Editor's Note: So many beers, so little time. One Big Bottle will spotlight the brews we're sipping.
Odell Brewing Company's Avant Pêche Imperial Porter smells like a peach orchard. Ripe fruit, skin and flesh, is inviting at first pour. But make no mistake: Avant Pêche is no fruity beer drinker's fruit beer. Wild yeast character is also big in the aroma, complemented by floral notes and traces of milk chocolate.
The body of the deep brown beer is creamy, almost chewy, yet it finishes bone dry. The tightly beaded, light beige head is thick, and it's not going anywhere. Avant Pêche is lively and tart in the glass, but not necessarily peachy. The underlying Imperial Porter's big chocolate malt flavors are smooth with hints of earth and ash. The prominent roastiness found in many Porters is muted here. Oak also lingers in the background. As the beer warms up, its 9.5% ABV emerges to hit a sharp note. It was better when cooler.
To create Avant Pêche, Odell blended together three threads of Imperial Porter: one with fresh organic Colorado peaches added, one aged in oak barrels, and one with peaches aged in oak. Several strains of wild yeast were added to the barrels to provide complexity. The Imperial Porter works well as a base, but it takes a backseat to the beer's other components. It's a solid foundation for this experimental beer.
About the Author: Jonathan Moxey is a Harlem-based homebrewer. He hosts private beer tastings for Tapped Craft Beer Events.