Beer Profile: Ale to the Chief
Reviewed by Ken Carman
I honestly wasn’t expecting a good beer here. Hey, it’s a beer brewed to honor Barack, marketed with that in mind. If it had been a beer brewed in honor of any other public figure I would made the same comment. Usually such beers suck worse than an animated Electrolux with attitude. Such beers brewed “in honor of” usually produce a big yawn: at best.
Not here. Avery needs to make this one of their regular offerings. I’ve had plenty Avery, but nothing quite this good. Why did they do this as a one off?
Listed by Beer Advocate as an Imperial IPA. Close, but not quite right. The body is just a bit too caramelized, in my opinion, and just a bit too much part of the mix. An I-IPA is supposed to be more of a showcase for hops with less attention to the malt. The brewers here did not ignore the hops in favor of the malt by any means. But they didn’t let the malt go into the background either.
The first thing I noticed was aroma: hops wafting out of the 22 ounce bottle; hoping to escape captivity. While there’s a bit of Cascade sense here, there’s so much more. The body; chewy: perfect. The mouthfeel… do I dare swallow? I hate to. But once I did there was plenty here other than what fills mouth with pleasure, and no defects… all that’s heavenly.
It is probably a bit too Arrogant Bastard-y hop-wise for the timid, but I thought it was perfect: a heavier than Pale body with a nice hop bite. More complex than Bastard. That’s a compliment, since the original Arrogant tends to be a little one dimensional, for those who don’t appreciate such. (I appreciate both.). Am I getting a bit of Mount Hood as a twist at the end? Maybe Amarillo? They kept me guessing, which is impressive.
Plenty of head with cascading bubbles upon pour.
This is not a beer for everyone. But beer geeks should enjoy something a bit more chewy and alcoholic than Liberty from Anchor, or even Arrogant perhaps. Competes well with Dogfish 90. Perhaps a bit more complex? Better compared it to a slightly milder version of 120?
OG probably well over 50, and I’ll bet it finished out somewhere in the mid to low teens: well modified malt as expected. A guess: about 65 IBU or more, but with enough high alpha to please the hop tyrants out there. I’ve had over 100 and this ain’t it. More Galena high alpha-ish: not a lot, just the flavor seems to indicate a small amount hyper-alpha hops have been added, or a hopback helped turn part of the Cascade more towards the bitter… or high alpha Chinook? Whatever they did, they did it right.
If you are a bit of a geek and want something a bit more complex than most I-IPAs, try it. I bet you’ll like it.
We the Brewers of Avery Brewing Company, in order to form a more perfect ale, require a new leadership that can liberate us from our quagmires in foreign lands; embrace environmentally sound energy alternatives to imported oil; heal our ailing health care system; free us from tyrannical debt and resurrect the collapsing dollar. We hereby pledge to provide him or her with an ample amount of our Presidential Pale Ale to support in the struggle for the aforementioned goals! Hail to the New Chief!
-From the label