Christmas Classics | Avery Brewing Old Jubilation Ale
At 8.3% ABV, “Old Jube” (as the folks at Avery Brewing like to refer to their Old Jubilation Ale) is strong and rich, but not overwhelming. Not a typical heavily spiced Winter Ale (it actually has no spices), it is rich, dark and malt-forward. Because of the avoidance of spices, the malts really get to shine. With a combination of five specialty malts (Two Row Barley, Honey, Bonlander Munich, Chocolate and Black), we get a flavor that is rich, velvety and a bit fruity.
Following the initial fruitiness, hints of chocolate, toffee and hazelnut glide across the palate with each sip. British Bullion hops, known for their spice and dark fruit profile, are the perfect complement to the rich maltiness. There is some bitter to counterbalance the sweet, but it’s more of an introverted bitter that lingers in the back of the room, as opposed to a brash IPA, “Hey! Look at me!” type of bitterness.
According to the marketing team at Avery Brewing, head brewer Adam Avery counted English Strong Ale (also known as Old Ale) as one of his favorite styles back when he was a homebrewer around 1997. He decided to brew some up as a Winter Ale, upping the malt content to make it even heftier, resulting in a brew that is now an annual winter-warmer tradition.
While this is a great beer to sip on a cool evening on the back porch or while enjoying a fire in the backyard, it really shines when paired with rich foods typical of holiday gatherings. As Avery notes on their website, it’s “well-suited to take the edge off at uncomfortable holiday family gatherings.”
When I visited Avery’s taproom on a brisk October evening, I enjoyed a pint of Old Jube with their “Meat, Meat, MEAT” dish along with some of their other beers. After a meal of brisket, ribs, andouille, slaw and cornbread, I felt like having a post-holiday-dinner nap. That is, until the pumpkin cheesecake arrived…