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Faust Eisbock: The Raisin Collapse of my Bockhole

What a journey this lil guy went on

I get complaints that DDB is just a little mill of American exceptionALEism with no global focus. FINE. You want to go to Germany? Let’s go to FAUST, the #1 thing to do in Miltenberg.

Ah the old Eisbock, so misunderstood. Right away you see the 12% abv and they warn you of the EXTREME STRENGTH. This has been lying in wait since 2016, shipped across the world, and finally this oxidized lager can stretch its head. This brewery is over 250 years old but the German marketing rattle is similar to the American bourbon trend towards saddling some lore to an old building or edifice. However, this brewery has a storage cave dug deep into a mountain hundreds of years ago so you wont find that in an industrial park in Torrance. Wait maybe you can IDK.

With this marketing, coupled with this historical prestige, it’s like seeing someone who wears Brixton where you can’t make out if they are classy or trashy, it could go either way. This is designed for a beer drinker in that ABV obsessed phase, which usually followed the IBU phase that modern drinkers skip altogether and go straight to the binary choice of “ORANGE JUICE HAZY OR SOFT SERVE STOUT” and are instarones.

In this instance the abv works to be overbearing and unbalanced like dudes with a BMI over 30 with tactical informercial items always talking about “WHEN SHTF YOU KNOW IM READY” Who are you serving.

The abv isn’t masked terrible well and the construction paper meets figs and dates don’t scream synergy. You get a bit of astringency, a pop of liquid DME, some wafty grape fruit leather and a swallow that is like licking your fingers after going through old comic books. They should have served this at the World Cup in Qatar and really make people earn it.

At a certain point this becomes the schwarzchild radius of german beers. Germany has such a proud tradition that if you take an old heritage, and an old style, and then age it, the body will undergo irreversible raisin collapse in on itself. The final fate of malt holes.

It’s not good, but everything Andechs makes is god tier and costs like 3 euros so, maybe pick your battles ok.

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Wren House Desert Kingsnake is a Pieta-stry Stout

Someone poisoned the waterhole

In my last review I got pushback where people lamented “what should these pastry stouts even finish at to please you DDB?”

A vanilla stout can either be one of three depictions of Jesus: annunciation, deposition, or pieta.

An annunciation is Gabriel announcing to the Virgin Mary. This is usually a perfunctory execution where the adjunct is there, the barrel time is limited, something great is coming but due to scaling, it just wasn’t there.

A deposition is where Jesus is being removed from the cross. This is usually excessive, effusive, hitting things too literally, overwrought expressions of Tahitian or Madagascan, barrel staves mourning.

Pieta is a pastry stout where Mary is holding Jesus’ dead body. This is the pocket you want to be at with barrel aged vanilla stouts. Grace, elegance, modernity with a splash of nostalgic high middle beer ages romanticism.

This Kingsnake goes full pieta. It’s not about the FG, it’s how you use it. This beer tastes exactly like the final bite of a Drumstick ice cream cone. It has the rich hard chocolate core wrapped in wafflecone and a slight waxiness from the residual vanilla. It is an allusion to vanilla without actually bisecting your bean.

It nods to gelato in the way a dude who knows his REI points has the impression of outdoorsiness. Bringing a brownie batter canteen would be too much. This has that fantastic capacity for remaining steadfastly roasty and a stout, the odd oiliness and chocolate rice aspect of a Crunch bar, but with the embrace of a barrel aged pieta.

At no point does Wren need to preach to you about their intent, they adorn a good stout with tasteful Rococo bean and nibs. This is how you want it to land, never feeling needless or showy, but succinct and purposeful Ben and Jerry’s.

This exceptional stout goes harder than pure carrera marble with no veins.

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New Groove Meet Me at the Creek, You Wouldnt Last a Minute on the Pastry Creek

Dental insurance is basically a coupon

At this point pastry stouts are the Hallmark holiday movies of the brewing world. At best they can come off as derivative, at worst some sticky sweet overwrought treacle that you have to share with a lot of people to get any enjoyment out of.

