What turbulent times we live in, after months and months of California beers being sent gratis to ungrateful proxies, the west coast has rolled out two turbo hyped vanilla bean stouts in the past month. To keep things in chronological canon, today I will be reviewing this OC bete noir that came lunging out of the stables, tearing vanilla ass all over the trade boards: Fundamental Observation.
I would like to feign surprise that this beer is amazing, but I already told you that it was the best beer at the Bruery anniversary party.
BUT NO ONE LISTENS TO OLD DDB. I guess the real surprise is not that Southern California breweries kicked out another world class beer, but that the midwest actually raised their heads from their landlocked, high fructose corn syrup lifestyles to take heed.
Let’s be honest, Puga Royale is already on par with BVDL and the average Bourbon County baller can’t be bothered to give a shit about Hangar 24. Fundamental Observation is an absolutely outstanding beer, but predicating validation upon the palates of the trade boards is like asking an Adam Sandler fan to explain the nuances of Werner Herzog.
The best part of the entire affair was that, despite the brewery selling out of 2000 bottles in 90 minutes, a fraction of the bottles went to a massive footprint of like 9 different Orange County bottleshops. Suddenly all the vanilla rye coveters care now about “distro” and “massive 2800 bottle count releases” in their rhetoric. Despite seeing plenty of Black Friday pics of dudes with entire cases of VR scooped up from Walgreens, the 6 bottle limit on FO was a real sticking point.
Enough about trade board bullshit, let’s flick this god tier bean
Fundamental Observation, Bottle Logic, Orange County, land of botox and Tommy Bahama shirts
Imperial Stout, Barrel aged with Vanilla Beans, 14.3% abv
The pour has a massive viscosity to it that tumbles out like jet black dishwashing detergent. It hits the glass with almost a muffled gurgle, like rounds out of a silenced .38 snub. The sheeting has hilarious clear legs but a inky oily petroleum center showing the duality of sugar and ethanol as two harbingers of your evening ending with several Hot Pockets.
The nose is so over the top that it is almost a punchline in execution. If you crack a glade vanilla air wick in half you’ll get this YANKEE candle blast of whoppers, kit Kat bars, and ridiculous amounts of waffle cone madness. Those who loved Nooner8 in its heavy handed Hazelnut jabs will absolutely love how above and beyond this grinds those beans. The nose is actually better on vanilla rye as a result as some of the finer points within the barrel and roast are preserved. However, assuming the blunt palate of dipshits who love adjunct stouts and confirming tastes by reading labels: this is other worldly.
The taste itself edges out Vanilla Rye and comes close to BVDL strictly due to the armor plated mouthfeel. It leads with this rolling wave of ROASTY destruction, the chocolate malts serving as lacquered boards for the substantial vanilla and milk chocolate to stomp upon. There is no delicacy to this frenetic performance of sweet fudge and oak, it trudges with coconut and Coldstone creamery wraiths haunting every section of your palate in perfect subjugation. It is the tastiest possession this side of a candy shop exorcism. Dump brownie batter on a Quija board and start this sticky seance already. The label reads “two servings” and perhaps that is true, but I let this open up to even room temp and the seams did not show. This is a finely tuned machine of bean based destruction. The streets will flow with the hot fudge of the non-believers, none shall be spared.
In sum, if you loved Nooner8 and want to ramp up the vanilla in the way that Nooner8 did with hazelnuts, then this is your huckleberry. If you like a more nimble, gentler approach like Pugachev Royale, then perhaps you might enjoy this slightly less. If you are all about refined, yet pronounced barrel character, maybe go trade for a Kaggen, after you google what a Kaggen even is.