Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Avery Ale To The Chief Review

Brewery: Avery Brewing Co. | Beer: Ale To The Chief
Style: American Double India Pale Ale | ABV: 8.8%
Serving Method: 22 oz. bottle poured into tulip glass

Avery Ale To The ChiefDespite your political views, one can not deny that today is indeed an historic day for our nation. The election of an African-American as our country's leader marks a significant change in our society, and is something I will one day be proud to tell my children about.

To mark today's inauguration, Avery Brewing Company has brewed up a very special limited release beer in order to "bid a fond farewell to our current Commander in Chief and welcome a new administration."

While Avery list the style as Presidential Pale Ale, the best I can tell, the actual style is American Double India Pale Ale. The malt backbone is composed of Two-Row Pale, C-150, Dark Munich, Honey Malt varieties; while hoppiness is provided by both Magnum and Cascade varieties. They even went as far as to use the American Ale yeast strain, something they've never done at Avery.

While I usually shy from typing up the entire contents of a bottle's label, the mock preamble to the Constitution is clever enough to warrant the treatment. The bottle reads:

Ale to the Chief! - A Presidential Pale Ale to celebrate Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009. We the Brewers of Avery Brewing Company, in order to form a more perfect ale, require new leadership that can liberate us from our quagmires in foreign lands; embrace environmentally sound energy alternatives to imported oil; heal our ailing health care system; free us from tyrannical debt and resurrect the collapsing dollar. We hereby pledge to provide him with an ample amount of our Presidential Pale Ale to support in the struggle for the aforementioned goals! Hail to the New Chief!

Not an 'Imperial' Pale Ale, this is a democracy. It's Presidential! Take the all-American pale ale, a bipartisan blend of malt and hops, increase to both Avery Brewing standards, and then, of course, dry hop the result with that most quintessential of American hops, Cascades, and you get this... Ale to the Chief. A brew worthy of the Oval Office! Brewed with Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, hops and yeast.
Appearance: A rich burnt-orange, crystal clear body with a firm, off-white head on top. Lacing is good.

Aroma: As you'd expect from a Double IPA, as soon as the bottle is opened, hops flood the air. They're of the classic Cascade profile: bright citrus and pine. There's a caramel base under all the hops, but I'm not getting the amount of booze I was expecting.

Taste: Good hops up front, followed by lots of sweet caramel malt. The hops could be a bit more assertive for my tastes, but everything meshes well here. There's a long hoppy finish, with a bit of booze around the edges.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with fine carbonation and a bit of warming alcohol. Dries in the finish.

Drinkability: Double IPAs are not know for their drinkability, but I would say this is slightly more drinkable than your average example. The booze is hidden excellently, I'd never guess this was over eight percent.

Verdict: Not just a gimmick, Avery have crafted a great beer for this occasion. This is a perfect accompaniment to today's events. I only wish that I was able to source more than the one bottle I managed to find. Ale to the chief!

Grade: A-

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