Avery makes some good beers. Now, Matty has been a huge proponent of Avery since day 1. However, I was a bit slower to come around. I always thought their beers were good, but not necessarily standouts. However, after visiting the brewery and having the opportunity to try some of their crazy Demons of Ale series, I had to come around. These guys have a great operation that is small, grassroots, and cranks out some good beers. At the brewery, it seems like everybody does everything, and there’s a true feeling of community. And, hell, a buddy of mine helped build their new tasting room, so that’s also pretty cool.
What I’m really getting around to is, I’d better really love a brewery to drop $9 for a single 12 oz. bottle of beer from them. And that’s just what I did. The Brabant is a little $9 bottle of wild ale brewed with two strains of Brettanomyces yeast and subsequently aged for 9 months in White Zinfandel barrels. I mean, that’s kinda risky, right? It’s very expensive, deals with a very testy yeast strain, and undergoes aging in a very unusual barrel. Anything could happen with this, and it’s ballsy for Avery to try it.
The Brabant pours a deep, deep brown with some purplish tints in the light. The head is sticky and dense and off-white, sticking to the sides of the glass all the way down. In the nose, this is wild and tangy. It actually burns a bit in the nostrils while giving off some light sweet notes reminiscent of light grapes – no doubt a contribution from the Zin barrels. Now, the flavor. It’s obviously unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. There is a sour burn on the tip of the tongue, which is something I’ve come to expect from Brett beers. However, there’s also this tart sweetness that brings to mind light grapes and some grapefruit tartness, as well. It’s deep and flavorful and it positively coats the mouth and throat with a flavor that just doesn’t seem to go away. Down the throat, the predominant flavor is grape and sourness, and it just sticks in the throat. I’m sure there are some flavors I’m missing here, and I’m certain I’m making this very simplistic. But, the fact is that this beer has many layers, and one of those is very reminiscent of a white wine, which can have many layers itself. So, there are several nuances here that would require a more sophisticated palate than my own. What I can say is that it’s unique, appealing, and challenging to the tastebuds, but I do think it’s actually worth the $9, just because it’s so darn novel.