November 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

      Can’t argue with any of it, Mikey. I love Founders, *almost* everything from DFH is great (or inspired) and my limited-by-geography experiences with Bell’s has been impressive.

      • November 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

        Well, if there’s every anything you really want to try that I can get let me know. I don’t ship much beer at all but for you guys I’d make an exception sometime!

        • Don
          November 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

          NEW GLARUS!

        • November 23, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

          There’s no New Glarus in Minnesota, Don.

          Sad, but true.

      • November 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

        I do make road trips at times (I can buy it 37 miles from my house) plus I usually have a few bottles of New Glarus in my bar.

        I’ve been doing my best to hunt down a couple bottles of Bitches Brew and if I get word that some hits Wisconsin I’ll be crossing the border into the land of cheese since I can’t buy DFH in MN either.

  5. Don
    November 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Avery gets it. I can’t wait to try some of the canned beer lineup. So far they haven’t made it to Idaho. Perhaps next summer. One other brewery I’d throw into the mix is Great Divide. Their entire Yeti series is top shelf, they make great IPAs, and I just had their Old Ruffian Barleywine that I tought was very well crafted. I haven’t had a bad beer from them yet either.

  6. November 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    One of Avery’s best community events is their “4k on the 4th” – annual 4k footrace on the Fourth of July where the fastest male and female win their weight in beer. It’s cheap, the race is short (thank god, because everyone is hungover from the weekend’s debauchery) and there are free burritos and beer afterward. I’ve participated the last two years (I’m better at beer drinking than running) and it’s just a blast. As if I needed another reason to love that place… 🙂

    • November 23, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

      That sounds like s blast. I’m better at dfinking beer than running, too. As a matter of fact, I’m a big proponent of the 0.1K, which is a short run across a parking lot followed by a long day of drinking beer. 😉

  7. November 23, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    The Kaiser is amazing. Such flavor out of a lager. I cellared one for a year and I think it was even better than I remember.

    • November 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

      It would be almost impossible for me to cellar a Kaiser. Even with all the other beers I have, the Avery’s just don’t last around here!

  8. David T (@ONUMello)
    November 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    I was in Denver this past February for an interview, and of all the breweries there, Avery was the only one I got the chance to visit given my short schedule. I highly recommend it- informative, friendly behind the scenes tour & a nice tasting room where they put pretty much every experimental beer they make on tap for people to give feedback in addition to all of their regulars. All of the beers I tried were great.

    • November 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

      We were out for GABF and didn’t swing over. Big mistake, and one that won’t happen again next time I’m there!

  9. November 23, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    I was picking up some Founders the other day and my local store had Avery Old Jubilation Ale on display so I picked one up. I’d have to say I wasn’t wowed by this one. There was virtually no head, very little lacing and the mouthfeel was thin. The flavor was good (not great) and the finish was a little too hoppy for my taste. Overall, a not bad but not one I’ll pick up again.

    • November 24, 2010 at 10:45 am #

      I haven’t had the Jubulation, but I’m not much into winter warmers so the chances are slim I’d ever pick one up. However, I agree that they shouldn’t be hoppy – they should be chest warming malt bombs.

  10. Alex
    November 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    I love Avery’s big beers, but their regular lineup has a couple of duds. Their IPA and White Rascal are good for the style, though.

    My “can’t miss” breweries would probably be Russian River, Great Divide, Lost Abbey, and Mikkeller.

    • November 24, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

      I agree, their big beers are great. I’ll have to try their regular stuff, but it’s so infrequent that I buy lower ABV stuff, I’m not sure when I’ll get there. I tend to buy Dale’s by the 12 pack and use that as my “everyday” beer.

      An I can’t argue with your can’t miss line up, except I don’t enjoy Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast as much as others. But that’s all I got.

  11. November 24, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Avery really is a brewery you can depend on to be more than just good. I do like their year-round, lighter ABV offerings as well, but you’re right to say that the big boys really stand up tall against their competitors. One of my favorites, if you’re feeling bold…

    http://www.beer-universe.com/beer-profile/Mephistopheles_-Stout/

    And I was so upset that I didn’t get a chance to taste their Rumpkin this fall! I need to take a trip to the Rockies.

    • November 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

      I don’t have to feel bold to drink Mephistopheles, I just need to be watching TV on Sunday night! And, of course, I need to be able to find one…

    • Alex
      November 24, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

      I had Rumpkin at the tasting room a couple of weeks ago. Even at $10 a glass, it was worth every penny. Very sweet and boozy with a thick mouthfeel. I seriously hope they brew it again. It deserves a wider distribution.

      • November 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

        “Sweet and Boozy” might be the best description of the kinds of beers I love. It might also explain why I enjoy Avery’s big bottles so much – they do it often and they do it well.

        • November 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

          You need to try their really big beers in small bottles, then. The Beast, Mephistopheles and Sameal (sp?). Rick had them all on tap one after the other a few months ago. Fabulous. The first two in particular.

          And I’ll agree with Don. Great Divide Brewing Company produces a product line that’s quality pretty much across the entire range. Certainly some of their brews are better than others. But I haven’t had a beer from them that I didn’t like.

        • November 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

          They had The Beast on the shelf the other day and I didn’t snap it up. I will next time. Don’t know why I didn’t grab one.

  12. November 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    Their standard IPA is superb, definitely one of the best I’ve had.

    • November 24, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

      Maybe I’ll pick some up next time I’m low on Dale’s Pale Ale. You know, switch it up a bit.

    • November 29, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

      Took your advice and grabbed a sixer of Avery’s IPA before the holiday. Great stuff, especially if you like full-on grapefruit flavor, which I do. Dale’s paled in comparison back to back. You’ve ruined me, Chuck!!

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