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@bentpaddlebeer DOUBLE BLACK: The Black Damnation from DULUTH MINNESOTA, where people live north of the wall.

We haven’t heard any peeps from Town Hall in a while, Surly is minding their gosh darn business now that Darkness’s partially barrel aged ass has come and gone, and Remarque would remark that all seemed quiet on the Minnesotan front.  Splashing seductively under the surface with a crooked device are these bent paddle boys of out Duluth.  I had their Black Ale previously and things were pretty okay I guess.  It is nothing I would twist my nips over, but the infrequency of that action is well documented.  BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS ONE?  Double the blacks, 100% more barrel aging, 100% less Struise involvement.  Let’s get after it.

I didnt choose the glasswale life, the BRAT life chose me

I didnt choose the glasswale life, the BRAT life chose me

Barrel Aged Double Black, Bent Paddle Brewing

Duluth Minnesota, Barrel aged Double Black Ale 10.4% abv

A:  As a general note, I never understand the middling classification of “BLACK ALE” when it amounts to marketing poisoning from a consumer standpoint.  If you label this a BA stout or BA porter, weak tickers can grind some meat off of that bone.  When Uinta Labyrinth dropped an awesome BA Stout on people, no one bought it because BLACK ALE WHAT IS THIS I DONT EVEN.  In short, this is somewhere just south of the heft of an imperial stout and somewhere more substantial than a slick porter.  It is essentially Central Waters BA Stout in appearance, svelte, no sheeting to note, carb is on point but neither excessive nor menacing.

You know DDB is servicing a very specific audience with a DOUBLE BLACK ALE BARREL AGED review.  Super specific and deviant.

You know DDB is servicing a very specific audience with a DOUBLE BLACK ALE BARREL AGED review. Super specific and deviant.

S:  This exhibits a strange not quite stout or porter countenance replete with carmelized sugar, sticky figs, sugar daddies, mallowfoam, and closes with a sort of caramel aspect.  It honestly leans closer towards a barrel aged old ale in many respects, despite the dark appearance, the chocolate and cocoa is placed firmly in the third row seating.

T:  This is, again, an exceptionally sweet but easy to drink banger that finally dusts off the chocolate haymaker for the closing back palate.  Again it feels like some weird hybrid genre that took that sticky sweet aspects from a BA old ale but then remained agile and dry on the finish.  As a result the taste comes across as excessively sweet in prolonged sessions, BRAT or otherwise.  It’s like when dudes would swap ACURA engines into a tiny ass CRX’s and everything would go apeshit, it is excessive but strangely manageable.  A paradox of sticky saccharine kisses.

when u pop a BA BLACK ALE at a tasting, tickers get that skeptical face on

when u pop a BA BLACK ALE at a tasting, tickers get that skeptical face on

M:  This is sweet at the outset like brown sugar and oatmeal but quickly drops a chocolate note right down your throat and finishes dry and roasty.  The barrel character is seamlessly integrated and oddly ramped up the sweet notes immeasurably.  I would be curious to see where they sourced these barrels from because it has a decidedly decadent aspect from a base beer that simply gets throttled and cant keep pace.  GINGER ROGERS DOING WHAT FRED ASTAIRE DID EXCEPT BARREL AGED AND BACKWARDS IN HEELS.

D:  This is easy to drink from a strictly physical standpoint: it is thin and not excessively flabby.  However, in that simplicity lies the sticky icky left on stage by its lonesome and after a whole 750ml it becomes cloying and more difficult to drink at higher temperatures.  In sum, perfect to share but nothing you want to take on yourself, kinda like a KFC Family meal.  You stomach that solo, you’re in for some regrets

crazy mouthfeel, mad coating, pangs of self loathing and decadence

crazy mouthfeel, mad coating, pangs of self loathing and decadence

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Hill Farmstead, Society and Solitude, Ralph Waldeezy Emerseezy would be proud

If you haven’t caught the vibe just yet, I ride Hill Farmstead’s jock like a Sybian. I will seek out anything and everything that they release for the simple reason that every, single, thing that I have had from them has been nothing short of amazing. The only beer that was a B+ to me was Jim and that was still an amazing beer, just not suited to my palate. So here we go, another world class Double Black IPA, inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Some prefer Society, others prefer Solitude, and then some people prefer both and have to issue apologies for Party Rockin.

