I have had a sordid past with @uplandbrewco from loving some of their lambics in the early 2010s to ripping on 🥝 and their member society to praising the hell out of their barleywines, it’s gone on for years. In the past year I have heard from no fewer than ten people that Upland has completely overhauled the acidity and focus of their wild ales. So it is only fitting that I remain abreast of the tart Indiana ongoings and see what these hucksters have been up to. We shall see.
Hey guys I know I don’t ask a lot from you but my friend @hoppy_floppy_ has contributed so much to the Beer world, it’s only fair that you give back. Time to do your part. Please go donate money to her so that she can buy herself a birthday present, it’s the least we can do after all that Hoppy has done for us. Thanks in advance.
Alright so attention seeking nonsense aside, I feel compelled to give @morebrewing S’More a fair shake, milk or otherwise. The culture surrounding this beer and the RAM lineage vacillates between wholly irritating, genuinely enthusiastic, or straight up manipulative. Whereever the consumer landed in this RAM spectrum, they checked all this emotional baggage and it was a connecting flight to More. Before this Beer was even released the Shaundolotry was already in full swing with dudes burning sleeves of graham crackers in solemn reverence. The hyperbole was lock step from “the best non ba Beer I’ve ever had” to “doesn’t need ba” to “shouldn’t trade for less despite no barrel.” The qualifiers were hilariously defensive and weaponized. But how does the beer taste? Henna is extremely well done across the board. The nose never pushes a Floridian confectionary syrupy aspect, the body shows restraint. It’s in the flawless strike zone akin to Parabola with cling that doesn’t overstay its welcome. It provides enough screen time to showcase the various kinda obvious hamfisted adjunct characters but you don’t get sick of any aspect, so basically, Infinity War.
The nose is easily the best part and it is absolutely magnificent. The chocolate and mallow wrestle for dominance like a Zero bar with the cracker serving more of an ancillary healer role with grist to temper the sweetness. The sheer extreme nature of this beer hits its marks but in a shallow expositional I AM A DESSERT declarative way. As a result taking down the entire bomber is a chore and it’s like listening to an entire Dragonforce album that is so grating that it become beleaguering by the end. It’s almost like on paper this was strictly designed to be spread around by mouth breathing dudes quoting Anchorman and Jeff Dunham in a Joliet backyard. Even having wasted half of it in immature flavor infusions, half a bottle was more than enough. If the short amusement and playtime doesn’t irk you, then you will dig what this brewery is up to as they clearly have talent but this suit is tailored for a certain aesthetic frame and it isn’t slim fit with a long attention span.
San Francisco has had this throbbing pearl over coining their own “style” of IPA lately. They already got Anchor Steam, it’s like FFS what more do these techies want. I wish they could just enjoy their $2m 420sf palatial estates in peace. When this new BRUT STYLE IPA was announced, it was immediately picked up by every corny shitty food blog this side of the Mission and heralded as some second coming of the hazecraze. I immediately got PTSD and thought of the yeast in Brooklyn Black Ops and then shifted to Deus/Malheur that no one is fucking buying anyway. You can go find some siiiick vintages of Brut beer caked in dust from a bygone era. So I have an open mind is that I am trying to say. I am super stoked to try the Grisette and 7S continues to push the envelope with this hype can series.
Golden Strongs are a weird beast to wrangle. On one hand you want to just cast them straight to the Tripel realm but that coat has estery sleeves ill tailored for the Golden frame. In other instances Golden Strongs can fall in this weird Guulden Draak zone that half of my readers have never even tried, inherently throw back. This is equally weird and leads with that spicy phenolic martinellis and prosecco thing that makes me long for other styles. If this were drier it would lean closer to the honey and white burgundy present in Curieux, but instead it’s fusel and too boozy for its tiny frame. It’s that aesthetic of saline DD’s tossed on a 00 body creating dissonance that is hard to reconcile. If you want to go further back, Captain Lawrence Golden Delicious is the best way to do this. This is kiiiiiiinda like that, but again it’s both too sweet and intensely wafty and you’re left with this Tyrant with one arm. I took half this to the Umbrella corp drain. I unlocked Jill’s alternate costume and I was almost a Jill sandwich. I still got mad love for @sevenstills tho.
Cellar pro tip: Moms love candy and hazelnuts
Well since I drank a one week old Lagunitas bottle, why not bookend things with a 19 year old barleywine from the Clinton administration? Man I have so many questions about this barleywine, but I’m sure that much of the finer points have been lost to time. I called the number on this bottle to ask if they pasteurized in 99 and it actually connected to the Petaluma taproom(!) Mad questions tho: For example, when this beer was made, Arrogant bastard had only been made for two years, so what were they using to hop an aggro american barleywine? Since the likes of Warrior/Tomahawk style and high alpha acid hops weren’t in vogue or available then, they probably used a shitload of english or C hops to hit that then-staggering 65 IBUs. Here’s the rub: those hops have a shitload of beta acids. As a result this unexpectedly held up way better than expected. The twist top cap is adorable and this must have been stored impeccably because all the malty grool looks oddly appealing, the carb is on point, there isn’t that smegma around the water line on the neck. Things could be much worse. The nose is chanterelle mushrooms, record store, and thrift shop leather jackets. If you have fucked with old John Barleycorn or JW Lees you already know what kind of breakdancer cardboard that can be expected. However, there is a port sherry and charming muddy cognac thing that only comes with age.
I’m your Hume Cronyn this is my Jessica Tandy: this is candy. The taste is much much better than you could expect and it blows me away that this is not irradiated tampons at this point. It has a hoppy structure that is a faux wood character, old varnish, like when Gratitude slides into AARP status and gets that crushed conifer aspect. This should be far shittier, but it isn’t. For everyone polishing their pearl over how lambics age, I have had straight up red wine balsamic and this Life has stayed the course amiably, dumping its Zubaz pants with tootsie roll and old year book pages. The entire affair is just dripping with old toblerone and cybering on the family Gateway 2000 in the living room.