In the early 1990s, the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies saw the birth of a new batch of craft breweries. These were part of the “second wave” of US craft breweries, and featured names like New Belgium Brewing, Odell Brewing Company, and Great Divide Brewing. This was a fairly rough and unproven time for craft beer as a category, and back then it took much more than just a tasting room and a social media intern to get people to sample new beers. The second stop on our Colorado craft beer journey took us to another member of the class of the early 90s Mile High Brewing Club – Boulder’s Avery Brewing Company.
Avery Brewing Company was established in 1993 by Adam Avery. Adam had recently moved to Colorado to enjoy rock climbing, and he took a job at a sporting goods store, where his boss turned him on to homebrewing. He quickly got hooked on brewing, and decided to open a seven-barrel brewing operation himself (with some help from his father Larry’s retirement money). It was a struggle, and the brewery didn’t even turn a profit for the first nine years, but Adam persevered ,and kept refining his brewing talents, bringing new styles of Avery beer to market. Around 2001, his fortunes began to improve, and the brewery built out capacity with a much larger 40-barrel brewhouse. Fast forward 14 successful years, and in February 2015, Avery Brewing opened their new $27 million, 96,000 square foot brewery, just 5 miles north of their original location. We visited this beautiful facility on a warm and sunny February afternoon, to check out their beautiful brewhouse, and to sample some of their delicious brews.
One of the unique aspects of Avery’s operation is that they invite all visitors to stroll around the catwalks surrounding their brewhouse, and even sit down and enjoy a beer while checking out their brewing and packaging operations. From this 20-foot high perspective, you can get a sense of how large they have grown.
The new location features an upstairs bar and restaurant, and a downstairs tasting room, with an adjacent mountain-facing outdoor patio and green space. There aren’t many things more beautiful than sunny afternoons in Boulder, and during our visit there were a ton of people outside soaking up the sun with their suds. We found a spot at the downstairs tasting room bar and ordered a flight.
It’s always fun to sample beers that are exclusive to a brewery’s tasting room, and on this visit we got to sample some awesome brewery-only creations. Our first flight dove straight into their more hop-forward styles. Samples from left-to-right in the above photo.
- SMASH #4: Comet – Their SMASH line is a showcase of Single Malt And Single Hop beers, and the featured brew from this series was the Comet-hopped pale ale, clocking in at a mild 4.7% ABV, with some lovely floral aromas, and a slight citrus finish.
- Dry-Hopped IPA: Idaho 7 – The newly released Idaho 7 hop varietal adds a bit of a melon flavor to their dank IPA.
- New World India Black Ale – A light-bodied porter, dry hopped with Citra hops. It’s one of those not-quite-an-IPA / definitely-not-a-traditional-porter style of beers, which defies standard beer naming conventions, delivers a huge flavor punch, and leaves a wonderfully lingering aftertaste. 6.7% ABV.
- Raja Double IPA – Their newly-released Double IPA, whose 8% ABV makes it a little brother to their renowned Maharaja Imperial IPA (which clocks in at 10.2% ABV). It’s the “Prince” to Maharaja’s “King”, and it’s packed with juicy and tropical Southern Hemisphere hops. A great representation of the modern Double IPA style.
- duganA IPA – A hopped up dank 8.5% ABV IPA, a syrupy and dense resinous brew that should be served with a fork. Hop lovers rejoice!
Avery jumped into the radler market with their Radlerado, and we sampled the Winter Edition, which is a light bodied wheat ale spiced with cranberry, cinnamon, sage, and orange peel. At just 3.9% ABV, this is something you could savor all day long.
One of our favorite new brews from Avery is their Liliko’i Kepolo, in which they take their flagship Belgian-style white ale White Rascal (admittedly one of our least-liked of thier brews) and add flavors of tart Hawaiian passion fruit, bringing out a delicious, quenching, mouth-puckering taste explosion. We’ve had this one before, but getting it from the brewery’s taps showed off just how much better a super-fresh beer can taste.
Getting to check out the new Avery Brewing Company headquarters was definitely one of the highlights of our Colorado trip. Make sure you pay them a visit if you’re in their neck of the woods!
Avery Brewing Company
4910 Nautilus Ct. Boulder, CO 80301