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Slice Turbo Nectar: WHERE’S MY SLICE, I want more than hazy rights.

Bro went and literally set a ring light wow

Somehow, due to my extreme negligence, I have been sleeping on Slice. Sure we know Moonraker, Zack Frasher, LINCOLN and the NorCal HellaHop squad. But I failed to ADDRESS SLICE.

A couple years ago people kept telling me BRO SLICE BEAT PLINY THE YOUNGLING. But I have a hard time taking dudes with orange juice IG accounts seriously, every square looking like Donald Duck concentrate fan fiction. I review hazy ipas only when extremely warranted.

Most hazy IPAs have this inherent aspirational hubris like a guy who wears a Ferrari polo shirt: “someday I will be known as the best.” Brewers candidly mumble to themselves cleaning oat slop out of the mash tun that IF ONLY PEOPLE KNEW we would be as big as Treehouse, NO. BIGGER. Than Monkish. It’s the kids who are out of touch.

Then sometimes a hazy IPA comes along that does do that. Oh sure it’s rare, but like your friend who only owns one outfit, it needs to be called out, Kyle.

Turbo Nectar really rewrites the hazy playbook with Galaxy and Citra hops. Apply ice to that hip since you likely just fell out of your chair. Sure, it has cold pressed satsuma, sumo oranges, some tangelo, and a creamy 50/50 bar middle but, like Anthony Hopkins in the Father, it’s the END that really tears you up.

Slice has mastered the art of maintaining resin, pine, conifer, the realm of evergreen Mendocino county illegal growhouses of yore, and binding that with the orange Julius mall walking pleasantries that trubmouthed masses crave. Bicameral legishazetion. The swallow is similar to those condom colored gummy bears and vibrant, but it has loads of split kindling. The result is fantastic.

Most NEIPAs have this goldilocks issue where it is either orange flintstones vitamins or pure Hugo Boss cologne and nothing to mitigate the two. Slice is like giving medication to a tiny Greek child dripping in Aqua Di Gio. So elegant, but so adorable.

Does this mean you need to fire up Fedex labels to get beer that’s like 22% better than you local options? I mean obviously. What else are you going to put on your one dimensional IG account that rotates 11 adjectives infinitum with the same 32 hashtags in the comments.

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Hill Farmstead Marie, A Helles So Crushable, It is Crushing

Those are water droplets on the nucleation sites, please take your spicy online certified beer server trash elsewhere.

If you really want to get film nerds cranking their hogs, start talking about Planimetric Composition vs. Naturalism. This is their “active vs passive pickups” type of debate that all niche hobbies have. PC shoots things in a deliberately mug-shot, theatrical, entertaining way. Purists will wipe the combos dust on their Michael Haneke t shirt and bluster that naturalism is the only way to create true art.

Beer is the same. The pastry world has this performative aspect that exists in a demonstrative way that knowingly goes outside the scope of “actual” beer. It’s for entertainment, not integration. No one drinks these for nuance or careful reflection, but they serve a purpose. Similarly, we have @hillfarmstead Marie, a beer so rooted in naturalism that it is the ambient noise of lagers. It is so soft and delicate, you feel like you are impressed upon so deftly that beer itself is modifying the situation in careful ways.

You sip and it isn’t enough. It isn’t distracting but Marie is fueling the evening, speeding it along. By not drawing focus it enhances the crisp, clear, floral biscuit world that you are inhabiting. Marie makes no demands to change, it just makes everything else, better.

It makes you wonder about the highest function of a beer: is it sheer drinkability? This may be the most drinkable beer I have ever had. Even Live Oak Hef has a lemon banana quality that can slow things in a minor way. Marie is baked madeleine frictionless lubricant. The ethereal carb is endless and breaking through the pillow decimates the beer below. It is a perpetual motion machine of your own consumption, with no energy loss.

Marie transfers the intent and challah/fescue underpinnings of what you are doing and naturally amplifies it. No one will stop what they are doing to irritate you with a lengthy story about the boil, the type of vanilla bean, the casks, the reserve society, the cryo. It is the most oppressively utilitarian, disappearing beer ever. For that, it is flawed. A beer that is this crushable, is depressing.

