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Bierstadt Lagerhaus Helles: The Inescapable Virtue of the Boring

If you lean in the shower just right, you can arc the water over your ears, down your scapula, and in between your butt cheeks in a fetal embrace. The roar of the uterine temperature water over the crown of your head is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to escape the ever grinding maw of daily rituals. And it is free.

Feeling the rush of bath water in between your asscheeks is a simple pleasure that feels private and wrong, such is the case with drinking helles. Lagers are the bookends of complete novice and complete expert in the beer world, so much that pastryphiles in the middle even feign enjoyment while pursuing the opposite. The simple helles is even looked down upon by the Pilsner segment as TOO rudimentary. Like British people obsessed with potato chips, they are eschewed by all for pushing the crisps too far.

What happens when Helles becomes so refreshing that its simplicity is its sole and inescapable virtue? You transcend beer trends and arrive the bottom fermented event horizon. @bierstadtlager has made a beer so unworthy of comment that it has created a beer that is unstable. In liquid form it sublimates and is gone instantly. The “mad croosh” index can only be expressed in scientific notation. It’s sole good is that it is the MOST drinkable substance. The content is a chapter from an R.L. Stine book, you drill through Monster Blood and that is the experience, the sheer volume is edifying.

Can blandness itself be a virtue? That first Bumble date where she wore Tory Burch flats, talked about Urban Decay contouring, and spoke on “interstitial gardening” left you feeling nothing, but the absence of feeling is an intense feeling.

It’s just 1 part pilsner malt to 95 parts water. There’s a faint Mt Hood type of “hop” presence, an ethereal IBU that’s really just chaperoning a pile of water crackers at a Latter Day Saint malt field trip. Nothing is happening, and it is beautiful. If we deride men for gathering in landlocked backyards and predicating their self worth on thimble pours of rare stouts, let us extol those who silently drink liters of a style no one cares about. The true Hallertauer heroes.

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Revolution Brewing Mixed Berry Ryeway is a Good Beer, It’s Just Not Good for Me.

Mixed Berry Ryeway is a well-made beer, I just don’t enjoy it. These two can exist covalently. The new Ford Bronco will probably be pretty high quality, but the inevitable flat-brimmed, Punisher logo, NotW , Instagram handle stickered fanbase will inevitably ruin it for me. The berries are those guys.

@revbrewchicago VSOR is arguably on par with VSOJ, which is to say, more apeshit than Britney Spears unchecked social media presence. So to watch Ryeway denatured from Steve Rogers supersoldier into this attenuated, dry, tannic, lightly-sour shell of its former self: it makes me long for the ultra aged Weapon X project of their deep woods series.

I enjoyed Strawberry Jacket, because it was a modification of something I already enjoyed. At its caramel lapels and jammy back vents, it was still ROSJ. Mixed Berry Ryeway is something else altogether. GM used to make “parts bin” cars and this is what that feels like. I give free license for Revolution to experiment, and make a berry Cutlass Ciera, but I will return that same Code Switch level of enthusiasm for it.

First of all, it looks like a god damn De Garde Bu. This is a barleywine with Lisa Frank fuschia foam. The cling looks like some red 5 brunch Sangria from a place with a name like “[something] & [something].” It’s always an ampersand. The nose has pushed the rye and barrel character beneath the tide like the final scene of The Last of Us 2. We are left flailing, gripping to the edges of the slick nautical wood, but this is an American Tragedy, and Dreiser looks on balefully.

However, many people will enjoy this. It is conceptually interesting and brewed impeccably: you just have to be onboard for the premise. When Final Fantasy XII came out and it was incredibly linear, and had a combat system that played itself, it was a well made game, you just had to accept the axioms of that reality. If you want an intensely cranberry-focused strong ale, then RevBrew has your bases covered. I just don’t know that bourbon and plums is what I need before I start my shift at the Baby Gap.

Mixed Berry Ryeway is a good beer, it’s just not good for me. Cleanup in Rompers, someone just threw up a boysenberry Old Fashioned.

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Timber Ales/8th State Cosm of Darkness is pretty deece, but you know they can swing harder

Timber Ales has been on a recent kick to try and snatch the Stout Collaboration Crown from Horus. It is nonstop collabs from these peregrine gypsy brewers. Mash tun sloshing crude second runnings around in a caravan. It’s tough to keep up.


