While on the road this summer, I had the pleasure of taking a tour of Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, Colorado. Avery is, without a doubt, one of the finest craft brewers in the country and has managed to make a big name for themselves while having only a staff of seventeen employees. Where many microbreweries focus on regional distribution, Avery is available almost nationwide despite a relatively small production level. Their self-described “hop crazy” approach to beer has earned them esteem among fellow hopheads and created a high demand in this niche market.
With their latest release, Ale to the Chief, a one time only limited release, Avery has once again spared no expense on their love of hops. Ale to the Chief is Avery’s take on the American Pale Ale, but, of course, with substantially more hops to meet Avery’s standards. With such a high hop level for the style, it almost has more in common with an Imperial IPA, but, as Avery stated in their own description of the beer, “Not an ‘Imperial’ pale ale, this is a democracy. It's Presidential!” making Ale to the Chief a Presidential Pale Ale.
Originally slated to be released in January of 2009 to commemorate President Bush’s last day in office, Avery decided to push up the date to mid July of 2008 when it was announced that the Democratic National Convention was to be held in nearby Denver, Colorado. It is no secret that many of the guys at Avery are of more liberal political views according to C.V. Howe, marketing director, while guiding the tour I took part in back in late June. Ale to the Chief was intended as somewhat of a playful, tongue-in-cheek salute to the current commander-in-chief’s departure and a pledge of allegiance to the new, whomever that may be. Apparently, a few of the employees didn’t favor this idea too much, but, as it turns out, they liked the beer so much that they didn’t put up much of fuss.
Having visited Avery while Ale to the Chief was still brewing, I had the rare opportunity to sample the unfinished product. It was in the final stages of fermentation just before the final hops had been added and the yeast filtered. What came out of the fermentation tank was a very thick, golden haze that, although overly sweet, tasted well on its way to perfection. The months following, I have been on the constant search for the finished Ale to the Chief. After numerous phone calls to distributors in the area and pestering employees at the better stocked retailers, I stumbled upon it, most fortuitously, on draft at Brews in Granville, OH (a favorite haunt). Weeks later, it has begun appearing more frequently on shelves in 22 oz. Bomber form, which I’ve been sure to stock up on. It was surely worth the wait.
( Beer Review After the Cut!Collapse )