Dark Sky Brewing 3333333333 is restrained in a field of excess

@dark_sky_brewing are some hucksters that continue to evolve and massage the rapidly evolving AZ beer scene. One parts @centralwaters in body and another part @weldwerksbrewing in conceptual execution. It’s like restrained pastry, the snackwell cakes in a realm of excess. If you feel that beers like Parabola provide ample screen time to develop several other B story characters like rum bourbon coconut and vanilla in a 90 minute runtime then this is for you. It’s tightly knit, wafty without a long lingering swallow, that dialed in body that’s lightly oily with a tootsie roll and macaroon finish. It could be more hefty but I’d rather err on the side of those Julian Schrago low drops rather than suffer through god damn DME battermess. This is a good beer that fails to swing on the heaviest of weights in the genre. That’s a milieu I am content with.


Casey Funky Blender Preserves BlackBerry is exceptional in tannins and acid and oak, oh lawd it comin

Funk? No! Captain Funk. God damn Casey sometimes swerves into acidity or fruit reliance but often the flawless helix of brett and barrel and grist and tannins merge like some wallonian Captain Planet 🌎 and this is the result. They are champions of undercutting their own absurdly well done stock and people will step on their own labias to try Jammy and leave those Randian Colorado residents knowingly sipping the dank shit furtively. So many wild ales I receive and enjoy maybe 8 ounces. I feel my masticary flows and gums tighten but not here. In some @caseybrewing stonefruit missteps? Sure. But god damn this is intensely enjoyable #fruit #musk #funk #colorado #beer #beerstagram #instabeer


Three Chiefs Uno, Stripping Down the Adjunct and Cask accoutrements str8 nakie

In the valley of the damned

Days breaks with golden strand

Over pastures green it glows

To where night returns.

This is the new @threechiefsbeer and it’s a bold departure from the prior canon. No adjuncts. Essentially no casking. [inb4 lololol the prior beers had no cask 1!1!1!1] but essentially this is fully naked. I admire pulling the curtain away especially for such a young hypemachine. It’s viscous, toasted pumpernickel and baker’s chocolate, nespresso pods, and oddly sweeter than the castles variants so the oak must temper the residual sugars of the base. It’s frothy and has a great sustain and sheeting throughout. It’s not on par with Faha but this is more like a posthumous unfinished Nakobov novel. You can see the inner workings but it lacks the polish of the fully developed entries. It’s entertaining to compare this to the non casked wakefield entries because they are exceedingly similar but I would give this a slight edge. It is telling because you don’t see @gooseisland rolling out the nightstalker or BCBS secret sauce or pulling its pants down for a pre barrel maltoscopy. I appreciate the vulnerability. I don’t see Cory tossing naked ass Derivations in bottles but maybe that’s because none of these beers feel finished compared to their insanely polished barrel aged counterparts. There’s a ton of tired crude/refinery/chevron bits and tags I will spare you from. Let’s just stipulate that the petrolepuns were rendered. 200 dudes will still line up along El Segundo to hit even the stripped down bottles from 3C and I don’t entirely blame them. No one else would prep a massive non ba beer like this, it’s being vetted specifically for thinning in barrels so in this form it’s excessive in a fun way

If don’t matter none of this matters


DDB and Highland Park collaboration: barrel aged Barleywine Taking Donations, review of the three deviants

Being a beer critic is a low-risk low-reward paradigm. You take the vibrant product that someone else created, distill it into actual piss, and then point out faults. It is inherently DEconstructive and never appears productive. You co-opt someone else’s work and your entire art is based upon deriding the vulnerability of their efforts. Industry niceties even effectively bind them with a gag order from responding. I am all too aware of the scope of my “art.” if all else fails, you can envelop yourself in a shroud of intersubjectivity and negate all in criticism. Brewers do not have this luxury.  Brewing beer is an inherently productive act, in the Platonic “pursuit of the good” sort of manner. You are coordinating billions cells to create culture, to influence culture, and thereby modify Culture. With the highest risk of creation comes the vulnerability of presentation, injecting sticky life liquid into a crowd of petulant hateful consumers whose own confirmation of self-worth is the metabolization of everything a someone else has made. The consumer chews through and emits toxicity not unlike the propagated cultures themselves. There is a solipsistic balance to the process. It’s a fantastic dance. Today I grip the mash paddle and the Moleskin as a pulpit of ultimate self-indulgence, the cringe of deconstructing something that I helped create: Highland Park Brewing’s Taking Donations.

There are three variants of this English Barleywine: single barrel brandy, single barrel bourbon, and a component blend of the two casks. Let’s review each in turn:

Single Barrel Brandy

I enjoyed this the least out of the three variants, but the reasons for that are complicated. This is extremely unique and meticulously crafted. The cask profile just sweats beads of brandy profile throughout and the double helix of malt creates something worthy of your contemplation. On one side the brandy presents waves of plum, red fruit, currant, black cherry, and fig. It is intensely fruity and never lets a saccharine profile dominate. In some respects it feels spiritually akin to a red wine quad, but the malt helps to provide depth and structure to prevent it from entering a vinous zone. The barley component pulls it back into reality and ends up feeling that an exceptionally well done version of North Coast Brandy Old Stock. The body is a touch diaphanous, never domineering but providing enough substance the oaky bread pudding swallow to unfold, and this is the worst version.
Single Barrel Bourbon
I enjoyed this the most out of the three treatments and this is very enjoyable. The body across all three has the Highland Park fingerprints all over it, the clean drops, the tight lines, all flab excised down to exactly what is needed and nothing further. For the reasons that some Floridian breweries can lean upon their residual sugar and THICCCC profiles, this pulls the sled entirely based upon the massive cask presence and pure restraint. The beer is a marriage of Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel 4th Dementia and Adam from the Wood. It has an amazing lacquer and planed lumber aspect united somehow with creme brulee shell. I suspect the wortmouthed contingency will complain that the body is too svelte, or that the carb is too gentle. Perhaps adhering to the standards of Munster Indiana gourmands isn’t the pinnacle of fermented aspirations. Despite the lack of rye, it drinks akin to Sazerac with silky mellow carb and a lively Dr Pepper meets old fashioned execution. Lauding praise feels extremely gauche throughout, thanks for checking in, I am well aware.
Brandy and Bourbon Blend
I suspect this is the variant that people will enjoy the most. It is a pure speakeasy Goldilocks, maintaining the awesome fruit character of the brandy and marrying it with the expressive oaky bitterness of the bourbon and the two work in tandem beautifully. Fifteen months of oak aging would seem excessive in the stout world, but for the indefatigable barleywine, this was the sweet meets stave spot. You will have no problem killing these 500ml bottles alone, but the frustratingly small run is the real bottleneck. I hope that there are consumers out there who try this and perhaps give barleywine another chance. It is an overlooked style and this is a fantastic expression across the board of what the style is capable of. I am very proud of what the guys at Highland Park Brewing have accomplished with this one but I need to go take a shower after reviewing this and wash off all the braggadocio and hubris and stench of self-congratulation. This review is inherently dripping in bias and I would urge you to try these and form your own opinion as this perspective is hardly impartial, I’m just over here doing my best okay.
The introspection feels filthier than the brewday itself and I think I dislocated my deltoid patting myself on the back so hard. At least I have waves of inevitable complaints to look forward to, the endless distillation of piss crashing in waves upon my DMs. What a time to brew alive.