Marie is a helles summer camp of bucolic intensity where the romance has a natural termination point, yet you sign up every year.

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Oakshire Brewing Somehow a Life Beyond the Dream is a Faustian Gamble

Why’s it clear hang on

There’s a sort of Faustian gamble with IPAs these days. With every can you never know if IPA means west coast, or if the Orange Julius food court palates have so firmly dominated the style that NEIPA is just the standard designation. I often get a flood of relief when the pour hits the glass radiant and coniferous.

Oakshire is in Eugene Oregon and has the (mis)fortune of being surrounded by some of the most insane hoppy competition in any market. I remember Hellshire from back in the Blockbuster video days, when you could call into LiveLinks on your Blackberry. We have to go back, by moving forward.

Triple IPAs aren’t refreshing and can more often end a night than start one. “Somehow A Life Beyond the Dream” strikes a scaled up balance to this excess. The name sounds like a cross between a Rise Records band and a Tired Hands ESB. The nose delivers waves of the interior of a time machine with split pine, satsuma pith, raked underbrush, scorched grapefruit garnish on a $18 cocktail that took 11 minutes to make by a guy named Hyacinth who just bought a van.

The hops are about as predictable as dudes obsessed with crypto who don’t own a bed frame: simcoe mosaic citra Columbus. We get it. It doesn’t counterbalance with a fistful of crystal so by being even less structured it is somehow more polished. It has this niche loveable quality, sandalwood and POG juice. People embrace these offerings the same way that people in their mid 20s become obsessed with Trader Joes. We get it, you’re lonely and cooking for one. Leave us out of it.

Jesslyn will recoile and reveal those American Girl doll teeth when you make her take a sip and nod at how unhinged your beverage choices have become. TIPAs quickly become a solitary journey. In bathing yourself in the waves of aserose and oils, you are the lonely vape salesmen waiting for high school to get out, sitting among your glass cases and the danky torpor of nugs, grinders, and solipsism.

WC TIPAs take us back to the past and it’s in those quiet moments that Doordash orders just hit different. I’m here for it, but people will judge you if you eat a bisected grapefruit for breakfast.

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Fremont Brewing Batch 5000 Was the Raisinet Event Horizon

What accessible terror hath Seattle wrought upon us all

Fermentation Log 34/124.44, 55 cycles post event

At this rate of bK exhaustion we will accelerate and hit the batch:day:K singularity where brew days will exceed the speed of light multiple batches fermenting as quasar speeds before they can even be released

The bird event horizon collapsing in on Seattle irradiating everyone’s arcteryx jackets. The tattered fish market, pike place crackling with raisin isotopes. Using a rebreather digging through the toffee soaked rubble, the wreckage like a shattered Skor bar.

Particulate toffee lingers in caramel wisps, blowing up towards the puget sound reeking of bananas fosters. They pushed barleywine technology to an untenable state. Their hubris is putting the highest quality out as fast as possible to decimate entire populations. The bottle that launched a thousand “You Up?” texts.

Casual Tavour users fell first. Not knowing the Creme brûlée power that had been democratized, their livers were forfeit. Someone who drinks cbd infused lemonade and makes art with old wine corks was not made for B5k.

The retention and olfactory waves of prune had the rattling presence of an Xbox live lobby in scent form. When people started opening b5k the theramines sounded. Women accustomed to Moscow mules and reposting pics from Tulum were reduced to raisinette dust as the world reopened.

Only the maladjusted remained. It was pure negligence to send b5k to the public. Grown men with four roommates who spend $500 on a stout but still listen to Spotify ads survived. The cask and fig was their succor. Dudes with one outfit laughed as others fell, their supple frames filling out Carhartt shirts with flannel button downs worn open like ducal capes finally had a day in the malty sun. Fremont had won, but at what cost?

