Avery DuganA

This rainy Monday night was just begging for a big beer bomber to bubble in my belly.

Despite the fact that I hadn’t made my usual stop to the liquor store recently, I still had a stash of some notable craft bombers. I had made up my mind some time in the afternoon that the evening would call forth Avery Brewing’s DuganA, a double/Imperial IPA (depending on who you ask).

I first heard about this brew on a podcast, where they tend to ramble off onto tangents of Big Beers. They’ll start talking about gin in the 1800s and wind up in a barleywine discussion. Not that it’s a bad thing. So, among other notable names, there was a passing reference to Avery DuganA. I’ve become an occasional fan of Avery’s Maharaja double/Imperial/triple IPA, which is a malt bomb damn near a barleywine. It’s also incredibly hoppy, and quite an experience. The Lady Friend and I shared one I had stashed in the back of the fridge last weekend, and it’s a powerhouse.

DuganA was described in the podcast as a halfway point between Avery’s IPA (an extremely delicious tipple) and the Maharaja. The IPA is described as American style, and to me, it has a lot of the sweetness of the West Coast fashion. The Maharaja is just otherworldly. So, there was no other choice: time to crack the bomber and give it a taste.

After a pour into a pint glass, I had some trouble getting much aroma out of it. It’s not that it wasn’t there… it’s just that maybe I expected a lot more out of an ImpIPA. What I did get was some sweet, tree fruit, like nectarine and/or grapefruit. There’s a maltiness reminiscent of the Maharaja. The final thought? Fresh pencil erasers wrapped in a Fruit Roll-Up.

As for the taste… wow. The first thing that hit my tongue was hay. No, seriously, hay. A dried grassiness, with some wood, stick, or sawdust. A very strange start. The hop quickly followed, more bitter than expected from the nose, and it bit on the back sides of the tongue. A malt syrup sweetness oozed in to finish, and slowly sluffed down the throat leaving the hop bitter to linger a bit and take it’s time loitering around.

Very… interesting. Not at all what I had expected. It’s a bit maltier than I thought, and I certainly see the parallels with the Maharaja. On the other hand, there’s a distinct hop bitter with a lovely (if subdued) aroma that makes the standard IPA presence known. Avery seems to be doing what more and more car manufacturers have adopted: an entry level product, a top-of-the-line showcase, and now, one designed to be exactly between the two. If the IPA is a Porsche Boxster, and the Maharaja is the 911 Turbo, then DuganA is the Cayman S… it could be more powerful, but it’s engineered to be a mid-level product, and not steal the limelight of the flagship.

However, like the Cayman, it’s an amazing product. So much more than the entry-level, but with a little tweaking, could take on the big boys. Put this one on your wishlist.

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