Sometimes you get a “Holiday in Handcuffs” or something that takes the mold of predictable and takes it to the next level. New Groove took a Billy Strings song and said “ah yes this reminds me of two types of vanilla beans, CUSTOM toffee, cocoa nibs, and almonds.”

I braced myself for dental occlusions. Sometimes just a beer label can spike your A1c levels. The stout is worth the loss of some digits. And what happened then? Well, in Boiling Springs they say that DDB’s small pancreas grew three sizes that day. Somehow by multiplying enough saccharine negatives, an intense positive was derived.

The body looks excessive, but sheets akin to 500ct kit kat bar. I expected grating like when your friend brags about how many steps they did on vacation, like no shit you’re walking around a place you’ve never been of course youre going to put in 20k brownie batter steps. Instead it was this Ferrero Rocher elegance, bonkers but sustainable.

The cask is buried but provides heat and a drying structure to the adjuncts. Like your girlfriend who leaves the Brita pitcher in the fridge empty, its expected but a sweet minor disrespect. Swallow brings a touch of fusel warmth, flourless lava cake, ganache, and then miraculously: beer. At the core of this confectioner chaos, you can taste stout.

Like someone who talks excessively about credit card points, you brace your core for some grating experience. But then this stout takes care of the round of drinks and the sweetness is overriding in a pleasant way. The combination of all the additives are knit seamlessly like a warm patchwork quilt with upcycled candy store materials. Sustainable cavities for a mindful sip.

It is uplifting. New Groove needs to be the ghost of Pastry Future and go to Ebeneezer Weldwerks and show them what going down the path of sticky excess can lead to. You there what day is it? Insulin day. God bless us, every stout.

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Fox Farm Welly: Can English Milds be Hype?

It’s not dgm stfu

This is what you get when you look up “taste of beer” in Microsoft Encarta. Just some old school, stodgy, cleanly executed, no frills English mild ale. Fox Farm brews the knit cardigans of the classic styles. It is comfortable, oddly regal, and has this air of informed superiority in this taciturn frame. English mild ales are the scientist in movies the government ignores until it’s too late.

It’s like pouring “Uh guys, youre gonna wanna see this” into a glass. I hope some bourbon chasing dipshit in Connecticut stumbles into a store asking for “Wellers” and they get this instead.

English session ales were crafted for a different culture than America embraces. In the days of World Cup fanfare, 2am Argentina matches, and lengthy hours of drinking, we could all stand to be less American in our drinking habits. The British are the most imperial people of them all, and here we are, enjoying a low abv pub ale, hardly imperial.

I like a beer that foresees the negligence of its drinker. This sands all the edges down and acts like that person that keeps your drunk friend from getting everyone thrown out of the club. Here, eat these wheat thins, drink some water, chill enjoy the multigrain crust, you good? No, skip this round, sip this scone flavored La Croix. Yes, I agree, fuck that bouncer. Your dad DOES do commercial real estate. You COULD buy this club.

The hottest girls always have weird unexplained leg bruises. This beer has that air of clunky mystery about it. The froth and sustain is vulnerable, but it lends itself to excess. It practically invites much larger swallows, crisp lightly grassy drags, Gardettos rye chip finish. The phenols are nonexistent and the esters poke their head out and throw a little wrench at you like the moles in SMB3 airship levels. Adorably dangerous.

Embrace soft small things

If beer were monkey experiments, this is the cloth mother. Put down the wire imperial stout dolls and embrace this fresh out of the dryer mild. At Thanksgiving you’ll have a lot of those emphatic deep sips dealing with relatives. With this beer, when your Airsoft cousin starts talking about how kids get litterboxes because they identify as cats, you can just crush this entire can

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Michters 20: One of the Best Bourbons Of All Time, That I Don’t Ever Want to Try Again

It’s better than me

One of the cliche story tropes is that it is better to want than to have. It’s more predictable than hearing your basic friend say “we needed this” after it rains.

I spent years too comfortably poor to try Michters 20. It wasn’t even a decision. I would see the $1,300.00 bottle in 2012 at Vendome and laugh at such outrageous whimsy. Later, the bottles outpaced my own life and became twice that at retail and exponentially more on resale.