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Booker’s Donohoe’s Batch, Still Narrowly Escaping Corn Stockpilers

Start your engines

There’s this bromide in the bourbon world when talking about a new Booker’s batch, “IT TASTES LIKE BOOKER’S!” Cue riotous laughter and slaps on the backs of Titleist polos from dudes who stare longingly at their unopened cornwater action figure collections.

Sure, Booker’s is always going to be cask strength around 125pf, around 6-7 years old, and in the modern era, around $90 retail. The fun in each iteration is highlighting what’s new or salacious about each batch.

Enter Donohoe’s Batch, the first quarter release of 2021. Straight out the staves, this is amongst the darkest mosquito in amber look to is, this side of Stagg Jr. Oversteeped ice tea and dehydrated long haul trucker urine, that dark radiance.

The nose leans towards baker’s spice, apple fritter, and peach pie. The fusel waves are sometimes like dry scooping C4 preworkout and hit your jawline hard. This is a bit more tempered but it’s still young with irresponsible plans of buying a van and taking a gap year. That reckless heat of someone into solo bouldering and Hot Tamales dab rigs.

Every Booker’s drop I wonder if this will be the one where it goes full McKenna and hoarding middle management insurance adjusters begin stacking them on some Container Store furniture in a Midwest basement never to be opened. Kentucky made the original NFTs.

Donohoe was this ex-NFL BILL BRASKY time of legend who used to light people’s chests up with the 90’s Beam drippings. In way, Booker’s truly is the antithesis of stasis fetishists whose enjoyment of bourbon begins and ends with possession itself.

The taste is on the drier side for Booker’s but still has a nice almond and caramelized pecan to the swallow, which is predictably spicy. The finish is solid and long albeit swerves a touch into the muddled cider and children’s aspirin realm. It’s uncut, that Mitsubishi Lancer with a transmission that has trouble gripping second gear and shudders on the third date so she’s blushing and looking down at her Madewell shoes on the way to Macaroni Grill, that supportive heat. 

Booker’s stands by you when you need it most, until covetous baby palates take her away from you.

I do it for the fans
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Upper Pass Beer Company Creation’s Shadow is a Warming Nonic of Vermont Hospitality

SWEATER

The bucolic hills of South Royalton, Vermont are home to some 700 souls. This little village is home to Vermont Law School, a notorious party school renowned for Wizard’s staff, King’s Cup, and barleywines. In this bustling hamlet is Upper Pass Beer Company nestled in a farm building, near Tunbridge, famous of course for its coveted THREE covered bridges. How many covered bridges does your terrible city have? That’s what I thought.

With the exception of A-A-Ron, Vermont isn’t exactly a barleywine powerhouse.  So how does Creation’s Shadow fare? At 11% abv it has restraint, the 6 hour boil is notable and reasonable, the 18 months maturation in casks is commendable: the end result is some raisinettes to your whoppers. 

This beer expresses the malt character nicely providing a bit of prune, date, fig, but also delivering a multigrain bread heel for the spirit profile to adhere to. The cask doesn’t dominate and it leans more towards the dark fruit than the melanoidins that you expect. It does nothing in excess and feels like the genial roadside directions from a Lebanon, NH native. The grace of artisan birdhouses at a Monpelier farmer’s market. Sure we can scoot over, we will share this table, hey can you watch my dog, ill be just a minute, I am heading into the syrup outlet, not a problem, the warm squeak of Arcteryx jackets, travelworn transplants seeking the final powder of the season. It’s that.

Listen are you gonna have the craziest time of your life in St. Johnsbury? Maybe, but probably not and if you do it’s like due to you and not some 11% abv barleywine. However, in being gracious and providing a warming old fashioned and a plate of pecan sandies there’s a certain awshucks “use the mud room” type of charm to this. 

This barleywine has that rural charm of scratchy air bnb blankets, a pellet fireplace, critters on the deck. Sure it isn’t luxurious, there’s no triple barrels, double wax, sky high abv, or even a component blend. But this here malty Subaru Forester has seen us through two recessions, countless mud seasons, and creemees with the kids. Those prunes live on as stains on our Columbia fleeces and that’s just fine.

