Outcast Brewing Apple Brandy Canema Verite

Outcast Brewing is here sending barrel-carbed waxed cans internationally, pastry love in the time of COVID. That old maple oil salesman, Patrick Schnarr, is the same guy who bought me that iconic DDB toaster, so it is only fitting to put it to use. Barrel carbed cans remind me of cinema verite. This was a French film movement in the 1960s that had an emphasis on mimesis and authenticity, imparting truth to conversations in cinema.

This weird can has a soft flex to it like it has gone through elevation changes and pours out languid without that frothy cocoa foam. It is documentary stout, the pauses and “uhms” of Kuhnhenn conversation. Given the soft CO units involved, the barrel is absolutely blasting waves of spicy fusel, Four Roses high rye execution, mocha mole, and dark chocolate with ancho to it.

The stripped down profile exposes the flaws more readily in a way that Hair of the Dog fans and old world naturalists will enjoy. So here is the obvious question: If so much care has been given to naturalistic execution, why even make this a Pastry Stout? The adjunctivitis seems to belie the framer’s intent. If what is sought is that verisimilitude of using a barrel thief and sipping from the cask, the interplay of the additives is as distracting as a Puddle of Mudd tattoo on an otherwise gorgeous woman. Like is she even old enough to have that.

In the can’s defense, the hazelnut and vanilla is not some Horus confectionary romp. The barrel is so prominent that they are the rhythm guitar in an Animal Collective cover band. They may as well be absent. The swallow is long and hot like damascus on a blacksmith’s anvil, but with this on-board canadian apology that renders the apple brandy more manageable.

Does it FEEL authentic? It feels like a choice, it is intentional, it feels casky, and in a world obsessed with single issue THICC voters, reducing the CO units, reducing the FEELING of viscosity. It’s a brazen move. Most stouts will be packaged at like 2.5 units. Private Press brewing, from the Jackie O’s pedigree openly carbs at 2.3 and will likely hear all about how it needs THICCCC from blunt palates. This will get the same complaints.

CANEMA VERITE: The stout feels real, and inauthentic palates will be up in arms.


Old Carter Straight American Whiskey Batch 3, a 138 proof MGP workhorse

Vegetative semiotics is a branch of linguistics that studies the idea of meaning at a cellular level. Cells reacting to population density, quorum sensing, really pithy stuff sure to get you laid at a dinner party. It’s the reduction of communication to a pre-verbal, pre-cognition level. Sometimes things can get so small that they can be entirety overlooked.
Old Carter Bourbon can easily be overlooked. The marketing isn’t jazzy, there’s no Diageo LOST BARREL story, no leveraged mythology of someone from the antebellum south. Just some stupid horse. Small releases, granular impact, communicating through the cellulose of oak prisons.
Bourbon people love a heritage tale more than the liquid itself. Watch how fast they get worked up when you mention Black Maple Hill and the specific color of the label, see them preen over a Kentucky Owl, then watch their adolescent tumescence fall limp with anger when STOLI or NAS is mentioned. It’s predictable on a granular level for dudes who feel empowered through possession. I DRIVE A TACOMA TRD ITS THE RACING DEVELOPMENT EDITION, THOSE BOTTLES ARE FOR SEEING NOT DRINKING ITS AN INVESTMENT, ITS NOTHING LIKE MY ACTION FIGURE OBSESSION AFTER KAYLA DUMPED ME.

Old Carter is expensive, but is very well done. It gives you the mash bill, the age, and lets you know it is Indiana MGP openly taunting you to trample its staves. The bare comfort of a Hinge date admitting he is already in therapy. It flagrantly demands $180 retail with a 2000 bottle release, courting dudes who never open anything to spit pithy ejaculations like “JuSt DriNK SAOS inSteaD” and we all nod at their middle management epistolary wisdom.
The problem arises when the bourbon itself swings on extremely good, reputable distillers within their own segment. Secondary market has propped up worse bourbon so in an ironic inversion, corn juice this good at an extremely high retail become a “deal” as a result. Mark and Sherri Carter are some Napa inn owners, so if youre prediabetic, you can sabre rattle all you want about how they arent hand sourcing corn. Kentucky Owl is now Costco trash, but THIS is fantastic.
$180 retail, 2487 bottles, 12 years old and a pre-hazmat 138.1 proof: batch 3 came out swinging. It is initially a bucking workhorse of ethanol, red hots, snickerdoodles and kerosene. Once it opens up you get the full nutty pecan, almond, zucchini bread, and waves of caramel fondue heat. Closer is peach and cardamom with this GTS dryness like lumber robitussin. This is extremely layered, domineering, but wholly enjoyable even when proofed back.
This tiny cell is communicating to other bourbon purveyors of a systemic infection, casks cellularly pressed against one another, increasing retail temps, improving the system as defense mechanism. We are the virus, bourbon is healing.