Like the Horus collabs, they vary in quality, but when I saw EIGHTH STATE was involved, my South Carolina sense started tingling and the air smelled like Pecan Sandies instantly. This beer is pretty okay.
There is something that feels inherently incomplete about a non-barrel aged stout these days. Call it customer entitlement, or palate privilege, I crave that depth now as the default. This is particularly apparent when it is a pastry stout that desperately needs that Urkel to Stefan aging chamber to calm it down. So many naturally aspirated stouts get hit with the lactose stick and come out feeling like Coffeemate Creamers.
This isn’t that, but it also isn’t anywhere near Parahelion or the BA offerings from these two. It has excellent carb and sustain, the ugandan vanilla beans never hit that Yankee Candle/Airwick zone, but it also feels like a dress rehearsal. When Subaru released the BRZ with no turbo, no AWD, part of you is like, come on. We know what you are capable of, this is a dental hygienist offering, I need them staves.


The cassia bark as usual just provides and ensemble role for light sweetness and it feels like Whoppers throughout, the scorned Halloween candy, not the scorned high school burger. Nothing about this is inherently wrong, it’s within striking distance of Mornin Delight but still a country mile from Proper Dose in the rawdog Stout realm. That is to say, it is rated higher than every other pilsner ever brewed in the history of all beer.


It feels like 8th State and Timber have a girlfiend that goes to another school and they aren’t as focused on Pastry Polo as they should be, but we know they are gonna hit that game winning goal and then Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” will start playing and Jason Stein will pull his ponytail out and we will realize that he was the hot girlfriend that 8th State wanted all along. It’s fine, this is fine.

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Phase Three Eunoia Takes Nut Levels to a New Dimension

Lake Zurich stepping up to smash my 🥜 fully. When @phasethreebrew dropped this Shaun Berns juice, I folded my arms and waited for the 4.8 untapped rating to drop. I can only assume massaging mallow foam and peanut butter is an elective class at Siebel. Here’s the frustrating part: it’s really god damn good.

If you walk into this with @mainandmillbrew BA Jifforia expectations, take those and drill out the lactose, clean up the mouthfeel, amp up the cask driven spirit heat, and you have a sticky image with the contrast turned way up. Like an 8th grader flicking his wrist during a sick day, this nut is getting out of hand. Stouts can often apply the lactose filter to smooth out the imperfections, this is full raw in the best way. I rarely want to crush an entire bottle solo, especially when it’s like 620 calories a pour, this is just Reese’s neck kisses with Butterfinger lovingly dragging a finger along the sloppy sourdough starter that is your gut.

It lacks nuance or delicacy, but somehow the lipid profile and sheer Fusel twist together like a drippy DNA helix 🧬 and you are the super soldier falling asleep on the wood deck outdoors. Is it worth the $325 secondary price? I mean you don’t have to drive to Lake Zurich and be surrounded with its diverse 93.4% white populace, coldstone creameries and Baby Gaps. Then again, it’s been so long since I hit up a KOHL’s. To people not into beer, this is almost parodic levels of Peter Pan decadence, I’m here for it. Jaelynne fetch father’s smuckers vessel for the heart craves preserves.

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RARE PERFECTION 15 Year: Was This a Colossal Waste of Money? [yeah probably.]

It’s time to play another round of “Was This a Colossal Waste of Money (Yeah, Probably)” [WTACWOM(YP)] Today’s creaky old cask is Preservation Distiller RARE PERFECTION 15 year. I am sure there are taterbois creaming the spuds out of their Merona cargo shorts with that many buzzwords, FIFTEEN YEAR, just like the pappy they never open, RARE, only sold at CERTAIN liquor stores, PERFECTION, a bourbon from Canada that literally tells you IT IS PERFECT.


The hubris tones are over 9000.
This distillery in is Bardstown, KY, but this was distilled in Canada, so it’s not bourbon. Sure you have a girlfriend, but she goes to a different school, so it doesn’t count. The only thing higher than the proof, 119, is the price, $170 retail.
Most people just wrote this off until Breaking Bourbon called this one of their top 5 whiskies of 2019, so dudes were stumbling into their Nissan Versas to go scoop up some Corn Water Stonks.
Listen, those Diageo LOST BARREL type of stories are often marketing bullshit. Oh no way, an ultraaged cask that no one thought to index and track, sounds delicious.
The aroma is bizarre. It feels like old library stacks, the ornithology section no one visits, warm dryer lint, and wet summer deck. Think Old Blowhard but cut with Saz18. It feels like geriatric Pinnochio with no strings to hold it down.


Take that weird AARP nose and try to reconcile it with a punchy Bookers sweet heat on the palate. Red hot candies, caramel apple pop, and Chai. This 4 grain whiskey is nonstandard and I hope bourbon investors lose their collective stretchmarked asses on this one. Dudes wearing Under Armor polos with kids named TANNER dont open bourbon as is, let alone anything that doesn’t taste like sweet caramel juice they can promote in Men’s Health as the NEXT HOT WHISKEY YOU GOTTA TRY.
The finish is extremely dry, Oolong tea, and like Pecan sandies. IT IS S T R A N G E. If your palate is at that Gaspar Noe level where nothing gets your stave saturated anymore, then try this. It’s absolutely not worth $170, but if you want to look like an insensitive out of touch prick during a global pandemic, pull this out and talk about how TOUGH THE MARKETS ARE GOD ITS CRAZY WE ARE DRINKING OUTSIDE TREVOR.