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Westbound and Down/Bierstadt Collab Chicago Peaks Kolsch is Liquid Online Anonymity

Bicken back bein kolsch

To many people, it is now a desirable trait to date someone with minimal online presence. The excesses of the past generation in dopamine craving, notification harvesting, eValidation, stranger approval scrumming have now come to a head and we are now full circle. Simplicity reigns supreme. No one wants to court someone who has 100k followers in liabilities.

In beer, the reductivist approach is back in vogue as well. The lowly Kolsch, top fermenting placeholder in many production schedules, destined for mediocre scores and ho hum profit margins. There’s difficulty in that simplicity. Try finding a single guy who somehow doesn’t have the tendrils of some internet hollows wrapped around his neck. It’s hard to break free and return to content this is clinically, socially, “unremarkable.” 

Bierstadt and Westbound aren’t exactly on the Rhine and Colorado isn’t exactly Cologne (pronounce it KOHN if you want big PP linguistic energy.) But Kolsch is a cheater style piggybacking on legit pilsners that demands a weird STANGE glass to make up for its historical hemming and hawing. The Brut IPA of German Beer history.

The taste is clean, like lavender handsoap, extremely floral, and this dandelion closer. At first I thought it was my glass, so I opened another can, and it is biscuits, water crackers, and BOOM Method Foaming Hand wash. It seems a new rocky mountain Sur La Table riff on the model. 

The nose is grainy, some Anjou, and again that jasmine. Incredible mouthfeel, flawless retention and lacing, gorgeous clarity, but are you content to have your mouth washed out by a deacon for singing Drake lyrics? How deep in the Bath and Body works hole will you tolerate?

At the 1986 Kolsch Convention I can’t imagine they foresaw Colorado being a hotbed for the best clear beers in the world, so maybe artistic license is warranted. I let it warm and it’s more grand’s biscuit and less of the floral aspects. A return to online anonymity.

Date mysterious people who post PJ Harvey, minimalist white Etsy home aesthetics with ferns, quote Donnie Darko, wear cropped pants, and reference Durkheim in passing. Who cares. If they aren’t online, does the Kolsch even exist?

Smol.
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Moonlight Brewing: Death, Taxes and the Inevitability of National Beer Day

Come face my schwarzbier you cowards

When I was in undergrad at Berkeley, is a subordinate clause I try to never use, but we used to go to this place Jupiter and order the craziest things we could find on the taplist. Over and over, it was Moonlight Brewing. Gruit brewed with spruce tips, A BLACK PILSNER, and the iconic Death and Taxes. Tasting Arrogant Bastard or Hop Rod Rye or HOP STOOPID next to Brian’s beers felt so different for that time period.

Beer persists and now Moonlight is in cans. You don’t have to go across the bay bridge to Zeitgiest and sit with techbros in Patagonia microfleece vests complain about how there are bikes stacked everywhere. Now Moonlight itself feels as consistent as lunar beams. They’ll ship Reality Czech to your doorstep and it will land on top of your case of Kern Citra. What even is life right now.

On National Beer Day I think back on old Death and Taxes and what an insane marketing strategy pushing a schwarzbier is/was. There simply isn’t a higher flavor :: abv :: calorie ratio in the game, with Edmund Fitzgerald looking onward balefully. The clean wash of a tight lager, the roast and pumpkernickle of a porter, UK tier sessionability, and somehow a black beer that feels refreshing.

There will be many more National Beer Days, and beer honestly has never been better.  The main takeaway of the past year is how much beer is dependent on the forum, manner, and people it is consumed with. A context free black lager is just something to drill while watching Vanderpump Rules and pinning high waisted culottes and cropped equestrian jackets to your Pintrest. Add people, missions, nighttime walks, open containers, then beer allays the inevitability of Death and Taxes, instead of just numbing them.

Whatever your Death and Taxes is, crack one today, because public negligence and crying and bad right swipes and lost security deposits and black out Mexican food and everything else is on the horizon. Beer has been patiently waiting for an entire year to return to the people and places that give it meaning.

