Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews


Two Brothers Brewing Company
Warrenville, IL

Style: Fruit Beer
ABV: 7.7%

Jill’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

It’s time to play one of my least-favorite games: What style is the beer? Avalon is one of Two Brothers’ series of artisan brews, but I can’t tell you much more about it than what’s on the bottle because Two Brothers is really bad about updating their (crappy) web site. They haven’t yet posted information about either of their two supposed November artisan releases, and since Avalon isn’t on their 2008 list so far, I can only guess that this is one of their year-end special releases.

And one would think that this company, which seems to be large and formidable enough by now, would have a decent web site. Look, you don’t have to have funky Flash animation, but how about having a site with your logo on it? I mean, the web site you have looks to be late ’90s WYSIWYG web software of the cheapest kind. How about taking as much pride in how you present yourself as you do in making your beers? Oh, I can hear your arguments now—you’re busy brewing beer and running a beer business/brewpub/home brew store. It takes a lot of time to constantly update a web site. We just don’t have the time. Well, for cryin’ out loud! Hire somebody to do this! Heck, you’ve probably got a kid or a 10 year old niece/nephew that could design a web site that would be a million times better than what you have now. Ideally though, you’d put out a call for a reasonably-priced freelance web designer who could bring you into the 21st century. It’s not that hard.

Anyway, back to what brought on this rant: How do I describe this beer? I opted for fruit because it’s made with apple cider. I was on the fence on calling it a spice/herb/vegetable beer because it’s also a spiced ale. So, you decide—it’s an ale brewed with locally-pressed apple cider and spices.

Whatever you call it, though, you can also call it average. I was pretty excited when I found this in the store. Overall, Two Brothers makes some pretty solid beers, and I like to keep them in my beer fridge whenever possible. Seeing that they made one with a fruit flavor got me excited to see how they did a fruit beer style.

The pour is a clear, dark amber—it looked a bit like apple cider that was clear and slightly reddish—with a big head that disappeared quickly, and the lacing that lined the glass also vanished immediately. Uh oh. To me that was a sign that this beer was potentially watery.

And I was right. Oh, you could smell the apple on the nose, and you could taste it, too. It had a fairly apple-y flavor with a touch more heft to it, which was a thick ale-like flavor coming through, which hung on the palate for a few seconds and vanished. The spices came through on the nose and the taste a bit—nutmeg and cinnamon, giving a slight apple pie feel to the overall taste.

However, if the cider and spices weren’t there, this wouldn’t be much of a beer because it was pretty damn watery. Note: It might have been better if they’d used actual apples instead of just the cider. True, cider is about as close as you can get to actual fruit, but I’m still of the opinion that if you put actual fruit in the mash, it makes for a better fruit flavor.

Still, I was surprised it had as much mouthfeel as it did, considering how quickly the flavor disappeared. This also aided my confusion on the style because I felt that the apple cider didn’t really make this a fruit beer, it made this more of a regular beer—it propped up the ale style so that it would be more of a beer. The high ABV also props this beer up a bit because it packs a big whallop, but it just can’t make up for the overall averageness of the entire package.

Reviewed by Jill Jaracz on December 30, 2008.
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