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Southern Grist Brewing Has Bitten into a Malty Masterpiece with Wooden Teeth

Bite down.

On average, I will review around 500 new beers each year. Many are just good, some are comically flawed, but only a choice few are truly exceptional. It’s like your Waldorf salad of oddball coworkers. @southerngristbrewing Wooden Teeth bites down in that masterpiece category.

I drink a lot of barleywines and eventually the qualities themselves become parodied. You wince when you see “BOURBON SOAKED RAISINS” or the bromidic “ROLOS” but some beers can transcend these descriptors with malty innovation. The wheated Weller barrel accomplishes some incredible tumescent feats of wood not by sheer time (14 months) but contact. Like living with your boyfriend during quarantine, sometimes too much contact can be embittering. Why is he constantly shouting about the gulag?

The cask is the true star in this dental adventure. Any hop presence is as absent as an Epstein cell guard as malt and booze run the roost. The custard and bananas fosters sweetness is tempered with a lightly bitter aspect from the grain bill that combine to form a pralines and caramel voltron. Some experiences hit so hard that they send you backwards in time like Billy Pilgrim to review the nuance, like some kind of Ghost of Skor Bar Past making you reflect upon barleywines you loved and lost.

LIke most experiences that you pine for, it is rare and fleeting. 1 per person, 300 bottles, the first time she lays her head on your shoulder while watching The Good Shepherd: it’s tough to replicate. The finish lingers and imparts a Sazerac charm and you end up feeling like one of those weird weeds in Ursula’s cave, craving that touch again. Like the past, I wonder if Southern Grist can even recreate this magic. Tony Rich Project just hits different.

I would be surprised if this does not land on the DDB top 10 of 2020. The entire endeavor has me flipping through Tick Yearbooks ruminating on old barleywine crushes, Wet Seal pants and gristy Tommy overalls with bare bourbon obliques showing.

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1967 Wild Turkey Airplane Mini, A Nuanced Romp Into the Past

It’s weird to open a 1967 wild turkey airplane mini. The immutable distillation of past experience just sitting there, under a tax strip. We have wild turkey 101 now, and protests, and riots, wealth inequality, and dudes seeking out vintage Campari and it feels weird to taste something sitting in stasis for over half a century. It’s still wild turkey but a callback to a deceptively gentle Don Draper era.

The consumers were bored of the bottled in bond protections and low proof Bourbon was made for a very particular customer. Now we get Basil Hayden’s to make people who don’t actually like bourbon feel special and alive. You can watch your coworker who loves HGTV pour it over a ton of ice and declare he recently found out he likes NEGRONIS have you had one? These people existed in 1967.

To sip this now it feels like a strong chardonnay by contrast. It has a ton of Jazz apple, candy corn, honeycomb and feels like you are polishing off the bottom of cask strength previously served on melted ice. It’s simple and, in a way unremarkable. The fact that some liquid can sit for decades and produce this effect is in itself highly remarkable.

Fifty years from now my stretch marks will be bionic and I’ll be asking Cyberdine why my transferred sentience also has a big forehead and the engineer will guffaw and take a sip from 161 proof bookers and explain to the intern that people previously had a Cartesian sense of entitlement to their self and that the term “my” is an old tymie slur before universal consciousness uploads came into vogue. And I will have cyber stretch marks.

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Peyton Manning Released a Bourbon and Sweetens Cove is Fine I Guess

Peyton Manning made a bourbon and it is $200 and it is pretty not great. When I saw a 13 year aged aged Tennessee bourbon at 102 proof, I braced myself to overpaying for some celebrity Dickel in my mouth. The initial numbers said that there are 1500 bottles of this, then like a month later oh wait its 14,000 bottles. Even worse, when I closed this sale I got like 19 laugh reacts from dudes who fetishize brown liquid. Being negged by bourbon bros is a different kind of pain. Imagine being laughed at by middle aged stretchmarked dudes with recliner couches who wear Titleist hats and New Balances who covet unopened bottles of corn ethanol they will never open. 

