2nd Shift enjoys interesting St. Louis benefits. Neither as coveted as Side Project, nor as intensely scrutinized as much as Perennial, failing to generating the hophype of Narrow Gauge, they have been afforded the freedom to silently turn out solid farmhouse ales and drillable gems. What happens when shitlord profiteers pull out their batter caked jewelers loupe and make them the subject of examination?
The result will pull your palate in two directions. Maple, coconut, bourbon BLIS, LSD is a strange, bipolar experience. The base LSD follows the stylistic gestalt that the rest of 2nd Shift exceeds at: tight lines, relatively dry, lithe beers you want to crush in volume. Adding maple and coconut to the mix tosses sticky cinderblocks in the trunk and makes this beer handle like a shopping cart dipped in agave nectar.
At its core you can detect the base beer which is classically executed and well made. The base beer is lightly roasty, relatively thin and limber, tollhouse chips and flatwhite finish. The secondary treatment is like some network executive added TikTok and Vine stars to the cast that add little and distract heavily. This just isn’t what 2nd Shift excels at.
The result is a beer that feels pumped with Torani syrup to capitulate to middle school palates. It is synthetic macaroon, instant maple oatmeal, both svelte and overweight. The beer feels skinnyfat. LSD doesn’t need this madeline/IHOP treatment. It feels like when Banana Republic, a brand of neutral basics, suddenly starts pandering to the kids with cropped pants and tyedyed shirts. Go back to Peacoats or whatever finance bros enjoy. The overriding caucophony is the maple, it just ramps up the Waffle House tones to 11. We are all scrubbing molasses out of our jeans.
The most frustrating part is seeing a well made beer that is conceptually flawed. Shaun Hill isn’t vying for the fruited puree berliner crown for a reason. 2nd Shift makes good beers, they are just bad at intentionally ruining their own beers.