Vignette; Halftone; Daguerreotype; Précis; √ √ √ √ √


It is difficult not to focus on reproduction while sitting in a public park on a stifling Tuesday afternoon.  Kaitlynn watched each of her four children clamber across the decimated remains of recycled tires, a replacement for the construction sand of days past. The indigos and vibrant fuchsia tones coated each of the tiny eight hands, sherbert and red5 streaking the monkey bars. Katilynn gripped her own pop, which remained largely unpushed, the mien of a disappointed Flintstone patriarch casting a flat gaze upon the scene. It was difficult to not think of reproduction when the sticky glob of glucose syrup and buffered lactic acid plopped into the dirt, causing the ants below to spin in tight writhing circles.  Gunner called to his siblings, face smeared with the remains of tragancanth gum and polysorbate 80, while changing the rules of a protean game.  One  ant recoiled under a glob of oppressive sugar water. The others were probing, uncaring,  focusing on the delicate task of bringing this corn syrup to the Queen. Gunner simply will not lay down for his nap.


It is not illegal to loiter in hospital waiting rooms. Chase would satisfy a moribund itch by regularly waiting in the Saint Ambrose Emergency Room, albeit perfectly healthy. The effervescent character of those in immediate need numbed and scaled down his own insecurities.  The chairs always had the same busy, swirling patterns with inlaid pastel triangles.  One only encounters this upholstery on charter buses and mid-90s compact cars, the function serves to hide the low vagrant stains of constant use.  A Korean man with a makeshift headwrap and a wide jaunty stance pressed his finger demandingly into a nurse’s clipboard punctuating each word.  The lingering musk of impending tragedy, Chase loved it.  The fortuitous misfortune of every passing clinical moment, this was his therapy.


“Flowerbomb, that was the perfume, it was called Flowerbomb and it comes in this pink bottle,” Amy recounted tracing figures in the air with a finger wet from cold pressed juice, “it’s not strippery, but not SWEET, either.”  Trevor sat at the bistro table of the outdoor cafe silently suffering through a zero calorie soliloquy about corporate scents. “But, also, and this will sound weird but SANDALWOOD is, like a memory trigger for me, being from Tacoma, I-” This was not the right swipe that Trevor envisioned as he pulled apart the flesh of a fruit cup tangerine in a desultory fashion. “-or when, ok so I have this thing called an ‘elevator test’ and if you can tell I am WEARING IT, then it fails the ele-” The experience was clean yet squalid, a clean finish to a sweet-sour encounter.


The bungalow on 641 Canyon Drive had just cleared the estate allocation and was ready for a short sale, pending approval from probate court. Leading in from the entryway was a Rococo handrail with intricate, gaudy roses carved into the ornate balustrades. At the time of construction, every detail was regal, but the home had shown its age indelicately. The wall of mirrors was laced with gold veins, a modern punchline on the aesthete of Nixon-era home construction.  One didn’t so much look into the mirror as attempt to look through it, at the dated wood paneling and beryl shag carpet therein.  Well-tread carpet has an air of record stores and yearbooks, imparting that teleological waft that only time can impart. All of this would be gutted, this would be fixed, the rate of return would be incredible once an open floorplan was implemented, relative to comps in the area, scaled to squarefoot pro-rata values. It will be breathtaking in its transformation.


Terrence sat in the courtroom waiting area, dictating to Siri with a flat, vindictive affect, “you did this, period, this is what you wanted, period, I only hope that this brought you some type of closure period new paragraph, you never thought about Brandon during any of these proceedings period.”  His voice echoed across the carrera marble of the municipal hallway, enough to amplify the macabre tragedy of his personal life, but approaching him would still remain in poor taste. “I don’t have any outstanding cards, comma, your credit score is not my concern at this time, period new paragraph.”  There is a gastroenteric taste tied to regret.  During those moments when absolute dread sets in, the gall bladder secretes an acidic reflux cocktail for the afflicted to ruminate upon. “Your attorney’s fees will be paid by the community assets, hyphen, however, the remainder will be divided pursuant to the Court Order.” During those times where the present becomes an impassable barrier to what has occurred, the bile will tickle the gumline, underlining the discomfort of the moment. During those moments, a “CTRL-Z” for the physical world seems like the greatest indulgence.


