ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING COMPANY BEER SOCIAL
It is not surprising that my beer proclivities lean toward the European, so people are often surprised to hear that Anderson Valley Brewing Company is my favorite brewery. A few have even suggested that my love of their beer is highly colored by their charming beer reps. And though they are charming and knowledgeable (and good looking), I like AVBC for its variety and drinkability.
I have never had a beer that I’ve disliked by AVBC. Their goses are the finest of their kind- soft wheat and tangy salt perfect to slake your thirst on a hot summer day. Their Huge Arker was perhaps the first American beer that I fell head over heels for, and I've been breaking the rules and drinking stouts all summer long since.
With our Anderson Valley Beer Social just around the corner, I’m sure you’re anxious to hear which of their beers we will be featuring (and I'm anxious to give my opinions):
1. Briney Melon Gose
2. Barrel Aged G&T Gose
3. Ee Tah! IPA
4. Rosy Barl Sour Saison
5. Peachy Barl Sour Saison
6. BA Salted Caramel Porter
7. Nitro Summer Solstice
8. Boont Amber
9. Boont White
10. Huge Arker
1. For the unitiated, the gose is historically a German style, made with wheat and salt water. In my honest opinion, Anderson Valley makes the best goses out there. So pleasantly tart! So easy to drink! While I do like their Blood Orange Gose a lot, I chose to bring in the Briney Melon. What could be better for a hot day than a slice of juicy, sweet watermelon, mingling with the light tang of salt.
2. The G & T Gose is made with ingredients to emulate a Gin and Tonic (juniper berries, lemon zest, lemongrass, and the cinchona bark which gives us quinine). The guys at AVBC wanted to know what the gose would taste like aged in gin barrels. Alas, gin barrels can be re-used by distillers indefinitely and thus scarce. They chose to go with a more traditional bourbon barrel for aging. I have had a friend or two question my judgment in ordering this zany experiment…. But I’ve never come across a barrel-aged beer I dislike by Anderson!
3. Anderson Valley’s newest IPA is made with pale, pilsner, and midnight wheat for a solid malt character. Chinook, Citra, and Amarillo hops impart flavors of ripe tropical fruit, peach and apricot leading to a clean hoppy finish just in time for summer.
4./5. These sister saisons are aged in local wine barrels and made with AVBC’s proprietary wild Horse Tongue yeast for a fruity, refreshingly tart finish. As the name suggests, one is made with fresh raspberries, and the other, peach puree. Try them back to back and compare!
6. I’m a sucker for anything salted caramel (and barrel-aged). Since we get our caramel flavors in beer from crystal malts, AVBC uses a very specific blend of crystal malts here, with sea salt added after fermentation. The barrel-aging contributes flavors of warm vanilla, oak, and bourbon.
7. Now I know I said I liked all AVBC beers, and I do. But Summer Solstice is not for me. And yet, here we are nearing the middle of summer! As I was debating whether to bring this in for the event, some of my Rusty Monk family and my good luck charms, Bertha and Dwayne happened to be walking around Uptown and popped in to say hello. Bertha tried all the beers and, when she got to Summer Solstice, proclaimed, “This is the shit.” It was decided. Bertha is the voice of the people. The people need Summer Solstice. And so here you will find it, on nitro gas for a creamy, silky finish to its sweet caramel and light spice.
8. Boont Amber (available in cans) is Anderson Valley’s flagship beer. Full-bodied with a rich caramel malt aroma, sun-toasted grain, and mellow herbal hop, this is the perfect “burger beer” and pairs well with food of any sort.
9. Boont White is another seasonal release, meant to emulate the extremely drinkable and classic Belgian wit- a crisp, medium-bodied ale with a Belgian yeast character of stone fruits and peppercorns with floral aroma. Subtle additions of Columbus, Chinook and Amarillo hops depart from Begian tradition and give way to a balanced, refreshing and satisfying beer.
10. Huge Arker is the beer that made me fall in love with bourbon barrel-aged stouts. The name Huge Arker references a storm because its brewers consider it a force of nature. Though pretty epic, I am vaguely disappointed… because it always seemed to me that the Huge Arker should be a man (with a burly build and hairy chest- the type you see on the cover of a romance novel). Curling up with a romance novel would be less satisfying than the curl of my hand around a snifter filled with this deeply decadent stout of burnished oak, candy sugar, bourbon, and hearth-baked bread. Though a little dark for summer, the ardent warmth of alcohol (underpinned with hints of coffee, molasses, vanilla) is too hard to resist.
Of course, Chef Geoff, in his infinite wisdom, has gifted us with a simple yet hearty and delicious tasting menu to compliment the beers. These items will all be available simultaneously to guide our drinking and socializing.
Can't wait to see you all there!