Horatian satire employs mild mockery and lighthearted wit to deride whatever it seeks to criticize. It is not motivated by moralizing or malice, it provides depth and nuance through sweetness and a lighthearted grace that is both affable and accessible. The fuck does this have to do with barleywine.
Norwegian people. We know the cliches: vikings, perpetual darkness, black metal, socialism medical death panels. But Norway is kinda like the Vermont of Europe in a many ways. Genial people, hearth drunkneness, strange traditions, negligent skiing and Lovecraftian lore.
Lervig was founded in 2003 when things weren’t this terrible. I would say its a NARKE Light of sorts but Swedish dudes would fjord their cropped pants pointing out that head brewer Mike Murphy is American. Lervig is old school, tightly wound, refreshing beers.
So when Lervig made a barleywine, the execution follows that framework of gentle lampooning of other excesses that makes it so pleasant. There’s no Rolos or Skor bar. You wont hear the wince inducing cliché “BOURBON SOAKED RAISINS” it’s a lighthearted approach. It opens leathery and dusted with nutmeg, the body that shredded 9% body fat just evidencing the sinewy sugar babies pumping through that figgy vascularity.
Barleywines can sometimes be merely defined by their strength. As though the utility in carrying an atlas stone is a virtue in itself. Lervig set out for a more deft hand and gives you that approach of someone who owns a Crowley turntable but uses it to play Sidney Bechet albums. The dissonance is powerful. Sure there’s some rozijntjes but its not ALL rozijntjes.
In being massive alone, some barleywines lose their focus and end up like women who wear beige cardigans and clumsily distressed denim. Sticky caramel calf high boots inducing yawns at the apple picking date. In European fashion, Norway decided to class it up and playfully present a softer more port and currant driven experience that satirizes the excesses of the genre by contrast.
It is extremely well done and leaves many American entries looking like dudes who wear Billionaire Boys Club and Amiri jeans. Effusive colonial decadence at the expense of taste.
Only memories remain is absolutely phenomenal and a ddb top 10 beer of 2021. I want you to pause and think how well done a dark Czech lager has to be to get that superlative. I simply cannot improve upon it.
@goodwordbrewing and and @bluejacketdc did something remarkable: take an obscure low abv style, maximize the flavor and lose nothing in translation. This delivers optimally in every way. The body is clean and intensely efficient. Lean malty vascularity like a bottom fermenting fencer swinging a toasted scone epee. The carb is flawless and feels like it was whipped with egg whites. The cap separates masterfully from the watery mouthfeel below and sheets in wispy doilies.
This beer shouldn’t exist. It will lose the brewery money. And yet, it is one of the best beers that locals will never drink. The swallow has a fantastic honey buckwheat scone with a burned crescent roll finish. It’s a market segment this is both underserved and worthy of blowing up.
The Lotus Elise is powered by a Toyota Corolla engine but it’s tiny frame propels it with panache and Grace. The small body on this dark Czech lager thrashes and remains so poised. The nose is like almond milk shakerato, cracked walnuts, and pretzel roll, salt kernels in the brackish water profile and all.
I don’t know how they did this. It is a page directly from Suarez and Moonlight, in Georgia, from a place not known for this degree of old world nuance. I pray they can somehow replicate this because people need beers like this in their lives.
This isn’t that contrarian hyperbole to present a counterpoint to present excesses, this beer is just beer flavored beer in the most classic way. If this were Halfway Crooks or Bierstadt I would be like oh they just made the best beer of their year. Instead this collab blew the doors off of comparable entries in the field, globally.
Please flick this malty gem into some turns and watch it handle the understeer and remain gripped as a beer you can give to anyone and drink anywhere.
Beer can be like this again, but only if you buy beers like this.
Next in our search to answer “What Happened to the Double Digit Age Statements” we turn to the mint tube hype juice, E.H. Taylor, Amaranth Grain of the Gods. Now we know that the bourbon community has made CIRCUMSTANCES surrounding their bottles practically erotic fan fiction. The more a community has diminishing returns, the crazier the backstories have to be to justify the steep premiums. Ask a sneakerhead why those SB Dunks are worth $1000 and revel in the DISCRETE EVENTS.
EHTAGOG was hypothetically $70 in 2019, but age statements were already laughably gone by then. Every sale post for these EHT one offs always brags about how it has a MINT TUBE. Then they provide 7 pics of the tax strip because these are so heavily counterfeited that the packaging feels like it is worth more than the actual experience of drinking it. For guys who have zero intention of drinking things, fake bottles give them a nervous breakdown.
This bottle is underwhelming and well short of the $1,700.00 secondary price tag. None of the one off EHT minty tubes are worth it but this one is outright unremarkable. Prior to this they made FOUR GRAINS and dudes who never knew they wanted extra grains flipped those. So now we have a RARE WHEAT ANALOG. OMG elusive butterscotch bombs.
