Thursday, February 2, 2012

Boulder County Trilogy #1: Avery Brewing

Before I moved out to San Diego, which styles itself as the craft beer capital of the world, I lived in Boulder, CO, which styles itself as the craft beer capital of the world. Just a month (apparently equivalent to two days in blog time) after my Thankgsiving BeerPlow in Portland, which styles itself as the craft beer capital of the world, I found myself back in my hometown, and obviously a trip to some of the local breweries was the first activity on the docket. First up: Avery Brewing in Boulder.

5763 Arapahoe Ave. Unit E
Boulder, CO 80303

I've loved Avery for quite some time, ever since I had my first Ellie's Brown Ale when I was sevente...twenty-one. Ellie's was my favorite beer for a long time. My palate has changed, and unfortunately I no longer have a strong taste for it. But thankfully, Avery has evolved too. In my opinion, it has easily surpassed New Belgium as the premiere craft brewery in Colorado. There's lots of competition for top dog, but in my opinion, nobody in the Centennial State has the craft of brewing as well honed as Avery.

For such a successful operation, the taproom is surprisingly small, tucked away behind a car wash in an industrial park in east Boulder. The ambiance is basically like a ski lodge, which is unsurprisingly a common theme in Colorado.

The tasting list includes everything that you can find in the stores, plus a few specialties scattered throughout (unfortunately, on this day, almost all of the specialties were sours, which is far from my favorite style). I started with a Freckles Saison, which is brewed with rosehips, cherries, and orange peel. I don't know what rosehips are supposed to taste like, but I assume something like roses. Anyway, the Freckles was fizzy, fruity, floral, and refreshing, a nice start to a day of beer. Second was a dry-hopped IPA. It smelled like it was dry-hopped with weed, which would have fit in Boulder perfectly. It was pretty much a SD-style IPA, lightly malted and green as hell, and dammit, it was right up there in quality. And last was the Maharaja, their massive Imperial IPA. I hated this stuff when I first had it five or so years ago. I don't know if the formula's changed, but as I said I know at least my palate's changed, and this has become one of my favorites (Matt's too, apparently). Very, very few breweries have managed to solve the supremely difficult malt-hops-alcohol three-body balance problem inherent in an IIPA, but Avery has it nailed.

I could've stayed here all day, especially since they also have top-notch food (they've also honed their french fry craft well), but the order of the day was pacing since we had two more stops to make. A Mile High Salute to you, Avery.

*P.S.: I've generally avoided Avery's Demons of Ale line because I quail at the thought of paying $8+ for a 12-oz beer. However, my brother got a sample of their 2011 Mephistopheles, and it was easily good enough to change my mind. It's 16.43% ABV (it'd almost be more apprpriate to call it 32.86 proof), but they've concealed the alcohol behind dual haymakers of roasted malt and 105+ IBU. Thunderous, well-balanced, and absolutely delicious.

Just a few seconds after we walked in, one of the warehouse guys unfortunately dumped a full forkload of White Rascal in the parking lot. I'm glad it didn't end up being a harbinger for the day.


  1. You look like a big asshole in the first pic.

    1. That's because I'd just gotten done throwing a temper tantrum about pedantic beer reviews.

    2. I don't understand the words that are coming out of your mouth.

  2. He is just pissed the woman is taking a pic and not progressing towards the beer

    1. That url does not exist. Why must you tempt me!

    2. I think thats the first url I was afraid may be real

    3. Yeah, I definitely switched to private mode on that one.