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Wren House Brewing Barrel Select 1: a Riposte to Stout Excess

“How do I do portrait mode but like in video”

Modern harbors continue to be dredged deeper. To accommodate larger cargo vessels packed with more disposable garbage, the seafloor is scraped to boost TEU units, ultimately the excess is the undoing. All the ships end up larger and coming from like ten places, because packing in weight is job one.

If you didn’t already see the opaque parallels to stout production, welcome aboard. Toot toot. Like a choose your own adventure novel for someone who is about to get stretch marks, stouts can go two ways: first, a reversion to simplicity letting the casks express the intent or second, fight for confectionary additive dominance. Wren chose to exit the glucose matrix.

Stout quality is increasing and the demand for god tier casking is driving demand. The most successful Bourbon County in a decade is double barrel, BBT, TWCP Maman, none of these grind or bisect any beans.

Barrel select 1 is the phenomenal Kingsnake base, but cask only. No wafflecone or exotic bean sourcing, just malt and staves. The result is a stout that expresses waves of red fruit, Malbec, cherry cordial, currant, dried cranberry, black and milds, black patent malt, a silky chocolate rayon with tightly woven seams.

After you are long gone, the excesses from a Chinese cargo ship will live on, terrible Tory Burch flats that will never biodegrade. An infinitely scrolling timeline with adaptive ads. Four single women in their late 20s screaming the lyrics to Poker Face with a half empty bottle of birthday cake Ciroc in a 740sf apartment. The La Brea tar pit of excess. It swallows extremely dry with the wood imparting a weird toasted pecan thing that mixed with the fruit leather like a summer salad without the beets. In what can only be an accounting error: you can drink the entire bottle yourself and there isn’t any oily coconut eczema, so you can tell they skimped.

Cargo ships will push dredging to complete muck. It is untenable and the brownie batter dredge spoil is bad for everyone. Silt, shells, floppy disks, fathead posters, broken barrel staves, box wine bags, anthropogenic land masses made by mouthbreathing chocolate gurglers who constantly need more.

Learn to swim see you down in Arizona bay
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Private Press Brewing Electric Roads is Fantastically Excessive Like Gated Reverb

Prepare for normal people to not be as excited about Private Press as you are

Phil Collins accidentally discovered gated reverb while mixing down a Peter Gabriel track in 1979. This inorganic drum sound infected pop music for years to come. The compression took what people were used to and amplified it with infectious results.

With Private Press, some often still try to compare these bottles to old Jackie O’s offerings. This double barrel barleywine exhibits the difference in approach between both notably good products. It seems as though some are reticent to believe a society only beer as the impressions can be gated reverb themselves, echoing the quality to affirm their own financial decisions.

This isn’t Phil Collins, take a look at me now, when I tell you this is such a cask driven novel spin on the style. You get the toffee and Skor bar, sure. But when this opens up to 62 degrees it starts to unfold like a cherry cordial/raisinette/Dr. Pepper prune aspect that blurs the genre of almost a non-acetic oud Bruin with thise waves of black cherry.

It’s a degree of luxury that begins to feel like that irritating friend who has gotten deep into home theater. You nod trying to embrace hearing about Cardas Clear optical cables that cost $1,500 for optimal physical media fidelity. It’s costly but you feel the difference.

It doesn’t mask this elegance and the marketing materials are knowingly over the top, that friend at a karaoke bar who clear wants to sing but feigns resistance “ok FINE, I’ll sing Evanesence, omg you guys-“ Its worth it for the swallow that is all fig Newton and Oh Henry, a drag longer than the Zach Snyder cut of Justice League.

This isn’t mobile or accessible. It’s hard to open this in any context where you won’t be able to talk about it, so you can’t go opening this with your girlfriend’s friends boyfriend who is all into Trager pellet grills and talking about “now they cancelled Pepe Lepew and Dr Seuss!”

Know your audience is what I’m saying. If you don’t care about a double barrel blend with a 7 barrel liner sheet outlining the threads blended, then just imagine you try talking about it to a woman wearing a three finger ring and a swoopy sun hat.

Your excess is their Phil Collins and your gated reverb will embarass yourself in the wrong context.