Landscaping is a form of manual labor celebrated in the abstract, usually by those far enough removed such that they never need to engage in it.  Surveying the grounds of the Montecito Tea Garden, patrons admire lovingly the sculpted bonsai trees and raked stones imported from the neighboring quarry.  Fulgencio toils unseen, maintaining Edo period strolling gardens in the twilight, watering imported orchids during a torrid drought. “FULGENCIO! those cherry blossoms are everywhere, mixing in with the Coonara Pygmy leaves I told you to take care of last week, we have a wedding reception tomorrow and I wont have the Walmsley’s special day ruined because you are bitching about overtime, so let’s go,” boomed Chad Warner, groundskeeping supervisor, which is a titled way to remove Chad from groundskeeping entirely.  However, Fulgencio raked Japanese maple leaves with a calm repose, breathing an herbal citrus goodness from the environment.  No degree of surrounding problems could shake his unflappable character, for he lived and breathed in the spirit of the Tea Ceremony on a daily basis.


“Alright, children, again!” commanded Ms. Rosander to her group of supplicant students. “Endosperm, embryo, seed coat, endocarp, mesocarp, exocarp, vellus hair!” the students responded in rote programming. “PERICARP, it’s like you aren’t even listening the PERICARP CONTAINS THE OTHER CARPS BUT IT IS DISTINCT. AGAIN!” This revolutionary new method of child-education took standardized testing to a new granular level.  The focus would now be not on “facts” or “analysis” but instead, sentential lists of minutia.  By drilling the parts of stone fruits for weeks on end, every other piece of information would seem highly probative by contrast.  Walter Park knew almost nothing about non-euclidian geometry, but after drilling peach parts for what felt like a continued sentence, his tween brain was frothing at the aspect of learning binomials. “”Endosperm, embryo, seed coat, endocarp, mesocarp, exocarp, vellus hair…PERICARP!” “Alright, as a reward, we will now take a break and learn Stoichiometry.” [cheers, jubilance, presumably.]



Tickers think imma sweat em, I’m sippin on Anareta, if u play with my Saisons, u gone feel my beretta

These guys can do no wrong it seems. Finally a beer to rival blueberry flora. That minerality, the spritzer and tannic juicy notes that are so elusive with those tiny pithy berries: it is thirst quenching.

It is so hard to do blue BaLs well, and these are fully drained. The acidity usually fucks everything up and even Cantillon has bungled this (cf. 2013 blabby) and this is completely crushable like unprotected recycling center sex. There’s no tums sidecar attendant here and you can effortlessly kill the entire 750ml while you watch Battlefield 1 glitch its way into AAA gaming infamy, as usual.

Think Lil Sal meets Lady in blue, with smashed up flintstones vitamins in the mix, a light chalky tartness gives you a PPM chubber.


Cycle vs. Against the Grain, A Horizontal Tale of Two Setties

Stout releases are replete with completionist obsessors and the natural embrace of this behavior manifests itself in horizontals.  We have much to thank 50/50 Brewing for this now pandemic embrace of “Stout Sets.”  What was previously derided as a marketing mechanism at best, and consumer manipulation at worst, is now de riguer.  People want stouts, they want treatments and they will suffer mistreatments to get stouts. Like the waxing and waning of the moon, FULL SETs remain the resounding call of the khaki-teethed retinue.

Cycle has proven themselves capable in the deviant realm, but what about those purveyors of punny-labels entrenched in a Sub-Mason Dixon geography: Against the Grain Brewing?  We shall address each in turn in today’s review: Weekday Set vs. Bo and Luke Deviant showdown.


If I am not hearing granite comments, then it means that the grout experts are queueing up to appraise my tilework.  Let’s keep this thin and sweet, not unlike- ahfuckit.

Monday: Maple Bourbon BA Coffee Cinnamon. At a certain point these stout releases feel like confectioner/breakfast madlibs.  Just pull 4 of them out a ten gallon hat, who gives a shit.  I had high hopes for this and the exceedingly thin body coupled with a cinnamon blast of Big Red goodness tapered that arousal faster than a Glenn Close sex scene. The maple is about as viscous as you would expect from humid Floridian conifers. Coffee rounds out the cast with a performance of mild acidity that sends your deltoids skyward with indifference.


Tuesday. Garbage stout, no adjuncts, psh why am I even bothering. PSYCHE. This might be my favorite of the entire set and this beer slays.  Like a Baby DBR, this shows that you don’t need four tire burnouts and nipple clamps to push up the engagement.  I know I am in the minority on this one, and it feels one note after the ANTEAD review where I wouldn’t stomp pressing my face into the freshly shampooed hair of that base beer.  This beer is absolutely stellar and leads with tootsie roll, roast, and a depth that goes outside the pale of cascading Torani syrup pumps.  It is such sweet irony that the tobacco and pumpernickel has more depth than the addition of outside ingredients.  A composition fallacy derailed, in a bottle.  Seek this one out, if you care about your capacity for nice things at all.


