Friday, January 8, 2010

Review: Avery The Beast

The Beast is part of the Demons of Ale series from Avery, a Boulder brewery.

It’s styled a Grand Cru Ale, sold in 12-ounce bottles wrapped in red foil for about $8 each.

Avery Brewing Co
. is one of my favorite breweries. I particularly like its India Pale Ale, Out of Bounds Stout, White Rascal witbier and Salvation, a Belgian-style golden ale. Much like Dogfish Head, Adam Avery and company brew interesting, innovative beers, put them on the market and hope people buy them.

The Beast is aptly named. It’s a 15 percent alcohol-by-volume bruiser. It pours a deep amber with minimal head and is similar to a barley wine in appearance.

The Beast smacks you over the head with a strong alcohol note and a thick, viscous body. It also carries a noticeable sweetness and warms your throat and chest like a whiskey as it goes down.

This very aggressive animal is brewed with two-row malted barley, honey malt, imported Belgian specialty grains (aromatic, pale wheat, roasted wheat and Special B), a variety of hops (Magnum, Galena, Saaz, Hallertau, Tettnang and Hersbrucker), raisins, dates, alfalfa honey, turbinado, blackstrap molasses, dark Belgian candy sugar, water and a couple of yeast strains, one of Belgian origin.

I like that Avery takes chances. However, the flipside of that is I sometimes find their beers not to my liking. The Beast is so strong that it blurs the line between beer and spirits. It’s decidedly a sipping beer, and even then, sipping becomes a chore toward the end of the 12-ounce serving. It’s all just a bit much.

I’ve found I don’t like most beers over about 11 percent alcohol. They become drinks to be conquered, rather than beers to be enjoyed.

I did not tame The Beast. The Beast tamed me. C

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