This is one of the most stellar initial offerings I have had from a brewery in a long time. It is on par with Power Stone for Sega Dreamcast if we are talking launch titles. On the face of it I prebooked an appointment with my dentist after reading it was back blended with acid beer aged on pluots. Dread set in. So out the gates @floodlandbrewing takes a challenging pommelhorse and then just sticks the landing. The carb is magnificent and sheets but provides gusts of olfactory upwinds like Link on a tiny acidic glider. It has waves of plum, loquat, nectarine and candied ginger. The color is radiant and shows depth beyond a cliche ba golden with some Sysco tier fruit dumped in. The taste is like a white zin with pangs of rosè and fume blanc. There’s a massive fruit presence that leads with a farmers market foot and an acidity that feels like @caseybrewing or a @hillfarmstead fruited flora in its sheer restraint on the pH throttle. I finished the entire 750ml with ease and the lingering residual swallow has this sharp dryness like Jazz apple that compels deeper pulls. It pains me to even write this, I poison my own well like Kefka and already know this will lead to inaccessibility but praise where it is due, this might be an early contender for ddb best of 2018 and these boys just getting started.
Every year @ozarkbeer releases this amazing gem and, despite it being the absolutely best local trade bait that Arkansas has to offer, the people who swap these beers are always crushingly generous. It is almost like There Will Be Blood where these remote locals haven’t been tainted or corrupted by outside colonialism or an injection of artificial capital and they exist in that “StL pre-Side Project” phase of development. There are still places in America where people aren’t rapacious fucks trying to grist out every possible razzle slot. Ozark sells to these legitimately cool and nice people. Bourbon Double Cream Stout transcends the “local favorite” to something that warrants legitimate contemplation on a macropalate level. With its minimalist packaging and unfortunately consumer stymying acronym, sometimes this gets lost in the fray. The thing this beer does exceptionally well is the flawless balance between silky oat mouthfeel and enough barrel to contribute a spirit profile to prevent it feeling flabby or insubstantial [cf. Velvet Merkin would be a top offender of the latter.] It is not exceedingly booze driven and seems to come from an era rooted in the late 2000s when harmony between structure and cask profile was sought and a sky high final Plato wasn’t some lofty goal to be celebrated. A dripping crown of Floridian inefficiencies. The taste reminds me in scope and consistency of Nestle Quik with a twinge of nougat and brownie bites in the swallow. 2016 was my favorite vintage but it bears noting how this beer ages exceptionally well and trades so low by contrast that it presents a welcome exotic alternative to many stupid hypewhales in the game at present. The entire affair feels like a day of shoulder isolation lifts: stability, fortifying, providing context and grounding to prevent palate injury on more extensive range of motion. “Simple” is often a pejorative in the current landscape of laughable excess and creativity bankrupt marketing departments who see a rolling boil as some Urkel-to-Stefan machine for their mediocre beers. This is very much the opposite of that: the anathema of hype that delivers on solid classic decadence.
Apple Brandy Circle of Wolves was essentially a stout in many ways. For whatever reasons the SRM, the residual sweetness, the execution just screamed borderline cocoazone. Never take Life to the cocoa zone, no choc zone, no choc zone THEY KNOWWW BETTER. So when I went to address the bourbon version imagine my surprise when it looked like certifiable life, it smelled like creme brulee and bananas fosters. There was a burnt brown sugar aspect but also a gritty american oak dryness to it: they did what they were supposed to do. The taste was more nimble and felt custom tailored instead of the H&M one size fits all sweatshop malt profile that makes breweries look frumpy. Somewhere between Mother of All Storms and Cigar City Opal, this beer lies prostrate waiting your embrace. Not hot enough to make you wince but with a refined sugar aspect you can actually embrace. If you are a poor fuck and cannot land this, go for Begyle 500 because that beer is very similar and also secretly well done. But these are moving in the same realm as FO and they are exceptional so stop being a bitch about the cinnamon. If you cant handle me at my Apple Brandiest then you dont deserve me at my Bourboniest.
After the Apple Brandy Circle of Wolves letdown, I was not entirely jazzed up to foray into the big barrel aged ales from the Veil and made all these unfounded assumptuons about hops and farmhouse being their MvC finisher, but an inability to tank. I was wrong again, and sometimes it feels good to be wrong. Like when you check the hotel safe and tell yourself “never meet anyone on Carigslist casual encounters, you swore this would be the last time” but then your Magic the Gathering black lotus is still in there and he didn’t even take it. Relatable shit. I have seen zero ISOs for Pallbearer, and the reviews on BA (LOL) and Untappd (concise LOL) seem mixed at best. This beer goes in hard, unquestionably. This is one of the most viscous beers I have ever had this side of Apple Brandy Huna. The sheeting on the chope was legendary and left rings and ecrue and taupe sheeting down the sides like some seismic portapotty incident. With that power comes responsibility: how did they handle the residual malts and sugars to buttress this mouthfeel? All things told, very well. It is undeniably sweet in the vein that Cigar City and Angry Chair can be sweet, but it pulls this rogue maneuver and tempers this with an INSANE spirit driven profile. I love when brewers can exorcise the spirits from the oak and actually impart a tannic thumbprint from their BALs. Voodoo is exceptional at this. Fremont does this very well. This beer is huge waves of muddled brownie bits, waffle cone, Bookers meets Elmer T Lee in cascading dryness and magic shell of caramel and candied walnuts. We can call take jabs at Game Genie’ing things and tossing sheet cake into the boil, but when you can massage these insane bakerytonez using natural aspiration no forced candyduction, it is a fucking feat. Usually I can’t justify finishing entire bottles of stouts on a caloric basis, they just aren’t often worth it. This beer I ran out of tokens and still wanted to go private with that brownie bowl. At least let me lick the spoon.
