Wednesday, March 31, 2010

274. Avery Brabant Barrel-Aged Wild Ale

This is our fourth beer from Avery Brewing—we’ve run through Ellie’s Brown Ale, 16th Anniversary Ale and duganA IPA. Brabant is the first beer in their Barrel-Aged Series; it is a wild ale aged in Zinfandel barrels. As well, the name refers to a breed of draft horses from the West-Brabantian region of Belgium—while there are several other possible references to Brabant, the picture of a horse on the label’s oak barrel points me in this direction.

Brabant pours a deep chocolate brown with garnet highlights; the head is tan and minimal, and quickly rings the glass. The nose carries a nice sour aroma; there seems to be a nice mix of acetic and lactic acid as well as some of the slight plastic adhesive and medicinal aromas accompanying any of the dirty band aid family of beers. Brabant starts dry and lightly sweet before some of the tart sourness and vinegar take over; these flavors run through the middle and into the end. There is a slight adhesive flavor that emerges in the final third of the beer, and that lingers a bit long on the palate. This flavor is accompanied by a bit of alcohol flavor and heat in the final framing of the beer’s flavor profile, although the flavor is more prominent that the heat. The beer is medium bodied and dry, but also a bit sticky on the palate; combined with the medium to low carbonation, flavor does more of the work than mouthfeel in this beer. Nonetheless, a delicious and well-crafted beer—it was much better than both of us expected it to be, and that’s saying something, since Avery is from Colorado. While it is labeled as a wild ale, Brabant strikes me more as fitting into the Flanders Red Ale category than the Lambic category. And it was good enough that I might even be convinced enough to pick up another bottle or two to throw in the basement for later—it’s ready to drink but would probably taste as good (if not better) with a little more time.

From the Avery website: “Experimentation. Ales and lagers that defy styles or categories. This is what we are about: our driving force, our passion. To further facilitate this innovative spirit, we’ve developed our Barrel-Aged Series where anything, and we mean ANYTHING, goes! Brewed for those as adventurous as we are!

No. 1, Brabant, is a luscious dark ale fermented with two strains of wild yeast (Brettanomyces) then aged for 8 months in Zinfandel barrels. We hope you enjoy sifting through the vast layers of complexity in this mysterious ale.”

ABV: 8.65%
IBU: 25
OG: 10.74
Bottled: February 10, 2009
Production: 694 cases


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