Halfway Crooks are perhaps the best lager purveyors in the Southeast. But what happens when they try their hand at biggest styles, with residual sugars, fancy 750 ml bottles, more alcohol, and top fermentation?
Vast stretches of the earth are covered in clean sheets of ice and when you remove these, the crust expands in strange ways. You remove the lager from Halfway Crooks and you get their glacial riffs on past depressions. That’s the name of my shoegaze band.
It’s not that massaging esters and residual sugars is a completely different skillset from the attention to detail and hyper precision of a kellerbier, it is a different emphasis. In a strange way, the traditional ultra efficient profile that makes their lagers so fantastic, undermines the expressiveness of their larger offerings.
This doesn’t result in something worse, just nonstandard in a “she shops at Dolls Kill but is a dental hygienist” sort of way. If you sidle up to the bar seeking prunes and figs, estery waves of currant and clove: strap in. This veers more towards an imperial dubbel, or hell, even an imperial altbier in many ways.
It feels like when a classically trained Jazz musician shreds, it is functionally tearing ass on the high fretboard but lacks that joie de vivre you expect. The carbonation is magnificent and is better than many Belgian counterparts. It is silky like 400 threadcout sheets, with the crispy retention of velour from the dryer.
The nose has waves of sucre tart, pumpernickel, and almost Dopplebock in that roasty/dry/diner toast breadiness. This is a good beer, it is just not what you may be expecting. If you have ever met someone who uses Depop, they can be super original or ultra annoying and this falls more towards the “obessive hobbyist” type of quad rather than the “scalping Purple Label and Filson from the thrift store” type of brewer.
So relax, let your glacial sheets recede and youll find all kinds of Atlanta treasures when the lager ice is gone. There is a Magic City of dates and fruit leather awaiting you. Not everything has to be a high volume escapade. My crust is expanding.