It’s a slightly mintier, wheated bourbon. It provides a touch of toffee and figgy pudding, and a bit of extra juniper to the swallow and that’s it. You get a melange of cinnamon and wintergreen Five gum. The swallow has a touch of hibiscus and honestly who cares. It might as well be a Bourye blended whiskey.
The best part is people almost universally accept that it’s a mild improvement and still flip these. In bourbon, possession and collection always beats consumption and reflection.
What does an Aztec wheat have to do with the storied history of bourbon? Nothing. It’s like cross pollinated hype narratives from the equally ridiculous/exploitative Tequila world. No one else uses this seed, and you can’t have it, that’s the extent of its wholly mediocre virtues. Just buy a Four Roses store pick and tell these resells to finger their own minty tubes.
Brewers need to get in on this get rich quick scheme, stay with me now: HOPPY TABLE SAISONS. We already know floccbois want that haze. What if you hit them with the original unfiltered creamy Sunny D: farmhouse ales. The average hazy ipa fan only interacts with the sun when they are standing in a DMV style lines for cans or walking around a theme park, but the green glass will hook them.
Take Amalgam for instance. We lure in these saison-curious palates with promises of hops and POG juice, then once they are firmly in the barn, hit them with the bone dry hay bales. It has the fescue, that Bermuda/herbal smack but with an Anjou pear underpinning. We already know NE IPA fans basically just want citrus juice, so we shift their palates to other produce instead.
The 3.6% abv reinforces their ability to croosh mad lychee juice and wont cloud their judgment when they are looking at NFTs or Toyota 86 coilover kits. Table beer is what hollandaise fans secretly have been missing all along. Most of them were born in the 90s so they missed out on terrible Hoegaarden or Shock Top Belgian wit era that we all suffered through. To a hazeophile, they are making this radical bucolic discovery. The chlorophyll and construction paper will validate that adult regression that has these people doing coloring books, journaling and adult kickball leagues. It’s stunted growth by design because the ABV is meant to be small.
Imagine if Blaugies did 16oz pounder cans with stolen IP on them. Wallonian citra cravers would be peeling out in whatever the French equivalent of a TRD Tacoma is. American craft beer dudes will buy their entire wardrobes from REI and Carhartt and then average 1600 steps a day. We can change this.
Beer nerd exercise doesn’t need to be standing in lines and stumbling from tent to tent with pretzel necklace resistance bands. Hot saison summer is upon us and these bone dry drillers can turn things around.
When you spot a dude in a five panel hat ripping crème brulee clouds, tell him this is the new hazy IPA made with a crazy yeast that had to be imported. Or that Travis Scott drinks table bieres. Table time is now.
Voodoo Brewing Aphotic is a complete nightmare. Blanton’s Black Magick is a top 3 stout I have had all year. I cannot reconcile the two.
The newest aphotic falls to the depths upon Icarian wax wings of “doing too much//being too extra.” Say less bro. At first I was honestly confused and thought there was a latent pedio infection onset. It busts out of the staves with sour cherry, rotting grapes, this musky canvas and prune component. Even worse, this is Voodoo’s thickest stout so it is given ample room to expound on these insane notes without any degree of oversight. The swallow tastes like the assistant brewer was like “I made that black patent malt stout you wanted” “You mean you used black patent as the special malt right” Anakin.reaction.
It just twists the handlebars and goes top over into the sharpie, permanent marker, charcoal zone that even Scandinavian palates who obsess over black licorice and smoked herring would be like “it’s a bit much.” In a twist of sumptuous irony, the French Oak XO casks were their undoing. Only a detective in a Ducal murder mystery gets to say a sentence like that.
Blanton’s Black Magick is a masterpiece. It is the best iteration I have had since the 2017 Old Forester version and comes shockingly close to the inimitable, perhaps greatest stout of all time, 2013 PVWBM. It has a perfectly tailored body that hugs like a slim fit shirt, sized up. The loving folds of cocoa and macaroon button down the oaky cellulose viscose body. The heat resonates and provides the warmth that you desire without overdrying or drawing fusel focus. It has the sustain of a hollowbody Gretsch.
It is a masterclass in balance through excess. Blanton’s BM does this with no extracts, lactose, adjuncts or chicancery. The squaw bread and peanut brittle Linger like the Cranberries and I can’t reconcile how the same brewery made this beer and Aphotic.
The answer lies in creative discretion. VBC are artists and should be given license to make both Sixth Sense and The Last Airbender. If you don’t want them at their Aphotic, you don’t deserve them at their Black Magickest.MarilynQuote #GirlBoss.
