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Forager Brewing Kitten Treats is too vibrant when it is here, and saddening when gone.

Forager Brewing is one of those actors who takes AAA roles in Pastry feature films strictly to fuel their indie arthouse love of saisons and weird strong ales. For every Augustus Gloop craving MILLERZZZZZ, there’s a true gentlewoman of class coveting the lowkey gems. Kitten Treats is one such purring delight climbing up the scratch pole of public relevance. It is good, but not in the way you would expect. The first Kitten Treats was this weird almost Oud Bruin meets blueberry affair. The name of this beer feels like those pandering unoaked Chardonnays you see in the grocery store being marketed to stepmoms in Chrysler Pacificas, angular choppy hair feathering at the nape of their necks, each gripping a phone case that opens like a book.

The taste is anything but. Kitten Treats b2 is a return to standard form in Forager’s nonstandard way. This is a massive VSOJ meets Anabasis in execution. Instead of if you removed all the linestepping chocolate stout aspects and subbed into robust rye barrel character and vibrant red fruit. You have 24 months in FEW barrels, so ultracask and scoop your liverbox.

While technically a wheatwine, there is so much barrel character this feels almost like an overoaked/longboil barleywine. It is wildly saturated and more concentrated than ice wine. There’s none of that playful caramel, this absolutely explodes with clusterbombs of figs, prunes, dried tannins of forgotten harvests. The nose is so much Sazerac and rye spice, it feels in the 15%+ realm and you have to let this warm to 60 to really unlock the experience. Otherwise it’s like only getting the first ending in barley Symphony of the Night.  

The swallow seats even experienced drinkers in how layered and long it is. This beer has the warm comfort of holding a pet, running your fingers over the small sternum grooves, memorizing the tiny frame until it is gone and you are left with a small marble of grief rolling around in the cigarbox of your mind that sometimes clips the edges and reminds you of the compliant embrace of that small friend who is gone forever. You want

more of this, but it is too much all the same. Flambeed raisins might be something you take for granted, until the $40 bottle is gone. This will be too intense for many, but lean forward into the incredible heat, it’s worth it.  The alternative is a life of wholly mediocre experiences, being locked into a long term lease with a former lover because neither of you can afford a new security deposit

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Jagermeister Arrogant Bastard is an Herbaceous Juniper 14 Maltcar Pileup

If you’ve ever rolled a Dodge Stratus into the curb reeking of Underberg on the way to your 8am sociology class, finally a beer has arrived for you. This unlikely merger of Jagerbomb preacher curl bros and grocery store Cascade hop stepdads was a long time coming. Those nascent seeds that later turn into cocktail fetishists and homebrewers are tucked into this bizarre digestif soil. No one asked for this beer but it was willed into existence. The nose is one part Jager spice: anise, orange rind, juniper and saffron. The other part is a militant overextracted all boil C hop chaperone, WARRIOR resin, wax shatter pieces and high school gym coach aspirations.

The offset.

It’s weird and not in the quirky “I matched with a life coach on Bumble, should I do it?” Way. It feels medicinal in this holistic essential oils way, residual cling like patrouli and burning sage. Ironically the prescription counter notes make this feel worse for you. The taste is like some good and plenties left rolling around the floorboards of a Pontiac Sunfire. Most p90x bros won’t know that neither Jager nor Arrogant Bastard are barrel aged, they are focusing on vascularity and whether the colts will cover the spread. You don’t need to focus on the lack of a barrel or the fact that this is a “hello fellow kids” marketing move that no one demanded but the current beer scene embraces in herbaceous novelty. It’s not good, but it’s such an insane eucalyptus meets sticky crystal hops mouth kiss from your aunt that you’re almost onboard for that offputting embrace.

This beer is made for a middle manager who clips his Nextel phone onto his woven JC Penney belt confident in his beer knowledge and Merona cargo shorts. To everyone else his eccentricity is a character trait, each wacky bottle he brings to cookouts a personality supplement. If you want juniper juice and the faded Malty underpinnings of chinook handjobs under the craft beer bleachers, the Pangs oF alpha acid past degrading the foreseeable future. You never leave this town, you marry the Cascade homecoming queen and both slide in bilateral domestic resentment and success. But you’re everyone else’s “beer friend” and you let the stretch marks show it.