Calusa Brewing BA Uncrowned: For Whom Does the BA ESB Toll?

Who in this economy is making Extra Special Bitters. Ask any saison brewer how hard it is to get people to order a Grisette, let alone some obscure english style that isn’t even hazy. Calusa is a madman for diving headfirst into Ravenhold, and has a tolerant CFO who allows them to barrel age it.
This is session barleywine insanity. If you trace back the historical lineage of bitter/ESB/old ale/stock ale/barleywine phylum, the parentage is there. We don’t need Sucaba to take a 21 and me test. If you add two parts water to Straight Jacket, you will arrive in this “micro-old ale” segment if you wanted to reverse engineer this: BUT WHY.

There’s a phalanx of dudes who drank Fat Tire two years ago who now feign being “over” craft beer just as quickly as they capriciously entered and exited the hobby like the heel turn of someone accidentally wandering into a Hollister. Those people claim they all love pilsners now, they read Pitchfork, and talk about the importance of upcycling fashion.

The BA ESB exists in a customer realm of “no one asked for this, but I am glad it exists” like a jetski with a sidecar. Take all the caramel, sugar daddies, maillard goodness of a massive 35 BMI barleywine, and scale it back into a svelte lean frame, lithe butterscotch sinewy arms, pumping rolo vascularity. This is an aesthetic for runs, european Football matches, darts at O’Shabbyshires with a plate of chips. Those threadbare cliches.

It is certainly not life, not a barleywine, not even really in the life adjacent “imperial brown” and it exists as something else entirely: a pecan sandie JUUL pod to get people into harder casks. Sure the allure of clean, crisp, bright, low abv is fun when your stepmom first is sipping them, but when she’s a full on member of CAMRA with an OnlyFans account, she’s gone full barleywine.

I am here for this, it’s focused and intentional, robust while remaining approachable, depth with deceptive simplicity. I just hope everyone else is on board for barrel aged ESBs.


New Ferrari Cicerone Video Posted to the DDB Patreon!

The P train is peeling out this week 🚗 🚂 we rented a Ferrari and put Michael in the back and made him take his Cicerone certified beer server exam so he could experience the actual rigors of being a CERTIFIED CICERONE.

The stresses of someone asking “what’s the different between a biere du pays and a table beer” real extreme stuff, just like carving canyons. And yeah, I know I look like a sloppy sack of sourdough starters. I get it, I’m aware. This is a teaser, go hit the ddb P train for the full burnout 🔥 🚘

Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery #2 is a Blast of Corn Juice Transparency

Neo-plasticism was this idea in art that things needed to be aesthetically purified, to base components, an abstract form. The idea was that only the purest, most fundamental concepts should be leveraged in expression. Bourbon is going through its own neo-plasticism of late.
For years, the same five different bourbon companies go to pick a historical figure at random, mythologize their importance to American distilling, put cursive script “SMALL BATCH” on the label, a meaningless marketing shibboleth, and call it a day. This worked for years when things like Noah’s Mill were actually like 12 year old off-brand Willett, the juice was good and profiteering wasn’t as brazen. Now people’s collective bourbon anooses have been prolapsed to the point of white lightning recidivism. They’re tired. Palliative care is needed for the head hoops.
Enter DISCOVERY SERIES #2. If non-Kentucky, no age statement, NDP, ambiguous juice is all the rage, this is a splash of spicy corn juice on your areolas. Distilled in Kentucky, with age statements, and mash bills, and component blend breakdowns (!) aside from the sourcing itself, it couldnt be more Neo-Plasticism.
This juice is dark, 122 proof, and justifies every cent of its $140 retail price tag. Bardstown Bourbon Company (inb4 BBC) has made something incredible here. I suspect the sourcing is a good part Beam with some Heaven Hill in the mix. If this is accurate, you are getting something that tastes eerily similar to Booker’s 30th, well south of the $700 secondary price tag.
The nose is so much Red Hots candies akin to Bookers Oven Buster, cinnamon, challah french toast, and a blast of potpourri. The taste brings Tempe heat, without the flatbrimmed hats. It evokes pralines, nutmeg, and prunes. The drag is like Big Red blow that lingers.
In reviews you can embrace this false everyman narrative by nerfing anything that costs over $50 and gurgle NOT WORTH IT JUST BUY ECBP and everyone pats you on the back. It’s disingenuous.I can’t do that here: the age, the integration, the balance, the depth, it all absolutlely justifies the price tag and it is a rare example where I will be pushing to find another bottle of this fantastic gem.
Neo-plasticism reduced art to minimalism and boring Rothko shit. BBC is pushing towards a robust transparency in spirits and my staves are fully saturated.