Wednesday, Cinnamon BA Hazelnut Bourbon_randomize$ingredient.DLL

If you know about the infamous Nooner8 and the resultant Hazelnut, then your expectations were justifiably higher than some Samus Aran highjump boots.  Oddly, this seems to align with Monday in an offputtingly thin, “imperial porter” sort of execution.  I am the last one to advocate more residual sugars and heft in stouts.  The issue is when you book five adjuncts to play an open mic and give them all 3 minute slots, you barely even settle in with Hazelnut before some hack Bourbon from Van Nuys is doing airline bits. Give them some room for expression, for Cycle’s sake.  The end result is something that is unquestionably good, but pangs of Coffeemate meets Nutella smegma.


If your traps aren’t sore from the innumerable shrugs and head rolls, prepare yourself for maple bourbon Rare Dos. Again, this is a solid solid beer, and from any other brewery, it would be knocking in more stout RBIs than Hack Wilson. The problem is, I know what Cycle is capable of and I know when they seem to be holding back.  Tuesday is clear evidence of that pure barrel shoryuken to the chest, this is like a weak Liu Kang mapleball just to keep you at bay.  The sweetness balances nicely with the dialed in Rare Dos body, but you lose the beer, and not yourself, in the moment.  Drink a couple of these on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and dream of Vermont while you are high as balls on generic prescription drugs.

Friday: (Stranahan?) with vanilla and cocoa nibs.  This beer, was shockingly awesome.  It was never too sweet but the oily character of the vanilla surpassed the previously ho-hum Nooner9.  That waffle cone dovetails awesomely with the cocoa nibs and gives this sort of Whoppers spooning with Snickers that ensures there is left nothing to be desired.  You can finish an entire bottle and the high temps add a touch of spiciness from the oak.  It’s odd that the two bottles with least fanfare, that look the most lackluster on paper, absolutely slayed.

The stout game don’t make no damn sense.  Speaking of making no sense, allow me to introduce you to a Faustian nightmare of dizzying depths:


Each one of these craven harbingers of depravity is more debased than the last.  This is Shinra, outsourcing demonic tests that Umbrella Corp. refused to administer. The additions to Bo and Luke sound like something I would do in a janky attention seeking vedeo, except they outdid old DDB and did them for real.  The balls were pressed nowhere but directly upon the wall for this release. Let’s get right to it:


Bo and Luke, sassafradish. Radish. Are you composting me up the community garden plot with this one?  This had a wince-inducing type of licorice, melted good and plenty, but mixed with a vegetal minerality of potting soil.  It’s like if you poured yourself a Dr. Pepper, and then extinguished a Parliament Menthol in it.  This has to be an experiment in IRL trolling consumers.  Woof.


Oh christ. This one is the absolute worst and intentionally hits those Chilean coal mine depths of sadness that Dark Lord variants accidentally stumble into. FENUGREEK, CUMIN AND BLACK PEPPER.  Have you ever been drinking Parabola and thought, “ah shit I wish someone would toss a Sonic Chili Dog up in here” well divinity upon high, your mustard prayers have been answered.  Processed meat water, spice, Olive Garden entree sadness coupled with this lingering steamed water that goes under catering trays.  A masterpiece in macabre malevolence, but at least the smoke isn’t distracting.


Elderflower and Lavender.  Nothing else, just Bath and Body works meets Glade plug ins while confused Nana gives you a deep open mouthed kiss.  Her flower broach is rubbing your collarbone raw.  Take a smoked stout and run it through fresh laundry on the line, that classic Downey dryer sheet film undulates along your gumline.  If you have ever tasted women’s deodorant, that chalky floral regret, coupled with this sense of profound shame that comes with armpit tonguing: it’s that but with a black and mild clenched in your teeth. Brick and Mortar pornography stores are redolent of glass cleaner and industrial grade floral disinfectant, this captures both in that Yankee Candle decadence.

PEPPER: Ancho, Pasilla, Mulato blend.  I didn’t even take a photo of this one because, if we are being honest: it was pretty tasty.  The heat from the chili folds like mitochondrial inner membranes with the smoky complexity and it screams Austin bbq.  It has dry sweetness, with roast and capsaicin qualities that, despite appearing horrible, was better than most Barrio stouts, toe to tip.  This is the one true redeemer, but I absolutely recommend you try to land the other ones because, they are a Fear Factor horizontal in themselves.  Invite Joe Rogan over, have your ex film the whole thing.  Stupider things have happened in the beer world.