Beer Review: Avery's Salvation
By Bill Hepp from New Belgium Brewery
There are many lengths that I will go to for beer. Not only will I sacrifice sleep, as I did during nine years of shift work as a brewer, but I will bicycle through severe thunderstorms for one bomber of beautiful beer. No, quarter-size hail will not faze me; blowing sheets of wind will only sweeten the reward. With a bomber of Avery’s “Salvation” in my pannier, I have all the incentive I need to ignore the branches falling from over head trees, the cold sting of hail melting on my bare arms, and the rain running into my eyes.
This is a smooth, complex, strong blonde Belgian-style ale. Roughly patterned on the seminal Belgian beer Duvel, (which means devil in Flemish, and if you have never tried one, you should,) but with more body and a very different hop character. It pours a shiny gold with a sustained solid head. Foam lacing clings to the glass as you raise the golden elixir to your lips, watching lovingly as the beer slides into your mouth. The aroma is pure sophistication: fruity esters, (esters are higher alcohols that smell either spicy or fruity, depending upon their molecular configuration), exquisite malt and hop balance, sweet candy-sugar, and alcohol. It is a slightly sweet beer with a gorgeous body that feels like silk on the tongue. Whether this luscious mouth-feel is a result of imported Vienna malt or careful pH manipulation of Rocky Mountain spring water – or both – is unclear. Styrian Golding hops add a subtle, spicy undertone to the finish. The peppery hops radiate through the body like sunlight through clouds.
At 9% alcohol by volume, the drinkability of “Salvation” might just get some people into trouble. However, sipping it with a good read, safely ensconced in your favorite chair, or sharing it with friends and food will guarantee good times. This is a beer to slow down and cozy-up with: perfect for a rainy day.