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