Chairgate 2016: A New Low for Beer Consumers, Hilarious New Peak for Beer Releases

2016 is the year that we saw more and more breweries stray away from bombers and embrace the once-eschewed canning lines of garage libations past.  For some reason, when you put a hoppy beer in a pint can, beer nerds with already maladjusted priorities, then reprioritize even harder.

Enter the dark days of 5 hour lines for 2 four packs of DIPAs.  Four years ago this would sound like some Mojoverse shit, an alternate bizarro timeline where people give away Barrel Aged stouts for canned IPAs, made on the east coast no less. “In this reality, Roggenbiers and Dortmunders are the most coveted and men cannot obtain jobs in the female-dominated brewing world!” they quip.

Enter the chairs:


Tired Hands has had so many phantom chairs that they had to make a new rule that you cannot drop a chair down prior to noon. Now Ardmore has this surreal landscape of chairs without bodies, almost an avant garde performance piece as a testament to the detached consumer.  The people who attend releases to flip them for other releases have become unstuck in the medium. Neckbeards who know neither neck nor beard.

This is almost on part with the old Jester King “no costumes” rule where avaricious beer consumers go to hilarious lengths to skip lines and obtain extra allotments.  But fear not, the line has been self-policing:


I can only assume “Phantom Chair DIPA” will be followed by “Tattle tALE, Passive AgGrisette”

As with any budding regulation, new industry spawns around it, and those capitalistic hucksters in Pennsylvania will not let any capitalistic enterprise go Untappd.


The free market economy, goods and folding chairs changing hands, the wheels of progress. To think we used to savagely buy hoppy beers at the grocery store, like some knuckle dragging cicerones, whittling out crude mash paddles from driftwood.

The next logical step is regulation against empty chairs, which will create a market for a chair proxy, which if he is picking up beer for another proxy, will create an endless feedback loop of cognitive dissonance.  Dudes who work at Best Buy, standing all day, to pay other dudes via Postmates to sit all day, to obtain beer, that the sitting dude wont drink, to send to another Enterprise Rent-A-Car employee, who stood in his own line, who will eventually share them, with people who have no appreciation for the machinations that occurred to get some two row and motueka into their glass.



Sacramento has two secret dripping hoppy holes: Track 7 and Moonraker

Sacramento has a weird melange of politicians, Davis hippies, central valley detritus chugging monster in slammed Silverados, and displaced Bay Area assholes who had the audacity of dreaming of owning a 3br palatial track home.

Aside from the likes of SUDWERK, there wasn’t a ton in the way of simmering whales.  Sure people would pop in on their way to Russian River or 50/50 in Truckee, but it hasn’t been a major beer destination.  Well, cat’s out of the bag because the 916 has been swilling their own supply in furtive sips.



I can say without qualification that NorCal [ibid cencal] now has a Monkish room of their own, a rhizome with a view. The irony of these alpha acid transgressions is that Monkish was deemed an RC Cola Treehouse of sorts, and now we have a third generation immigrant in the 4 year old NEIPA wave. Just look at that shit though, without London ale III and a sloppy 20% flour addition, this beer slays.  Sure it has turbidity, but it doesn’t look like turkey gravy.  The hue is radiant like the inside of Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase.  There’s frothy waterpark foam and tangerine dehydrated body piss tones.  I will take watersports loads on my face of this nonstop like a deviant Craigslist NSA listing.

The nose is wonderfully balanced, not in the pejorative “midwest IPA” sense.  I mean that it doesn’t dominate on either the bittering or the late addition and has a sort of simcoe scissoring El Dorado nose, then finishes citrusy with Motueka meets 7C on the swallow.  DIPAs can be cloying and syrupy to offset the oils, but jesus this is refreshing.


I drank this in an Uber on the way to a sketch comedy show, but suffice it to say the single YOJO is almost preferrable to the DOJO in that it is the refined refreshment without the higher abv and the long pinacea drag.  It is like listening to hoptonez at a reasonable level on your RhizomesByDre headphones.  You get cut melon, overripe Cuties (not sure if the entire nation gets these Satsuma shits), grapefruit and a honeydew dripping in THC vape oils.  It is intensely crushable and, I can only imagine that this post will fuck things up for locals, so maybe the deal isn’t all it will be cracked up to be.  As it stands, you can scoop these for pennies on the MA dollar.  Drill them like a press and cast all fucks to the cones.


I might be intrigued by these boys at Track 7 the most.  Gaudy marketing aside, the product is incredibly similar to the likes of Hazy and Sticky Green, so much so that it feels like it was even benchmarked to a certain degree.  The mouthfeel is king here, silky, frothy orange julius whip that you get at the mall.  Pair this bitch with a Cinnabon and walk around the house tryna cop numbers from girls in ur grade. The nose is crushed cantaloupe, yard trimmings, ficus, and has the sustain of a Robeks Juice operating inside of a Conifer nursery.  The abv is masked flawlessly and I could get into some dangerous Amazon purchases with a four pack of these.  Con Air criterion collection and a Miami Heat jersey showing up at my door three day later, im still reeking of Warrior and confused as fuck.

This will be the new ushering in of the uninitiated if only for the creamy dreamsicle mouthfeel.  This will bring the beta casuals into the hop game like Peggle and Dance Moms.  Take a break from importing ice cold cans from north of the wall, Massholes have legal weed now anyway, so they dont care about lupulinsulin shots.  Chase these, or drink Lagunitas sucks and add a tablespoon of baking powder.  Them cones is oily and soakin wet.


North Carolina Beer Round Up, Fonta Flora, Burial, Deep River

I have a vacillating relationship with old North Carolina. The breweries there are tough to peg down as a whole and seem to fragment their stellar releases across a plethora of breweries with none holding the sheer cross-category dominance that you see with regions that have breweries lighting up the trade boards universally.



