Last week I told all you big, dirty motherfuckers that we were getting off the imperial stouts for a few. You know, get our heads together, our resolutions set in stone, our children's names remembered, the whole deal. Ha. Check it out: I lied. People who write about beer for half a living will do that. Today we're going to get into Avery Tweak, the most monstrous imperial stout I've encountered all year (doesn't sound like much, but it's been nine loooong days at Drunkspin).
It's based on Avery's infamous Mephistopheles' Stout, which is delicious and absurd and named after the second fallen angel. That's kinda cool. Like, anyone can name their beer for Satan, but you gotta dig a little deeper to get to Satan's lieutenant. So even though we've been hitting the gigantic imperial stouts pretty hard lately, we've been neglecting both Colorado and the underworld, and therefore it's high past high time we get into this one.
I gotta come dirty with you: This is the first Drunkspin post based solely on a beer I had on tap at a bar. I always do them at home under proper laboratory circumstances. Oh wait, I need to fluff this column out a bit, and this could be 3 percent interesting. Here's the general methodology: I buy a beer, with my wife's own hard-earned cash. I don't get reimbursed by Gawker, which is not a problem, because they pay me enough to make this or that $4 beer not really matter. Plus, I mean, I get to drink the beer. So I got no beef with the system; it's not based on Marchman's unwillingness to reimburse my minor expenses as much as neither one of us wants to deal with the accounting.
But it's a bit unorthodox not to get to expense them, so I do have some real-world budgetary concerns in mind when I'm picking out my review beers. I want something I'm really going to enjoy, and enjoyment is reduced by a certain extent when you're sitting at your computer, sniffing and swirling and all that bullshit. No tears shed for the guy who gets paid to half-assedly review beer, of course, but for what it's worth, that's the process. Generally. But last week, my man Corey swung me through the good-beer bar up the block, and they had Tweak on tap. Shit's like $9 for an 8-ounce pour. Which is fair, because it is barrel-aged, fantastic, and 18-percent alcohol-by-volume. But it means I'm working from the notes I threw in my phone when I was already a couple beers into things: not the sort of controlled environment I strive for. Here we go!
So Avery used to call Tweak alternately "Meph Addict" and "Coffeestopheles." This is because it's their classic Mephestopholes with a bit of coffee and four months' barrel-aging thrown in. That sort of thing is usually too much for me: Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee being the rare exception, I can typically take only wood or coffee in my stouts, not both. But hottest damn, this beer is outstanding. I gave it five stars on Untappd! Who cares? But I'm pretty cheap on my beer stars. This is just a perfect blend of roasted caramel malt, strong bitter coffee, and gentle vanilla from the wood to bring it all back down into the reasonable range. I often find coffee to be overkill in a roasted, chocolatey beer, but the oak really mellows it out, and then the crazy-high booze content agitates it back up, and I don't know man, I feel a little drunk just writing about it, but in the happiest possible way. A lot of 15-plus-percent aged stouts are gimmicky bullshit, but everything in Avery Tweak belongs. I wouldn't change a single thing about my one experience (Corey paid).
This is Drunkspin Daily, the Concourse's adequate source for booze news, reviews, and bullshit. We'll be highlighting a beer a day in this space; please leave suggestions below.
Will Gordon loves life and tolerates dissent. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and some of his closest friends have met Certified Cicerones. Find him on Twitter @WillGordonAgain. Image by Jim Cooke.
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