There is often a divide between “wanting” and “obtaining.” Any fifth grader can articulate how the week leading up a birthday party is better than the actual toys. The desire is the commodity that craft beer trades in. This is the reason a brewery’s value is so heavily stacked in their good will and not just the tanks and triclamps and hoses inside of it. The capacity to make someone value something is the transmutation of need fulfillment. Brewers turn people into 5th graders again, hopped up on pizza IPAs and cake stouts and milkshake hazies.
Coconut assassin is the converse of the anticipation/actualization paradigm. I wanted this beer to be not as good as it is. I want to subvert a $50 12oz retail price. I want to undermine the $450 resale price. I want to undercut a 162 bottle release. And then I tried it. Frustratingly the beer is just crushingly well done. Writing a review loaded with praise doesn’t exactly drip with levity. The hyperbolic highs are fueled by failures, those classic knee slappers attendant to failed art. This is too fucking good though.
The coconut aspect has faded and integrated lovingly and seamlessly into the barrel character. It is so much carmelized brown sugar, and that honeycomb Willetesque cask profile, Scotch kisses, flourless lavacake. It defies all the current stout benchmarks of excess: not flabby, solid retention, barrel driven with fusel aspects masked, no smegma coconut lipids coagulating on the top, no sheen of excessive oil, no Yankee Candle wafts of greasy waterpark bodies. It is a beer first and foremost and through excess it finds nuance. It’s super fucking annoying in that regard.
This would be way better if it were worse. It isn’t though, it is world class. I am worse off having had this beer because it sets the rubric for how much a Hawaiian tropic stout can accomplish, and here I am, actively reinforcing this behavior, and the store is all sold out of hand sanitizer for my soul, @tgbrews has dropped a depressing masterpiece.
L-O-L-O-L, I’m glad you find this shit amusin’. Ah yes. Finally the Wheatwine from @gooseisland the darling from last year makes a notorious return, to disappointed fanfare, but is it warranted? In a laconic word, no. In five words: Mon Cherie was way shittier.
Ok last year was better and had a fantastic peanut brittle and creme brulee shell, and this is far more oaky and planed pine. The entire canon in 2019 is more cask focused and less sweet but this will really step on your Caramel Cubes because it’s intensely tannic like American oak but has a fun redeeming bit o’ honey swallow that I really enjoy. The same dudes who hated the @perennialbeer Randall’s Devils Hearts of Gold will also dislike the barrel forward character of this lean, scotchkisses and see’s candy lollipop affair.
We didn’t get barleywine this year so we have to content ourselves with this oddly bitter malty stepdad. He reads Breitbart and sucks on sugar babies and reeks of entry level wheated bourbon, muttering angrily about all the smut and Spanish songs in the super bowl halftime show. Despite these shortcomings it is a lovable albeit woodsy endeavor that I enjoy, but we long for real maltdad who bought me barley heelies and let me drive his trans am. The 2019 is still a proper guardian tho.
Finally, Malt Couture comes to the East Coast! Yes 3/9 a MONDAY SHOW, kicking off Tampa Bay Beer Week we will descend upon Sarasota and Calusa Brewing leaving its residents dripping in malty discharge. Vip is sold out, general admission tickets are on sale now!
The taplist is going to be incredible and we have some special tricks up our sleeves. Get your tickets now, this event will sell out. And yes, we eventually do an east coast show that isn’t on the Gulf of Mexico.
This week’s batch of @maltcoutureddb is straight up insane. We previously had @crainsberry on the show and made him drink a @thebruery Black Tuesday horizontal, including 22% abv heaters like BT grand reserve. He didn’t die so we invited him back for more pastry punishment. In batch 83 we have a Bean Grinder Cagematch: three stouts with 1. Coffee and vanilla 2. Bourbon barrel aging 3. An Untappd score of 4.7 or higher and 4. Have sold for $500 or more.
The results are mind boggling. Will @foragerbrewery dethrone the inimitable @3floydsbrewing Handjee? Or will the DDB favorite @moderntimesbeer Monster Tones bisect our beans? We kick everything off with a phenomenal Dunkel from @heaterallenbeer . It’s a lot to process.
You already know that Rev has arguably one of the best barrel programs in the nation right now, so let’s figure out if it is worth standing in line in 30 degree weather on some Kedzie loading dock. There are two new releases: Cuvee De Grace and Ten Year Beer.
