New Brew: Avery Old Jubilation

23 Dec

Holiday time always brings on an interesting barrage of beer and beer-related gifts for me.  Knowing my love for craft beer, several relatives send me home with any number of gift sets or holiday samplers of varying quality.  This year’s first such gifting netted me an 8-pack holiday sampler put together by Brennen’s Market – a great local resource for craft beer, fresh produce, and fine meats and cheeses.  Brennen’s is known for their focus on beers found mostly west of the Mississippi – Colorado especially – and Avery is one of their favorite breweries to stock.  A strong winter warmer sounded about right as the next BIG ONE threatens to blanket Madison in anything ranging from freezing rain to 8 inches of snow for Christmas.

Beer: Avery Old Jubilation

Beer Style: English Old Ale

Vitals: OG: 1.074   ABV: 8.0%   IBUs: 30, Hop Variety: Bullion, Malt Variety: Two-row barley, special roast, black, chocolate, victory

Company Line: “Our winter strong ale has a gorgeous mahogany hue, a hint of hazelnuts, and a finish reminiscent of mocha and toffee. No spices, just a perfect blend of five specialty malts. Cellarable for 2 years. –

My take: an attractive clear mahogany under a finger of khaki foam.  Nose is somewhat muted, with a whisp of malted grain and vanilla and a hint of tinniness.  Rich malts meld notes of caramel, vanilla, and chocolate are braced by a piney hop bristle and a warming alcoholic heat to the tune of 8% abv.  I certainly appreciate a winter seasonal that doesn’t rely on the crutch of heavy spicing.  Complex malting with just the right amount of balancing hops is all a good brewer needs to create a beer full of character and devoid of gimmick.  As the brewers suggest, I would imagine this one smoothing out and changing in some interesting ways with a some age.  All told, a nice way to wind down when Wisconsin winter is trying its darndest to ruin Christmas.

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