Avery Brewing Company’s 3rdannual Sour Ale Fest went down the past Saturday. A celebration of beers produced with bacteria and wild yeast, in lieu of just a traditional brewers yeast, these bugs create delightful off flavors. While many would turn to spit them out, we ask for another pour.
If you were one of the lucky few to actually get tickets to this event (which sold out in less then 2 minutes), no doubt your palate is still recovering from the delightful acid burns it endured. From the mildly tart and refreshing Berliner Weisse to the mouth puckering, eye watering Lambic styles, a bottle of Tums quickly became a welcomed friend. Avery was even nice enough to provide a bottle at one of the bars.
We arrived about 45 minutes before things kicked-off and snuck in just before the Denver Off The Wagon crew arrived. They pulled up about 60 people deep in a tour bus departing from The Rackhouse in Denver. We were lucky enough to find ourselves some of the first 20 or so people in line. The wait gave us ample time to peruse the beer list and come up with our game plan.
The full line-up included 49 drafts and 10 bottle selections from 27 different breweries, we opted to stick with the game plan and make a mad dash to the bottle selection in search of Cascade Brewing’s offering of four amazing brews. We knew full well these would not last long. The first pour, Cascade Brewing’s Blueberry Ale, was a wheat/blond ale blend that had been aged in oak barrels for ten months. During the last four month period they dump in pounds upon pounds of fresh blueberries. The result: a crisp, tart beer with a touch of sweetness from the blueberries. It was the perfect start to Sour Ale Fest and a entirely refreshing sip in the near 90 degree heat.
We followed with Sang Noir, a dark red ale aged in whiskey and Piont barrels then blended with sweet cherries. In stark contrast to the blueberry tart, this equally delicious beer was rich with a strong barrel taste. We filled up our glasses one more time with Crooked Stave’s Persica, their latest Cellar Reserve Only offering. Many people lined up for this knowing it may be the only chance to have it. We turned around and holy crap, were we right! Within the first 20 minutes a line 50 plus people deep had formed to taste the bottle selections. A nice cloud cover had rolled in, taking the temperature from toasty to just about perfect. We decided to grab a couple of chairs and watch the events unfold.
We tasted so many amazing beers, I certainly can’t remember all that we enjoyed. Notes were attempted but quickly went to the way-side. One of the big stand outs of the day was Lost Abbey’s Cuvee de Tomme. It was one of our favorites at Strong Ale and Big Beers festival this year in Vail. Another favorite for the day was Redstone Meadery’s Black Follie; black raspberry mead blended with New Belgium’s La Follie. Crooked Stave’s Blackberry Petite Sour was just as the name depicts, small and full of blackberries. We couldn’t help but appreciate Great Divide’s Bretty Yetti which is their Yetti Imperial stout re-fermented with brettanomyces. Avery Brewing did not let anyone down with 10 taps of their own, they even had a blend made specifically for the festival.
Cheers to you Avery! From the random beer geeks to the guys that brewed the beer to geek out on, it’s always a great crowd. You always put on such great and well organized events, Avery. From Strong Ale Fest, to the random barrel releases and of course Sour Ale Fest, we are never disappointed. We’re lucky to be beer geeks in Colorado!