Batch 64 of maltcoutureddb is tapped and ready for your eardrums. We check in with jwakefieldbeer after a year long absence. We discuss the foundersbrewing buyout and the budlight injunction. We throw it wayyy back and open our very first thebruery on the show a god damn reserve society masterpiece. Link below, comment if you know what a Plymouth prowler is.
I applaud innovation, but my skepticism alert goes full Solid Snake when it comes to barleywine tampering. Add in the fact that Duvel owned BLVD isn’t exactly known for brewery only releases, things were stymying. When @boulevard_beer announced a tequila/whiskey segment of life, the chin scratching intensified. On one hand, Duvel sibling @firestonewalker PNC exits as the greatest tequila beer ever made. On the other hand, nothing about agave and English malt sounds appetizing. The truth is a king Solomon split of the two casks.
This beer is grounded and patient. If you enjoyed BBBQ and Bundle Up, youll appreciate the classic estery meets sweet phenolic aspects of the framework. But, and this is a massive glute, tequila is very prominent. It doesn’t manifest itself in an anejo/worm/sickly sweet burn that your liver might anticipate. It’s ends up being this oddball chocolate oaxacan of sorts. To some, that might be hipster heaven on earth, a fixie bicycle signed by Tame Impala made of reclaimed cathedral wood. It’s not offputting but I think of the other stellar Rye on Ryes from Blvd and this feels more like a strange wheelie.
It also bears mentioning that this beer was made with a huge heart for charitable purposes and didn’t just stick to some predictable playbook. I like it, but 12oz was too much, even with Young Jeezy’s spirited encouragement. Barleywine exists as the final bastion free from sheet cakes and lotteries and essays to purchase. I will take a genuine earnest cask driven effort at innovation all day long over the brutal alternatives that other styles have had to repeatedly suffer in the modern era.
Where do I even start?
Oh I don’t know, General Admission has Hill Farmstead Florence on draft, Amalgam rarities, Highland Park Brewing, Bierstadt kegs and Fremont Batch 3000 being tapped like are you kidding me?
The VIP takes things even further, Bokkereyder, J Wakefield, Horus, Creature Comforts, Side Project, Lost Abbey, Monkish, it’s just,
I Immanuel Kant even.
It’s time to play another round of: Was This a Colossal Waste of Money? The answer in the case of @kentuckyowl Confiscated is a resounding yes. This line already had a shaky past of seemingly overpriced bourbon with opaque information and this newest iteration just made things far worse. Weighing in at $125 retail, with no age statement, no recipe info, a tepid 96.4 proof, and a heavy reliance on historical lore, your bullshit detector should be blaring by this point.
It is the supremest irony that this hypejuice is labeled “Wise Man’s Bourbon” as only the most uninformed dumbshit or attention seeking asshole with a blog would buy this. This company had a cool revival in 2014 with coveted initial offerings. Then they were acquired by Stoli in 2017 and these wildly expensive 🦉 now perch on the shelves of Costco and haunt bottleshops hoping that someone takes a massive flyer on these birds.
The appearance is pretty insubstantial and looks young, thin, and the pallor of polished brass. The nose has that same jejune simplicity. It’s sweet corn, Frosted Flakes, and a light crackle of vanilla extract. In a word: boring. It’s one dimensional and nothing if not consistent with the taste. The finish is as abrupt as a Lifetime movie cut for time. It drinks oddly bitter with very gentle sugar daddies and watery ethanol.
It’s hard to express what a colossal rip off this juice is. If you name basically any core bourbon that costs a fraction of what this bird does, it’s better than this. Eagle rare 10? Regular ass Elijah Craig? Small batch Four Roses? All of those grocery store bottles are better than this staggering disappointment. In improv the classic rag is “yes and” or the inversion “no but,” in this instance there is no “but” it’s just a hard “no.” If you had the misfortune of lighting cash on fire and buy No Age Statement Black Maple Hill made in Oregon, you know just how terrible the valley between money expectation and reality can be.