Our quest to figure out “What Happened to Double Digit Age Statements?” forges onward with an adult 18-year-old Ancient Redemption Rye. The answer to this ultra-high age statement is: the retail was set to “100mg gummy high” of $400. To be clear, to even get one of these allocated a poor shopkeep has to move so many terrible bottles of rotgut Fireball and RAIN vodka that the “retail” might as well be three times that.
The bottle is gonna make southwest art aficionados horny with its iron patina plate and weathered leather cording. MMM TURQUOISE NECKLACE ME DADDY. This was distilled way back in 1998 at the Seagram’s in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Before ryephiles lactate peppermint oil, this isn’t your daddy’s MGP. They bought the distillery in 2011. CIRCUMSTANCES. The same dudes who lose their mind over Saz18 “DID IT GO IN THE TANK” festishes, are the ones who can turn a brick 9 story building in Indiana into an erotic fantasy setting.
This blows Saz18 out of the water, which isn’t saying much because that is a $1700 dose of tepid, watery, Spearmint airwick that ends up sitting on CB2 bookcase in a MAN CAVE until divorce proceedings turn it into a liquid community asset.
This is insanely good, better than Bookers Rye, THH, the higher end Willett ryes, but not the BEST ones. I thought this would taste like Five Gum aged under a seat in Regal Cinemas. It is evergreen and alpine at 110 proof. It provides a syrupy dill and menthol nose. This doesn’t hit a Listerine strip zone that some old ryes can get OVER saturated with spice. It feels almost more like old bourbon, aged toffee.
Taste is Andes mints, Djraums, A&W cream soda, Fernet, and such intense saturation and clove smoke catharsis that Davy Havok would blanche. This isn’t for dudes who collect FuncoPop Toys or listen to Tom MacDonald. This is an adult affair not for juvenile tastes. It is extinct to a saddening degree, retail and a secondary that only assures its further disappearance.
In attempting to curb secondary, the retail reinforced it. The Bookers Rye effect, is wholly saddening. But this double digit rye is an absolute unicorn. Thanks to BeverlyHillsLiquor for this insane hookup
Innovation comes in waves and ebbs like the tides. This guy Diesbach accidentally made Prussian blue paint in 1710 by contaminating it and adding iron. As a result, Japanese landscapes changed and Hokusai was able to paint Under the Wave. This isometric perspective of blues influenced Van Gogh to paint Starry Night, which was modified by Monet’s Water Lillies, and rejected by Rothko. Because one guy made a cheap blue paint.
Imperial Stouts have had their own Prussian blue in the form of residual sugars. Sky high final gravity in the late 2000s was seen as a novice move, yeast knocking out, ineffective attenuation. It wasn’t desired. Pulpit Rock wouldn’t have been winning any beauty contests in the GW Bush era. But from Abyss to Dark Lord to Huna, viscosity became job one with Florida spiking a bubbling crude in the Everglades in the early 2010’s, making Kaggen look svelte and laughable to the candymouthed delegates.
Enter Iowa. The prescriptivity of SHOULD is framed by what people want. Forelsket is the highest rated beer of July 2021 at 4.8 and is reselling for $350, so who is correct: pancreasboiz or hydrometers? This beer is insanely lush and layers, devils food cake and almond joy, fondue dipped macaroons, and SnoBall cupcakes. But are these virtues in the realm of beer? IDK have you ever even felt a boob, bc that’s who would even ask these things.
It is magnificent and an exaggerated version of the Mortalis Apple Leto, or a subtle version of the ridiculous Weldwerks Starry Noche. All the guys who played twangy Midwest emo eventually began shredding clean like Polyphia, its still excessive and indulgent just in a different way. This is coconut but with the gain turned all the way up, as soft as the insides of a Ferrero Rocher but people will judge you for enjoying those.
Some people legit care how many Spotify followers they have. It’s a strange niche, but it exists. This beer is fantastic but needs to be embraced with the context of its Iowa Slipknot excess. Sugar is the Prussian Black to stoutsmouths. The accident of 18 plato FG is still lapping at our shores, painting khaki masterpieces on palates.
So BRAT sent me this Elifish Maple Wee Heavy and already I was like HERE WE GO: no water, no barrel aging, mixing wee heavy tones with IHOP OTPHJ. It was fine, the beer is a fair to good mélange of the pancake world with almost braggot execution at times that was sticky sweet but fun enough. Malty backbone with some continental breakfast French toast, yawn.
Then she buried the God damn lede. Surreptitiously tucked into the box was an absolute heater: gin barrel aged pillow talk. They took this lowly wit, pounded it with mixed ferm, just annihilated it with 10 brett cultures, then tossed it into a Vicks Vapor rub botanical prison. The result is fantastic.
