Old Nation Brewing Pret: Wit Is Happening

Wrevity is the soul of Brett

If you’re in any form of beer media you always get the Hackiest question ever, every year, until forever: what’s the next big beer style?

We see two sharp seemingly divergent trends, low abv bottom fermented crushers and gristy funky juice. But what if. Now hold onto your fukn orange slices, we merged them. What if we tread in the top fermenting desert for 40 years of SKUs and nothing came of the conflict. No theological fermentation insights, just blistered feet returning to the first GW administration beleaguered and spent.

Maybe witbiers are back. Ah yes that shocktoppy grist, the original hazy slurry. This style is the ultimate whipping boy. Everyone points and laughs and it’s the punchline equivalent of people who dunk on imagine dragons, truly the lowest of effort. But witbier itself deserves cold contemplation as the ska/guy fieri/ICP fall guy of all beer.

With @radiantbeerco and @oldnationbrewing both putting stellar versions of this style into the market I want you to examine what pushed you away from witbier. Maybe your heel turn had less to do with the style and your own sense of development pivoting from the past in that delusion of ontology, like someone who folds their arms to System of a Down like the music was the problem and not your own latent insecurities.

This beer is so tasty. Valencia zest, burrata water, graham cracker, fancy jasmine water at an overpriced barre gym. Relatable. The frothy sustain is all the things people fetishize about London ale III but not $22 a four pack, and no experimental hops.

Leave your Hoegaarden notions in the past and return to twin pines mall Marty, we have clovey Libyans to fight.


Angry Chair Brewing Double Barrel Dave Adds Refinement to Excess

Hair of the Dog Dave? UH TRY DOUBLE DAVE BRO

Angry Chair has long held the dripping pastry crown, mallow fondue streaming into the furrowed brow of its Tampa consumers. In an odd change of events, there is now poise and grace to the excess. Like someone with microbangs and a septum piercing who secretly shops at Kooples, it’s a soft indulgence.

Barrel aged Dave’s barleywine was too much for me. It was in congruence with everything Angry Chair does and that “dipping skoal while riding a Yamaha YZ250X dirtbike on the highway helmetless with your underaged girlfriend on the back” sort of Floridian panache. It’s bold but unapologetic.

The double barrel Dave’s is something more empathetic. It has this haunting cask depth that shies away from a residual glucose and leans in to topgrain leather, currant, date, and roasted sweet potato.

If regular Dave’s barleywine is a guy with a SALT LIFE sticker on his 4Runner, then double barrel Dave’s is that person who has a LetterBoxd account whose favorite podcast is Cumtown. It can be elegant or a red flag depending on your level of appreciation.

The carb is flawless and silky with sustain. The mouthfeel provides a casky dryness and mild heat that feels thinner for the better compared to the single Dave. The swallow is long and provides this sneaky link Snickerdoodle that you don’t keep in the house but that cinnamon cookie goodness is there for your moments of liver loneliness.

And yet, there is a sort of darkness to this beer. It has a sort of unsettling evil that not even post-modernism can explain away. If Angry Chair can ratchet things back, if Vodnik can exist, then why is their oeuvre always catering to dudes who bash on MLMs and constantly post about their minor crypto gains? Because platos sell baby.

The same guy who asks to have his bagels “scooped” will toil flipping BAIGCCS and damage everyone else. Furtively, the gems like this and Fionn go under the radar. Then a strange meritocracy of taste is established, a shibboleth for those who know.

Let the awful HGTV House Flipping Sect destroy both the housing and building materials economy. You can sip casky barleywine and watch it burn.


Anchorage Brewing Triple Oak A Deal With the Devil is the Anti-Cheug


There is a new pejorative term, “cheugy” that is used to describe wonky Millennials. It’s a descriptive neg that needles basic millennial girlboss grindculture energy. Some beers are good enough to exist beyond the scope of Generational disputes. Triple Oak is so fantastic, it supercedes GenZ criticism.

