Sunday, November 11, 2012

Avery Review #20 - Ale to the Chief, a Presidential Pale Ale

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

Nov. 11, 2012

“Not an “Imperial” pale ale, this is a democracy. It’s Presidential! Take the all-American pale ale, a bipartisan blend of malt and hops, increase both to Avery Brewing standards, and then, of course, dry hop the result with that most quintessential of American hops, Cascades, and you get this…a brew worthy of the Oval Office!”

That is the fitting description from the brewery for our last beer of The Avery Project, the brewery's tribute to the commander-in-chief, Avery Ale to the Chief.

A year and two months ago, almost to the day, I predicted that this project would be finished “In a couple months”.  OK, so I was a year off, no big deal.  Besides, the timing on this, the 20th installation of The Avery Project, is just right.  We saved one of the best for last and we saved it for Election Day...or at least we saved for sometime during the week of the Election.

Avery’s once-every-four-years brew; Ale to the Chief, will wrap up our second project here.  I’ll get into a summary of the whole project and some statistics in a future post, but each and every one of the beers on this list deserves our full attention, so let’s get back into the beer.

Just like the very first Avery Review here (at least for this project) the Ale to the Chief was reviewed live and in person at the Avery Taproom just days before the Election.  I think it was a particularly great choice to finish up the project on because it is such a strong example of what Avery, as a brewery, is capable of.

The stats:

Location: Avery Tasting Room, Boulder, Colorado
Cost: $3/10 oz. pour
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 65
Brewery Location: Boulder, Colorado
Style: Presidential Pale Ale (Or DIPA according to Beer Advocate)
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.06 – Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: A/4.43 - Exceptional
Current Number of Reviews: 376
Brewery Description: Avery Ale to the Chief
Tapped On: Oct. 2012

APPEARANCE:  (4 out of 5) The colors of this beer are absolutely gorgeous.  The beer itself is a darker golden color with a stark-white head topping it off.  For a couple minutes the head stays still and then slowly begins to fade away.  A few streams of bubbles slowly rise up from the bottom through an almost completely translucent liquid, but this is not quite as lively as some other Avery beers I have seen.  The lacing is also not as strong as I have seen with a nice lace pattern sticking to the upper half of the glass, but almost nothing on the lower part.

SMELL:  (4.5 out of 5) The smells are almost as pretty as the color.  Your nose will be greeted to a big burst of pine and bright citrus aromas as soon as you stick it in your glass.  A second dip of the nose will reveal some more subdued and sweet malty caramel aromas as well.  As the Beastie Boys once said, this beer is “crazy sniffable”.

TASTE:  (4.5 out of 5) The caramel is not so subdued once it reaches your palate; it pairs with a big helping of pine to create the backbone of the flavor profile for the Ale to the Chief.  Just the right touch of grapefruit comes through along with hints of lemon, orange and a very faint bit of anise towards the end.  All of the citrus and anise, as well as a bit of earthy hoppiness, help to give this beer a nearly perfect balance.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) A light carbonation is present, but this beer is creamy and smooth.  In fact, silky is an excellent adjective in this case.  It goes down very easy.  As I mentioned above this is a very well balanced beer, although it leans towards the sweeter side, particularly up front.  The back end provides a dryer bitterness that becomes more obvious as the beer warms.

OVERALL:  (4.5 out of 5) As I have learned throughout the course of this project and from living in Boulder for the past year and a half, Avery takes a lot of chances with their beer.  They are willing to test the limits of a style or even attempt a style that doesn’t exist.  The Ale to the Chief, however, is an example of Avery’s ability to simply execute very well.  In today’s beer universe, chock-full of Double IPAs and big, hoppy beers, this is nothing that will boggle the seasoned beer drinker’s mind.  Rather, it is something that will simply allow that beer drinker to savor and appreciate a very finely crafted, big, hoppy and delicious beer.


  1. Man, this post was exactly what I needed to get my a$$ in gear and start my 30-days/30 beer project! Thanks

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