Big beer with a big name: Collaboration Not Litigation Ale

ImageThere’s a time frame for the bombers (big bottles) that I keep in my fridge. Either I get rid of them within a week of getting them, or they stay there forever. I’d like to say it’s because I’m aging them, or I’m saving them for a special occasion (that’s the case for a couple), but mostly I grow attached to them. After a couple weeks I get used to seeing them there, taking up more and more of the top right corner of my fridge. They’re like the crew of Davy Jones’ ship in the second “Pirates of the Caribbean“: If they aren’t freed, they become a part of the hull*.

But this week I made it a mission to try one of the worst offenders of this: the Avery/Russian River Collaboration Not Litigation Ale. I was immediately excited when I first saw this beer. I’m a big fan of Avery out of Boulder and, like any beer geek, I get all excited when I see Russian River Brewing on anything; the brewers in Santa Rosa, California put out some of the most delicious and sought-after beers in the country. This was back in February.

Since then I’ve passed it up for more time-sensitive beers – hop-fading IPAs, seasonal lagers, etc – since its 8.9% ABV could help it age. But since it was a Wednesday afternoon and productivity wasn’t in the cards, I went for it. I wasn’t disappointed. It was smooth and refreshing, and it kept me buzzed for about two hours afterward.

Avery (and Russian River) Collaboration not Litigation Ale

Notes: Some back story here. It turns out the two breweries realized they had beers called “Salvation” in their lineups, but instead of suing decided to blend their beers together into a totally different beast back in November 2006. The result is a mighty fine Belgian strong dark ale – a catch-all for fruity, boozy Belgian-inspired beers.

Sight and smell: A dark amber/chestnut color with a huge head, good stay and lumpy lacing. The bottom has some haze and sediment. It smells like a crazy, complex mix of red wine, dates, brown sugar and either butterscotch or toffee.

Taste: A lot like a smooth quadrupel. There’s some raisin and molasses with a little bit of pine and oak. At the end is a gingery/cinammony spice factor (though it’s neither of those things), some booze and a little bit of carbonation. It’s smooth, with a shovelful of flavor.

Grade: A. This is one of those beers that has a million things going on without seeming like it. It’s just as easy to pick out flavors as it is to sit back, gulp down and register as “damn good” without going into detail. It’s not really a summer beer, but I didn’t buy it as one. Overall, it’s mighty fine. And now I have one bottle down, five more to go in my fridge.



* Loose translation. I haven’t seen that movie in a long, long time. I also didn’t like it very much, and I’m not sure why it came to mind for this blog post.

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