23 September 2009

GABF 2009 Road Trip: Avery, Twisted Pine and Left Hand

These beer diaries are going to be out of chronological order, but not that anyone really cares. On Monday we decided to stop by Avery's tap room to check out what they had in store for the week of GABF. Holy crap, were we in store for a treat! Present upon each table was a list of 30-40 aged, barrel-aged, or otherwise super-rare beers that they will be tapping throughout the week. It turns out that in the tap room they love to display their "one and done" ideology that they use when experimenting with barrel aging. You could stay here instead of going to GABF and get a similarly great beer geek experience. For a fun example, one of the beers they will be tapping this week is called Voltron, and it is a blend of 5 barrel aged beers.

Here are a couple of the beers we tried:

Eagle Rare Reverend 2008
This aged variation of Avery's Reverend was placed in Eagle Trace bourbon barrels, and the finished product presented itself as a wonderfully sour beer. The nose was very lambic-like with brett, vanilla, oak, and hints of strawberry and banana. The sour flavors were pleasingly balanced without too much of an acidic bite. Vanilla, caramel, pear, and Riesling grapes all came in to play. This was a really impressive hybrid of lambic and bourbon.

Samael 2006
If you've had Samael, you know how hot this beer is fresh. Avery recommends aging it up to 10 years. This three-year-old rendition had a mellow bourbon nose with oak, vanilla, caramel, and a hint of coconut. It came across super creamy with strong flavors of toffee, butter, vanilla, oak, bourbon, cinnamon, spiced apples, dried figs, and just a touch of pineapple. All prominent players in the complex profile of a bourbon, but with only a touch of the alcohol burn. Aging really makes this beer stand out.

Dry Hopped IPA
This is just their standard IPA offering except dry hopped and thusly kicking the flavor up a notch. There's lots of grassy florals in the nose that give you a nice green flavor to look forward to when you finally take a sip. This starts out with big hops and a lot of sticky pine flavors that devolve into an easy-drinking IPA. It's amazingly smooth and not overpowering for a dry hopped option.

We decided to swing by Twisted Pine, as they are the creators of our gateway chile beer - Billy's Chilies. Their tap room is quite cozy, dog-friendly, and a great place to hang out on a cold Colorado afternoon.

Reilly's Oak Whiskey Red
Named after the resident brewery dog, Reilly's recently won a gold at GABF. This bourbon-aged red doesn't carry any of the alcohol flavors you might expect. The nose is very sweet and rich in toffee, molasses, honey, and vanilla. The flavors follow the sweet precedent with cherries, vanilla, maple syrup, and caramel. Kind of like a whiskey flavor profile spiked with honey.

Billy's Chilies
This beer was my introduction into the world of delicious chili beer a few years back and is still every bit as good as I remember it being in 2006! With five different kinds of chiles and not a huge malt profile, this beer is nicely balanced and reminds me of cheesy nachos topped with jalapenos. It's crisp, refreshing, and finishes with a kick of delicious green chile spice. This is perfectly balanced and warming - great for a fall day!

Last on our list of stops was the Left Hand Tap Room. We popped in just before last call to grab a pint.

Bard's Tale English Dark Mild
It pours a dark brown with nice ruby edges. Balanced malt nose is indicative of what is to come in the beer. It's slightly sweet with a nice hit of hops on the finish to dry out the palate. I would recommend this to someone looking for a lighter, more sessionable beer that isn't going to overwhelm the palate.

400 lb. Monkey IPA
Consider this the IPA you always wondered if Left Hand made. Lots of lemongrass, orange, and citrus in the nose and notes of grapefruit and citrus in the palette, balanced with caramel and a hint of ginger. A really solid APA all around.


  1. Sounds like a rad road trip. I hope to make a similar trip. I'd especially like to check out Avery's tap room. The voltron and eagle rare reverend both sound up my alley.

  2. damn, making me want to travel!! tho I'm super allergic to dogs, so dog-friendly pubs unfortunately dont work out so well for me...