Sunday, September 13, 2009

Avery Sixteen Anniversary Ale review

Today's beer review comes from the Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado. Avery Brewing celebrated their 16th anniversary this year and for the last several years they have put out a special anniversary ale. This year they brewed: Avery Sixteen Anniversary Ale, a beer brewed in the Saison style. Sixteen features three particular ingredients: Jasmine flowers, Peaches and Honey. It sounded like an interesting combination so I picked up a bottle.

I have to admit, I wasn't a big fan of last year's Avery Fifteen but I was OK with it by the end of the bottle. Saison style ales aren't one of my favorite styles either so I went into this tasting with lowered expectations. I had heard some good reviews about this beer so I wanted to find out if this year's anniversary brew was any better than last year. Sixteen was bottled in May 2009 and I had it sitting in my beer cellar for a few months prior to opening.

I chilled down the 22oz bottle of Sixteen for a few days in the fridge. I figure it was probably a bit too cold so I let it warm up just a bit before opening the bottle. Sixteen poured a "grungy" yellow color that yielded a nice 2-finger white bubbly head. The beer itself seemed to have some chill haze that eventually cleared up a bit later on as it warmed. There seemed to be a decent amount of carbonation in this beer as the bubbles seemed to very abundant in my fluted glass. There was very little lacing with this beer and whatever seemed to be created quickly slid off the glass and disappeared.

I took quite a bit of time smelling the aroma of this beer. This beer had a unique smell to it and I wanted to take a few minutes to try to imagine what all this beer reminded me of. My initial smell reminded me of lemon grass, belgian funky yeast and a mild sweet floral whiff. I really couldn't pick out any peach aroma but rather sweet malts instead. I knew there were jasmine flowers, peaches and honey in this beer but the yeast and grass-like smell seemed to dominate. It was less funky smelling than other saison's I've tried. It was calming to the senses to breathe this beer in.

My first few sips of Sixteen had lots of bubbles dancing on various parts of my tongue - a real tingler. The brew was creamy and left a strange moistness and mellowing feeling on the aftertaste. Some beers can be drying but this one was just the opposite. Perhaps it was making my mouth salivate quite a bit. I wouldn't call it a crisp feeling but it was quite refreshing to the mouth.

Some saisons can be over the top with their spices and earthy floralness but Avery took a stop back and kept the pedals and spice balanced well. I could taste the sweet malts and it mixed well with the flowers and honey. Again, I really couldn't pick up any of the peaches but it may have been masked by the jasmine.

Sixteen was very mildly bittered. The honey and fruit must have taken away much of the bitterness but it was very subtle. This turned out to be a Saison that I could actually enjoy. I was not a big fan of last year's Fifteen but was very pleased with this years ale. Sixteen has taken things up a notch to produce a nice refreshing summery brew that's blended very well with it's ingredients.

Something about this beer is calming. Perhaps that's why many countries use jasmine flowers in their teas. It's surprising on the end in a curious way. I admit I wasn't sure about having a fruit, flower and honey brew but Sixteen showed me that even those kinds of ingredients can be added sparingly and still produce a good tasting beer.

I'm liking this beer. I had no problem in finishing the 7.69% ABV 22oz bottle of this brew. It's not a session beer and one whole bottle was all that I wanted for one evening. Sixteen was definitely one of the better tasting Saisons I've had so far. It coats the tongue slightly after a while and gave me a slight "glow" after finishing it.

Avery's Sixteen was definitely a good year. It's Thumbs Up good!

Related articles:
- Avery Fifteen Anniversary Ale review.
- Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest review.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Avery Sui Generis to debut in September.
- Avery Redpoint Ale review.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com
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