When designing EMBER, Eighth State loaded up a kiddie ball pit with hype orbs and pulled these out:
1. Peruvian Cocoa Nibs
2. Vanilla Beans
3. Graham Crackers (Honeymade?)
4. Old Forester Single Barrel
6. Michigan Star Thistle Honey
7. Charity (?)
8. aged 2+ years
9. less than 180 bottles
10. small format
And the collective wheezing of South Carolina beer bros was sufficient to divert a Myrtle Beach tropical storm. This is toxic behavior to make a beer like this.
So what is the ontological “goal” with all of that as the framework? I guess from the jump it is going to be nocturnal emissions and syrupy jowels a-salivating. But what’s the aesthetic goal? Near as I can tell: make s’mores. If they set out to make $250 campfire treats, then mission accomplished.
This is a glorious Zero bar melted over a slice of lowcountry buttermilk pie. Hell, even Pecan Sandies get in the mix. I feel terrible drinking it. First, it’s like an hour of cardio to offset these 12 ounces. Second, the gatekeeping and exclusionary wheelie of this type of review is inherent. You can declare anything if only 300 other people will hear it and nod approvingly.
The problem of beer consumption, unlike other arts that it is finite, discrete, and fleeting. Imagine one of the most decadent, sumptuously chocolatey fondue films was released and only 271 arthouse critics got to see it. The films ignite after the reel is spun. In those conditions did this sticky SnoBall confectionary delight really help anyone? Yes. It all boils down to context.
Let’s say you later get a peasant 8th State tick, a massive 1200 bottle run. You are diving into that collective August Gloomp chocolate fountain. The fact that the R8 exists reinforces the quality of the A4. The real takeaway is that no one NEEDS an R8. It is a loss leader.
No one needs this beer, but damn is it good. Unless you’re one of those “Bowties, suspenders, mason jars and Converse wedding” type of dudes with no identity, you can get by without this. The backhanded boasts “I DID A THING” “SO THIS HAPPENED” “JUST GONNA LEAVE THIS HERE” is the twinge of craving validation. This beer is valid on its own.
Back to the chocolate ballpit