In a world devoid of inherent meaning, some people define themselves by what they are not. I might have LED lights in my ceiling, FILAs, and terrible thrifted clothing but I am not a craft beer cheugy. If something is inherently delicious, it is invulernable to these barbs. A barleywine aged in three different casks, sold in Alaska, with almost perfect oaky depth, intense prune and date heat, with an elegant Skor bar swallow doesn’t care when you were born.

Given the price, bottle count, small format, style, and all the factors surrounding TO, people are right to suspect it to be cheugy. When you have beer this good, with waves of Riesin, pumpernickel bread, and Sazerac crackle, it makes you question if you yourself are outdated.

Unlike the girl who boasts that she does coke “but has never bought it” and the dude who wears Allbirds and brags about his $41 crypto gains, Triple Oak is a radiant example of a stylistic pinnacle. It is likely in the DDB top 10 beers of 2021 if only because making fun of it is like playing ping pong against someone who went to summer camp every year as a kid. I can’t get out from under it. Each neg turns itself into a virtue.

The beer is overwhelming, but that’s where the malty coating and heat comes from. You may roll your eyes when they do a flashmob dance at a wedding, but Triple Oak is a throbbing radiant evening destroyer. There are no trends or fads than can contain it.

The 12oz experience is both concentrated and elongated, like people painted by El Greco. It’s scary but you keep returning to hit those Raisinettes.

To a generation obsessed with Van Life, a 12oz beer that sells for over $400 is peak cheugy. But intensity without compromise is the furthest thing from décor bought at Home Goods. Triple Oak seeks to destroy all generations equally, the anti-Cheug.


Slice Turbo Nectar: WHERE’S MY SLICE, I want more than hazy rights.

Bro went and literally set a ring light wow

Somehow, due to my extreme negligence, I have been sleeping on Slice. Sure we know Moonraker, Zack Frasher, LINCOLN and the NorCal HellaHop squad. But I failed to ADDRESS SLICE.

A couple years ago people kept telling me BRO SLICE BEAT PLINY THE YOUNGLING. But I have a hard time taking dudes with orange juice IG accounts seriously, every square looking like Donald Duck concentrate fan fiction. I review hazy ipas only when extremely warranted.

Most hazy IPAs have this inherent aspirational hubris like a guy who wears a Ferrari polo shirt: “someday I will be known as the best.” Brewers candidly mumble to themselves cleaning oat slop out of the mash tun that IF ONLY PEOPLE KNEW we would be as big as Treehouse, NO. BIGGER. Than Monkish. It’s the kids who are out of touch.

Then sometimes a hazy IPA comes along that does do that. Oh sure it’s rare, but like your friend who only owns one outfit, it needs to be called out, Kyle.

Turbo Nectar really rewrites the hazy playbook with Galaxy and Citra hops. Apply ice to that hip since you likely just fell out of your chair. Sure, it has cold pressed satsuma, sumo oranges, some tangelo, and a creamy 50/50 bar middle but, like Anthony Hopkins in the Father, it’s the END that really tears you up.

Slice has mastered the art of maintaining resin, pine, conifer, the realm of evergreen Mendocino county illegal growhouses of yore, and binding that with the orange Julius mall walking pleasantries that trubmouthed masses crave. Bicameral legishazetion. The swallow is similar to those condom colored gummy bears and vibrant, but it has loads of split kindling. The result is fantastic.

Most NEIPAs have this goldilocks issue where it is either orange flintstones vitamins or pure Hugo Boss cologne and nothing to mitigate the two. Slice is like giving medication to a tiny Greek child dripping in Aqua Di Gio. So elegant, but so adorable.

Does this mean you need to fire up Fedex labels to get beer that’s like 22% better than you local options? I mean obviously. What else are you going to put on your one dimensional IG account that rotates 11 adjectives infinitum with the same 32 hashtags in the comments.


Hill Farmstead Marie, A Helles So Crushable, It is Crushing

Those are water droplets on the nucleation sites, please take your spicy online certified beer server trash elsewhere.