Also the DDB collab with Wren house is going down, flying out to Phoenix on Friday to brew a dortmunder
Every year I am fucking stoked for the Black Magick deviants and I got a fuck mountain of hatemail for my displeasure with the Rye, I can handle an intercourse hill’s worth but a fuck mountain is excessive. Thankfully this four roses bangs as hard as the Buffalo Trace one but still well short of one of my top five stouts of all time: the PVWBM. This has lackluster carb and minimal lacing, and fairly tepid mouthfeel in terms of cling and sheeting. So the ready inquiry is: if you neg it on a structural basis, then how is it still a good beer? The nose and taste themselves just put the fucking snickers to the pavement. It’s like a Dodge Hellcat is an inelegant corny fucking AARP white dude mobile, but it also just puts up crazy numbers. The nose is pure nougat and Payday, caramel cubes and chocolate fondue. The barrel is endemic of this barrel program which remains easily top five in the brewing world. The taste follows in stride and drills the roast without overplaying the pocket aces sweetness. It’s just such a complete package with zero mouthfeel or aesthetic amenities. That stupid fucking m4 with the gold roll caging, it’s so ugly but Jesus, so much chocolate undercarriage flex. I almost never advocate this but damn I wish this ba stout came in a larger format. If you have ever had an amazing date and you can’t process the affection because it’s vibrant and alive but served incrementally because it in itself makes you want more. You will even sit through the Good Shepherd because this odd latent tingling barrel aged boner that’s Connection and nervousness and the prolonged focus and epidermal heat from any malts contact because every passing frame is an intimate battle of the Marne defining where you heart’s trench lies and the progress is hard fought and intense. This beer is good.
Also the tick the brews shirt is on sale again:
I have a sordid history of sorts with BA Stone IRS. In 2010 I was doing the BA top 100 for DDB and that god damn beer was festival only and I never leave the house so here we are. I once drove down to Escondido early Friday morning the night after Winterstorm to get some leftover BA IRS in 2011 at 11:01 a.m. That’s where my life has been at. It was gone. The HOSTESS LIED TO ME. Dr. Bill gave me a pour of the infinitely better Stonewall instead. I am too tired to contextualize that beer for newmoney homeless leveraging dumbfucks. Then in 2012 they released BA Stone IRS in bottles and I went full shitlord and hit every location and amassed like 6 with my muley cousin [this section is to make me seem relatable to give a redemption narrative] and then those bottles were infected. So I had to drive all the fucking way down to return them and explain how I had so many. 2012 was a hell of a drug. Then Blue Palms was supposed to have it on at their anniversary, so I show up and they changed it to 2006 Oatmeal stout or something equally shitty. By the time Mikhails finally came out, my nips were already rubbed so raw it didn’t give a fuck. I had already had Narke shit by that point. Then two months ago I met the pilot brewer backstage at a Silverstein show thanks to BILL and he sends me this prototype off the pilot system. An old espresso and coconut friend. So how is it? It is first and foremost a coffee forward beer with flawlessly integrated and present barrel character that tempers the acidity of the deep roast with a caramel ribbon tying it together. The alcohol is seamless like Aston Martin interiors, tautly constructed oak tannins and a cocoa meets butterscotch aspect. By now you can already see the issue: where the fuck is the coconut? The entire point of this beer is almost obviated when you realize that the purpose of the beer is wholly muted because the coconut is a light smattering of Startropics suntail oil dipping the sheet in chocolate milk, hitting people with yoyos. Its lipid in the mouthfeel and a slick swallow but it is hardly present anywhere else. It is still the world class beer that is Mikhails at the outset, but it feels like when you buy the Cayman R and all they did was remove the AC and all the amenities for the “special” edition. Ur like “thanks?” SO: it is exceptional, with the massive caveat that this is not some Hawaiian Tropic greased up waterpark adventure. You’re tucking your boner into the waistband for completely different bean driven reasons.
Horus is a maven of collabs and as a result of this far and wide Mendellian cross pollination, the genotypes have been varied. This punnet square is entirely within his own juice breeding. A blend of 11 different strong ales can produced varied results, but sometimes those SD docking juices make wonderful stout/Life hybrids like Analsmith’s reforged, St Archer Tusk and Grain Series or the classic Melange 3 which is currently turding it up in East LA Liquor stores priced at like $36.00. They can be well done is what I am saying. This beer came with a card explaining all the components but I am barely functionally literate and if someone didnt read the footnotes on Infinite Jest they aren’t reading that shit. Plus the component breakdowns, akin to the scroll Firestone anny’s tuck in, never really are telling. Look to that recent Merkin disappointment for reference. This beer however bucks the traditionally massive Horus body and has a more evenhanded approach that feels Central Waters-y in execution, clean lines, those Beachwood Shrago 911 residual cling on the gumline. It feels more european than overstated. The nose has a bouquet of Almond Roca, pralines, and Ferrero Rocher. It is pleasant and not overburdening, albeit the barrel profile almost feels too integrated and not vibrant enough to cut the attendant sweetness. The taste grabs the wheel and veers the brownie PT Cruiser directly into oncoming stout traffic. All signs of life are relatively dominated by bakers chocolate and soft oaty roast. I anticipate dumbfucks trying to correlate the abv with the dialed in body and then getting Funyuns dust all over their Gateway 2000 keyboards complaining it is thin. My complaint is that it aligns so closely to stout realm but never goes full batter penetration. It is a barleytease and also doesnt double down on stouty excess. As a result it is a well made, albeit tastefully done beer that never dominates either recessive or dominant ALE-leles. Drink it by yourself and do not share this one.