AFTER NEW BELGIUM’S awkward Lips of Faith collaboration with Cigar City, one had hoped their follow-up with Half Acre would put the avant-garde series back on track. Unfortunately, Avoine (derived from French for ‘oat’) sees them wandering even further afield. While not as conspicuously odd as the Cigar City chile ale, putting oats in an IPA is far from the conventional choice. And now we can see why.
The beer’s initial features are appealing, pouring a somewhat hazy yellow with a reasonably frothy, thumb-wide white head. The aroma is predominantly tropical, heavy on Citra’s mango and supported by Amarillo’s grapefruit, with lemon and a bit of pine further back (presumably the Centennial). The flavor shows a similar procession, hugely fruity in the midsection with notes of lemon and pineapple playing around the edges of commanding Amarillo. The oats are hard to place in the flavor, but do explain the slightly bulging midsection and its blunted mouthfeel. Malt contributes some generic honey sweetness while the fuller body tamps down the carbonation (a little too low to begin with) and leaves the finish a little flat. Centennial’s piney bitterness becomes considerably stronger in the finish (reckon around 50 IBUs)—somewhat disjointed from the previous fruit dominance, it also lacks for a clear malt character to effectively execute the transition from tropical hop flavors to more straightforward bitterness in the finale. Avoine makes a reasonably good first impression and has some appealing characteristics, taken piecemeal. But overall it feels too obviously like a prototype, a late-night epiphany—an act of faith, misplaced.
Served: On tap (Clementi’s, Arlington Heights)