This past weekend, Boulder, Colorado-based Avery Brewing Co. turned 22 and threw a big party to celebrate in true Avery fashion. Avery hosts multiple beer festivals throughout the year, including the Boulder Strong Ale Fest, the Boulder Sour Fest and the Boulder IPA Fest. With all of those festivals to its name, Avery knows how to host a great party.
Avery busted out quite the lineup for this event. More than 50 beers made an appearance, including several vertical variations from the Avery cellar. Here are a few of the highlights of the day.
Rumpkin 2013 and 2014
A rum barrel-aged pumpkin ale
ABV: 18.53 percent (2013), 16.73 percent (2014)
The Reverend 2003, 2008 and 2012
A Belgian-style quad
ABV: 10 percent
A rum barrel-aged coconut porter
A rum barrel-aged imperial stout
ABV: 18.82 percent
An imperial sour ale infused with peaches and apricot
ABV: 10.1 percent
Double Dry-Hopped Maharaja
A double IPA with extra Amarillo, Simcoe and Chinook hops
ABV: 10.2 percent
As you can see, Avery loves brewing strong beers, and I love drinking them. We make a good match. A fresh Rumpkin is full of boozy goodness with a touch of heat, which makes me swoon, but I also love how the 2013 version mellowed over the years. You still get the sweet molasses and spice profile, but the heat dissipated. There’s no mistaking that the 2013 Rumpkin is a strong beer, but it drinks more like a 10 percent ABV brew rather than one creeping near 20 percent ABV. While I’m still a huge fan of fresh Rumpkin, I appreciate how this brew develops over the years.
I missed the 2003 Reverend. All of the thirsty party-goers beat me to it, but I did get a chance to enjoy a side-by-side tasting of the 2008 and 2012 Reverend. While both versions are tasty, the 2008 Reverend hit a sweet spot in the aging process with prominent dark fruit, raisin and caramel flavors. I bet it’d be delightful with some bread pudding and bourbon sauce.
For fellow sour beer lovers, Eremita II is fantastic. I couldn’t ask for more in a sour. The lactic makes you pucker, but it doesn’t overwhelm the peach and apricot flavors like some sours. With its effervescent body and fruity notes, it’s perfect for sipping on a patio during a hot summer day.
And then there’s Momi Hiwa, which might be my all-time favorite beer. Coconut beers usually disappoint me. While they sound good in theory, the coconut either disappears or tastes like extract. That’s not the case here. Avery aged Momi Hiwa for six months in rum barrels and then transferred it to stainless steel tanks with 360 pounds of toasted coconut. The result is a coconut-forward brew with added sweetness and vanilla from the rum barrels. Make no mistake — this is a slow sipper, also with a boozy kick, but it’s divine.
After moving into a 67,000-square-foot, $27 million facility in February, this was Avery’s first anniversary party in the new space. The new facility features a two-story tap room and restaurant, which offers a selection of smoked meats and comfort food made with local, fresh ingredients. The restaurant was closed for the party to make room for the tastings, but it’s worth a visit. Do yourself a favor and order the shrimp and grits with a side of pork belly Brussel sprouts. Inside the brewing area is a catwalk, so you can see all of the machinery it takes to produce Avery’s tasty beer.
One of the highlights of the evening was meeting Adam Avery, the owner of Avery Brewing. Adam was drinking a beer at an outside table, so I had to meet the man behind so many of my favorite brews. I worried that approaching Adam would be hugely obnoxious, but he was nice enough to take a picture with me and give me some homebrewing advice for my next batch, which I brewed the next day. I like to think of this particular homebrew as Avery-approved.
I recommend adding this event to your bucket list. Besides seeing the new, beautiful space and enjoying the surroundings of gorgeous Boulder, you’ll get your fill of some incredible beers you won’t find outside of Avery.