You can miss me with the maple 10 times out of 10 unless Brad Clark is involved and then this Witbier is just sniping from the PNW weeds with a .300 Knockout. You get geranium, juniper, frothy creamy mint and dill, Hot Dog on a Stick limeade, and this subtle gristy swallow. It was legitimately better than the gin BA Side Project table bier that I had the same night.
I had never even heard of this plucky little NY upstart but now your boy Eli is Fishin. You know Book of Eli? In this one Denzel is foraging for herbs and Gary Oldman is sourcing herbaceous barrels. They couldn’t get Mila Kunis due to brand sponsorship conflict with Jim Beam. The point is NEW YORK CAN SOMETIMES BE OREGON BUT WITH SNOW. You even been to Batavia? Me fucking either but I bet there’s dudes with North Face pullovers ripping nicsticks complaining about big city people from Rochester sinking their $140k housing economy.
Gin barrel aged wheat is the same whereever you are. Right now someone from Attica or Avon is writing scathing gin soaked response explaining how they’re so much different than Portland or Buffalo. Doesn’t matter, when we are all ripped on herbal grist, you can have an owl tattoo, an arrow tattoo, an infinity sign, a zodiac sign, the stupid heartbear that turns into music notes, even basic ass koi fish bros are welcome.
Mead fans get their cages rattled harder than a great white on gas station boaner pills. They are the original honey NFTs where each bee crypto is just a guy who boils mead at home with the promise of being the next big thing. By the time most of these people have gone commercial, the hive has shifted, swarming some new stickybox. Mead fans lost their minds when they paid $125 to be in the Zymarium club and then had to pay $450 for the bottles. How quickly the drones abandon the queen.
Zymarium is the newest and spiciest home operation noting on bottles THIS IS NOT FOR SALE. Even on their FB posts NOT FOR SALE. Slick marketing, cologne bottles dipped in apothecary wax, it’s like Boneflower and Pips had a cousin who is heavy into pagan mysticism and Type O Negative. The NOT FOR SALE is the palm to the clavicle that spurns more desire. The Heisman creates the longing.
But sometimes, the hype is valid and your combs are left fully saturated. This mead won first place at the 2020 Mazers cup and usually if you ask one of the homebrew ballers to show credentials they mutter something in a Chris Klien dialect about their friends enjoying it.
This is one of the most intensely concentrated meads I have had but it never loses its precision. It has a lot of the dry tannic structure you’ll find in Schramms but this Floridian excess, waterless, jammy, bell jars full of preserves. It feels like if you took a flabby Napa Syrah like SQN and then reduced it further, heightening its virtues and shortening its welcome.
The produce is managed beautifully, waves of grape fruit leather, rose and jasmine, prune. The drag is both drying but excessive, with fruit but heightening akin to ambrosia salad. The meadowfoam is almost distracting but so decadent, vanilla/trifle/strawberry shortcake steeped in Cabernet close it out and it is quite a load to press.
A few years ago it was an aberrant ask to have someone spit in your mouth, sheesh now it’s a de rigeur kink that everyone is signing up for. The mead world went from these sticky sweet wine adjacent offerings to an increasing penchant for berry leg quivering. It is enjoyable, but perhaps too intense for some.
Every year I look forward to Smog releasing this gem, Barrel Aged OE. They always vary slightly and the cask blend presents something to anticipate. We used to hunt this back before Smog when it was at Tustin Brewing Co. This year was particularly special for me because it was bottled on the same day my son was born, a lil baby OE.
This is an amazingly balanced beer this year. This vintage presents such a great spirit platform and tight body lines that are stingy with the residual sugar that results in a blast of oolong tea, that spicy high rye content bourbon like 4R smble, grenache, and kalmatta olive brine. It’s far more complex than English confectionary treats and feels like a $17 pretentious cocktail served by a dude named Hyacinth with ice with no occlusions.
I usually joke that this is the Straight Jacket of socal but it feels like the nexus between Mother of All Storms and like Sebago. It remains california gold and Huell Howser would crash a golf cart into the grain silo. The dry tea and leather aspects mingle with the double helix of oak and internally you feel like the type of dude who has purchased a ballistic gel torso without everyone looking down on you for being an insecure dipshit.
This isn’t a novice Barleywine and there’s depth and nuance to it. If wheated bourbons are what you give your baby palate friend because he read about them in Condé Nast, then brown sugar bombs are the English caramel of the beer world. This has more articulated points than an expensive action figure. Like a friend who is super into competitive whipping, it’s dangerous but awe inspiring. Like how did you even get to this point.
The intensity and spiritphillic nature of this is a boat wave of sorts. Other beer drinkers know where your palate sits at as your outboard motor gurgles pure octane. When someone posts an intense mature cask bomb like this, they’re either in somber reverence or in that “hey is ordering a gram at 3:15am a good idea?” Either way there is power and negligence to the display.