Yesterday, Monday, September 26th, Paramount Café held the Apps ‘N’ Ales with Avery Brewing event in which appetizers (Sweet Chili Dry-Rubbed Wings, Ellie’s BBQ Ribs, Cheese Platter, and Vegetarian Pizza) were served with a complementary beer from Avery (Hog Heaven Dry-Hopped Barleywine Style Ale, The Reverend, duganA IPA, Collaboration Not Litigation, Hand of Buddha AKA Karma Ale with ginger added, India Pale Ale, Salvation Belgian Golden Ale, Ellie’s Brown Ale, and Joe’s Pilsner).
Representatives from Avery were also on site to talk beer and beer pairings with the customers. The event was perfect for beer geeks with an adventurous palate but light pockets as several of Avery’s high-end, usually bomber-sized beers were available in reasonably priced taster-sized glasses. In addition to the beers intended for food pairings, Avery also brought several of their other specialty beers—including some that have yet to find their way to a liquor store shelf.
The beauty of being a Denver Craft Beer Examiner is that one’s glass is never empty; there’s always something to review. This Examiner was on cloud nine at Apps ‘N’ Ales because there were so many new beers to try but, due to the sheer number beers reviewed and at the risk of boring his readers to death with meticulousness, he’ll keep the reviews brief.
Beers for food pairings
The Reverend (10% ABV): The Reverend is clear and looks like cherry red darkened with a little brown. It smells earthy and a bit like black licorice. The taste is packed full of cherry flavor (which strengthens as the beer warms) with some more black licorice mixed in. Near the back of the mouth, the drinker experiences the sensation of warming spices. This is a beer that would go great on a chilly fall afternoon. It is the beer equivalent of a Yankee Candle autumn seasonal.
Collaboration Not Litigation: The story of this beer (which can be read here) is as interesting as the beer itself. Collaboration Not Litigation is dark orange in color and possesses a fruity, apricot-like aroma. On the tongue, flavors of peach, cinnamon, and nutmeg come through.
duganA IPA (8.5 % ABV): duganA is darkish yellow and smells of grass and hints of lemon. It tastes very piney and, although Avery advertises it as “brutally bitter,” is actually has a very mild bite; the Christmas tree-like flavors are apparent but the bitter bite is tamed.
Hog Heaven (9.2% ABV): This beer smells hoppy, citrusy, and caramel-y all at the same time. It is clear, light ruby colored and it has a big bitter bite that imparts a hop burn in the drinker’s throat.
Other Avery beers brought to the event
Immitis: This is a sour beer that was aged in zinfandel barrels. It looks like whiskey with red highlights but it packs a leviathan of sour aroma. The smell is not misleading; the drinker can’t help but pucker-up upon first sip. It tastes like an extra-sour wine and, despite the challenge it presents the palate, it is quite enjoyable in small doses.
The Beast Grand Cru (14.9% ABV): So named because of the six malts, six Belgian candied sugars, and six hops (hence, 666), The Beast Grand Cru (“Best Offering”) once held the Colorado record for the beer with the highest ABV. Although that record has since been usurped by glory hogs, the Avery representatives ensured this Examiner that it was never about claiming records for them; they just wanted to make good beer that just so happened to be extremely high in alcohol. The Beast smells and tastes a lot like iced tea.
Meretrix: Another sour beer. Meretrix is a hazy brown orange color with a big sour punch in the nose. Unlike Immitis, Meretrix has a bit of an apple aroma and the flavor is that of a sour apple—a very sour apple.
Non-Avery Beers on Paramount Café’s special GABF Tap Line-Up
Stranahan’s Barrel Aged Vanilla Porter (8-9% ABV): This is just like Breckenridge Brewery’s Vanilla Porter except it was aged in Stranahan’s whiskey barrels. The sweet smell of whiskey mixed with vanilla makes this one of the most pleasant smelling beers one can hope to sniff. The whiskey flavor takes center stage with vanilla as a supporting role in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy and, with the vanilla, it’s reminiscent of eating ice cream. The beer seems like a drink one would have in an old lodge; one wants to sip it as he or she sits by a crackling fire with a hound curled up at the feet.
HGH (8%ABV): HGH or Home Grown Hops from Oskar Blues Brewery is a clear mahogany with a big malty nose and a big hoppy bite. Furthermore, the flavors of the alcohol come through strong; it’s like taking a watered-down shot of liquor.
Māori King (8% ABV): Although it isn’t technically called “Māori King” anymore, this imperial saison from Funkwerks continues to please. It is a hazy. Light yellow with a yeasty aroma and a bready, slightly hoppy flavor. Māori King is also quite dry.