If you really want to get film nerds cranking their hogs, start talking about Planimetric Composition vs. Naturalism. This is their “active vs passive pickups” type of debate that all niche hobbies have. PC shoots things in a deliberately mug-shot, theatrical, entertaining way. Purists will wipe the combos dust on their Michael Haneke t shirt and bluster that naturalism is the only way to create true art.

Beer is the same. The pastry world has this performative aspect that exists in a demonstrative way that knowingly goes outside the scope of “actual” beer. It’s for entertainment, not integration. No one drinks these for nuance or careful reflection, but they serve a purpose. Similarly, we have @hillfarmstead Marie, a beer so rooted in naturalism that it is the ambient noise of lagers. It is so soft and delicate, you feel like you are impressed upon so deftly that beer itself is modifying the situation in careful ways.

You sip and it isn’t enough. It isn’t distracting but Marie is fueling the evening, speeding it along. By not drawing focus it enhances the crisp, clear, floral biscuit world that you are inhabiting. Marie makes no demands to change, it just makes everything else, better.

It makes you wonder about the highest function of a beer: is it sheer drinkability? This may be the most drinkable beer I have ever had. Even Live Oak Hef has a lemon banana quality that can slow things in a minor way. Marie is baked madeleine frictionless lubricant. The ethereal carb is endless and breaking through the pillow decimates the beer below. It is a perpetual motion machine of your own consumption, with no energy loss.

Marie transfers the intent and challah/fescue underpinnings of what you are doing and naturally amplifies it. No one will stop what they are doing to irritate you with a lengthy story about the boil, the type of vanilla bean, the casks, the reserve society, the cryo. It is the most oppressively utilitarian, disappearing beer ever. For that, it is flawed. A beer that is this crushable, is depressing.

Marie is a helles summer camp of bucolic intensity where the romance has a natural termination point, yet you sign up every year.


Oakshire Brewing Somehow a Life Beyond the Dream is a Faustian Gamble

Why’s it clear hang on

There’s a sort of Faustian gamble with IPAs these days. With every can you never know if IPA means west coast, or if the Orange Julius food court palates have so firmly dominated the style that NEIPA is just the standard designation. I often get a flood of relief when the pour hits the glass radiant and coniferous.

Oakshire is in Eugene Oregon and has the (mis)fortune of being surrounded by some of the most insane hoppy competition in any market. I remember Hellshire from back in the Blockbuster video days, when you could call into LiveLinks on your Blackberry. We have to go back, by moving forward.

Triple IPAs aren’t refreshing and can more often end a night than start one. “Somehow A Life Beyond the Dream” strikes a scaled up balance to this excess. The name sounds like a cross between a Rise Records band and a Tired Hands ESB. The nose delivers waves of the interior of a time machine with split pine, satsuma pith, raked underbrush, scorched grapefruit garnish on a $18 cocktail that took 11 minutes to make by a guy named Hyacinth who just bought a van.

The hops are about as predictable as dudes obsessed with crypto who don’t own a bed frame: simcoe mosaic citra Columbus. We get it. It doesn’t counterbalance with a fistful of crystal so by being even less structured it is somehow more polished. It has this niche loveable quality, sandalwood and POG juice. People embrace these offerings the same way that people in their mid 20s become obsessed with Trader Joes. We get it, you’re lonely and cooking for one. Leave us out of it.

Jesslyn will recoile and reveal those American Girl doll teeth when you make her take a sip and nod at how unhinged your beverage choices have become. TIPAs quickly become a solitary journey. In bathing yourself in the waves of aserose and oils, you are the lonely vape salesmen waiting for high school to get out, sitting among your glass cases and the danky torpor of nugs, grinders, and solipsism.

WC TIPAs take us back to the past and it’s in those quiet moments that Doordash orders just hit different. I’m here for it, but people will judge you if you eat a bisected grapefruit for breakfast.


