Boulder, CO – Avery Brewing has one of the oldest craft beer barrel-aging programs in the country. Over the past decade, they have created a wide variety of innovative projects including beers aged in rum barrels, beers aged in Madeira barrels, and what they call “beer-grape hybrids” in which a portion of the fermentables are wine grapes. Since moving into their new brewery earlier this year, Avery’s brewers now have the capacity to experiment with these projects at the level they’ve always dreamed of, and they’re thrilled to be creating enough barrel-aged beers that sour beer fans across the country can finally get a taste.
In the next two months, Avery is releasing four sour beers, all of which are radically diverse. Avery has always lived the mantra of “go big or go home,” and the impending onslaught of their barrel-aged beers is yet another embodiment of that philosophy.
Tectum et Elix, a sour ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, kicks off what Avery is calling “Sour Spring”. Founder and CEO Adam Avery says Tectum et Elix is hugely different than any sour Avery has made before. “Rather than using our house strain of Brettanomyces, we used multiple Brett and Saccharomyces strains, which created a much funkier beer. It’s earthy, it’s rustic, and it’s delicious.”
Avery is known for their mysterious Latin beer names, and this time the etymology is a nod to their new brewery. “The Avery Alley helped us build character for 22 years, but at some point you have enough character,” says Avery Chief Barrel Herder Andy Parker. “At some point, you just need a brewery that gives you a roof over your head and drains under your feet.”
Avery will release Tectum et Elix this Sunday at their new brewing facility in Gunbarrel. They will be offering a 4-course menu paired with barrel-aged beers; the third course features short ribs that have been smoked with Uncle Jacob’s Stout barrel staves paired with Tectum et Elix as well as Bourbon barrel-aged Reverend Belgian Quadrupel.
The very next weekend Avery will release Insula multos Collibus, a sour ale aged in Bourbon barrels with cherries. “Our goal was to make a strong sour—almost the strength of a Manhattan—in fresh Bourbon barrels.” The 9.7% ABV works to balance the charred oak flavors and lets the barrels shine, adding big vanilla notes and a hint of coconut. Avery will release Insula on April 26, again featuring a prix fixe menu paired with this sour and other barrel-aged offerings.
Raspberry Sour, a sour with red raspberries aged in neutral oak barrels, is the next Sour Spring release on May 1. It is also the beginning of a new series for Avery called Botanicals & Barrels, which will feature barrel-aged beers in 22-ounce green-foil-capped bottles that are available year-round.
“We love making small batches of sour beers to release just once,” says Parker, “but we also wanted to brew a barrel-aged sour that we could recreate and make available to folks around the country who may never see those smaller releases.”
The final piece of Sour Spring is an unusual beer called Fortuna. This brew was inspired by the flavors of a margarita, and although tequila must be made in Mexico, Avery found a tequila company called Suerte that is owned and run by a couple of Bouderites. Avery’s brewers aged a sour beer in Suerte tequila barrels for 9 months and then added fresh lime zest and Maldon salt. Fortuna will be available at Avery Brewing on May 3 with a menu featuring a variety of barrel-aged beers paired with dishes that pay tribute to the Mexican culture that inspired this unique beer.
Bottle sales for Tectum et Elix, Insula multos Collibus, and Fortuna begin at 11am and there is a 12 bottle limit of each per person. For the first time, the beers being released in bottles will also be available to sample on draft. For more information about Sour Spring, beer lovers can go to Avery’s event calendar at averybrewing.com.