Cuvee de Grace is a fantastic gateway drug for your friends who are malt-curious. The problem with this beer is that it wont get out of its own way in lending that sticky chocolate malt hand out to the uninitiated. Two thirds of this beer is fantastic underlying strong ale/barleywine roots. Then oh shit, here comes that one overbearing guy in every improve scene, dripping in bakers chocolate and fudge “NOW WE ARE ON THE MOON” and like god now we have to play out the reality of a cocoa barleywine. The underpinnings of this beer is such a delicate blend of caramel and prailines, planed boards and old fashioneds. It is tasty crème brulee that has chocolate fondant applied to it, gilding the dessert lily. I am not saying every ba beer needs to just be an old ale. I enjoy playful reliance on different profiles. The issue here is that this good beer leans on oatmeal and rye stouts and it’s what a freshman English professor would call “tonally inconsistent” albeit extremely well made.
Ten Year Beer shows that X is indeed gon give it to you. Don’t let this cherry poppin daddy fool you, it is a completely ensemble role. Rev has such a deft hand in nuance and never his the fruited center divider the way say, Goose Island will, in not trusting its consumers to taste the fruit, but not be cardholding GUSHERs party members. The cherry is delicate and this is that same Saharan-dry body we found in Code Switch. It’s exceptionally tight, dripping with cordial, sucrets, Sazerac notes, and some Willett meets Sucrets interplay. I would bet that some people wouldn’t even know that cherry was outright present if they weren’t outright searching for it. It is that restraint that Marty shows consistently in the blending. This is “The Favourite” for people who maybe wont dive deep into Yorgos Lanthimos catalogue, but you toss some saccharine Emma Stone cherries on the bill and suddenly you got a resale market.
Neither hit the fantastic heights of VSOJ or VSOR but Rev is in the unenviably coveted position of being contrasted against its own catalog. Their “pretty good” beers still destroy almost everything else. These are the type of crosses that Shaun Hill must bear, and no one feels sorry for them.
Also come see us at SF Sketchfest on Saturday 1/25/20 at the punchline, tickets still available
(Or is this all just twilight beyond Atlantic Highlands) and @cartonbrewing enters a bold segment of high abv, high risk brandy barrels, high esters, Belgian strains, and somehow some way they sticky the caramelized banana raisin landing. This is nothing like the rest of their casual canon, whimsical coffee cans, imperial cream ales and XXYXXYX001 ales. This is serious genie bottle antics.
Candidly yes this is a touch Fusel and lights up your chest like ET, and there is a degree of brandy interplay that has a solvent character, but as it warms the sacchro takes over and it’s like peeling back the layers of grands biscuit. The malt is ribboned with figs and dates, the swallow is almost cloyingly long and drags resonates with muddled prunes and raisinettes. And you’re like “who smashed my old plums?” Augie Carton that’s who.
Carton stays gripping them plums with a sugar baby twist. I can’t finish the whole bottle but the complexity at higher temps alone sells the fantastic experience. This is big brain mode and I hope people take the gamble on a ba quad, this degree of risk and innovation is that type of brandy capitalism that deserves to be rewarded.
Bourbon county shines when it embraces its spirit-driven roots. That is what made bourbon county famous. Sure, cherry cordial variants get gout-footed new balances in 15 minute lines, but the past grounds BCBS.
This year the lines are smaller, the consumers are larger, and the variants are more bonkers. Last year we had to suffer through Midnight Oranges but we also were treated to the crushingly good Knob Creek reserve. Goose Island is a stern but vengeful stout God from the Old Testament dealing our pain and bounty in equal measure.
The variant I cared the most about was the two year reserve. I love the Knob/Noe/Bookers/Bakers/[not Basil Hayden’s] canon. The 2 year extended casking in amazing 11 year barrels is something that would be a Rare event in 2010, and end up on shelves in target in 2015. But good lord is this beer good.
I gushed black patent drippings over BBT and this a Shasta bbt of sorts. Some people even prefer Marshmallow Mateys and Mountain Mist. It is a pure lacquer and spirit Bomb in the best way. One thing instarones love to do is acquire an ultra casked beer and then complain that the spirit profile, the very thing they paid a premium for, is “too hot.” Then they will say “[this beer that aged for over two years] needs more time.” I would never want to be a brewer and deal with this level of constructive criticism.
