It’s pretty great. Who am I kidding, it’s fantastic! Now, I’m not talking about any run of the mill normal fizzy yellow beer, no, I’m talking about craft, artisan, made with tender loving care beer. That stuff brings forth warm fuzzy feelings when drunk. Now, many people associate those who get pleasure out of alcoholic beverages to be alcoholics, but I disagree. Craft beer drinkers get pleasure not from the “buzz”, but from the insanely intelligent variety of well put together flavors that only an artisan ales can provide. The “buzz” is just a bonus. As I continue to explore the every expanding world of craft beer, I every so often sit back and bask in the beautiful enchantment of the liquid elixir that is craft beer. I mean not to bore you with a soliloquy of craft beer, but I do urge all of you as you sit in quiet contemplation with a delicious beer or even with a group of close friends; to really absorb the craft from which you are drinking. So, in the spirit of craft appreciation let’s take a gander at Avery Brewing Company’s Eighteenth Anniversary Ale: Dry-Hopped Rye Saison (Happy Birthday by the way!).
Avery’s Eighteenth Anniversary Ale: Dry-Hopped Rye Saison comes in at an ABV of 8.12%. The head poured a very light off-white color that quickly dissipated. The color was dark amber with red hues and a slight haze, there was also quite a bit of noticeable carbonation. Head – 7, Look – 13.5. The dominant aromas were cloves, bananas, and spice. This beer has a very pungent Belgium yeast character with the hops coming from behind with a light citrusness. There’s a tartness that makes its way into the aroma, of which I can only attribute to the unique yeast character of this ale. The smell is very enjoyable though, and has a lot of different elements that hit the nose. Smell – 23.5.
My initial reaction to this ale was a tart sourness (not a puckering sourness, but enough that it hit the sides of the mouth) coupled with a pleasant hop citrus flavor and bready rye notes. The aftertaste is a dry bitterness with those same hop citrus notes followed by a burning sensation that is only during the initial few drinks. Palate – 8.5, Aftertaste – 8.5. Upfront this beer is full of carbonation, and has a sweet tartness to it. This ale expand nicely in the mouth, and in the middle brings with it piney floral hops, which accent the dominating clove, banana, spicy flavor from the rye and yeast. This beer does, after a few drinks, carry with it a quenching quality, which is surprising for its ABV. The finish is where the strong citrus flavors come into play with a dry bitterness, similar to citrus bittering of a grapefruit. This Saison fits its style well, and I say that because it is able to hold true to its refreshing farmhouse style qualities even at a higher ABV. Flavor – 28.
I’m generally impressed by the beers I’ve had from Avery, and this ale is not different. I’ve been every growing more and more fond of the Saison style, and thankfully (luckily) the crafter breweries that are making this style are doing a fantastic job of drawing me into this style. The complexity of flavors for this ale is a great coming of age to show how “grown-up” Avery is now that they’re of legal age. I really do recommend buying a couple bottles, one to have now, and another to try a few months down the road. With an Overall Flavor of 45/50 the Beer Fusion gives Avery’s Eighteenth Anniversary Ale: Dry-Hopped Rye Saison a very high score of…