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.
Alright do you have $320? Do you honestly not care about your hypothetical children? Good.
They didn’t earn PJ Mask tickets and can afford their own Montessori school. So let’s state up top, regular old four roses single barrel is verrrrry good. But let’s not be that flat Bill dipshit you went to highschool with acting like the RSX is the same as the new NSX. SaMe DisPlaCeMent type of nonsense. This 130th is for the type of 108 proof bottle that retails for $160 but realistically resells for $350. So that’s the realm we are sparring in.
This blend of 10/13/14/16 year casks has a floral nose like the OESK strain and a light mint meets jazz apple, more akin to the insides of a warm McDonalds pie bc the soft machine always broke.
With four roses you Walk into a bar as an equal and drink until you sublimate into nothing. It’s expensive But with this vibrant hot younger spice wrestling with a long lacquer finish. 130th is wearing a jade ring and a Moschino jacket with thrice invisaligned teeth. You have a disconnected boost mobile phone. Your short comings are shimmered in a calculated ombré dye along the rim of the glencairn. Drinking whiskey this good is leasing a life you can’t afford, but you get to inhabit for fleeting swallows.
Ultimately this feels like an odd hybrid between saz18 and Eagle rare 17 in that soft subtle nuanced way. Cinnamon and evergreen tummy rubs.
But honestly why are you in public in a flyers jersey striking at luxury liquid above your weight class. It’s the same reason guys with terrible credit scores finance mustang gt350s: liquid relevance. At a ten year Reunion everyone is so taught and presentational it is sad. By 20 years whats the point, let alone 130 years.
It’s good and healthy to lay on your side and feel your stomach flesh roll lazily into your palm like a supple sourdough starter. VSOR is the recognition of your legacy of decadence. The intense rye and long pecan pie filling is akin to feeling the slick elasticity of your stretch marks. They are badges of your dietary shortcomings, a testament to unchecked indulgence.
And yet, when you taste that allspice and dusty praline character, regrets subside. This beer is for that guy you went to high school with who is now a small business owner who never left your hometown and inherited upper middle class wealth and poise with minimal effort by virtue of time. This is refinement aggrandized by way of least resistance.
This is not a showy Beer. It excels in stealth wealth. VSOR asks casually when ING pays dividends and shrugs it off noting “I’m waiting on something.” You suspect it hasn’t earned its place but that grace and poise, the gift of time and effortlessness, the ease of integration and position, heir apparent to the Sazerac18 crown: something is happening and you resent its majesty. The way VSOR performs is so gentle but magnificent that it is an affront to other brewers who actively need to try. The mallard kicking under a caramel current with a steadfast forest green cowl above water.
This beer is softer than VSOJ and doesn’t need the approval of BOSS ryeway. It’s too classy for that. It expresses cinnamon thrift store jean jackets and epithets like “buying a used car is buying someone else’s problems.” It makes you feel small and lesser by contrast. You feel worse having had this beer. While VSOR does equestrian on a caramel Hanoverian, you’re acutely aware that your family steals cable.
While VSOR glides at 120fps through life, you feel like a trash person and it accentuates your struggles. It’s so pillowy soft and the result of endless pulls of caramel saltwater taffy, while you were just denied an auto loan for a 2011 Chevy Sonic. You’re not as good as this beer, trace that finger along your supple stretch marks and confirm your flawed existence.
It’s liberating to lean against the cold shower tile and pop tiny imperfections on your thighs, that confirmation that you’re the aggregate of so many imperfect attributes. American Solera doesn’t relate to these moments of Toni Braxton vulnerability. Old Bendmaster, even less so. Chase Healey is the transmogrified sum of BANG energy drink, carved mahogany, and a garage stockpiled with 7.62x39mm ammo “just in case things get hairy.” There’s nothing gentle about this beer.
A barleywine from the fermenAutuer who rocked us half a decade ago with Bomb is not elegant. I like it for that reason. Modern beer marketing is elegant script labels and pithy attempts to stripmine the wine world for all its decades of making Gen X dipshits feel relevant with soaring prices. American Solera leans towards Rothko labels and 750cc fuel injectors. It’s oddly refreshing.
The beer is hefty and drinks akin to those 15+ thicccboiz, not a gentle DPS Tank with sea foam floors. It reminds me of Cream of Wheat with way too much middle brown sugar, comforting on sick days when you were going to do disposable things to the the dial up internet connection. The viscous body hammers hard like a Compaq keyboard, sheeting in decadent shame. It’s raisin and Sazerac to the swallow, smacking of pecan pie filling. Every aspect is so overdone that it is harmonious. It’s like how every dude with a terrible high school GPA bought a Dodge Challenger and you’re ok with that because there’s balance even in nature.
I killed the entire bottle and despite my cheeks flushing with Sugar Baby residue, I wanted more. It’s fascinating to watch American Solera continue to cover the spread and put Malty spirals into numbers when other companies are consolidating or taking consistent L’s. Let’s hope their success lends to widespread availability so they can submarine the secondary markets and change palates like the Fremonts and Revolutions in the past two years.
Here’s to life.