It's all about the hops this weekend at Avery Brewing Co. as the brewery prepares to host the inaugural Boulder IPA Fest.
Dedicated exclusively to India Pale Ales, the most popular craft-beer style, the event will feature about 70 beers from breweries near and far, including Breckenridge Brewery, Oskar Blues, Pizza Port, Firestone Walker, Cigar City Brewing, Victory and many others.
But don't think that it's all about hop overload and how far brewers can ramp up a beer's bitterness. The India Pale Ale designation is more of a catchall category that describes beers with pronounced hop character, whether it's resinous and piney, fruity, floral, citrusy, spiced, dry-hopped or brewed using freshly picked hops such as in a wet-hop ale.
In fact this is the first year that the Great American Beer Festival will include a category specifically for wet-hop ales. The IPA category has been the most entered GABF category by far in recent years.
Avery's fest will feature English- and Belgian-style IPAs, West Coast-style IPAs, strong ales, IPAs brewed with wheat or spiced with herbs, some sour ales and IPAs of nearly every distinction and description.
"We're hoping to get all different shapes and sizes," says Avery Marketing Director Joe Osborne. "We want it to be a showcase that anything is possible with an IPA."
Avery will feature a double dry-hopped version of its popular seasonal Dugana, its Summer's Day IPA spiced with tangerine peel and a dry-hopped version of its best-selling Avery IPA.
"We're a brewery full of hop heads," says Osborne. "Our No. 1 brand is India Pale Ale, we have a lot of hop-heavy beers in the lineup and so we thought it only fitting to celebrate not only IPAs but also our love of the hop."
Looking for an easy way to sample a variety of sour beers? Try the new Sour Power Sampler. Imported from Belgium by the Global Beer Network, each six-pack includes two bottles each of Monks Café Flemish red sour ale, Petrus Oud Bruin and Petrus Aged Pale ale.
Monks Café Flemish red sour ale is aged in oak barrels, which allows for wild yeast strains and lactobacillus, a bacteria used in making yogurt and cheese, to sour the beer over time and provides for an acidic, sweetly tart flavor. Petrus Aged Pale from Bavik Brewery is also aged in oak casks with bacteria and hops for up to three years, and exhibits both sweet and tart flavors in effervescent golden ale. Petrus Oud Bruin, a Belgian old brown ale brewed by Brewery Bavik, is a blend of Petrus Aged Pale with a fresh brown ale brew that results in a refreshing mix of sweet and sour.
The Sour Power six-pack has a suggested retail price of $20. Look for it in Boulder at Hazel's Beverage World, Whole Foods, Liquor Mart, Boulder Wine and Spirit and Harvest.
Contact Tom Wilmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.