Avery Brewing DuganA and the Catcher in the Two-Row Barley

Next up, DuganA IIPA from Avery:

dugana

It appears that Duganā, or दुगना, is Hindi for double, which makes sense as this is a double IPA. While that’s fascinating, or not, the word DuganA reminds me more of a critical turning point in my young life…a loss of innocence, if you will. Sure, the theme has been mulled over in song and story – Don McLean’s American Pie, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, to name a few. But few have captured its essence as concisely as a fateful Spring day in 1987.

Reagan was President. The Cold War was still chilly, but perestroika and glasnost were taking hold. And professional wrestling was in its heyday. Sure, even then it was reasonable to assume that it wasn’t entirely real. Indeed, the best case scenario for an actual piledriver would be a minimum of 10 shattered vertebrae and your head shooting violently out your own butthole. But the outcomes most certainly weren’t staged, and the feuds were as real as it gets.

...and macho.

…and macho.

Then on May 26, 1987, New Jersey State Police pulled over one James Edward Duggan, Jr., better known as 2×4-wielding Hacksaw Jim Duggan of the WWF. No biggie. Apparently, cops saw Mr. Duggan throwing back a can of beer as he rolled down the turnpike. OK, it’s no secret that contact sport athletes self-medicate. Riding shotgun in the car, however, and higher than a Carolina pine: Hossein Kohsrow Ali Vaziri, better known as Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s sworn and bitter rival, The Iron Shiek. OMG! And they were apparently in the middle of such a fantastic bender that upon searching the vehicle, police found enough beer, pot, heroin, and coke to kill five Charlie Sheens.

...or half of a Keith Richards.

…or half of a Keith Richards.

The only way this could have been worse for the WWF would be if Nikolai Volkov was in the backseat doing body shots off the Killer Bees. OK, so maybe that’s not that far-fetched.

Not that there's anything wrong with being a Killer Bee...

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a Killer Bee…

Let’s hope this beer doesn’t similarly let us down. It pours an almost clear golden-amber and sports a big, fluffly IPA head that leaves sticky lace. It smells like grapefruit rind and a slight caramel malt character. Then BOOM, the taste is all pine, resin, and dankness with substantial bitterness. With its Chinook, Centennial, and Columbus hops, it’s a veritable symphony of dankness. It’s all like Chopin’s Dancturnes, Bach’s Air on a Dank String, and Mozart’s Danquiem all wrapped into one. As it warms, there’s some heat from the 8.5% ABV, and the hops slow their roll a little and some caramel comes out. For such a dank beast, it’s pretty drinkable, though. This is a fave from Avery.

The Haybag: You’ve used enough words. I’ll just say this is my kind of drinkable.

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Avery India Pale Ale: Quark soup, the Blue Flame Club, and Mario Mendoza

Next up, Avery India Pale Ale:

Space, physics, and booze are a little more Liquorstore Bear’s bailiwick, like perhaps in one of his paranoid rants about Scary Bear’s apocalyptic predictions. However, hadron collider and particle physics tomfoolery are not without precedent here. Soooo….

Recently, Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Hadron Collider created “quark soup”, a near-frictionless plasma soup of quarks and gluons that is believed to have existed for ten-millionths of a second immediately after the universe’s birth. And apparently, this soup only exists at least 4 trillion degrees Celsius.

Hmm, for fahrenheit, multiply by 1.8, then add 32. Holy shit! That IS hot!

That’s some serious heat. To put that in perspective:

Center of the sun: 27 million degrees F
Center of the earth: 5,000 to 10,000 degrees F
A lit human fart: Up to 1,600 degrees F
A snake’s ass in a wagon rut: 95-100 degrees F
A witch’s tit in a brass bra: Below 10 degrees F

Of note, the Haybag once claimed that farts could not be lit aflame (I can’t remember how it came up). I assured her that it was possible, and that I was in fact a member of the “Blue Flame Club”. Unconvinced, I had no choice but to successfully demonstrate this feat to the her. It was our third date.

See. I told you! Who looks stupid now?!

Likewise, much like quark soup and farts on a third date, Avery IPA is better at higher temperatures. Although, perhaps to a lesser degree.

Avery, not content with the 3 Cs, added a fourth C to load-up this IPA with Columbus, Chinook, Cascade, and Centennial. It pours a slightly hazy gold, almost orange, with a thick, IPA-esque head that hangs around and leaves behind plenty of friendly lace reminders of your time together. The first smell is of light citrus (mainly grapefruit), pine, and a distant malt. As it warms, a little added floral character moves in, and an almost honey-like maltiness comes out to play. At first, the taste follows the nose. Then as it warms, a sweeter malt character emerges, which plays off the hops nicely and creates an almost tropical flavor. It finishes generally dry with a clean bitterness. And it is smooth, with a good level of carbonation.