M20 became a Radioactive Man #1 of sorts. It would never live up to expectations, but taters gonna covet. In 2019 saw a 2oz pour in a bar listed for $350.00 and laughed. I quipped that if I ever sold a book, or a show, or became a cast member on Below Deck I could justify that.

In 2020 the world shut down and I ran 1000 miles. Daily, I would run by the shuttered Chestnut Club and think about the idea of success needed to “justify” an inherently disappointing pour.

Two years went by, I had a son, life carved valleys into us all like slow glaciers in the upper Montana of our existence. Collectibles boomed. Cars, trading cards, everything capitalized on the captivity. 2015 M20 went from being a $4000 bottle to a $11500 bottle. Desire doesn’t scale with time or reason.

Time destroys all 20 year olds

When the bar finally reopened I saw that same m20. Laughingly I asked “what’s that go for now? $950 a pour?” The POS hadn’t been updated. The $350 pour was a “deal” in modern parlance. Entropy takes us all, so I shared the pour with a friend, having accomplished nothing. The purchase in itself, wasteful and defiant as two years lost.

It wasn’t worth it. This is one of the best bourbons I have had in my life but, nothing can live up to that price souring my mash. It is so delicate and round on the nose, hazelnut, nutmeg, shortbread cookies. Taste is relatively thin but concedes pralines, macadamia nut, tagalongs. Swallow goes buttered English muffin, bonded leather, and split kindling.

The cost refines its accomplishments in an uncomfortable way. Imagine playing a free to play game but buying every lootbox until youre the best. It is god tier, but in getting there it subverts everything I want to embrace about bourbon itself. Time claims us all, even the 20 year olds

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Ghost Town Brewing Hammer Smashed Citra is for Wear Coast IPA Dorks

Yes yes yes I like to drink my hops

Whenever you read beer sales reports they always reinforce this narrative that 6 out of every 10 craft beers are IPAs. People all nod like “Ah yes, the west coast IPA is ubiquitous.” They mean like forgettable draft line fillers from giants are ubiquitous. Sure, Stone IPA and 60 minute IPA and Boomsauce are everywhere, but stunning west coast IPAs are a dying breed.

Even more scarce are breweries that are geared specifically to fill this space. We can all rattle off the Beachwoods and the McIlhenny’s and La Cumbres, but most brewers are pastry enthusiasts, saison ballers, or some shade of Belgophiles. I get all gas station RHINO XL pill jacked when I find a new west coast IPA focused spot.

DDB could just rest on its rhizomes and reinforce whale narratives with established hit factories. Those reviews are boring to read and tedious to write. Like “oh no shit this inaccessible Floodland beer is good? I will continue never trying it thanks.” I love constantly ruining up and coming breweries for locals by outing the best under the radar gems.

Several people wrote to me urging I try Ghost Town Brewing. I already spooned Wondrous and that’s enough East Bay praise, Oakland is already unaffordable as it is. These Lake Merritt tricksters are doing awesome hoppy work. The most 510 shit ever, dudes who started a metal band turned their practice space into a brewery. The Too $hort collab is forthcoming I’m sure.

This is so simple and focused, that 3.9 untappd rating lets you know it’s good. Incredibly light body dripping in honeycomb resin, clementine knife hits off the stove, hash rips from a cored out jazz apple in a TJ Maxx parking lot. Wcipa stuff.

It finishes with juniper and bergamot, toasted pineapple like Creed Aventus.

This is drier than thongs at a Babylon 5 convention. The swallow betrays what the Midwest led us to believe about IPAs, no crystal, no backbone, one malt invertebrates and one hop alpha acid SSRIs to balance the oily manic swings. I don’t care if this brewery is one note, maybe they do more, they can do just this and people would stay and listen to their terrible noise band.

@ghosttownbrewing is taking liberties and I am here for it.

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Revolution Brewing Deth By Currants is Pretty Deece, But at Least It Isn’t Cliche

Yeah that’s love is blind season 3 big whoop yawannafightaboutit

I usually make the error of contrasting the Rev stouts to their world class strong ales and feeling like they are second class citizens. Being compared to your own catalogue is a luxury few breweries have to suffer through. I was ignoring the context itself.

