With all good things, there must be, at some locale in the universe something that is the exact opposite right? Something to bring balance? For every millionaire, is someone a million in the red. For every superstar, there is someone who possesses the deviation from the median in said skill set. Well, beer is no different. The real question is, where do you place the median line. What on the beer scale counts as zero. Where on the map can we define as true center.

Well, I don’t have an answer for that, what I do have, is an opinion on three dark ales. The Avery demon series. There are three brews in this series, each is dark, rich and complex and full of mischief. Not to mention slightly pricey.

I bought my first Avery brew (well, of this series) back in June of 2010. It was called Mephistopheles. A stout that states that it is 16.83% ABV. It is brewed once a year, on December first. Now, I knew next to nothing, I take that back… I knew absolutely nothing about this beer when I bought it. Except that I bought it in Bev-Mo, on a Sunday morning, in La Jolla, California, and it was $12 a bottle. I got the beer home and put it in the fridge to cool down a little. This demon was hot to the touch. When I opened it, I had a couple of friends around, including my roommate at the time. Having no prior knowledge of this beer, I decided to do what I rarely do… read reviews of the beer before I tried it. Well, the reviews that I read mentioned that as the beer warms, the flavors open up, the aromas change, and the beer garners some new characteristics. What a noble concept! I opened the beer, passed it around and wow, it was harsh to a novice beer drinker. Overly sweet, a strong alcohol taste, and a pucker effect similar to that of tequila. I then decided to let the beer become room temperature and see what transpired… so I left the apartment and went out with friends. I returned to the beer later on that evening when it had achieved proper temperature of about 75 degrees. A little too warm. It was still overly sweet, and harsh to the tongue. In hindsight, my novice approach to drinking craft beers… did not allow me to fully appreciate this brew in round one.

It was in the coming months that I discovered that I had lost my bottle of Mephistopheles, so I went on a crusade to find another. Well, I found a second bottle in the back of a Specs in Galveston, Texas for only $10. So naturally I had to buy it. This time when I drank it, I had a greater appreciation for the espresso flavors, the darkness of the chocolate, and fruity aromas that added such sophistication to the beer. It is still not a brew that I would keep in my cellar, but it is certainly one that needs to be tried.

My second conquest of the demon series was “Grand Cru” which I found a lone bottle of in a cold case at my local taphouse. I was at the bar working on my “Around the word” beer tour there and the bar I was at did not have anything that I needed to cross off my list. So I asked him what he did have, and I spotted the holographic bottle sitting in the cooler. The bartender cautioned me on the potency of this brew. I attempted to explain that yes, I knew what I was getting myself into. He further cautioned me on the price… I reassured him that it was fine, I was expecting it to be about twelve bucks and to just give me the beer, which he did begrudgingly. Upon opening the beer I quickly discovered why me and Grand Crus were not meant to be friends. While I can appreciate the beer for its complex flavors and craftsmanship… I cannot get myself over the sweetness of the beer. As a general rule I do not eat sweets, ice cream, smoothies, pies, cakes, cookies, it doesn’t matter, my palate cannot handle sweets very well so a Grand Cru is literally hard for me to swallow. I appreciate the brew, but I wouldn’t drink another. This one reigned in at 16.27% ABV and was plenty to ensure I enjoyed the rest of my night at the bar once the glass was empty.

The third and final demon that I would exorcize would come from Austin, Texas. Go figure, demonic creatures hanging out amongst hippies. I was in town for a good buddy of mine. The four of us, after eating at a wonderful restuarant called Cabo Bobs decided to buy some liquor before we went to 6th Street for his bachelor party. We walked into Specs and I cam across a very knowledgeable beer guy. He quickly recommended Austin Beerworks and Jester King (who I have written about before). Anyways, I asked him, on a whim if he had Mephistopheles, which he did, but in the back. Before I could tell him I was just asking, I didn’t actually want it, he had returned with it. So I then asked him if he by chance, and I knew it was a long shot, had “Samael” the last of the series that I needed for my collection. Lo and behold, he did. He applauded me of having knowledge of these beers and seemed surprised that I actually knew about them. Anyways, I digress.

I finally opened the beer this past weekend amongst family and friend. I knew right off the bat that no one else in this house would enjoy this beer, but I made them all try it anyways. The beer is potent, (15.53% ABV) and the vintage I had was batch number four brewed in April of 2008. It hits like a small truck. Potent sweetness, vanilla, cinnamon, spice, certainly a beer for the winter months. I is certainly a beer to enjoy over the course of good conversation as you will not be drinking it very fast. It is very rich, malty and has a svelte composition. All in all, another brew that is good to try, but not one that I would keep in my cellar for a special occasion.

So, since I have overcome my demons, I believe the next in my conquest of Avery will be the dictator series. Stay tuned!



  1. […] 0 If you are current on my blog here, you would recall that the only “trinity” although unholy as it was… that I have drank was the Demon series from Avery brewing. I discussed my battles with demons previously (here) […]

    Pingback by The third beer of the year, was the third in a trilogy « Beer With Blake January 5, 2012 @ 21:47
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