DETOUR: Boulder, CO – Avery Brewing Co.
"DETOURS" is a travel series by The Hop Review. Being a weary traveler almost always calls for a reward in the form of a pint at the end of the day. Here, we will document those beer breaks–as we travel the U.S. and beyond–with quips, photographs and Q&As. Cheers, to the adventurous beer trekker.
4910 Nautilus Ct N. Boulder, Colorado 80301
When you tour Avery Brewing Co.’s state of the art facilities, with an exceptional ale poured from the crowded taproom in hand, it’s hard to imagine that 20 years ago Avery almost closed its doors for good.
Co-founder Adam Avery needed a 'Hail Mary.' Tired of trying to guess what would sell, he brewed a beer he wanted to drink: Hog Heaven, an extremely hoppy red imperial IPA balanced by tasty caramel malt. Today, the legend of Hog Heaven has become the brewery’s battle cry: Brew what Avery wants to drink after quittin' time.
Like the local favorite Quittin’ Time Lager, for example, which the taproom’s menu describes as “immensely poundable.” I made sure to test that theory while discussing nearby dispensaries with the bartender (it is Colorado, after all). Another staff favorite is the Maharaja IPA, which August [the 'Most Stoked Taproom Lead'] describes the way some folks talk about their first-born.
Always eager to tumble down the rabbit hole of weird beers, I order the Benedictus next–a Celia-style beer brewed with monastic yeast. In keeping with brewing techniques that date back to 825 CE, Avery actually filtered this beer with straw. Flavors of wormwood and rosemary–and a crazy herbaceous nose–make this oddball brew my personal favorite so far.
I move on to the Eremita X, a complex sour ale, and follow bartender/crew member Hannah Wolff into the production room for a tour of the whole facility: Avery’s “dream brewery” that became a reality in 2015. Legend has it that Adam Avery always wanted to buy a Ferrari, but he bought a centrifuge room instead (and the shiny facility is actually just as sexy).
We discuss the ways Avery tries to reduce waste and lower its impact on the environment. Hannah explains that the brewery gives spent grain to local farmers to feed to their livestock, and recycles wort to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Hannah laughs as she sips her stout, “Welcome to Boulder, Colorado, where we use beer to save the world.”
What We Drank
Eremita X – A barrel-aged sour ale, and at 8.5% ABV it was a standout. This complex blended sour is aged in bourbon, tequila, and Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, which sounds like a clusterf**k but actually comes together quite smoothly. Dark fruit and licorice indicative of Cabernet Sauvignon rest on the nose, with a tart apricot sharpness on the tongue. It's an ideal sour for the sour skeptics.
Photography by Michelle DeLong & Avery Brewing Co.
Authored by Michelle DeLong – a freelance writer, editor, PR strategist and digital content creator based in Jackson Hole, WY and on the road. She spends harvests working as a cellar rat at wineries across the South Island, NZ, where she learned that winemakers drink a lot of craft beer. You can read her other writings on her Contently site.