So much is massaged from the oak: cassia bark, hazelnut, potpourri, the cocoa batter wrestles with the rye spice and it has the long pronounced drag of an overheating planing machine. Carb is laughable and this is not something you can embrace in long sessions. It’s excessive in a way that you don’t see from @gooseisland because they have to cater to grocery story stepdads who are the “beer guy” at their Lions Club meetings. Truly the worst kind of men. It’s fantastic and such a pure flex for a giant brewery to show they can still play these diabetic reindeer games and turn out purist stouts. Please seek this out, it is goose island at the top of their game.
Or you can enter a razzle for like some picobrewery from Nebraska being hyped up by four locals and pay three times as much for a worse beer. Your choice.
When Revolution dropped Boss Ryeway last year it almost made me feel bad for other breweries. Here we have normal places trying to clip along in an increasingly crowded marketplace and then we have this Chicago thrillseeker setting the curve so high everyone else gets extra homework.
If you’re a normal brewery and these 312 hucksters come out with expensive casks, masterful blending, complex beers that receive extensive aging it’s like, Jesus come on. In a field of seltzers and hollandaise cans, it makes everyone else look shittier by contrast.
Then the new Boss jacket comes out, with even more ridiculous casking, and a heavily decorated Straight Jacket as the base beer and it’s nothing short of destabilizing. Imagine you have a normal ass 5bbl system and you’re jazzed about a barleywine you made and some second use Woodford Reserve barrels and you see this. It’s hardly fair.
The beer itself is dripping in currant, red candy, Manhattan fruit leather, and such an intense spirit profile that drags like partial custody divorce proceedings. It feels the youngest of the deep woods series in this vibrant cherry cordial sense. The original brown sugar character of Regular Old Straight Jacket has been replaced entirely with waves of hot tamales, and this oddly Vinous Mourvèdre swallow.
The fact that people can just take these cans to a Blackhawks game and throw up on the ice is negligent portability. I am here for it. There’s no wax or pageantry. There’s no five hour line or artificial throttling of supply to meter out later releases. There’s no forced onsite only or a Revolution Insurgent Society. It’s just awesome beer in cans setting the standard for everyone else. Pretty shitty of them if you ask me.
Arizona doesn’t deal in whales. Orange skinned undergrads and transplanted sod, sure they have that in spades. Hyped beer? It’s less common than concealed carry permits in that desert culture. Double Vanilla Kingsnake is perhaps the most cetacean juice that exists from those daylight savings deniers. But does it have the quality to buttress its secondary values? Like the delivery cargo to a Scottsdale retirement home: it’s all Depends.
The beer is exceptional, but it’s exceptional in a way that will draw in the same wafflecone instarone who would resell this beer in the first place. It’s all bean bisecting. Rye Kingsnake is more balanced and Grand Cru has far more depth, but the Coldstone Cunnilingus enthusiasts are the worst with money: this is the “best.” The vanilla is so singular in scope and execution it dominates the spirit profile, but to some this is the end goal. It has macaroon and oreo McFlurry with a whisper of Barrel presence. The sheeting and heft falls somewhere close to light Muscle Milk.
Arizonans travel far as hell for their beer. These people are the Mongolian raiders of coveted sugar water. These steppe people will ride equestrian across vast wastelands in Hyundais to colorado, vegas, San Diego: all in search of wares and sustenance. The swift irony is that Wren dark sky and Super are better than most analogues without the foreign pillaging.
Double vanilla enters a realm akin to Modern Times Ultra vanilla where it’s so focused in its purpose that it almost lampoons the consumer base that wants this by hitting the mark so thoroughly that you question capitalism itself. The Madagascar spoils of innovation. It’s good but it is difficult to judge it globally because you get a sense that Wren House brewed this with a knowing nod. Fast Five was so excessive that it created an entire new standard for summer Blockbusters, but no one is arguing that it needs to be on the AFI top 100.
Wren is demonstrating their capacity to deliver on excess, and they did so beautifully. It’s a performance piece for dudes in lines in the crisp desert cold. The excoriating heat is but a few months away and the haze shall flow endlessly once more.
Old bank take young bank as @maltcoutureddb batch 73 goes on draft. Michael brings in a shocking @hillfarmstead stunner ☕️ Me and Stephen bring the oldest of currency 💴 👴 @dedollebrouwers shows up with a quad walker. We cover the controversial Key STONE @stonebrewing litigation and I take the boyz to the malt shop and pour some guava milkshake @tiredhandsbrewing down they throats. There’s a lot happening.