Hill Farmstead, Society and Solitude, Black Double IPA, 9.5% abv

A: At first glance this looks like someone fucked up and sent me Everett and I am about to spend 25oz in Porterville. Not the central California mountain town. Then you pour a little bit and shit turns arboreal very quickly. The beer cascades from the swingtop growler in a needlessly descriptive stream of jet black with mellow mahogany at the edges and the user ponders where the line between charred malt and hop usage places his palate in this penumbra of capricious tastes. The carbonation is dead on, not too much, not too sparse and the lacing looks like a monochromatic Jackson Pollack work. She is a thing of beauty, fuck Stella.

Just the smell and look of this beer takes you to a magical far away place of verdant fields and floral culture, Didney Worl.

S: This is interesting beyond belief. Most black IPAs I shirk off in a cantankerous manner, upturning my mandible and tightening my lips. This thing is the real deal. I thought double dry hopped Stone Sublimely Self Righteous did not have fuck arounds to spare, but this thing is in the poor house if fuck arounds were currency. It comes right out with a pine that subsides into a chocolate waft, just when you think shit is tame: a MINT NOTE. I am dead serious, then some juniper and finally the citrus grapefruit I was looking for, all in all its like the craft aisle of Michaels went into a blender and then was coated in Godiva chocolate, and it is fucking amazing.

T: The taste just carries out the complexity and the bitter and sweet zones of your mouth are already dividing up the tenancy in common because they can’t agree on shit. It starts with a nice english stout or american porter charred chocolate roastiness that, upon swallow turns into this epic Mars Volta solo of herbal notes and again, fucking MINT and juniper are present. To bookend the experience, the chocolate delivers a nice eulogy to the sip and your tastebuds mourn the loss. But shit is on again real soon, to the tune of 24oz more.

This beer gives me so many feels. Feels like I am in gay Paree, feels like Vermont, feels like Chocolate Factoree.

M: The mouthfeel is similar to a heavy DIPA or a thin imperial porter. God damn, if I wasn’t so lazy I would make a line graph but, just use your imagination, I shouldn’t have to make an App for every aspect of description. The bitterness from the hops lingers far longer than the bakers chocolate aspect and I like it more that way, the coating feels lighter as a result and suddenly a 750ml growler seems pretty insubstantial. It’s like if you’ve ever dated a girl who just gets on your nerves and you bemoan every visit to Chick Fil-A with her, but when she goes away to her Mormon mission, you have a tiny Latter Day Saint Shaped hole in your heart. You know the feeling.

D: This beer is incredibly drinkable for how ambitious the flavor palate is. For all the mint, chocolate, pine, grapefruit madness going on, the glass seems to have a mild leak, directly into my mouth. However, I don’t know if I should rate this relative to the other Hill Farmstead offerings since the 2 Liter growler of Galaxy that I drank, by myself, was gone instantly and all my characters were power leveled when I woke up the next morning. It was like the RPG fairy just changed the game on me. So yeah, super drinkable.

Hill Farmstead beers always strike me as so distinctly American and I am always left with that lingering suspicion and sadness when the growler is empty. Get beers from Vermont they said, pay Fedex bills from California they said.

Narrative: After losing his job at the pencil factory Gunnar Taylorson was at a loss with what to do with himself. His degree in American Studies did not seem to evoke the sense of awe and prestige that he had predicted, despite graduating from the inimitable University of Florida, an institution practically enshrined in American Study. After long hard thought and several days at the EDD and unemployment offices, Gunnar resolved to set forth into the everglades and open a boutique herboreum. His business plan was simple, venture deep into protected government lands, uproot rare plants, grind them down into a consumable paste without FDA approval, and then sell it within interstate commerce: a bulletproof scheme. The first concoctions largely just caused blindness and erections that lasted more than 4 hours, and he felt like a failure. “GOD DAMNIT GUNNAR, the hell were you thinking, a deep south apothecary? You should have just went and worked at the Waffle House fer fucks sake!” he would think to himself. One day, while speeding about on his stolen pontoon boat he came across a rare hibiscus flower in the shape of someone flipping you off. “Well fuck you flower,” he quipped as he pulled the lot of them from the roots. He sold them piecemeal to passers by and it soon became apparent that Gunnar had stumbled upon a tactile halucinogen. The south never seemed so interesting or so racist as when you viewed the scope of nature with your fingertips in a Baton Rouge AMPM.