Fremont Brewing Batch 5000 Was the Raisinet Event Horizon

What accessible terror hath Seattle wrought upon us all

Fermentation Log 34/124.44, 55 cycles post event

At this rate of bK exhaustion we will accelerate and hit the batch:day:K singularity where brew days will exceed the speed of light multiple batches fermenting as quasar speeds before they can even be released

The bird event horizon collapsing in on Seattle irradiating everyone’s arcteryx jackets. The tattered fish market, pike place crackling with raisin isotopes. Using a rebreather digging through the toffee soaked rubble, the wreckage like a shattered Skor bar.

Particulate toffee lingers in caramel wisps, blowing up towards the puget sound reeking of bananas fosters. They pushed barleywine technology to an untenable state. Their hubris is putting the highest quality out as fast as possible to decimate entire populations. The bottle that launched a thousand “You Up?” texts.

Casual Tavour users fell first. Not knowing the Creme brûlée power that had been democratized, their livers were forfeit. Someone who drinks cbd infused lemonade and makes art with old wine corks was not made for B5k.

The retention and olfactory waves of prune had the rattling presence of an Xbox live lobby in scent form. When people started opening b5k the theramines sounded. Women accustomed to Moscow mules and reposting pics from Tulum were reduced to raisinette dust as the world reopened.

Only the maladjusted remained. It was pure negligence to send b5k to the public. Grown men with four roommates who spend $500 on a stout but still listen to Spotify ads survived. The cask and fig was their succor. Dudes with one outfit laughed as others fell, their supple frames filling out Carhartt shirts with flannel button downs worn open like ducal capes finally had a day in the malty sun. Fremont had won, but at what cost?


Booker’s Donohoe’s Batch, Still Narrowly Escaping Corn Stockpilers

Start your engines

There’s this bromide in the bourbon world when talking about a new Booker’s batch, “IT TASTES LIKE BOOKER’S!” Cue riotous laughter and slaps on the backs of Titleist polos from dudes who stare longingly at their unopened cornwater action figure collections.

Sure, Booker’s is always going to be cask strength around 125pf, around 6-7 years old, and in the modern era, around $90 retail. The fun in each iteration is highlighting what’s new or salacious about each batch.

Enter Donohoe’s Batch, the first quarter release of 2021. Straight out the staves, this is amongst the darkest mosquito in amber look to is, this side of Stagg Jr. Oversteeped ice tea and dehydrated long haul trucker urine, that dark radiance.

The nose leans towards baker’s spice, apple fritter, and peach pie. The fusel waves are sometimes like dry scooping C4 preworkout and hit your jawline hard. This is a bit more tempered but it’s still young with irresponsible plans of buying a van and taking a gap year. That reckless heat of someone into solo bouldering and Hot Tamales dab rigs.

Every Booker’s drop I wonder if this will be the one where it goes full McKenna and hoarding middle management insurance adjusters begin stacking them on some Container Store furniture in a Midwest basement never to be opened. Kentucky made the original NFTs.

Donohoe was this ex-NFL BILL BRASKY time of legend who used to light people’s chests up with the 90’s Beam drippings. In way, Booker’s truly is the antithesis of stasis fetishists whose enjoyment of bourbon begins and ends with possession itself.

The taste is on the drier side for Booker’s but still has a nice almond and caramelized pecan to the swallow, which is predictably spicy. The finish is solid and long albeit swerves a touch into the muddled cider and children’s aspirin realm. It’s uncut, that Mitsubishi Lancer with a transmission that has trouble gripping second gear and shudders on the third date so she’s blushing and looking down at her Madewell shoes on the way to Macaroni Grill, that supportive heat. 

Booker’s stands by you when you need it most, until covetous baby palates take her away from you.

