Sinful Brew: Avery’s “Forbidden Fruit” might be the sourest sour-beer this side of paradise

Sinful Brew: Avery’s “Forbidden Fruit” might be the sourest sour-beer this side of paradise

VicesAugust 06, 2019 By Will Brendza

It was sprinkling outside on the patio of Avery Brewing Company, but that wasn’t putting a damper on the party out there. The day was hot and humid and the sun was still out, despite the drizzle: “the Devil was beatin’ his wife.”

Which (as dark a term as that is) is a pretty cool phenomenon. Rain and sun? Sounds like fun. And it looked like fun out there, too: people sheltered by umbrellas, drinking good beer, enjoying good company and eating good food. None of them even seemed to notice that it was raining out.  

I was sitting inside, in the air-conditioned taproom, safe from the sprinkle, watching through the retractable window and sipping on a Double Digit IPA — which the bartender had recommended as the freshest beer on tap.

“Fine by me let’s do it,” I’d told her. “Did you know today is national IPA day?”

She had not known. But I didn’t hold that against her — National IPA day sounds like one of those holidays invented by a marketing team. Who decided that the first Thursday of every August was America’s day to celebrate IPA’s? And why?

Few people seem to know the answers to those questions and fewer still seem to care.

I was just happy to be drinking such a tasty beverage on such a strange and beautiful day. Double Digit is an IPA so hazy you’d need a fog horn to navigate through it. It’s “amped up” with tropical hops, it’s super-juicy and tropical off the top and then satisfyingly bitter off the back end. Dangerously light for a 10-percent beer, this is a solid brew to start an Avery sesh with. And it’s one of the brewery’s year-round beers, so you don’t have to worry about rushing in to get a taste.

Photos courtesy of The Brewtography Project.

Avery’s new(ish) brewery location at 4910 Nautilus Court in Boulder is an impressive place. If you haven’t been there, it’s worth the drive (from wherever you are — Denver, Durango, Dubai — it doesn’t matter). It’s a craft beer palace: complete with a restaurant, a tasting room, a gift shop, a patio and a series of causeways overlooking their massive brewing area, where guests can hang out, drink beer and watch these modern-day alchemists work their boozy magic.

Avery Brewing Company has been slinging eccentric ales and lagers since 1993. 25 years they’ve been brewing dank beer in Boulder and they’ve grown a lot over that time. Started by a local father-son duo, Adam and Larry Avery, their quality of craft has been consistently awesome over the years. There’s a reason Avery is now the largest brewery in Boulder (and it’s the same reason that they can charge higher prices in their taproom).  

I glanced down and noticed that my glass of Double Digit was suddenly empty. I stopped a server, a no-nonsense character named Michelle, who didn’t hesitate to recommend the Forbidden Fruit for round #2, Avery’s new “neutral barrel-aged pomegranate and blueberry sour.” It’s an impenetrably purple colored beer, that even smells sour when you take a good sniff. But the taste of that beer takes it to another level — I have never tried a beer that was so intensely sour in my life.

Photos courtesy of The Brewtography Project.

Normally, I am not a fan of sour beers. They’re too fruity, and unless I’m baking in direct sunlight and sweating my face off, I can’t normally get through an entire 10 ounce pour of one. But Avery’s Forbidden Fruit is such a complex and unusually tangy beer that I couldn’t stop drinking it, after Michelle brought it over. It is piercingly fruity and razor sharp, very unlike anything I’ve tasted anywhere else.

This is the kind of thing that Avery excels at: these unconventional, surprising beers that no one else seems to be nailing. Pulling off a sour beer like Forbidden Fruit is like executing a complicated figure skating routine: if you aren’t extremely talented, well-practiced and dedicated to your craft, it isn’t going to work.

At least, it isn’t going to work right

Photos courtesy of The Brewtography Project.

Michelle would have kept making good beer recommendations I’m sure, and I would have stayed and tried them all. That’s the dangerous beauty of the Avery taproom: there are so many different beers to taste and they’re all so delicious it’s hard to motivate yourself leave.

But the devil’s beating was done; the rain outside had evaporated leaving only sunshine and scattered clouds and both my wallet and sobriety were compelling me to take the opportunity and get out while I still could.

I’ll be back soon, though, to get another taste of that “Forbidden Fruit” — no doubt about it.