Bierstadt Lagerhaus Helles: The Inescapable Virtue of the Boring

If you lean in the shower just right, you can arc the water over your ears, down your scapula, and in between your butt cheeks in a fetal embrace. The roar of the uterine temperature water over the crown of your head is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to escape the ever grinding maw of daily rituals. And it is free.

Feeling the rush of bath water in between your asscheeks is a simple pleasure that feels private and wrong, such is the case with drinking helles. Lagers are the bookends of complete novice and complete expert in the beer world, so much that pastryphiles in the middle even feign enjoyment while pursuing the opposite. The simple helles is even looked down upon by the Pilsner segment as TOO rudimentary. Like British people obsessed with potato chips, they are eschewed by all for pushing the crisps too far.

What happens when Helles becomes so refreshing that its simplicity is its sole and inescapable virtue? You transcend beer trends and arrive the bottom fermented event horizon. @bierstadtlager has made a beer so unworthy of comment that it has created a beer that is unstable. In liquid form it sublimates and is gone instantly. The “mad croosh” index can only be expressed in scientific notation. It’s sole good is that it is the MOST drinkable substance. The content is a chapter from an R.L. Stine book, you drill through Monster Blood and that is the experience, the sheer volume is edifying.

Can blandness itself be a virtue? That first Bumble date where she wore Tory Burch flats, talked about Urban Decay contouring, and spoke on “interstitial gardening” left you feeling nothing, but the absence of feeling is an intense feeling.

It’s just 1 part pilsner malt to 95 parts water. There’s a faint Mt Hood type of “hop” presence, an ethereal IBU that’s really just chaperoning a pile of water crackers at a Latter Day Saint malt field trip. Nothing is happening, and it is beautiful. If we deride men for gathering in landlocked backyards and predicating their self worth on thimble pours of rare stouts, let us extol those who silently drink liters of a style no one cares about. The true Hallertauer heroes.


Revolution Brewing Mixed Berry Ryeway is a Good Beer, It’s Just Not Good for Me.

Mixed Berry Ryeway is a well-made beer, I just don’t enjoy it. These two can exist covalently. The new Ford Bronco will probably be pretty high quality, but the inevitable flat-brimmed, Punisher logo, NotW , Instagram handle stickered fanbase will inevitably ruin it for me. The berries are those guys.

@revbrewchicago VSOR is arguably on par with VSOJ, which is to say, more apeshit than Britney Spears unchecked social media presence. So to watch Ryeway denatured from Steve Rogers supersoldier into this attenuated, dry, tannic, lightly-sour shell of its former self: it makes me long for the ultra aged Weapon X project of their deep woods series.

I enjoyed Strawberry Jacket, because it was a modification of something I already enjoyed. At its caramel lapels and jammy back vents, it was still ROSJ. Mixed Berry Ryeway is something else altogether. GM used to make “parts bin” cars and this is what that feels like. I give free license for Revolution to experiment, and make a berry Cutlass Ciera, but I will return that same Code Switch level of enthusiasm for it.

First of all, it looks like a god damn De Garde Bu. This is a barleywine with Lisa Frank fuschia foam. The cling looks like some red 5 brunch Sangria from a place with a name like “[something] & [something].” It’s always an ampersand. The nose has pushed the rye and barrel character beneath the tide like the final scene of The Last of Us 2. We are left flailing, gripping to the edges of the slick nautical wood, but this is an American Tragedy, and Dreiser looks on balefully.

However, many people will enjoy this. It is conceptually interesting and brewed impeccably: you just have to be onboard for the premise. When Final Fantasy XII came out and it was incredibly linear, and had a combat system that played itself, it was a well made game, you just had to accept the axioms of that reality. If you want an intensely cranberry-focused strong ale, then RevBrew has your bases covered. I just don’t know that bourbon and plums is what I need before I start my shift at the Baby Gap.

Mixed Berry Ryeway is a good beer, it’s just not good for me. Cleanup in Rompers, someone just threw up a boysenberry Old Fashioned.


Timber Ales/8th State Cosm of Darkness is pretty deece, but you know they can swing harder

Timber Ales has been on a recent kick to try and snatch the Stout Collaboration Crown from Horus. It is nonstop collabs from these peregrine gypsy brewers. Mash tun sloshing crude second runnings around in a caravan. It’s tough to keep up.

Like the Horus collabs, they vary in quality, but when I saw EIGHTH STATE was involved, my South Carolina sense started tingling and the air smelled like Pecan Sandies instantly. This beer is pretty okay.
There is something that feels inherently incomplete about a non-barrel aged stout these days. Call it customer entitlement, or palate privilege, I crave that depth now as the default. This is particularly apparent when it is a pastry stout that desperately needs that Urkel to Stefan aging chamber to calm it down. So many naturally aspirated stouts get hit with the lactose stick and come out feeling like Coffeemate Creamers.
This isn’t that, but it also isn’t anywhere near Parahelion or the BA offerings from these two. It has excellent carb and sustain, the ugandan vanilla beans never hit that Yankee Candle/Airwick zone, but it also feels like a dress rehearsal. When Subaru released the BRZ with no turbo, no AWD, part of you is like, come on. We know what you are capable of, this is a dental hygienist offering, I need them staves.

