Friday, January 22, 2016

An evening with Andy Parker of Avery Brewing discussing, Gestalt Theory: United Forces

Barley’s Angels had an educational event hosted at Avery Brewing with Andy Parker, Barrel Herder. We got to experience the process that goes into choosing which barrel-aged sours goes into production at Avery Brewing.

Kirsten Mundorff, one of the Barley's Angels organizers.

Andy Parker, Barrel Herder.

Andy Parker has been an employee at Avery for 13 years and asked Adam Avery’s permission to buy a few barrels which ultimately started the barrel-aging program at the brewery. In 2009, Brabant, a barrel-aged wild ale became the first in their Barrel-aging series and the success of that program is evident in the soon to be released number 33, Lunctis Viribus.   We were privileged to be the first outside of Avery Brewing to get a taste of Lunctis Viribus, when translated from Latin means Joined Forces or United Forces. Avery Brewing has over 2000 oak barrels and 300 wine barrels.   

Balcony area behind the brew house.

The event was in the back balcony of the brew house where there are tables and a portable bar. On each table there were place mats labeled with tank 1-3, Tequila sour, Eremita IX, and the final product that will soon be bottle and sold sometime in February of this year. We were poured a two ounces glass of tank 1-3 sour ale and asked which one we liked. Then Andy told us what the tasters from Avery thought of them. Of course, the Avery tasters were in a blind test, they didn’t know what they had while we did. It was very interesting hearing the results.

Tweak, barrel-aged Mephistopheles with coffee.

Andy went through the long blind tasting process that every barrel of sour ale goes through before it is good to go into bottles. It has to be anonymous for the sour ale to go into production. He said that 5% of the barrels of the sour ales on average gets dumped while 1% of non-sour barrels do.  Many sours ales are a blend of barrels, since they don’t know how each is going to taste after being in the barrels. In barrel-aging, Andy noted that the barrel is the fifth ingredient along with water, hops, yeast, and malt. He talked about the Avery house strain of yeast Drie, that was developed from a Tre Foutane bottle with the latter's permission, of course. Templates for the sour ales aren’t from any Avery base beer, these are made from scratch.

The Avery restaurant provided some snacks to pair with the sours we were tasting. It was a very interesting event and hats off to the staff at Avery including Andy Parker for such an educational night.

Andy, Amy, Corie, and Austin, the Avery Staff.

1 comment: