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CASEY CUT CAGEMATCH AKA THAT “TRIPLE C”: @caseybrewing Balaton Cut vs. Blackberry Cut. THEY WILL CUT U.

Colorado has a proud heritage of undersung, albeit incredible releases. In a bygone pre-pasteurizing era, New Belgium used to pad out the Whaley ranks with caged and corked one offs. For a period it was radio silence and the state was free to legalize marijuana, drive Subarus and make beers using breakfast cereal without impugnity. Colorado continues to have this absurd model of just delivering top tier beers directly to local consumers without artificially throttling output, using lotteries, or other stupid shit to artificially inflate branding or good will. WHEN WILL THEY LEARN. This concept coupled with the fact that Colorado traders are exceedingly generous kept the Rockies hidden like that colony in Atlas Shrugged where productive people could be free from usurious neckbeards.

Soft fruit. Soft lighting. Soft berry kisses.

Soft fruit. Soft lighting. Soft berry kisses.

Sadly, with mounting demand comes husky REI enthusiasts willing to brave long lines for fruited wild ales. I can’t fault Casey for this, but the typically genial Colorado population is maligning themselves with the rapacious Chicagoan paradigm. That little state is embracing hoarding like a stepmom with dementia. As a result these 1 per person, 120 count Casey Cut releases are the cat shit filled houses, with analogy extension.

For today’s review we are going to do a shootout of the original two Casey cuts to determine if they are worth the degree of balls-tripping that has resulted. Balaton Cut vs Blackberry Cut, two fruits enter, but only one condescending asshole emerges!

Turn slowly for maximum vend

Turn slowly for maximum vend

Casey Cut Blackberry

No corners were cut on the produce budget for this beer and the ridiculous Claire’s hue shows the tannins stacked on tannins, skins on skins. The radiant pour is welcoming but also had this dull fruity matte finish like when Persian dudes paint a 3 series flat magenta to prove its isn’t their dad’s car, he just still lives at home at age 33.

The turbidity is milky and seems to tenaciously grip its farmhouse roots without some clarifying e brake. I love the way these both look.

The nose is at the outset a bit mineral and almost brackish, spritzer with a huge berry roundhouse on the backend. This isn’t jammy tiny diner jellies, this is more akin to post harvest, first crush, warm fruit languishing on the rich silt, fruit skins and puppy musk.  Pour it into a gym sock and huff them fruits.

The look on both of these beers is just ridiculous.

The look on both of these beers is just ridiculous.

The taste of the blackberry is sharper than I expected but never puts a muddy lacto boot In your entryway. It is subtle and gentle, with a sort of award like Troy Casey wanted you to actually be able to drink an entire bottle to yourself. Imagine that, a wild ale that establishes itself without massaging the poles of extremes. The oak is not as pronounced as let’s say VSB or SHBRL, but it is also far more easy going. The Berry profile is like a sidecar on the coolest Vespa you have ever see. It doesn’t try to stunt or overwhelm, you just have a glowing appreciation for the ingenuity and character of it. It is incredibly good and rounds the edges off of the Nocturn Chrysalis model, a creamy soft mouthfeel like 500ct berry sheets.

Cherry poppin daddy

Cherry poppin daddy

Balaton Cut

All of the exceptional praise for the appearance on the blackberry carries over here except the bright KOOL aid aspects make it flow even more ridiculously. If you slit the throat of an otter pop this would be its arterial fluid: beautiful.

The nose is not as original or interesting as the blackberry, which is to say it is still phenomenal, albeit with other comparable existing analogs.  It falls somewhere in between the Fruitiness of Montmorency vs. Balaton and the acidity/cheesiness of Lou Pepe Kriek.  When those are the comparisons you draw, it’s safe to say Casey has it’s shit well in hand at this point.

feeling juiced rite nao

feeling juiced rite nao

The taste is a relaxing romp through the cherry orchard, more blossom than fruit, more languid stroll than ravenous gathering. It has the hallmarks of some of the best krieks, the skins from De Cam but with a distrinctively Sante Adairius sort of pillowy safety to the mouthfeel.  The acidity is kept well in check and it never feels robitussin forward or strays into the elusive Ludens cough drop zone.  While it may not reach the ultimate subllimity of say Cable Car Kriek, it stands head and shoulders over many of the highly lauded recent fruited wild ales.

BUT DDB WHAT IF I HAVE ACTUAL PRIORITIES IN LIFE AND CAN’T TRACK THESE DOWN?

Alright, well maybe you are at the wrong website, but there is limited hope if you find yourself in this situation.  While hardly “easy” to land, you could always try for Lou Pepe Kriek or, in a pinch, go after regular shelf Drie Fonteinen Kriek. I can’t say that the De Garde lineup has anything directly analogous to these beers and honestly the best alternative might be just another Casey beer:

150% THE FRUIT AW LIFE IS A BOWL OF CHERRIES HOMIE

150% THE FRUIT AW LIFE IS A BOWL OF CHERRIES HOMIE

While not as complex or bright, even the “150% FRUIT MONTMORENCY FRUIT STAND” is still a fantastic beer.  You get the refreshing berry character, that same soft mouthfeel, and incredible crushability. Plus, just look at that beer, god damn does it look inviting. The perfect beer to crush after savagely screaming at your son’s little league coach. REFRESHING.

Sometimes being your own biggest competitor is an ideal situation to embrace, and I can’t think of may other breweries executing fruited wild ales with this much balance and tiptoeing as Casey Brewing.  If you want something subtle that you can drink to yourself while you sob and call phone numbers out old yearbooks, CASEY HAS THE PERFECT GEMS FOR YOU.

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Speedwale from 2009: @newbelgium Bottleworks X Anniversary Ale

Today we have an aging matriarch from the days of the Speedway Jim top 100 white whale list aka them extinct speedwales. If you are a johnny come lately to the beer game who covets King Henry and thinks that Sr-71 should trade on par with Zomer, chances are you have no fucking idea what this is. To those people, Bottleworks is that one store that sometimes sells Deviation, and that’s it. To everyone else Bottleworks is the proto-City Beer model of classic bottle shop meets beer culture hub from the old tymie days. This is the tenth anniversary bottle brewed by New Belgium, 1400 bottle one off released in 2009.

It might even pull a single bottle of Vanilla Rye if you are lucky.

washed out label, needs more contrast, cool pic

washed out label, needs more contrast, cool pic

New Belgium, Colorado

American Wild Ale, 6.5% abv

For some reason Hair of the Dog also posted up hard in the trap and brewed Matt for Bottleworks X that year, so this old gem is often forgotten under the sands of ticker time. This bottle represents something larger for New Belgium as a ubiquitous ultra micro giant, the end of a non-pasteurized, brewery only fun times era. Now you usually hear about them when your drunk stepdad tells you about how he loves “Fat Tire Brewing Company” and you nod in sad reflection, thinking of Caged and corked la folies past.

This beer is foeder fermented la folie, la terroir and a golden ale blended together and bottled live, un pasteurized, rolling monocultures all raw dog.

The pour immediately looks more beautiful than both Twisted Spoke and 2009 cage and corked la Folie. You can hardly pull your penis out on the metro without someone mentioning those two beers next to this one. The pour is a ruddy burnt orange and light amber that radiates like a turbid blood orange cocktail, with the carb still billowing flawlessly with determined cling. It isn’t that dark auspicious deep mahogany of its contemporaries and it looks great.

Oppressive Portland sun ruining everything for all the white people in that city.

Oppressive Portland sun ruining everything for all the white people in that city.

The nose thankfully doesn’t exhibit any of the acetic red wine vinegar aspects of the 09 la folie and instead has tangerine zest, Brie cheese rind, clementines, sliced honeydew, oak and pencil shavings, a touch of light construction paper oxidation and a red berry closer that lingers. The whole affair puckers the bunghole air tight and there is no seepage, no weeping. For all the things that time could have denatured, it has unquestionably improved this beer to a level without contemporary analogue. There’s a degree of musk and earthiness that only time can accomplish, despite what some kettle souring Colorado charlatan may tell you.

The taste is a touch more acidic than the nose suggests but the creamy mouthfeel with ultra fine jacuzzi bubbles offsets the acrimonious effect. It pushes a raspberry and grapefruit pith, there’s a bit of vanilla and Chardonnay staves, white grape that is equally moscato sweet and tart like rainier cherries. The whole experience is a many faced God and a ticker never forgets.

No salad dressing tones detected

No salad dressing tones detected

I feel like the aging grampa in the 80’s complaining “they don’t make ’em like this no more” and referencing the non pasteurized, aged, meticulous Detroit steel beers from the past. This is truly a magnificent, highly drinkable gem that stands in stark contrast to so many of the ultra acidic offerings clouding today’s lacto and ultra Brett L focused market.

Yet another entry in the ever expanding journal of “this near extinct beer is great, seek it out” annals. DDB is a useless resource, I need to switch to 140 char UNTAPPD reviews for the millennials with short, heavily-medicated attention spans. SOMEDAY