26 September 2009

GABF 2009 Road Trip: Avery again and Great Divide

As we left Boulder County, we decided to stop in at Avery one last time before moving our base of operations to Denver. The main reason for our return to Avery was the tapping of 3 sour experiments to coincide with the release of Sui Generis (Barrel Aged Series #2). Unfortunately since Sui Generis didn't go on sale until 3PM, we weren't able to pick any up. At least there was plenty of sour beer to be had on tap!

Good Sally
Salvation mixed with Sour Blend 1 and aged in Cabernet barrels

Good Sally both looks and smells like a lambic, with its hazy yellow hue and lemon, apple and pear aroma that is mixed into a nose-shocking acidity. With a nose this strong, I definitely anticipated a sourness to back it up. I was quite surprised when the sour character was actually subdued. This beer came across as a Belgian Blonde with a tinge of sourness and a creamy mouthfeel. Notes of limeade and green apple helped things diverge from style and create a nice, refreshing summer beer.

Port Alter Boy
Reverend mixed with Sour Blend 1 and aged in Port barrels

This variation of Reverend has a nice clear appearance and looks like it was filtered somewhat. When you first take a sniff of this complex ale you get lots of dried fruits with a hint of pucker. The first taste is not surprising that you get lots of apricot, plum and just a little hint of dried strawberries. It finishes with just a little bit of sour pucker to make the drinker want a little more. It's not a crazy sour beer but it's definitely delicious.

Opus Alter Boy
Reverend mixed with Sour Blend 2 and aged in Cabernet barrels

This variation on Reverend created a number of savory characteristics. The nose was faint with subtle raspberry notes complimented by rose and lavender aromatics. Despite the soft nose, the sourness of this beer was huge. When pushing past the sharp tartness, and interesting combination of rhubarb, sun dried tomatoes, white grapes, apples and black pepper came through. The sun dried tomatoes and black pepper helped define this beer as a Saison with a massively amped up sour level.

Once we arrived in Denver, we decided to head out to Great Divide just before Happy Hour. Even though we had a common cast of characters we kept running in to in Boulder County, this was probably the first time when it felt like GABF was in full swing. We pushed our way into the super crowded tap room and proceded to try Les Claymore (a sour bourbon barrel aged Claymore), a bourbon barrel aged Claymore and a Berliner Weisse.

We followed these samples up with their new Wet Hop Pale Ale and Hoss. The Wet Hop was pretty much as you would imagine, and quite tasty. We agreed that Hoss tasted like Cherry Coke and that the name was somewhat of a misnomer. For reviewing purposes, however, we decided to go with a couple of the more standard offerings.

Denver Pale Ale

The aroma of this Pale Ale is a friendly balance of spruce, grass and caramel. The grassy hop notes are well balanced with the caramel. The bitterness of this Pale Ale is mild enough to be inviting, but the lemon and grapefruit notes are enough to let hop heads get the most out of the hops. A caramel malt flavor creates a solid base that is heavy enough to balance the beer but doesn't sweeten it to the point of detracting from the hops. I was very impressed with how great the sessionability of this beer was. I could easily drink more than one without getting sick of it and the ABV floats right around 5%. I'll admit this is my first time trying this beer, and after having it at Great Divide I would really like to see it show up on some Indy tap lists.


I think I've found a great lawnmower beer for Matt! Samurai is made with rice and pours with a nice pillowy head. It's slightly cloudy in appearance, much like a wheat but is a little more gold in appearance. The nose has hints of cantaloupe and aromatic flowers. It's slightly perfumey but not overpoweringly so. Tastes very light and refreshing while still having a very complex flavor profile. The ABV is right at 4.2% and I've had it before out of bottles when L'Explorateur was still open. This would pare perfectly with sushi or other fish options. I would love to see this more places and think it is a great "gateway" beer for those trying more craft options.


  1. Wooo Hooo!!!

    Diamond Kings took Bronze this year in the American-Style Sour Ale category at GABF!

    Congrats to Ted and everyone at Brugge!

    Now if we could only get Diamond Kings on a regular basis... Eh hem! :)

  2. I overlooked it the first time, but Brugge also took Bronze in the German-Style Sour Ale with Bad Kitty.

  3. Barley Island also took gold for Dirty Helen. Pretty good showing for Indiana to take a gold and pick up a pair of medals in sour categories.

    We'll do a wrapup post this week with some photos from the floor.