This is a lunchpail IPA. It’s not going to knock your socks off with huge hop flavor, but it’s balanced and gets the job done. It’s kind of like the Mario Mendoza of IPAs.

The Haybag: Of course it’s good. I picked it out.

Beer Review: Avery – The Beast Grand Cru Ale

Next up, The Beast.

I think I just pissed myself

The Haybag nonchalantly poured this for me as I was making Christmas dinner. It pours a deep reddish-brown, with a small off-white head. It smells like brown sugar, dark fruits, and rum…this one might have a little heat to it. Then I tasted it.  Whoa, this is huge: Rum-soaked raisins, brown sugar, and booze. Next taste: Port. Next taste: Honey, molasses, and booze.

My visiting Mother (who never drinks beer) tasted it, remarked how good it was, and walked off with my glass. This gave me chance to look at the bottle. Jumpin’ baby Jesus on a pogo stick, 16.83% ABV! This thing should be hotter than two rats making love in a wool sock. And don’t get me wrong, it has some heat; but the heat is complementary.

The bottle tells me that they brewed this with boatloads of malt; Belgian yeast; lots of not-overpowering hops; and raisins, dates, blackstrap molasses, alfalfa honey, turbinado sugar, and dark Belgian candy sugar. Every taste from this bastard brings something new. This be a complex brew. But you won’t like it if you don’t like sweet beers.

My Mom finally brought the beer back. Suddenly I was disappointed to notice the nose was filled with a burnt olive oil flavor. Crap! The oil in the paella pan is burning.

Me, without the Swedish accent; but we do have Ikea furniture.

The Haybag: I thought something was wrong. I heard “Oh my God” a couple of times, then I smelled burning olive oil.

UPDATE: For a slightly different take on this beer from someone else who liked it, head over to Lyrics, Libations, and Life for his review. He hits on some of the important Belgian qualities of the brew.

Beer Review Smackdown (Barleywine edition): Southern Tier Backburner vs. Avery Hog Heaven

Next up, the Haybag and I pit two of our favorite barleywine style beers in a no-holds-barred cage match: Southern Tier Backburner vs. Avery Hog Heaven.  We have had each separately, but never close enough together to compare accurately.

Disclosure: The Haybag and I have a bit of a disagreement over who discovered Avery Hog Heaven.  She claims to have happened upon it at a bar, the name of which she has conveniently forgotten, while (surprise, surprise) out of town.  And I have no convincing story, but I still cling to its discovery like a hipster clings to that Deadmau5 show he attended in 2006…you know, before Deadmau5 went all mindie lamestream.  But we’re married. So she’s right.

Southern Tier

Look at me...all artsy 'n whatnot.

Me: Pours a nearly opaque mahogany. Smells like burnt caramel, molasses, and toffee, with a slight hint of a ripe hoppiness.  I thought I remembered this being hoppier, which is why I scheduled this death match. But this is shaping up to be more of an English-style barleywine (malty and wittty…with bad teeth).

Tastes like caramel, molasses, and toffee, with some dark, dried fruits (like dates and raisins and stuff).  Then you catch a pleasant and refined hoppiness at the end. Maybe it’s kind of English, with an American spin. Like a Canadian, but without all the self-conscious hang-ups about being culturally distinct from the US.

The Haybag: Very Good. Caramel and molasses for sure.  But I prefer my barelywines to be a bit hoppier.  Who the hell is Deadmau5?

Avery Hog Heaven

F U. I didn't pick the glass.

Me: Hog Heaven pours a cloudy, dark copper.  The smell is of resinous and pungent hops, with a sweet malt backbone.  Also, there seems to be a certain funk that reminds you that hops are in the Cannabaceae family…um, or so I’m told.

As for the taste: Like a mongol horde sewing salt in the fields, poisoning wells, and leaving no eye open to weap for the dead, Avery Hog Heaven lays waste to your tongue.  But if you love hops, your blubbering tastebuds will wimper sadistically for more.

It has a ripe orange and pineapple citrus hop flavor, with some grapefruit and piney hop notes thrown in just for the hell of it.  The well-balanced caramel maltiness (and maybe some dates or other such dark, dried fruit flavor) reminds you that it is a barleywine and not a Double IPA or Imperial Red. And as it warms, it turns from a warmongering hop barbarian to a purring, but naughty, lap kitty.

Meow.

The Haybag: Even better. This is my favorite barleywine. Did I mention that I discovered this beer? Hey, is this why we had to watch that show about Mongols the other night?

Conclusions

Drink both…unless hops bother you, in which case drink two Backburners.