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Batch 66. Permanent Hangover. Westbrook/8th State/Birds Fly South/Charleston Fermentory. Nothing was the same.

I know every episode of @maltcoutureddb shatters expectations and reshapes all of craft beer from the stained glass fragments on a weekly basis. But this episode obliterates all expectations with the mendacious @permanenthangover Andy Godish! We do an ALL SOUTH CAROLINA BEER SHOOTOUT. We pit the SC king 👑 @westbrookbrewingco against @the8thstatebrewing and @bfsbeer and @chsfermentory . Only one remains. Also we play a new game of FASHION OR FERMENTATION. Andy really crushed it at that one. It’s too much to handle. I’ll be able to retire in Decorah on patreon dollars from this single episode.

http://bit.ly/SouthCarolinaWithPermanentHangover

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William H Heavenhill b6 is wildly expensive, and outright incredible

Ok it’s time to play another round of: Was This a Colossal Waste of Money? The answer in the case of William H. Heavenhill is, Colossal yes, Waste of Money no. Let’s lay some foundation for this 16 year, 106 proof heater. First and foremost, this is a gift shop only bottle that you can buy after you go on the tour, for $250.00 retail. That last part likely made your balloon knot clench, and for understandable reasons. That’s like half a bottle of AVION in the club.

At this moment any other reviewer would immediately cop out, decry the price point and then proceed to point out that knob creek barrel proof costs a fraction as much and end the review with a pithy BUY ECBP INSTEAD. The slaps on the back would be resonant and endlessly accessible. Here’s why putting McKenna on a pedestal and being a false ally of the people doesn’t work: this is insanely good. The age statement alone is noteworthy but Diageo turns out geriatric trashwater so that cant carry the day. The secret sauce here is just how flawlessly rounded and poised this is. If you know the different between Booker’s and Booker’s 25th you know the difference some extra age and stock selection can make. This is like stock mustang vs GT500 difference in both price and quality.

The nose just separates in waves like flaky baklava serving up waves of cinnamon, apple filling and a ton of cherrywood split lumber. The taste feels so old and refined like some luxury hot tamales made by National Distillers. The swallow just vibrates with allspice and leather crashing like a zildjian cymbal. The internal mapping of the Heat travels slowly into your chest and you can almost see the inforgraph of the Vick’s vapor rub juice warming your guts in the best way.

The price is insane and you are paying a massive premium for a unicorn barrel. It is by no means a deal and I can already feel er10 dudes calling unrelatable DDB a tater shill. I get it: it’s expensive. It is also incredible and there are many far far worse bourbons selling for much more secondary. If you want to spend less go ECBP or Knob 25, no one will fault you. This however is some crazy unique cornwater worthy of at least a taste if you can smash it. Waste of money? Depends on how much Balenciaga you own. Colossal? Not by any standard.

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Schramms Heart of Darkness b6, this Melomel Continues to Amaze. Aggravatingly So.

We opened this @schrammsmead masterpiece last night on @maltcoutureddb with @theothermumford and it floored us all. Some beverages are so crushingly good that you are worse off having drank them. Every time I try this I forget how layered the fruit profile is, the long preserves drag, that sticky marmalade and floral closer. It’s more balanced than most god tier Napa Cabs and pushes the honey game to its logical peak. Sometimes when you see a spicy 4.9 on Untappd it’s like “yeah of course people dropping $192 on this 12oz will validate the purchase with that score.” But it isn’t recursive, this can command that price as a function of what it is, not what it seeks to convey. Very few products occupy this space and it’s aggravating how arresting this melomel is because it commands attention.

