Beer of the Week: Avery Salvation

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John Linn
Drinketh of my cup, child, and be saved.
Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it: How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.

As a kid, I was forced by my parents into the most torturous of tortures: church on Sunday. While my other friends were out doing whatever it is heathens are wont to do on a weekend morning, I was reciting Psalm and struggling to stay conscious through sermon. The church we went to had a tenuously long service -- sometimes it lasted two hours or more. To pass the time faster, I would fidget and groan, make unnecessary trips to the bathroom, and linger outside the chapel doors as long as I could without prompting my parents to issue a search party. As service began to wind down I felt like an inmate about to be granted parole.

By the time I was 15 or so, my parents reluctantly decided that if I was to be damned for all eternity it was my own choice, and so they stopped forcing me along. Forever after, my Sunday mornings felt like a blessing. But I did miss communion. Communion was the only part of service that I didn't loath -- not only because it took up a sweet 20 minutes or so as the congregation filed up to receive it, but also because it culminated with a thimble-full of wine. To me, that sweet and acrid cup (and the fact that they'd give it to a teenager) was proof that Catholicism wasn't so bad after all.
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Salvation Golden Ale from Avery reminds me of that communion wine, albeit in a good way. It has a doughy, yeasty, biscuity quality about it that makes me think of dipping wafers and dissolving them on your tongue. Plus, it's sort of funky, like the way I remember those first sips of wine in my life being -- uncomfortable, pungeant, yet oddly attractive. It's my Catholic youth distilled into a bottle.

Unlike dark Belgians (last week's Delirium Nocturnum), strong golden ale more closely resembles blond or pale ale. It's a tangy, tanin-heavy beer that pokes around the back of your throat and washes over warm. Malty rich with notes of unripe fruit, Salvation reminds me of Unibroue's Don De Dieu, a spicy, strong wheat that's also quite funky. Neither beer is something you'd drink a bunch of at a time. They're simply not balanced enough to have more than a glass of. Since Salvation comes in a 22-ounce bomber, that means you'll want to enlist a friendly soul to share it with.

For slowly sipping in small quantities, though, this champagne-like beer and its lacy-thick head is richly powerful and rewarding stuff. A light pour into a wide glass allows it to breath and grow -- it becomes less syrupy and more wine-like. I didn't have any communion thimbles handy when I tried my bottle, but if I did I could imagine gulping little shots of it like I used to do at church on Sunday. Only without all the boring stuff in between.

Find Salvation at BX Beer Depot, ABC, and Total Wine and Spirits.   

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