The Avery Tap Room, Of Dragons and Devils
A German legend recounts Faust’s dissatisfaction with life, and his resulting deal with the devil, Mephistopheles. Faust desired both unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasure. In a little known variant, however, Faust strikes a deal, not for wealth, fame, or knowledge, but for the recipe to hell’s own brew. Let us now, as literary time travelers, harken to Faust and his covenant: And thus spoke Mephistopheles, hell’s toiler: “Faust, Faust, my heart weeps for thee. Do not forgo thy bliss of heaven, for in selling thy soul the torments of hell shalt a fool make thee.” “Verily,” cried Faust, “but fate doth compel; this drink I must beget. Yet, for thy warning, thou name shalt forever adorn mine swarthy nectar. My soul I readily forfeit that others might taste these luscious fruits.” Or so the conversation played out in my mind—to fireworks and choral refrains—as Avery’s Mephistopheles’ Stout slid down my throat one snowy Wednesday night in January. I was at Avery’s Tap room on Arapahoe Avenue, a room that conjures images of an eighteenth century German alehouse, which also happens to be the final destination on Avery’s brewery tour. With Spartan décor and community tables, Avery boasts twenty taps of finely crafted artisan beer. Though there are numerous droughts for palates of varied experience, those in need of a devilishly complex stout, should draw near and partake of Avery’s Mephistopheles’ Stout. A drink so delicious, I fear for the souls of every Avery brewmaster—because you only make beer this good if you’ve made a mise with Mephistopheles. Not to be outdone, however, are the numerous Avery standards, like the excellent Ellie’s Brown Ale or the stout, Out of Bounds. “But I can buy those at any bar,” you say. True, but Avery’s isn’t a bar, it’s a brewing Hogwarts. Why? Answer: their cask system. Imagine taking a good beer (Ellie’s) and making it great. How? By hand pumping room air into the beer rather than drawing it from a keg pressurized with carbon dioxide. Most craft-beer nerds would tell you that a good ale is a great ale on cask. If you’re curious, then order two tasters, one on carbon dioxide and one on cask. It’s scholastic. A beer that exemplifies Avery’s crafting excellence is the doppelbock, Trogdor the Burninator. A beer named after Home Star Runner’s dragon, because it rampages the fields of your palate with burning goodness. I will do my best not to overstate: THIS BEER IS MAGNIFICENT! Trogdor is sweet up front and earthy, with a touch of peat in the back. And the best part? If a bock is a sweet, lightly hopped lager, then a doppelbock is a bock with twice the awesomeness. So awesome, in fact, that monks used doppelback as liquid bread during times of fasting. Yes, that’s right: Trogdor is not only one killer beer, but also a meal fit for the sacrosanct. Avery’s tap house is a must for connoisseurs of brew, because, while store-bought Avery’s is good, you can’t find all of Avery’s offerings at your local liquor mart. Avery regularly rotates their tap-room specialty beers—one week it’s Trogdor, the next it’s the cask ale, New World Porter. Please, do yourself a favor, drink Avery. After all, Faust is bravely facing the Burinantor that you might enjoy his luscious nectar.