Usually the release of a barrel aged stout has this performative pageantry. Needless wax, raffles, limits. The cliché fill light photo of the bottle on a barrelhead ensconced in whatever glossy adjuncts that they threw in it. There’s this air of calm seriousness and austere luxury. It’s either that or like FUDGE TITTIES MILK STOUT like if the Jerky Boys opened a brewery.

Revolution has a different approach. They can these, put them in four packs, keep the cost low, keep the quality high and are practically error free for years. The marketing is a nod to graphic novels. The Deth series has tightly drawn hairpin turns, tapered through the chocolately leg, relying on a roasty inseam to provide this slim barrel aged silhouette.

Now enter currant. I immediately was like “oh good a Robitussin variant, sucrets in my brownies.” That isn’t what occurred. The same playful execution is handled with a gentle hand on the adjuncts. This isn’t some syrupy half melomel endeavor. The fruit has speaking lines and an IMDB credit but its not passing the Bechdel test. The currant is dry, craisin, a smack of madeira, the bakers cocoa mixes with this vinous aspect like a cherry cordial.

Instead of tasting like a lightly infected stout, berry Dr Pepper, or one of the heavy handed Goose Island fruited jaunts, it is more relaxed. Also in being “THIN” it can do what almost no modern stout can do: express carbonation in a meaningful way. For this reason the Coffee Deth was absolutely phenomenal this year and floored me.

We take it as a concession that modern stouts will be almost dead flat and then point to the residual sugars like “CO2 SIMPLY CANNOT OVERCOME THIS VISCOSITY.” Rev doesn’t do that and it feels more…English? I appreciate it remaining beer and not melted Coldstone discharge.

This wont be my go to all the time but it’s novel and tasty and I respect the sheer variety and attempts to get Chicago residents to eat produce in these trying times.

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Kirin Green Label – DDB is Now a Happoshu Blog

Such a funny elaborate photo for a beer that people drink before anger management counseling

You’re used to whales but I hope you guys are ready to clean rice hulls out of your Kirkland jeans because today we have the EIGHTH highest rated Happoshu IN THE WORLD.

You’re probably wondering “Why would DDB go to the trouble of seeking out an obscure style and importing this adjunct lager all the way from Japan?” I am all about covering these sorghum and sugar ratios k.

So what even is a Happoshu? This is a reduced malt beverage that breweries make to skirt tax regulations. Weirdly, frozen alcoholic drinks could also be Happoshus. Basically, in Japan if you have 67% malt or higher, that’s a real beer and you pay more.

In a weird twist, this beer is characterized as a “beer flavored beverage” which is less than we can say for some American craft cake beverages. Toasted rice flakes usually make up that last third of the malt bill.

This green label Kirin is the low carb like Rolling Rock Green Light of Japan, except it still has 4.5% alcohol so you can drill these like water. This is Michelob Ultra from the land of the rising sun and you can crush these harder than Super Shredder under a dock/in a garbage truck. This one is made from like 70% simple sugars so imagine how clean this ferments. It feels like a rumor of La Croix sweetcorn flavor, fleeting and barely existent.

The nose is tortilla chip, some Tostitos Rounds, light salinity and hotel pool. The taste is ethereal and imparts like the Polar Seltzer idea of Bud Light. The tv static version of Stella with extremely mild skunky and lemon chapstick swallow.

It’s like if you drew a bottle of Pine Sol from memory with a grey crayon. Nothing is permanent and the massive crackles subside and disappear like tuxedo mask, your palate a forever-wanting Sailor Malt. The aftertaste needs to be measured with an F1 clock.

Normal people will love this beer because it avoids a beer experience. It demands nothing and just works endlessly like the batteries in your tv remote for some reason.

This beer and style gets a bad rap. It won’t shatter your idea of Japanese beer, but with enough sheer volume, you too, will be singing Evanescence with a maid hostess in a cat café

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Goose Island Barleywine Reserve is a Top 3 Best Beer They Have Ever Brewed

Warning: unpaid unmitigated inbev praise incoming

Whenever I get a media kit, there’s this recalcitrant streak to judge the beer under extreme scrutiny like some strident official. CASTING WARES UPON MY DOORSTEP, WHO SEEKS THE PALATE TRIBUNAL.

