Alright so I have seen this listed in a variety of ways but I am going to straight up call this what it is: an old ale. Beer sites be all confused but having had it, it steps directly in line with Cuir and 2010 BA Decadence in that proud lineage. I saw this win the Gold at the GABF in a style that I feel is wildly underrated. Most people love stouts and will have a soft spot for BA English Barleywines and foolishly overlook the Old Ale genre, you need to get on this grizzy.
Church Brew Works
Pennsylvania, United States
American Strong Ale | 10.50% ABV
A: Well it is safe to say that this beer will not be winning any beauty contests, but come on, if you were made in a lab with a ton of dark caramel malts, boiled into a sticky medium, then put in a barrel for months, would you be so fucking handsome? I didn’t think so. It had moderate lacing and low carbonation but part of that is Fedex’s fault for leaking this all over the place. Negligent ass handlers. In fact, I had to drive all the way into East LA and go to the facility and tell them that this was a Balsamic Reduction because they were tragically going to throw this away. Jeez louise. The murky brown notes are dirty but inviting like a 1989 Ford Probe.
S: Holy sweet decadence, this beer goes ham on the olfactory front and leads with a pinch of light char, some caramel, toastiness woodiness, a deep bourbon character similar to Eagle Rare or 4 Roses, if you are into that shit. There is also a light mallow foam and a vanilla on the backend, ya feel me?
T: This has a nice oaky opening that gives way to some sweet and sticky notes, light caramel wrapped in a sort of almond nuttiness. The finish lingers for a long time with a deep fig and booziness that is a bit hot on the palate but not overly ethanol up in this bitch. Maybe it is the carb lacking, but it seems like such a gentle beast like Pete’s Dragon, roasting apples for you and shit, boozy and yet tame.
M: This is sticky but gives way to a lingering dryness from the booze and the oak so it gives with one hand and takes with the other, like a skilled escort, badumtish. The dryness from the oak imparts this desire to take another sip right away so this 2 Liter was merked pretty quickly NOT JUST BY ME THIS TIME THOUGH. I enjoy the sticky sweetness that is kept in check by a domineering ass patriarch figure that is the wood, euphemisms all over the place.
D: This is strangely drinkable with a big caveat, FOR THE STYLE. I mean if you pop this open at a cookout and expect a bunch of backslapping and people chugging it in a bounce house, you are in for disappointment. And diarrhea. This is a nice sipper but you can sip A LOT OF IT. I technically COULD finish this entire growler, which is something not to be attempted with most Old Ales. It is like how I technically can eat an entire P’zone, but god damn does my body make me pay for it. Never before has dialysis been so classy and affordable.
Narrative: “Ok well when you step in, watch out for the drawbridge,” Mrs. Olson noted as she led the social worker into the expansive parlor. The entire framework from floorboard to crown molding was covered in complex K’Nex contraptions and devices. “Honey…the lady from Adult Protective Services is here to see you sweetie…” Mrs. Olson noted to her father and he looked up from a multicolored carousel and frowned upon being disturbed from his work. “Hello Mortimer, my name is Janice and I am here to check up on you since none of your other friends or relatives have heard from you” she trailed off as she saw a complicated network pulleys and buckets, carrying the possession of the old man from room to room. It was ingenious and colorful, pleasant and relaxing at the same time. The majestic pieces clicked in uniformity and brought Mortimer a plate of Vanilla Wafers and remained in silence, frowning at the County employee. “Mr. Olson, do you…do you want to come with me? This seems like no way for a man of your years to live.” Mortimer Olson was capricious, easy going, but more than all of that, he was complex to the core. You could enjoy a roller coaster demonstration with him while eating a Werther’s Original, or you could fuck right off.