Making noise in the blogosphere with beer.
I should firstly note that I come from a world of wine, not beer. I spent seven years working in the restaurant industry in high end fine dining dealing with the greatest and rarest wines the world has to offer. I was given a chance to change my scenery and take on a project far greater than anything I had experienced and I took it. The world of beer! I entered a world that I had never known existed and with four months of intensive training in one of Denver's fastest growing Beer Halls I have learned a lot and I wanted to share that knowledge.
There are some important things to understand about beer that makes it so much more exciting and different than the world of wine. For one you can't have a bad vintage. With wine you you can blame people, climate, weather, any number of things for why your vintage is not up to par. With wine they will still bottle and sell that one, knowing its not up to par. With beer that can't happen. Every beer put out has to be exactly what was intended while brewing. Wine is similar to a long term savings plan. Change doesn't happen rapidly and its about making a portfolio for the years to come; That's why you see the same vineyards producing the same couple of bottles a year now until forever. Beer on the other hand is similar to day trading. There are new beers coming out daily! Breweries do have their seasonal beers (found all year long) but they do collaborations with other breweries, have series of beers for special release, and barrel aging programs. One brewery out of Fort Collins, Co. is changing the game entirely when it comes to Beer and Wine; Their telling a story, that which has never been done.
Avery began in 1993 out of Fort Collins, Co. making large flavored beer. They are known to make some of the most flavorful and hopiest beers on the market. They are also quickly becoming known as the "Aging Brewery". A great wine is one that can age for years, mellowing out the tannins and bringing out the fruit equating in a very balanced beverage. Avery is making beer that is done the same way. While on first sip of most of their beers you'll find they are massive in character and flavor, however after aging for a few years you'll notice they the massiveness they seemed to impart up front, subdues and balances out into one of the most magical moments you'll ever have when sipping a beer; Let alone a beverage.
In 2005 Avery began their Demonic Ale Series. These are very dark and massively flavorful beers with high abv that have the potential to be aged for years to come. They are the dark side of Avery. One of three Demonic Ales is Mephistopheles. This is a tremendous dark stout with bitter malts reminding me of sipping a double espresso straight but like the shape shifter himself, changes from sip to sip. Mephistopheles is also a major character in Goethe's Faust.
In 2006 Adam Avery traveled to Belgium to learn about barrel aging from the masters. He then began his Barrel Aging program to show another side to Avery Brewing Company: Sour beers. On Friday the 28th of January Avery will be unveiling their 6th barrel aged beer: Margarete. Margarete was Faust's love interest and an instrument of Mephistopheles to win his wager with God. Margarete is no shining light in Faust's story. She's a very dark character and one that is portrayed as such perfectly through Avery's barrel aging program.
Margarete was brewed using a lighter and more sweet version of Mephistopheles. Still a massively powerful stout but with sweeter malts versus bitter, she was aged for 11 months in bourbon barrels with sour cherries. The outcome one might ask? A sour stout that has feminine qualities versus masculine yet is equally as powerful as the Mephistopheles Stout.
This is why I love beer and am a huge advocate of Avery Brewing Company. They are telling a story, one that began in 1808 (Goethe's Faust), revisited in 2005 with Mephistopheles and another chapter in the story of Faust with Margarete's birth in 2011. No vineyard in the world has told a classic story using their wine as a metaphor nor any brewery using their beer to tell stories. All but one, Avery Brewing Company. This gives me up.
Everyone loves a story; Everyone. Avery so far is the only one telling a story, whether they planned for it or not, and here it is. I can only hope the world of wine takes a note on this and changes their bottling program to be as creative as Avery has been. I do hope that breweries take a notice as to what Avery has been up to and revamps their beer program. And lastly, I pray that this is not the story of Faust coming into fruition, but rather just another chapter in this story as we await Avery to make their Faust. Maybe I'll make a wager with the Mephistopheles such as Faust once did in order to see the story continue to be told.
Marc Bayes / Not Your Dads Beer