It is Dark Lord variant season again, as ceaseless as the ever-lapping tides, the rapacious demands crash upon the shores of Munster. This year pure trade fatigue and a beer culture that brazenly embraces cash-is-king to recoup costs resulted in making trading for these gems a laughable endeavor.
Either traveling to Indiana is far more exotic than I thought, or perhaps these umamibois shouldn’t be going on elaborate beer trips that they outright can’t afford. To trade for RRARI alone it required something like 30+ messages and nearly every person was HOLDING OUT FOR A CASH OFFER BRO LMK. We get the beer scene we deserve.
On the other end of the spectrum we had Reptilefund: Dark Lord aged in mezcal barrels. This was universally lauded as predictably nightmarish, not on tap, and its 200 bottlecount ensured that no one would open it. The result was this Schroedingers Soy where no one would open one for fear of lost profits and no one would accept less than $250 because “RAREST VERIENT BRO.” Turtledogg 2.0, essentially. GOTTA HAVE IT TO COMPLETE YOUR 1oz POURIZONTAL FOR THE GRAM.
Finally we have Lounge Against the Macromachine, a rebrew of the bizarre tangerine, cinnamon, and chili endeavor from last year. So obviously that one needed an encore performance. Except this time with bourbon barrels involved. So I got three variants, hey I did my best in this culture.
The base beer Dark Lord from 2019 is less of the classic Kikoman jokes you’re used to and actually goes towards a caramel maillard aspect. When you couple this with the underlying salinity and brackish acidity, you get straight up Jack Links jerky. All of the Floyds continue to mess with the ‘Squatch.
First and foremost, RRARI Crochet is an absolute masterpiece. This beer is a testament to just how impressive and expressive Dark Lord can be when uniting cask and heavy adjuncting. The strawberry is amazing on the olfactory and has a sort of fruit by the foot and Berry Special K/red 5 that i legitimately love. The heft and sheeting provides a massive basis for the oily coconut aspects with cocoa nibs that thankfully play more of an auxiliary role in the swallow. For something that pangs of imbalance on the label, it sews the patchwork so tightly that it feels like a unified Neapolitan ice cream sandwich. This is the pinnacle of what can be done with Dark Lord as a canvas. It is the sticky Pygmalion that is a Munster Eliza Doolittle, and you can barley reconcile how this shares the same lineage as other deviants.
Reptilefund, however, leaves much to be desired. There is a sharpie meets skoal aspect that seems to tread far from the agave fermentables. I do enjoy the interplay of the sweet smokiness, acidity, and brownie batter. It’s like a Paloma milkshake, so insane that you might just order it for the gram. We exist in a realm where “I traded confirmed two god tier bottles away and I received something not even that terrible” is a nonironic statement. I mean, I landed this explicitly on a palate defining adventure and it delivered across the board. It’s crazy but not nearly in the nightmare tier like Trump and Pump, or the end game boss of dryer sheets: Earl of Biggleswade. So in not being shittier, it failed me.
Lounge Against the Macromachine was just fine. Crazy additives aside you end up with a lightly spicy chocolate Christmas orange. It’s like when you put on a Gaspar Noé film and just expect ridiculous and it delivers but still feels pretty satisfying if not overwrought. It’s fine. We are fine.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Malt Couture live show at KiloKilo Brewing and drank Dark Lord pipettes with us. If the dark lord consumer is going to de facto set up a secondary market exclusively incentivizing NOT opening bottles, then I give zero fucks about rationing out 10ml pours. Nothing about high end craft beer is about actual consumption, it’s the fleeting sense of value in manipulating something someone else created. Be it by online validation posting pics, pure profits from resale, negging the product to implicitly be “above” the beer, or by gleaning praise sharing .5oz pours with as many gladhanding strangers as possible: the end goal is never drinking beer. After 9 years of attention seeking bullshit, now the brewers create the parody and the customers quite literally Don’t Drink Beer.