Jul 18, 2011

Avery Brewing Eighteen

Avery Eighteen photoEighteen and still looking good.

Along with the recent spat of barley wines that have appeared in my fridge lately, I’ve also been on an “anniversary” kick having recently picked up Great Divide’s 17th Wood Aged DIPA and this bottle of Avery Brewing’s Eighteen. The Great Divide’s celebratory beer was tasty, but tasted very similar to last year’s effort. The Avery anniversary brew was something altogether new and exciting.

The beer utilizes a proprietary blend of five different Belgian yeast strains along with rye malt (among others) before dry-hopping with Tettnag hops — Bravo and Hersbrucker hop varieties are also used. The result is a Saison that is anything but traditional. It’s also one that I will need to grab more of this week, if I can still find it.


A lightly hazy copper in color the beer sits with a one-finger, off-white head.


There’s a good deal going on within the nose of this beer. It’s complex, but without completely confusing the senses as wafts of rye, a light Belgian funkiness, lemony citrus hops, wet straw and grass all come together nicely. As the beer wars more fruity esters arise from the various yeast strains as does a hint of the 8.12% ABV.


Let’s start off with the obvious — there’s a healthy does of rye that gives the beer a nicely spiced and dry quality. I don’t really get a “dry-hopped” character to the hops though that could be due to the varieties. There is a fresh cut grass vibe to the hop presence as well as a moderate level of bitterness in the clean, dry finish. The Belgian character to the flavor doesn’t present itself as your typical Saison — there is alight funk and barnyard component, but more present are light, delicate fruity esters that accompany the rye backbone. There’s a touch of alcohol warmth late in the back end as the beer has sat in the glass for a bit.


Despite this not really being all that Saison-like, I really enjoyed this beer. I would say that it was more inline with a lightly hopped Belgian IPA carrying a healthy dose of rye. The beer was unique, easy drinking and fairly refreshing despite the dry finish that accompanied it. I would personally want something labeled as a Saison to have more of that style’s traits (light, crisp and funky), but Avery still has a hell of a beer on their hands with this tasty 18th anniversary celebration.

Rating: 4/5

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