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Dont Spit Into the Wind, Dont Mess Around with Hill Farmstead Jim

Big Jim IPA

You Dont Tug On Superman's Cape and You Don't Mess Around With Jim

Don’t pull the mask off the old lone ranger. Seriously.

OH WAIT 11/11/11 at 11:11, GIVE ME A KISS AND MAKE A WISH!

Hill Farmstead Jim, 7.5% Black IPA, aged in Merlot Barrels

A: Hey guys, guess what color this black IPA is? If you said fuschia, you are, absolutely wrong. It is a slick “baby stout” sort of blackness. It’s that sort of gentle blackness that Milton attempted to both embrace and ward away. The head is off white and has a nice contrast the evil darkness below just like JOHN MILTON OH SHIT DID YOU SEE WHAT JUST TOOK PLACE THERE?

S: This is an IPA, through and through. The pine and grass reach out like a bath and body works candle, the citrus notes grapple and strike me like those weird weeds in Ursula’s cave. You know, those weeds…

I love this brewery but this beer tries to have too many fucking specialties. Just be a paladin.

T: The taste is strange, is isn’t quite herbal, it swiftly moves and changes several times while you taste it. It gets a bit of oakiness, then almost a grape or a cinnamon, then returns to its normal pinecone roots and finishes sweet. I have no idea how to approach this changeling. It goes tobacco, carnival, woods, carnival. Which I guess each of those makes sense together. Oh 5th grade.

M: The wine notes at the outset make this a blustering, confusing beer. You get a big wine note that turns into herbs, into a sweetness. The entire experience washes clean, but your conscience remains besmirched. It’s like your old uncle, whom you remember so fondly but now he’s back from the military and gives extra long hugs and is more serious. I don’t know whether to embrace the gravity of this project or to ask for my old friend back.

I dont like it, but I cannot escape its grasp.

D: This is like a Japanese game show in that it is intense, varied, and makes no sense. I don’t know how long you can watch that kinds of craziness but this is just too busy for my taste buds. If they sold this in 6 packs I would see it as a sort of Sartorial punch line rather than a beverage purchase. I don’t know what to make of myself after having tasted this. Maybe I could have been an optometrist, after Jim, who knows.

Narrative: “And you FINAL WISHHHH?” the genie hissed at Clarence Hyrbo amiably. “Well, I mean, I already got this swell wheatgrass farm for my grandfather” he surveyed the verdant pastures and the genie nodded approvingly. “And shucks, I already have this swell Merlot vinery for my grammy,” he ejaculated as the wine fields arose in front of him with sticky sweet grapes, ripe for harvest. The genie rubbed his ethereal palms and hovered entreatingly, “well?” he importuned. Clarence looked left and looked right, and only saw two wasted paradigms of wishes spoiled on human greed. He felt ashamed. His cell phone rang a sweet Creed ringtone and he wondered how to set this all right. “Genie?” Clarence softly uttered, “yes Clarence?” the genie responded gently. “Well, I see now that, every time someone gets a wish, it usually just ends with ironic consequences, like a grandmother overdosing on merlot, or artery problems due to wheatgrass,” the genie nodded solemnly “such is the Genie Code, to provide wishes only with disastrous consequences and life changing realizations but, you’ve hardly even tried yours out yet.” Clarence surverey the fields and firmly stated “GENIE! I want something that will make everyone happy, something that no one will die from, and no one will hate me for.” The genie waved his hands over the South Carolina countryside and the grapes and wheat grass disappeared. In wave after wave, tobacco fields rolled over the verdant pastures. “NOW EVERYONE WILL REMEMBER ME FAVORABLY!” Clarence called and ran all the way to the Charleston homestead which was recently founded