Beer In Situ: Avery’s Grand Opening

This is the second in the Beer In Situ series, reviewing the places great beer is produced! 

We find ourselves spending a lot of time in brewpubs, brew places, breweries, and tap rooms now that we are doing the visa waiting game for our next move abroad. It’s amazing to have so many places available to us in the Front Range of Colorado. Every time I come back from living abroad, new places have opened and new beer is waiting to be discovered. Yesterday took us to the Grand Opening of the new Avery Brewery in Boulder, CO.

The Pertinents

Tap room and restaurant!
Tap room and restaurant!

Their Self-Description

“Since 1993 our brewery has been committed to producing eccentric ales and lagers that defy styles or categories. Our products are thoroughly American at heart: blending Old World tradition and expertise with ingenuity, creativity and boldness.

We are dedicated to making beer from the inside out: we brew what we like to drink–with utter disregard for what the market demands– and search out fans with equally eccentric palates (We learned long ago that expressing your true self is much more fulfilling than giving in to outside pressures. Don’t you agree?) If you think your taste buds can keep up with our brews, we invite you to check out our entire lineup of more than twenty different beers.

Peace to all and follow your dreams!

The Avery Brewing Crew”Averybrewing.com

People were being turned away by the 2.5 hour wait for a table!
People were being turned away by the 2.5 hour wait for a table!

The Space

It’s a huge, HUGE, HUGE space. Massive compared to the original site that I have frequented for years. Just walking up to it felt somehow monumental, possibly helped by how well the pure white walls blended in with the fluffy snow on the Front Range yesterday. We arrived at 15:45, only 45 minutes after they opened for the first time to the public. The wait to get in was already insane.

We considered leaving, too. I felt a little hurt, having really wanted to be a part of the opening. Avery is one of the first craft breweries that inspired me to learn about the process and learn my tastes. I spent parts of college drinking an allegory-worthy mix of the Holy Trinity and Demons of Ale series, pitting The Reverend against The Beast. We went for a peek inside, and hoped to come back another day.

The entryway.
The entryway.

With a bit of beery Salvation (or maybe just good Karma?), we somehow made it upstairs into the brewery itself. We were promptly handed free beers. All was absolved.

Lilikoi Kepolo, passionfruit wit
Lilikoi Kepolo, passionfruit wit

The new brewery has a walkway to survey the brewing spaces from above, which was full of people who had wandered up as well. The brewery has two new giant fermenters, a four-stage (massive) brew line for mashing, boiling, and removing the grain, and a clean room for testing it and preventing infection.

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The fully-automated system has more dials than an aircraft carrier, and the beer is moved from place to place with ruthless efficiency. Even on opening day, the guys were in there brewing.

"check that wort! check that wort!"
“check that wort! check that wort!”

The coolest parts of the new brewery were explained to us by Walter, who works in marketing normally but was busting his ass as a server all day yesterday. The building is made to be highly-sustainable, and ridiculously efficient. They will be using far less of the chemicals needed to clean lines and prep the system than at the old location. The waste weak wort, a byproduct of the brewing process, is being given to the City of Boulder to help reduce nitrogen pollution in treated wastewater.

By far the coolest sustainable feature is the futuristic carbon capture machine on the brewing floor. Walter explained that it captures a lot of the CO2 produced in brewing (a greenhouse gas, of course) and bubbles it through a chemical solution to convert it. The resulting product just happens to be the main ingredient in beer bottles, closing the loop!

Carbon capture system on the right. I love the LEDs as a touch.
Carbon capture system on the right. I love the LEDs as a touch.

Avery Brewing intend to expand their capacity in this space, and have two plans in the works already. The only flaws that I could find were that the system for letting the vast crowds in seemed a little confused (my parents were unable to join us for a beer) and this tiny drop of misplaced paint in the brewhouse.

Missed!
Missed!
Sorry for the blurry picture. I was in the servers' way.
Sorry for the blurry picture. I was in the servers’ way.

The Beers

I only got a glimpse of the tap room/restautrant area when I slipped through to use the toilet, but it looked amazing. I will definitely be going back. 30 beers are on tap, including a few that you can’t find anywhere else. We got to try a few I hadn’t had before and some of the core range favourites upstairs in the free zone.

Avery says that they are into making traditional English styles with a twist. After living in England for the past sixteen months and sampling a huge amount of traditional English styles in pubs, festivals, and randomly-found CAMRA meetings in Egham I’d say that Avery’s beers are thoroughly American. Not very English at all. And that’s a great thing. Too many ‘ESB’ beers are floating around the Front Range these days. Give me a dry-hopped barleywine or the very best Brown Ale (Ellie’s) any day.

IPA and Lilikoi Kepolo
IPA and Lilikoi Kepolo

Tasting Notes

Lilikoi Kepolo

  • Style: Belgian Wit brewed with Passionfruit
  • Geekery: 5.6% ABV, 10 IBUs, Color = Light, more golden then your usual witbier
  • Interesting. Refreshing and with a bite from that passionfruit, with the cleanness of a wit. Precisely the kind of beer I’d recommend to someone who says ‘I don’t like beer,’ which is probably why it isn’t a homerun for me.
  • Overall Rating: 3.5 pints (out of five pints)

Out of Mind

  • Style: Coffee Stout
  • Geekery: 6.3% ABV, 51 IBUs, Color = looks just like freshly-brewed coffee
  • This is a stout that beats you over the head with coffee flavours and smokey roastiness. Surprisingly bitter, even beyond the IBUs (likely due to the coffee which is not included in that equation). Somewhat acidic, like drip coffee. Made me realise my tastebuds might not be calibrated for US craft brew at the moment because of its intensity.
  • Interesting tidbit: Made with OZO organic coffee, roasted in Boulder.
  • Overall Rating: 3.0 pints
Avery IPA
Avery IPA

IPA

  • Style: US India Pale Ale
  • Geekery: 6.5% ABV, 69 IBUs, Colour = Pleasantly amber for an IPA
  • The old standby delivers. Bitter, but not overpowering. Piney, but not like licking a cedar. The three Cs (Cascade, Centennial, and Columbus) plus Chinook to round things out. This beer is a great place to start for IPAs, and drinking a pint in the new brewery was like meeting up with an old friend after travelling.
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 pints

Ellie’s Brown 

  • Style: American Brown Ale
  • Geekery: 5.5% ABV, 28 IBUs, Color = Chocolate Laborador
  • Just the pinnacle of brown ales. A beer I have dreamed about while away. Malty, with hops in perfect balance. Smooth transitions through the initial, middle, and after tastes (all pretty consistent). A beer you could comfortably serve an old Englishman who just wants his brown ale, and enjoy with him nonetheless.
  • Overall Rating: 4.9 pints (4.9? You’ve under-poured!-Russell)
The free bar! Amazing!
The free bar! Amazing!

The Munchies

Too long of a wait for us! But the food looked tasty, and when we go back for a meal I’ll update this section. Southern-style soul food and beer pairings. The heavy snow seemed to stop no one who wanted to get beer and food at the opening.

The Snowstorm that greeted us.
IMG_7200
Free beer!

Russell’s One-Line Review

“A very fine place. I welcome our new high-tech overlords.”

Next Time: Colorado Beer School and a trip to the oldest microbrewery in Colorado. See all the Beer In Situ posts on one page!

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