With Goose Island much hay was made a decade ago about the InBev sale, some dudes with creaky joints and Stone Temple Pilots cassettes probably still care. In the modern era of insane financial mergers and Amoretti puree, that buyout seems quaint especially in light of the trajectory that Goose Island has taken with their seemingly limitless checkbook.

Their barrel sourcing and quality has been apeshit. While it would be amazing to dunk on a press bottle with my arm in the pot on some Vince Carter action, I simply cannot. This barleywine is a masterpiece.

The packaging is gorgeous and patently unfair. But the contents itself could be in a waxed double-knotted Trojan and still be immaculate. This beer delivers on the legacy of the previously recalled Barleywine reserve and improves it to dizzying degrees. This is not only the best of the BCBS lineup for 2022, it might be the best beer that Goose Island has ever made, including the 2010 fresh Rare, 2014 VR, and whatever god tier old currency you can think of. The siren song of Mike Smith before his departure is spicy boulevardier phoenix rising from Old Fitz ashes.

The heat is there and lights up your chest like E.T. It provides so many layers from graham cracker, to Boston Baked beans, settling into this warm halvah aspect. It remains vibrant and never sucrose driven. It is like a more unruly VSOJ, or a shredded ADWTD with fig newton vascularity.

The gray goo scenario is when nano machines replicate and consume all biomass on earth. Giving a warm endorsement to a ubiquitous high quality barrel program with limitless corporate resources feels irresponsible. But this beer is incredible and no amount of Aw shucksing or block corporate proxy voting can change that.

This bottle will shatter your NNN, pls don’t try this beer, it’s masterful and now I need to lay down I’m very sleepy.

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Knob Creek 18 Year: Gas Station Bourbon Reaches an Age of Majority

It’s bachelor in paradise ok

It’s time for another installment of “Where did all the double digit age statement bourbons go?” Today’s answer is: they just cost way more.

With Willet painting their bottles black and ripping people off on mediocre 8 year distillate for $250 a pop, even humble Knob says “why not me?” Eighteen years. Corn juice that can provide consent, but not old enough to drink itself.

Eighteen year Knob Creek feels weird. Hyper luxury everymany products. Like seeing Hyundai release baller Genesis cars and you’re still thinking of Tiburons. Sure, the 9 year Knob is still at the gas station for now. The 12 is at the fancy grocery store. The horrible 15 is not worth anyone’s time but, yowzers, this $180 retail 18 year. Beam is bending our staves with this one.

I can already hear some 2015 apologist like “back in MYYYY day we got 16 year knob store picks for $55 and there was this frog on a unicycle called DAT BOI” We get it. Bourbon has changed. Even the halcyon days of $125 15th anniversary knob sounds like drinking from a sweet creek compared to these prices.

But is this good? Check your dreams of Eagle Rare 17 at the door, this isn’t some elegant affair. This seeks to compete with the likes of Elijah Craig 18 and does so competently. If KC15 is a completely underwhelming waste, this is just moderate decadence. It’s wasteful, but not like “Balenciaga Potato Chip Bag Purse” levels. KC18 is semi-indulgent. Just be grateful this isn’t $800 like that Marni Old Fitz 17.

It’s thin and doesn’t exude that syrupy body you would want, but provides enough viscosity to kick up some roadhouse peanut shells on the sawdust floor. There’s flickers of Sugar Daddy and Sun Tea, a pop of Lemon Snapple, with a restrained warmth that feels luxurious. A caramel dipped mohair cardigan dried on the line. Allspice, rum cake, and Cinnabon OTPHJ close things out tersely.

It never goes Diageo levels of laughable overoak, just as much wood as you desire, babe the big proofs hurt. I paid $230 for this with no box and, its yeah, def not that. Just buy the KC12, that is the quality sweet spot for 40% the cost. Or hell, buy the KCSB9 and ride the Shasta Bookers pony. This is a novel tick, but needless