Alright, whenever I bring up the dark sour lineage from Rare Barrel, some dipshit wants 1) demonstrate he knows that Jay Goodwin worked at the Bruery and 2) flex his peen and let everyone know that he has had Wanderer. At the Bruery anniversary festival, all I fucking heard was chortled comparisons from the sweaty jowls of attendees about “ERMAGERD ITS…basically…the…same…Wandere…” which I assumed was a comparison, since that “standing in direct sunlight” must have taken a lot of out the husky attendees.
So let’s settle this shit. Which one is better? Is there a difference? Can you approximate a vagina with a lukewarm cantaloupe? These questions answered today.
The Rare Barrel Ensorcelled
Berkeley, California, United States
Style | ABV
American Wild Ale | 5.80% ABV
“Dark Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels with Rasperries” laconic as fuck.
The Bruery THE WANDERER
California, United States
Style | ABV
American Wild Ale | 8.00% ABV
The Wanderer is a special blend of oak aged ales that we made with Craig and Beth from San Francisco’s City Beer Store. Blending a mix of sour ales and our anniversary ale the base of this beer has a delightfully sour tinge on top of a hearty malt backbone. To add to the flavor, Craig and Beth selected blackberries and bing cherries to be added to the ale adding to it’s already fruity complexity. This ale went on to win the silver medal for wood & barrel aged sour fruited ales at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.
Alright enough cyber sexing, let’s bring this resolution to full completion:
A: Them Berkeley boys come out the gates with a slicker and more nimble offering that has more substantial carb and deeper darker tones serving to underpin the frothy mochawhip carbonation. The Rare Barrel offering LOOKS outright more attenuated and seems to straddle more genres in appearance than the paint by numbers AWA you may be expecting. By contrast Wanderer has deep garnet and ROBEY-esque tones with burnt sienna, dark amber and red brick frothiness in the head that seems more focused and calls to the fruits from within to harness their tannic nature like an acidic Captain Planet, unity through divested parts.
WINRAR: Wanderer, I just wanna get my mouth all up on that burnt red lipstick, red rocket session.
S: Ensorcelled puts forward an amazing, stripped down approach that is a decidedly jammy, raspberry banger that adds nuance and a level of complexity with caramel, toasted creme brulee top, almond, and an acidic closer that doesn’t toe the line into acetic. It knows the limits and pats co-workers on the low back, doesn’t grip their acidic asses. Wanderer, for all its charms is more like a RT Dodge Challenger in this regard and deliver MOARRRRR acidity, but with substantially less poise and grace. The fruit is there and you get almost a touch of Oud Bruin in there with a black cherry and currant appeal, however, there are sick burnout slicks tossing almost vinegar and acetic notes from overclocking that sour processor. For novice sour lovers, this will hit harder and light up their erogenous zones more completely, but if someone has been in that jammy jam game for a while, they will likely prefer Ensorcelled for its subtle wit and slow approach, like neck misses and an Oscar Wilde novel while Newsroom is on in the background.
WINRAR: Ensorcelled, because that slow palm up the inner berry thigh, straight juicy clearances.
T: Ensorcelled builds upon the nasal endeavors in much the same way, a dry tart opener with ratcheted acidic aspects, just enough to let the fruit shine through. It’s like in death metal breakdowns when the double kick pulls back to let those face melting hammer ons through, that’s how things progress with this delicate face melter. You get that framboise meets brown ale sort of execution, like walnut and caramel but covered in Smucker’s jammy goodness. The acidity compliments and doesn’t dominate the gentle fruit tannins. Wanderer has been doing sick dips and the acidic serratus is shredded, at full berry pump. The blackberry is present in the taste in a huge way and those tart cherries come through not unlike C&C old school La Folie. Which is ironic because Rare Barrel would be the low hanging La Folie comparison, I know, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. However, with great power comes great acidity, Uncle Ben taught me that. The red wine vinegar notes are only present at higher temps and there is a touch of diacetyl if you sip this at room temperature. It’s more like if you are the consumer who buys the reasonable 2 cup Reese’s or if you go malty balls to the wall with a straight up 4 CUP session. I am not here to tell you how to live your life.
WINRAR: Wanderer, while more aggressive, your palate secretly likes its hair pulled by them blackberries.
M: Ensorcelled is more of a gentle fawn, presenting a nice berry basket of jams and welcoming you to the neighborhood. Wanderer walks right into your housewarming party and starts gripping your cousin’s titties and shes not even of age yet. The dryness of Wanderer is over the top and the acidity is that type of hegemony that some prefer because it lets the palate relax as the dominate notes are apparent. Bitch level cicerones will prefer Wanderer because they can point out pronounced aspects to their home brew club and feel like they don’t have an eraser dick. However, Ensorcelled has that poise and grace of the incredibly attractive mormon girl that everyone can appreciate and we all respect for her values and nuanced airs. Sure she isn’t tossing dome shots in the backseat of a Dodge Inrepid, but maybe you will like Rare Barrel more as a result, for taking that higher road and not just gripping your berries outright.
WinRARER: Encsorcelled, the ethereal feel of a CTR ring in your soft palm carries the day.
D: Ensorcelled is as soft as the Charmin bear and equally loveable, You can drink it before a Wake and no one will be all JUDGEY. Wanderer is more of a solo commitment. It demands more, it provides more, but compels all the same maintenance problems attendant with those extremes. Your jaw will hurt, you will be drunker, you will be more fatigued, like performing cunnilingus for minutes on end with a girl who is out of your league. But is the pain worth it? I cannot answer that for you, but to my own sensibilities, I enjoyed the frolic in the berry patch with the modest company of the berry hued sorceress. That doesn’t mean you wont like paying top dollar to get your blackberries stepped on. Hell some people pay a ton for that. It just comes down to preference in that regard and I prefer my berries intact.
WinRurerercellor: Tie for drinkability. Just depends on your tolerance and personal tastes.
OVERALL WINNER: Ensorcelled. Something needs to be said for the nuanced and stripped down approach to this baby bunny in the dark sour patch. While both are equally compelling, my personal tastes align more with this end of the Goldilocks spectrum. Both are exceptional beers, all that bullshit beer blog guarded language, etc, but Ensorcelled is better. I don’t think Patrick Rue is gonna lose any sleep over these 1210 words, plus I am a shameless Bruery apologist, remember.