Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Avery Brewing: Soft Opening of the New Facility in Gunbarrel

We’ve have been going to the Avery Brewing since there wasn’t a taproom just a kegerator from the loading dock. I remember thinking that it must be the wrong place as we looked for the brewery in an alley.  That day we meet Peter Archer, who is no longer an employee there and Matt “Truck” Thrall who is now head brewer/production manager at Avery.  Fast forward some years and the taproom on the alley was born. But now we bid farewell to that and welcome a new era in the new Avery Brewing facility.

Valentine’s Day was the first of the soft openings of the new building with taproom and restaurant. There were four sessions (afternoon and evening) during that weekend, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. We met up on Valentine’s Day with some friends who also got a invitation to the soft opening.  

Before the designated time for dinner, we were able to have a look around the brand new brew house. One of the designs of the brewery is for self-guided tours on a catwalk above the brewhouse. They aren’t brewing there due to licensing that haven’t been approved yet and nor is the production lines, canning/bottling/kegging there, all are being done at the old facility, working hard to produce the beers we love to drink. The brewhouse felt like a brand new car, you know that smell? That’s how this brewhouse seemed to me, absent were the brewing smells, and noise of the constant influx of people and machinery.

There's a large gift shop on the second floor outside the restaurant entrance. And you can pick up six-pack in the cooler.

This Valentine’s Day session was from 6-10pm and there weren’t reservation for a certain time.  They were seating people either in the restaurant upstairs or the tap room which is on ground level.  One thing we noticed was that the influx of patrons at one time, made it difficult for the kitchen staff to bring food out in a more timely manner. Some of the entrees were cold but this is the reason for soft openings.
Bar at the back of
the restaurant.

For starters we were given a small taster of a sour ale,  Karma Sutra, a Belgian Pale Ale with hibiscus and rose. It was a great aperitif to get our appetites going.

The menu was arranged with the assumption that the parties would be multiples of 2X, the appetizers and dessert were for sharing but the entree was a single serving. Beers were flowing throughout the night. Avery Brewing has a total of 90 taps; 30 taps in the main level tap room, 30 taps at the growler station, and 30 taps in the upstairs restaurant.  The growler station wasn’t finished on Valentine’s Day.  That night, there were an impressive line up of beers to choose from a low alcohol, IPA to a over the top beer, Tweak . We sat with 7 of our friends, the hostess was very accommodating putting tables together for us. We outlasted most the people who were seated in the restaurant at the same time as us.

For an appetizer, we ordered the charcuterie plate with cheese.  We were able to taste the other selections that our friends ordered.  All was very good, thumbs up on that course.

With this being a soft opening and with no cost to us, we all seemed on the same page and picked higher end entrees.  A few had the 12 ounce New York strip, some had the 14 ounce Smoked Prime Rib, and the vegetarian in the group ordered the Cherie, a roasted vegetable plate.  As I mentioned before, there were some problems due to the amount of people ordering at one time so some of our entrees weren’t as hot as was liked or our orders weren’t served at the same time.  But all in all, another thumbs up.
Smoked Prime Rib.
N Y Strip Steak.

Dessert was an all around thumbs up with only slight complaints. The Dark Cherry Cobbler needed more cobbler (pastry) which was made with Salvation Belgian Style Golden Ale and the Rumpkin Bread Pudding needed a nice Rumpkin sauce to be poured over the pudding, this as indicated was made with the rum barrel-aged pumpkin ale. The Chocolate Fudge Brownie was a hit with no complaints.
Rumpkin Bread Pudding.

Valentine’s Day was a wonderful time with friends, good food, and great beer. 


Adam Avery even stopped by to thank us for coming.  Many of the staff at Avery Brewing were there with their families and friends.

I will wait a few weeks before heading there again, the volume of people visiting the new place should be toned down by them, I hope.

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