Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"
It being Homecoming Week, I feel no compulsion to leave the boundaries of Boulder proper to find a beer. Instead, I'm heading a short ways up the Diag to 63rd St and the beautiful home of Avery Brewing. There, they often find cause to release an enhanced version of their classic Mephistopheles imperial stout. Bourbon barrel-aged with a heap of roasted coffee beans thrown in for fun, the resulting product, Tweak, is this week's game day beer-o-the-week.
O.G. Mephistopheles, named after demon of Faustian legend (ah, the Sun Devil association I was looking for), is a wonderful play on the imperial stout style, a remnant of the old 'Demons of Ale' series from the brewery. If you haven't had it before, I would suggest it, as well. By adding Ozo brand coffee beans to a bourbon-barrel soak, however, Avery takes the veteran brew up a notch. Regrettably first released under the name 'Meph Addict,' the re-brand has done this coffee stout well. No longer do I have to look aside the unfortunate allusion to drug use, I can just enjoy this unique beer for what it is.
I actually had a tasting of Tweak at last week's Great American Beer Festival, getting it poured straight from the barrel by the man himself, Adam Avery. With a motor oil like color, it pours settled and confident into the glass with a sizable tan head. Upon tasting, there's a decided note of chocolate/coffee, along with warmer bourbon and roasted coconut flavors. The bourbon doesn't overpower, though, letting the complex suite of flavors flit around a bit. Overall, I would describe it as sweetly rich, like having a decadent slice of toffee chocolate cheesecake -- enough to be a meal unto itself. Indeed, at 17.5 ABV, just one 12oz bottle would be sufficient for anyone here. Pour and let it open, consuming over an extended amount of time.
Really, the downside here is that you probably can't find Tweak on store shelves this weekend. Avery plans on next releasing in November. Not too long of a wait, though, and well worth it.
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat the Sun Devils!