Bottles like this denature the existing market and poison the pricing for classic favorites. Worse still, these mystery bottles with no information might be purchased by an entry level consumer seeking to treat themselves, only to be subject to a wave of candy corn mediocrity. Was This a Colossal Waste of Money? Absolutely, 100% yes. Crushingly so. Don’t support this.
The United States is a mixed bag of inequality when it comes to beer releases and no other aspects. Some regions get a seemingly unending lapping brook of batter to constantly satiate their saccharine needs. Other states, like Alabama, seem wholly divested from the hypebeast whale chasing culture altogether. If you have ever had something like BDCS from Ozark Brewing in Arkansas, you know that there are amazing gems all over this nation, not just St. Louis, Miami and the bustling metropolis of Greensboro. Trimtab Brewing is one such place. I too am not immune to such dismissals and prejudices. When a bunch of people told me “Trimtab is the hottest brewery in Alabama” it read like someone being the most empathetic person at a Ben Schaprio event. However, this brewery is not just Alabama good, if that is a qualifier, it is good good.
A Trimtab is a stupid little device on an airplane, a lower rudder. Who gives a shit. Like that piece, you might overlook this southern darling. In 2017 these guys partnered up with the abysmally shitty Abita brewing to expand their distro, but thankfully did not lose any equity, or worse, let Abita add gross 504 fruit puree to the mix. At any rate, Language of Thunder Cumulus is damn good and totally antithetical to the current stout climate. On paper, it looks as predictable as an irritating love interest in a japanese RPG: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial stout aged with vanilla beans & toasted coconut. Wow, really stretching those innovation muscles. But then you see the 9.6% abv and notices that the pour doesn’t entirely stain and sheet the glass with filthy Nestle residual sugar. This might actually be beer and not some Coldstone Creamery cunnilingus.
The lines are tightly sewn and it leaves waves of wafflecone, roasted malt akin to pumpernickle or that squaw bread from Cheesecake factory and closes with a well-integrated Zero bar swallow. It’s gone instantly, but in a strangely refreshing way. The coconut is more of a lipid structure adding a slick oiliness rather than an overbearing Yankee candle dominance. Alabama has the fifth highest obesity rate in the nation so I expected some pure 20p finishing gravity nonsense but this was very good.
This may sound crazy but, there might be beers out there whose value isn’t wholly dependent upon secondary sales validity. It’s almost like with 7000 breweries there hypboiz might just actually start drinking the innumerably awesome hidden options and, wait no, turns out another Derivation just dropped, nevermind, fuck every other brewery I am buying razzle slots.
I first heard about Afterthought back in 2014 when this guy Thorpe was obsessed with home brewing and would light up the BA forums. For years people always told me I needed to seek out this sacred home-brew, but old DDB was not anointed enough to stroke the regal Chicago robe. Half a decade passed by and AverageJoesBeerpodcast took pity on me and sent me some farmwater. When I say this place is small, I mean like, barely larger than home-brew, perhaps not even nano. 1.5bbl batches. That makes tiny Homage brewing look like an industrial giant by contrast.
Having had four of their beers now I can say there is a certain fermentation fingerprint attendant to their execution. Every Afterthought beer is intensely dry and crisp like anjou pear, the culture is almost too thin but boosts drinkability at the expense of complexity. The beers have this table beer meets radder sort of thing that i enjoy, intensely approachable to literally anyone, even PetNat brunch attendees. All of the beers are low in alcohol and are samey in the way what Monkish is samey: you know they are doing this thing well so you overlook the lack of diversity. Barrel #8 single barrel ale is no exception. It crackles with a lemon lime gatorade quench and the carb sustain rings like a hollow body Gretsch.
I don’t want to call this brand a Shasta Hill Farmstead because that would be bilaterally degrading and misstating my aim. It is less nuanced than some saison on the market, but in playing it safe, is more enjoyable. I think these bottles are also cheap as hell. You can play it cautious and crush some yellow Afterthought Fanta for $12 or drop $44 on some mind bending Ale Apothecary experiment that could be god tier or nautical hull solvent. Saisons are a gamble and I’m finna bet the farm.