I do it for the fans

Upper Pass Beer Company Creation’s Shadow is a Warming Nonic of Vermont Hospitality


The bucolic hills of South Royalton, Vermont are home to some 700 souls. This little village is home to Vermont Law School, a notorious party school renowned for Wizard’s staff, King’s Cup, and barleywines. In this bustling hamlet is Upper Pass Beer Company nestled in a farm building, near Tunbridge, famous of course for its coveted THREE covered bridges. How many covered bridges does your terrible city have? That’s what I thought.

With the exception of A-A-Ron, Vermont isn’t exactly a barleywine powerhouse.  So how does Creation’s Shadow fare? At 11% abv it has restraint, the 6 hour boil is notable and reasonable, the 18 months maturation in casks is commendable: the end result is some raisinettes to your whoppers. 

This beer expresses the malt character nicely providing a bit of prune, date, fig, but also delivering a multigrain bread heel for the spirit profile to adhere to. The cask doesn’t dominate and it leans more towards the dark fruit than the melanoidins that you expect. It does nothing in excess and feels like the genial roadside directions from a Lebanon, NH native. The grace of artisan birdhouses at a Monpelier farmer’s market. Sure we can scoot over, we will share this table, hey can you watch my dog, ill be just a minute, I am heading into the syrup outlet, not a problem, the warm squeak of Arcteryx jackets, travelworn transplants seeking the final powder of the season. It’s that.

Listen are you gonna have the craziest time of your life in St. Johnsbury? Maybe, but probably not and if you do it’s like due to you and not some 11% abv barleywine. However, in being gracious and providing a warming old fashioned and a plate of pecan sandies there’s a certain awshucks “use the mud room” type of charm to this. 

This barleywine has that rural charm of scratchy air bnb blankets, a pellet fireplace, critters on the deck. Sure it isn’t luxurious, there’s no triple barrels, double wax, sky high abv, or even a component blend. But this here malty Subaru Forester has seen us through two recessions, countless mud seasons, and creemees with the kids. Those prunes live on as stains on our Columbia fleeces and that’s just fine.


Westbound and Down/Bierstadt Collab Chicago Peaks Kolsch is Liquid Online Anonymity

Bicken back bein kolsch

To many people, it is now a desirable trait to date someone with minimal online presence. The excesses of the past generation in dopamine craving, notification harvesting, eValidation, stranger approval scrumming have now come to a head and we are now full circle. Simplicity reigns supreme. No one wants to court someone who has 100k followers in liabilities.

In beer, the reductivist approach is back in vogue as well. The lowly Kolsch, top fermenting placeholder in many production schedules, destined for mediocre scores and ho hum profit margins. There’s difficulty in that simplicity. Try finding a single guy who somehow doesn’t have the tendrils of some internet hollows wrapped around his neck. It’s hard to break free and return to content this is clinically, socially, “unremarkable.” 

Bierstadt and Westbound aren’t exactly on the Rhine and Colorado isn’t exactly Cologne (pronounce it KOHN if you want big PP linguistic energy.) But Kolsch is a cheater style piggybacking on legit pilsners that demands a weird STANGE glass to make up for its historical hemming and hawing. The Brut IPA of German Beer history.

The taste is clean, like lavender handsoap, extremely floral, and this dandelion closer. At first I thought it was my glass, so I opened another can, and it is biscuits, water crackers, and BOOM Method Foaming Hand wash. It seems a new rocky mountain Sur La Table riff on the model. 

The nose is grainy, some Anjou, and again that jasmine. Incredible mouthfeel, flawless retention and lacing, gorgeous clarity, but are you content to have your mouth washed out by a deacon for singing Drake lyrics? How deep in the Bath and Body works hole will you tolerate?

At the 1986 Kolsch Convention I can’t imagine they foresaw Colorado being a hotbed for the best clear beers in the world, so maybe artistic license is warranted. I let it warm and it’s more grand’s biscuit and less of the floral aspects. A return to online anonymity.

Date mysterious people who post PJ Harvey, minimalist white Etsy home aesthetics with ferns, quote Donnie Darko, wear cropped pants, and reference Durkheim in passing. Who cares. If they aren’t online, does the Kolsch even exist?