There’s no casual HOD sesh, and it feels tacky and decadent for consumption to be the event in itself. Some Condé Nast terminus shit, laser etched decanters talking about which cards have the best point perks. I’m a trash human who watches Bachelor in Paradise, so it’s good to occasionally have a sip of sublimity. Then back to Totino’s pizza rolls and Terrace House. Balance achieved through immoderation, the Aristotelian mead.

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Urban Roots Summer Life is Pretty Good, it’s like…Sacramento BBQ

Summer is ending and thiccboi season is about to be upon us. To bridge the gap between seltzer days and high abv autumnal negligence, @urbanrootsbeer has provided us this succor. If you are old enough to remember Peter Hoey of Odonata fame, then you are entitled to a Rorie’s Ale veteran discount. Peter and Rob Archie decided to open up a bbq spot in where else Sacramento, California’s capitol, famous for bbq and train museums. The beer itself seems to be a playful take on an unwieldy style, a svelte poolside barleywine. The 10% abv isn’t exactly hiking refreshment and it drinks like a lightly sweeter Old Numbskull. Without barrel aging to contribute the depth and Dremel down the edges, it feels boozier than it should.

There’s a C-hop bite to it that nods towards mid 2000s Classic barleywines albeit in that “oh you brought Old Horizontal” sort of way. It’s well crafted and could stand some time in casky captivity. The Malty structure works but is too boozy and resinous for summer, not hefty enough for frigid Sacramento winters. At any rate I love seeing breweries release barleywine in general and can only imagine @sunkingbrewing was furtively rubbing their hands together praying for a barrel treatment. It’s pretty deece, albeit not earth-shattering.

Also this episode went live today.

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Modern Times Highs and Lows: the Dance of Final Gravity

 

Modern Times is a pendulum of restraint and excess. In the modern times of craft beer consumers, breweries are compelled to be competent in all realms to remain relevant. Their clean beers are simple and elegant, their pastry batter is ridiculous and finishes at 19 platos. It’s such a bipolar canon, you’d think two penguins loaded the breech. Today I wanted to highlight two such duplicitous swings from this San Diego hit factors to demonstrate exactly what these Point Loma minxes are up to. First, let’s discuss the ULTRA SET. This is a set of three stouts and a Crate and Barrel glass that caused a rift in the very underpinnings of the Modern Times society itself. The Cetacean Cadre got more and the Peasant Narwhal didn’t get guaranteed rights, or something. All I know is that Leanne, their poor PR person has to deal with these husky manchildren and has the patience of a saint. We reviewed the vanilla Ultra live at the Casbah show. I negligently drank the coffee version at 3am and, shockingly, don’t have many salient points to present. Let’s talk about the ULTRA hyped coconut variant.   It’s good, but vanilla is better. The viscosity hits that incredible strike zone that Monster Tones occupied so artfully last year. There is a sheeting cling with a touch of lipid structure that oddly helps to wipe away the massive legs. The fats and sweets work in tandem and Mounds bars are evoked.  Coconut adjunct stouts are such a crowded segment, you have to be incredible to stand out. This is very good, but the vanilla version swings on the absolute best contemporaries. There is no Hawaiian Tropic/Yankee Candle, it just feels like something you should be hastily drinking. 

Let’s clean ourselves up with sleeper hit, the absolutely phenomenal Abaddon. If you’ve had anything from Wayfinder, the idea of a hypehelles collab should have you already in the crispy-cravings zone. It’s almost hard to reconcile a brewery that pumps out sticky flabby frosting bombs, that can also make this ethereal ghost of cornbread refreshment. Perle hops and a light biscuit character, who is this for besides me, at every waking hour of the day. I asked a few SD locals at the Casbah show about this beer and they basically told me not to review this beer. It was something along the lines of “DDB don’t ruin this shit for us” or some other self-serving pleas. Well consider it ruined AF because Abaddon is crushable and so damn good. So yeah, Modern Times continues to impress in this aloof and successful way that’s an industry benchmark but almost irritating in execution. They never stumble and that lack of cracks in the firmament is unrelatable. Everyone needs to pass out in the entry way and smash Goldfish crackers on the floor every once in a while. Get it together MT.l