Avery Insula Multos Collibus

This is one of a series of four sour beers released by Avery this Spring (2015). It is a sour ale aged in bourbon barrels with cherries and vanilla added. The result is a sour beer with what I would call a “medium” pucker factor. In other words it’s not so sour as to make your lips completely pucker up, but it’s also not just a teeny bit sour. The bourbon flavor is noticeable strongly followed by the cherry and the vanilla. There is a noticeable parallel to a Manhattan, which I think is what they were going for. As it warms, it seems a little less sour and the cherry becomes more prominent. A nice choice for a sour beer. Four of five proper pints.

Deschutes Abyss 2014

This is a special release beer from Deschutes that the owner specifically asked the brewmaster to put together using cherry bark and black strap molasses. It is a big Russian Imperial Stout to begin with and they add lots of molasses and at the end cherry bark and vanilla. Then they aged it in three different barrels, new oak, bourbon barrels and pinot noir barrels. The result is really something special. I’ve had a lot of stouts aged in bourbon barrels and not all of them are very good. This one has so much going on that it’s really unique. It pours very dark, truly almost black with a thick tan head. You can smell chocolate, roast, vanilla and some dark fruit in the aroma. The flavor is heavily chocolate with noticeable waves of vanilla, bourbon, cherry and oak. The flavor changes as it warms as well. The molasses adds a thickness to it as well that compliments the flavors. The cherry becomes more dominant as it gets warmer. It is a high ABV beer at 11%, but it is masked very well. In fact it can sneak up on you. I wouldn’t have this all the time. In fact I had it in May, but I would say it is a better cold weather beer. I did have some dark chocolate with it and highly recommend that pairing. I could also see having a big steak with this beer. I give it five out of five proper pints.

The Bruery Or Xata

Horchata (which can also be spelled Orxata) is a milky non-alcoholic drink popular in Spain and Latin America. It is often made with almond milk, or tigernuts, sometimes it includes actual milk and sometimes not. It often also include cinnamon, vanilla and sugar. I’ve heard of it before, but never actually had it, so I can’t attest to whether this beer actually tastes like it or not. What I can tell you is I liked this beer a lot. It is a blonde ale with rice, cinnamon, and vanilla beans added. Lactose is also added which gives it a creamy mouthfeel. It definitely is a blonde colored beer, which plays with your mind a little when you taste flavors you associate with darker beers, especially when you add in the creamy mouthfeel. The aroma is strong with vanilla and cinnamon. You can distinctly taste each of the things that has been added. However, when they are combined, the flavor reminds me of cream soda or possibly rice pudding. I would love to have this beer again. Four of out of five proper pints.