Fonta Flora is killing the saison/wild game, Old Hickory remains the old standby for stouts and strong ales, and the entire portfolio of the state is spread too thin for generalizations.  So the only way to wrangle these beers is to give an overview of some tarheel shit to provide a sub-MasonDixon perspective.


You might remember Burial from their shitlord fans attempts to make it look like their stouts were trading 1:1 with Assassin a couple months back.  If StL has taught us anything, we cannot persecute a brewery due to rapacious acorn penis fans.   Thankfully, Gang of Blades is legit and runs up the rhizome fret board and riffs out a NEIPA meets west coast execution that is a happy hybrid of the two.


It has a more substantial backbone than NEIPA offerings but has a touch of aserose and residual sweetness that doesn’t seem to place its feet firmly in either bittering or late addition hops.  As a result some people might overlook this, but the locals are fortunates to have this as a mainstay on shelves while they watch Cold Mountain during those chilly winter months.


Sometimes I have to leave the palatial DDB estate and open bottles in the out of doors.  Apologies for the jank photo and Toby Keith glassware. Thankfully, the quality of this beer is exceptional and bizarre. This beer is made with “foraged botanicals” which on the hipster arrousal chart lands somewhere between “wooden bowtie” and “unicycle made from reclaimed scrap.”



Portlandia kids will spin glistening webs of precum over this brewery and their entire oeuvre and it is not undeserved.  This isn’t just some novelty for novelty sake, Brewdogs tier shit, this is legitimately novel and crazy integrated for a purposeful execution. It is tart, earthy, flora almost to a fault and exhibits a Flowerbomb perfumey aspect that is incredibly interesting.  There is almost a sort of pickled briney thing similar to the elderflower burpees found on Mamouche. This is absolutely a brewery to watch and I am curious to see if they can parlay their unquestioned wild ale game into other categories and styles.


Another thing you should watch with some of these Fonta Flora beers is your supply of Swiffer pads.  This bottle erupted like a Bellagio fountain and gushed more than a Jewish mother.  I guess I should have waited until the mountains turned ice blue before I went fucking around with bottle conditioned beers.  The whole thing led to a hilarious exchange with Fonta Flora on Instagram which I am too lazy to screencap.


The beer itself is even better than Creeping Jenny and shows that they can bring rad fruit expressions without turning everything into god damn Jamba Juice  cunnilingus.  It is a touch too acidic for my tastes and the floral expression was not the main event, but still the pear was gentle and came through on the olfactory and nice dry tannic presence on the swallow.  You will want to level up your character’s bomb defusing skills before opening this one tho.



Holy fuck, this beer was exceptionally brutal.  I know sherry casks can be divisive but this is unquestionably problematic from mash to barrel. The nose on this is astringent like sharpies meets tire aisle, there’s some Skoal dip cup spit, there’s a certain stale tobacco waft like a bowling alley that only recently disallowed indoor smoking. It tastes like the shattered dreams of a diner waitress. There’s this sticky chocolate aspect that is a head on collision with the leather/orchard rot guardrail.


If you’ve ever been on a fruit farm after harvest season you know that sick sweet decaying grape aspect lingering in the air. I know that this treatment can spin out and eject passengers but Rhinegeist made a sherry Ink stout that was legit, this though, it would be tough to argue for redeeming qualities when the elan of stale oxidized port is overseeing the entire affair.  The mouthfeel was legit and the coating was substantial, but like a rescue puppy you know this has serious issues from the horrible captivity it endured in the past.


Good lord, where did these Deep River boys come from? This runs a 4 second forty out of nowhere with zero hype and hilariously in can format.  If I could sketch out a quintessential sleeper hit for 2016, this would be it.  I am sure NC people are extraing these to people who ironically are ISO NODA cans or some shit.  But wow, this is a real stunner.  The bourbon treatment is seamlessly integrated with that mocha frap mouthfeel presented by the coffee, it clicks like enzymes and substrate  complexes, Watson and Crick like a motherfucker.


The roast offsets the lactose sweetness beautifully and reminds me a lot of dark chocolate Kit Kats, the oak is so god damn gentle that I would make my usual “North Carolina barrel ages beers for 5 weeks” but the treatment here is like juggling chemex sets. The coating is substantial but never feels like some FG 1.050 shit from the midwest and the entire experience reminds me of a gentler Cycle variant.  It alternates in sweetness and coffee roast that approaches Mostra levels.  This beer puts on no airs and is for a salt of the earth connoisseur who just wants an exceptional stout on an Eliminator boat.  Drink this in the parking lot before your next employee counseling meeting, fall down on your way out and file a work comp claim, shit is lit fam.

So there you have it, I made it 1000 words without ripping on NC legislation or making a bathroom gender joke, v. proud of myself.


No competition, SARA don’t really listenAdair stay in that blue Mulsanne bumping New Edition

Checking back in after a year to see if the trajectory of this old standby has altered in the past year and it still remains a solid entry in the increasing crowded stone fruit awa segment.

This is a touch more aggro than the likes of Casey but gives incredible tannic depth while toeing the line of acidic accessibility. You hit the gum line rev limiter right at the conclusion of the 750, whereas most apricot spurs burn out the mouth gasket far earlier.

It’s interesting to watch other breweries in a perpetually reactionary posturing to Sara and a handful of others so that “new” offerings for someone who is steeped in bleeding edge ticks feel derivative from breweries that a couple years ago were still buying barrel racks. The good keep improving while others strive to maintain relevancy. Sara keeps the pit to the grind stone with an alarming consistency of a macro brewer while maintaining a degree of integrity attendant to the artisanship. 

Tim Clifford only push concept whips.