The cassia bark as usual just provides and ensemble role for light sweetness and it feels like Whoppers throughout, the scorned Halloween candy, not the scorned high school burger. Nothing about this is inherently wrong, it’s within striking distance of Mornin Delight but still a country mile from Proper Dose in the rawdog Stout realm. That is to say, it is rated higher than every other pilsner ever brewed in the history of all beer.

It feels like 8th State and Timber have a girlfiend that goes to another school and they aren’t as focused on Pastry Polo as they should be, but we know they are gonna hit that game winning goal and then Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” will start playing and Jason Stein will pull his ponytail out and we will realize that he was the hot girlfriend that 8th State wanted all along. It’s fine, this is fine.


Phase Three Eunoia Takes Nut Levels to a New Dimension

Lake Zurich stepping up to smash my 🥜 fully. When @phasethreebrew dropped this Shaun Berns juice, I folded my arms and waited for the 4.8 untapped rating to drop. I can only assume massaging mallow foam and peanut butter is an elective class at Siebel. Here’s the frustrating part: it’s really god damn good.

If you walk into this with @mainandmillbrew BA Jifforia expectations, take those and drill out the lactose, clean up the mouthfeel, amp up the cask driven spirit heat, and you have a sticky image with the contrast turned way up. Like an 8th grader flicking his wrist during a sick day, this nut is getting out of hand. Stouts can often apply the lactose filter to smooth out the imperfections, this is full raw in the best way. I rarely want to crush an entire bottle solo, especially when it’s like 620 calories a pour, this is just Reese’s neck kisses with Butterfinger lovingly dragging a finger along the sloppy sourdough starter that is your gut.

It lacks nuance or delicacy, but somehow the lipid profile and sheer Fusel twist together like a drippy DNA helix 🧬 and you are the super soldier falling asleep on the wood deck outdoors. Is it worth the $325 secondary price? I mean you don’t have to drive to Lake Zurich and be surrounded with its diverse 93.4% white populace, coldstone creameries and Baby Gaps. Then again, it’s been so long since I hit up a KOHL’s. To people not into beer, this is almost parodic levels of Peter Pan decadence, I’m here for it. Jaelynne fetch father’s smuckers vessel for the heart craves preserves.


RARE PERFECTION 15 Year: Was This a Colossal Waste of Money? [yeah probably.]

It’s time to play another round of “Was This a Colossal Waste of Money (Yeah, Probably)” [WTACWOM(YP)] Today’s creaky old cask is Preservation Distiller RARE PERFECTION 15 year. I am sure there are taterbois creaming the spuds out of their Merona cargo shorts with that many buzzwords, FIFTEEN YEAR, just like the pappy they never open, RARE, only sold at CERTAIN liquor stores, PERFECTION, a bourbon from Canada that literally tells you IT IS PERFECT.

The hubris tones are over 9000.
This distillery in is Bardstown, KY, but this was distilled in Canada, so it’s not bourbon. Sure you have a girlfriend, but she goes to a different school, so it doesn’t count. The only thing higher than the proof, 119, is the price, $170 retail.
Most people just wrote this off until Breaking Bourbon called this one of their top 5 whiskies of 2019, so dudes were stumbling into their Nissan Versas to go scoop up some Corn Water Stonks.
Listen, those Diageo LOST BARREL type of stories are often marketing bullshit. Oh no way, an ultraaged cask that no one thought to index and track, sounds delicious.
The aroma is bizarre. It feels like old library stacks, the ornithology section no one visits, warm dryer lint, and wet summer deck. Think Old Blowhard but cut with Saz18. It feels like geriatric Pinnochio with no strings to hold it down.

Take that weird AARP nose and try to reconcile it with a punchy Bookers sweet heat on the palate. Red hot candies, caramel apple pop, and Chai. This 4 grain whiskey is nonstandard and I hope bourbon investors lose their collective stretchmarked asses on this one. Dudes wearing Under Armor polos with kids named TANNER dont open bourbon as is, let alone anything that doesn’t taste like sweet caramel juice they can promote in Men’s Health as the NEXT HOT WHISKEY YOU GOTTA TRY.
The finish is extremely dry, Oolong tea, and like Pecan sandies. IT IS S T R A N G E. If your palate is at that Gaspar Noe level where nothing gets your stave saturated anymore, then try this. It’s absolutely not worth $170, but if you want to look like an insensitive out of touch prick during a global pandemic, pull this out and talk about how TOUGH THE MARKETS ARE GOD ITS CRAZY WE ARE DRINKING OUTSIDE TREVOR.