Every year (since 2003) Avery Brewing Co. releases an anniversary beer. This year is Seventeen which happens to be a dry-hopped black lager. This is interesting for a few reasons: first it’s their first anniversary lager, second it’s a dry-hopped lager, and third …wait dry-hopped lager….say whaaat?!? Yeah that’s something that is never done.
Seventeen is a rich dark, black/brown lager. The head is dark and hesitates a little before rising then settling back into a thin sheet of tiny bubbles. The lacing only lingers for a moment or two before subsiding. It has sweet alcoholic overtones and a dark malt aroma that becomes more pronounced as the glass warms. It has a subtle hop finish. This isn’t your standard American hopping. It’s a combination of German Hersbruker and Tettnang hops. They have a much more subtle flavor than your typical Cascade or Chinook. If you’re typically more of an ale fan or think you hate hops this might be a great way to get acquainted.
I found the color to be a dark brown when held at a 45 degree angle in direct sunlight otherwise very black. The head was a lovely tan color and quite creamy if poured correctly. The lacing was sometimes short lived but still noticeable. The initial nose was somewhat alcoholic but turns more roasty as you continue to drink. Speaking of roastyness the initial flavor I received was just that. It wasn’t until I was a good way through the pint/nine (that’s what I call a pint 9 oz. bottle or 25 ounces for those of us that know a pint is 16 oz.) that I realized it was the hops providing the bitter finish. I know, a self-described hophead and I couldn’t tell the difference. Truth is the German hops sneak up on you. As black lagers go I wouldn’t recommend this for the faint of heart but it is a great (and unique) beer. Based off our lack of a picture of the actual beer (sorry it’s just the bottle) I found this beer to be very drinkable and despite the 8.7% ABV surprisingly smooth.
We failed to take a picture of the beer itself. A little too tasty and high in alcohol for us to stay on top of things I guess. Maybe that was just me.
If this sounds like something you want to try, too bad. There are no other dry-hopped black lagers. But if just the idea of trying a black lager is striking here are a few to consider:
Pinkus Jubilate Dark Lager (highly recommended, review pending as I get some more)
Rogue Chatoe Dirtoir Black Lager (also highly recommended, see above about review)
Enjoy and Prost!!