Avant Peche - Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins
Avant Peche is a beer I've been waiting a long time to try. Odell first announced this beer about four months ago but up until last week it was only available in Colorado. I happened to be in Boulder last week and picked up a bottle just as the Avant Peche was showing up on shelves back home. What excited me most about the Avant Peche was the style of this beer, it's an Imperial Porter that is barrel aged and blended with peaches. I've had a few peach flavored Wheat beers but never a Porter. This intrigued me because I've really enjoyed the two sour Porters I've had before and I was hoping the Avant Peche would be similar to those beers.
Pouring the Avant Peche into my glass, it definitely looks like a traditional Porter. The aroma is full of tart peaches and a hint of oak aging. There's a little roasted malt in the aroma but it's not as obvious as the oak and peaches. It smells sharp, and very un-porter-like. That pretty much sums up the flavor as well...
Odell's Avant Peche has a big sweet and tart peach flavor right up front, it's not overly strong, but it overpowers just about everything else in the beer at first. Aside from peach at first you'll notice a malty bitterness, this is nearly the extent of the Porter flavor in this beer. As it warms to room temperature the Avant Peche's Porter flavors come through a bit more, you can taste the roasted dark malt and the oak aging a little more.
This is a difficult beer. It's not difficult to drink per se, but the flavors are so different and the combination is so unique that it takes a little more time to wrap your palate around this beer. I happen to like this beer, but wouldn't give it any awards. I enjoy the unique combination of flavors, the sweet peaches and the bitter Porter, but I don't think the proportions or quite right. This is a beer I'd try again, if only to allow the peaches a little time to mellow out.