I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but I’ve never had an avocado beer before. It’s really not that strange of an adjunct when you think about it—I mean there’s Count Chocula beer and I read once about a whale testicle beer—so really, mashing a handful of avocados into the kettle isn’t that strange. So why haven’t I come across an avocado beer before? I mean, I’m pretty adventurous. If someone brews a beer with avocados, I’ll drink it. I’m not scared.
So yeah, I was pretty psyched when Angel City Brewery sent me a can of their Avocado Ale. If you’re not familiar with Angel City, it’s a small shop operating out of downtown LA. They have a kickass building in the super hip Arts District (at least the pictures I’ve seen are kick ass—I’ve never been) full of murals and rooftop gardens and all sorts of historic handmade tiles and a freaking iron, spiral slide in the taproom. Angel City has actually been around for almost two decades, opening up in Culver City in the late ‘90s, but then essentially going out of business in 2012. Later that year, Boston Beer Company gave the brand a second life, purchasing the brewery and running it under Boston Beer’s Alchemy and Science Division, an incubator of sorts that focuses on experimentation and under-served markets.
Their flagship lineup is pretty standard and approachable (especially for a brewery that operates under an experimental incubator division) but I get it: make a solid IPA and an easy-drinking lager and you can make enough money to get weird with your limited releases. And things do get interesting when you stray away from their year-round lineup. There’s a wit with kiwi, a strawberry gose, a sriracha ale, and this Avocado Ale.
It’s a kolsch brewed with avocados, cilantro and lime, so you’re basically drinking 4.5% guacamole. It actually smells like a farmhouse ale, with a little bit of funk on the nose, and pours a cloudy, pale yellow. Because I’ve never had an avocado beer before, I half expected it to be green. I also expected to find more of those guacamole notes advertised on the label, but to be honest, I can’t find much of the lime or cilantro in the taste. As for the avocado, it creates this incredibly smooth and creamy texture that is absolutely awesome. Forget wheat or oats—if you like creamy beers, look no further than the wonderful avocado.
The end result is about what you’d expect from a kolsch brewed with avocados: it’s light and refreshing. I want more cilantro and lime, but I could see myself drinking a number of these if I lived in the greater Los Angeles area.
Angel City also sent me one of their year-round releases, their Double IPA, which comes in at a healthy 8.6% ABV, pours orange with a faint head and smells dank and slightly nutty. When everybody is racing towards the East Coast to create hazy juice bombs, Angel City stuck firmly to their West Coast roots with this one. There’s certainly a bit of orange in the nose, but there’s nothing citrusy in the taste. Instead, you get a little mellow fruit, like papaya and a bit of caramel in the middle, which is erased entirely by a zesty, almost spicy third act. This is old school IPA—bitter to the point of bracing, loads of pine, a bit sticky in the end. It’s not the most popular IPA style right now, but I dig it, and Angel City does a good job with it. Nothing cute, just a solid double IPA.