I’m not gonna get too crazy and say this on some @liveoakbrewing level, but god damn this is one of the best hefs that I have ever had. Like Live Oak, this transcends a usually hohum style that is a punchline to beer nerd condescension, taking it to a refreshing frothy complexity. Not just good relative to the style, exceptional when considered globally across all beers. Sure there’s some banana tonez but it’s incredibly drinkable with tempered hop profile in the distant background, lightly phenolic, and a spiced orange Julius swallow. I had like ten people tel me about this beer before trying it but this seemed wayyyyy out of the @3floydsbrewing wheelhouse, but they juiced my rind with this Bavarian banger. Absolutely grab this if possible.
Mashing upstream, BIL maintains against the grain. This bottle straight up has #bil on the label and it carries that appellation fittingly. This is a weird sticky hybrid of all their other awesome life adjacent moves in the marketplace. This cuvée is not flabby at all and exhales fig pudding, raisins, Beam cask, carb is minimal but lays there like a highly competent plum escort. Swallow has a degree of raisinettes but is watery than expected and leads to dangerous “oh shit did i leave that in the freezer last night” type of malfeasance. It’s derivative to their other also amazing offerings and even sitting down to reconfirm the excellence is tiring, it’s like, fuck up more often at least @jackieosbrewery and make my life a little easier. No one is trying to read praise through gnashed teeth. #BIL
I don’t know if @littlecottagebrewery is licensed or still technically glorified home brew but, suffice it to say, this is very good. The bottles look like some janky Kuhnhenn Avery label shit but the contents bangs. Awesome sustain and frothy Honduran foam party carb, with a distinctive paper thin saison base tryna hold it all together. It ends up with its little 4.5% frame tryna snatch way too much but presses the fruit character magnificently, and that’s all you really need is fruity snatch. It’s water and peach jolly ranchers with a smattering of gristy acidity like the second runnings version of a Casey Family Preserves, how a small operation pulled this off is flummoxing, but I hope they can continue when scaled up because this degree of attention to detail is tightly woven like nanas needlepoint. The stone fruit character is like apricot leather, tons of minerality like the beer was sparged with Grapefruit La Croix. Great stuff from a relative nobody in the game, curious to see if they can continue to satisfy beyond 4.5 stonefruit pumps. 🍆 🍑 💦
Dah da da dah dah da dah dah DAH DAH DA. LETS GO. It’s not easy making a name for yourself, but @jackieosbrewery has magnificently dominated the strong ale game by releasing cost effective, accessible, god tier gems spanning stouts and life adjacent barleybangers. Half a decade ago I pointed out the disparity between the likes of Oil of Aphrodite and the anomalously shitty Funky Southpaw. Over the years I outright avoided their sour program and just figured it was a case of Kuhnhenitis, it’s ok to be extremely good at one thing. You ever meet someone who is hella good at something? They’re usually unbalanced AF and ultra literal. Flash forward to present day and here’s babbling brook, a no frills ba saison. Get this: it goes in hard in the paint. Increasingly the awa acidity arms race has subverted saisons, but this subtle gem is pillowy soft, feathery lemon goose down, key lime and prickly mouthfeel. I suspect my bottle had a cap issue because some of the carb is lacking but it’s aberrant for this brewery so I dunno blame it on me I guess. The swallow has this lavender and lemon yoplait thing I enjoy. It’s this understated Nathan for You excellence that isn’t a TryHard ale that can solicit actual cringes. It’s silent and tender, prolly won’t solicit a right swipe but exists in that Coffee date realm that warms your farmhouse heart.
For the steep price tag and ultra rarity, this bottle didn’t punchdown my grapes. When consumed cold the sharp acidity of this is pronounced and gumline receding, slightly buttery chard tones, French oak, a dry waxy tangerine rind closer to it like a filthier temptation. I let this sit on the counter while I watched Over the Top, trying to figure out Stallones relationship to his dying wife and his confusing son, came back an hour later. It had improved markedly when consumed at Life temps in the low 60s. Acidity gave way to more pineapple and jazz apple, oak was a sort of cidery warmth to the swallow, a totally different beer. Drank cold this was 2 arms wrestling trophies out of five. Drank more tepid it jumped to four valvoline cans out of five. I signed away the rights to custody to my child so I could arm wrestle. Everyone learned something that day.
@boulevard_beer has always had feet dangling in the barley tidepool with life adjacent gems like BBBQ and rye on rye just dripping rolo and oak off the shelves. Now we get to the main Life event at the Kumite and they have throw a touch of grain in the consumers eyes, but remain poised. People have asked me whether this is English or American in execution and the answer is a resounding ABSOLUTELY. Basically they took the sweet heft and classic cling of that U.K. Sweet treat and the brash coniferous hopping schedule of its NASCAR counterparts and here we are. This is a style bender to be sure and while confusing, it works on several levels. The rolo and skor bar is almost snuffed out under substantial cut pine and tanned leather, but in tandem they work. If the average dipshit consumer only has access to ho hum intensely hopped American barleywines then this will give a more accurate appraisal of the limits and capacity of the genre. Essentially, duvel may win converts to the often neglected god tier style, by presenting something less than a cord of firewood on the palates driveway. The massive distro coupled with the sheer quality is a huge win for the Life movement at large. However, this is more of a prequel to the real victory: the barrel-aged version of this that is no doubt forthcoming. The strong Hop presence will give it a Grat fortitude of indefatigablility to survive the cask and temper any sweetness. This will not disappoint and even greater things are coming down that malty luggage carousel, have your barleyclaim in hand.
Those fellas at @bissellbrothers sure are sweet, usually when I hear “whale pod” it’s those damn ultimate frisbee jocks making fun of me and my stepson at the water park. Elaborate ass box and an adorable card, how nice and thoughtful, Maine people are basically Canadians with Stephen King instead of the universal health care