This is the public humiliation I had to endure for your amusement.
Master Distiller Marianna Eaves is touted in every press review you read about this, but here’s the thing, if you’re literally blending BevMo barrels of George Dickel, the composition fallacy sets in real fast. You could give Armand the most choice casks from Cascade Brewing and ask him to blend the next Malvasia Rosso and you will get enamel destroying Portland lacto solvent. One can only do so much.
WAIT WHO ELSE IS IN ON THIS SPICY OVERPRICED COLLAB: uh ever heard of ANDY RODDICK, no how about musician Drew Holcomb; Tom Nolan, former president of Ralph Lauren golf; course architect Rob Collins; and real estate developers Mark Rivers and Skip Bronson. Bro SKIP FUCKING BRONSON. HOLD UP, we are talking titans of the distilled spirits world here.
This tastes closer to 9 year single barrel Dickel than the ($39!) 13 year bottled in bond Dickel but let’s just put it out there: you stand to waste a shitload of money. Nose is inoffensive, McDonalds apple pie, red hots, torched custard. The palate shows its age with planed lumber, lemon pledge, lacquer, and a limoncello aspect. The finish is long but loaded with iced tea and leathery oak, this part is actually really enjoyable. I feel like Andy Roddick really had some input with the sustained oak in the oily mouthfeel. What is Brooklyn Decker even up to these days.
It is not bad by any stretch of the stave, but at $200 retail this bottle is swinging on some insane competition, hell even by $200 secondary it would be taking jabs at regular ass Blantons. If you are straight up obsessed with Peyton Manning or SKIP FUCKING BRONSON, then sure, buy this overpriced juice before you hit the links. Go talk about how wow raising an 11 year old is such a hard age, when even is the right age to give them a phone and hey did you see the new mid engine Corvette and hey when’s NHL coming back, yeah orthodontics sure do hit you right in the old wallet. Who cares. You’re turning 13 year old oak juice into piss and you read books after you’ve seen the film adaption of them. You don’t deserve true happiness.

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Enegren and Bierstadt Lagerhaus Just Made Reinhotties Crisp Again

Prepping to record an absolutely insane episode of malt couture. The Pilsner calm before the storm with @enegrenbrewing and @bierstadtlager crushable challah juice. It usually takes a stand up comedian a solid decade to build that first hour of bulletproof material, to make it seem effortless, universally engaging, poised and so clean in execution.

It’s that type of economical Mulaney-esque delivery that makes it seem like anyone can do this. This is that. Beer that’s so refined and cleanly presented that it makes people feel like they could do this too. It takes an incredible degree of nuance and precision to craft someone universally loved, that bottom fermenting JK Rowling that gets dunked on by excessive post-modernist barleywine boyz and is taken for granted by neophyte young adult palates, the perpetual Pilsner plight.

It’s for that reason that I respect the incredible frothy sustain of the carb, the sheeting, the light herbal fescue like verdant stains on bugle boy jeans. It’s the best version of your old memories but improved upon. That nascent “first beer” thrill, maligning the detachable showerhead for Eros purposes in middle school. It’s so good and simple that you feel latent shame.

For that reason, nothing else compares.

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Toppling Goliath Coconut Assassin is a Depressing Masterpiece

There is often a divide between “wanting” and “obtaining.” Any fifth grader can articulate how the week leading up a birthday party is better than the actual toys. The desire is the commodity that craft beer trades in. This is the reason a brewery’s value is so heavily stacked in their good will and not just the tanks and triclamps and hoses inside of it. The capacity to make someone value something is the transmutation of need fulfillment. Brewers turn people into 5th graders again, hopped up on pizza IPAs and cake stouts and milkshake hazies.

Coconut assassin is the converse of the anticipation/actualization paradigm. I wanted this beer to be not as good as it is. I want to subvert a $50 12oz retail price. I want to undermine the $450 resale price. I want to undercut a 162 bottle release. And then I tried it. Frustratingly the beer is just crushingly well done. Writing a review loaded with praise doesn’t exactly drip with levity. The hyperbolic highs are fueled by failures, those classic knee slappers attendant to failed art. This is too fucking good though.

The coconut aspect has faded and integrated lovingly and seamlessly into the barrel character. It is so much carmelized brown sugar, and that honeycomb Willetesque cask profile, Scotch kisses, flourless lavacake. It defies all the current stout benchmarks of excess: not flabby, solid retention, barrel driven with fusel aspects masked, no smegma coconut lipids coagulating on the top, no sheen of excessive oil, no Yankee Candle wafts of greasy waterpark bodies. It is a beer first and foremost and through excess it finds nuance. It’s super fucking annoying in that regard.

This would be way better if it were worse. It isn’t though, it is world class. I am worse off having had this beer because it sets the rubric for how much a Hawaiian tropic stout can accomplish, and here I am, actively reinforcing this behavior, and the store is all sold out of hand sanitizer for my soul, @tgbrews has dropped a depressing masterpiece.