If you follow DDB with that frothy regularity that most of my readers subject themselves to, you will remember recently when DDB reviewed Creature Comforts Tropicalia and Athena. The TL;DR was that Tropicalia was a very good but not earth shattering IPA in the late 2000’s fashion and I got an off can of Athena that was like taking a baby diaper full of butyric acid to the Sadie Hawkins dance. I got zero brewery retweets, and as usual, my readers bitched that I hadn’t reviewed See the Stars yet.
Typical day at the DDB offices.
Fast forward a week later, approximately 1.2 millenia in the beer world, and a gigantic fucking box shows up unceremoniously on my doorstep. A careful examination evidences that the box is sopping wet, smells rank, and it is ice cold. I thought to myself, “is DDB about to make history by receiving a shipment of human organs/piss from a disgruntled brewery? Quite the opposite.
The box is dated the DAY BEFORE from Creature Comforts and it was overnighted with cans of Tropicalia that were hours old. The experience was surreal and mind blowing from a customer service point of view.
The ice packs were still frozen and the cans were ice cold and likely cost upwards of $150+ to ship. BUT WHY. What is the rub? Battered brewery syndrome? THERE HAS TO BE AN ANGLE.
The whole package was jawdropping and unprecedented in my experience and 2000+ beer reviews. This brewery went out of their way to not only address my petty grumblings in the most respectful, high browed manner possible, but it was executed with an ethos that is oddly absent in the cold calculations of most brewery PR departments: Creature Comforts legitimately gives a fuck.
So a few of the cans busted but, the action drives home a larger point about the state of customer relations in the modern era of over brewery saturation, 5 tap handle California ale strain cash grabs. A cynical mendicant might be like “yeah so what, they dropped $200 on the easiest marketing possible, no brainer.” But I feel that this is something beyond the scope of dollar to exposure ratio. It is the climate where integrity and product is becoming paramount over just being “local” or “craft.”
The prior model for shitty beer blogs in the late 2000s was to slap up some glad handing enterprise for your 50 readers, and hope for some wonky bottles of free Ruination to show up. Then all those dipshits made podcasts that no one can stomach or 15 minute long Youtube videos with double digit view counts. Let’s be clear: DDB gets plenty of free shit and there’s many times a brewery specifically walks into the DDBayonet, inexplicably. This isn’t about free IPAs and berliners, it is more about a changing of the guard attendant to press relations. Yes, that sentence framed DDB as legitimate form of press: finger your cousin’s dickhole, the site gets thousands of views a day.
So Creature Comforts not only decided to amiably handle the situation, be the bigger party, but also go above and beyond, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BEER HUH STOP CRADLING THEIR BRITE TANKS IN YOUR MOUTH.
Well, good news and mediocre news. Let’s address Tropicalia First:
So how does a 1 day old tropicalia compare to a 3 week old can? Put simply it is much better in terms of vibrance, lively oils, radiant fruit pith and pine. But all of those things were ALREADY VERY GOOD. Let’s be clear here, Tropicalia is a very good ipa, and is likely amongst the best in the GA market to be sure, if not the best. An ultra fresh can is like your friend who wont shut the fuck up about Radiohead KID A who is like “oh you heard the CD? no here, try the vinyl, you clearly didn’t get it the first time.” People never shut the fuck up about KID A. I get it, it is a very very good album, timeless, sonically challenging, aesthetically awesome, and undoubtedly a top notch offering. So is Tropicalia, it is a very very good IPA without any overt flaws. It just isn’t my favorite of all time. Shut the fuck up about Radiohead already.
If this is readily available in the GA market, then a new high water mark exists for surrounding breweries and they are in deep shit. Buy it, trade for it. Pour it on your meaty sand dollar nips.
This Athena however, is a wild wild departure from the “bad” can I previously received and this bangs hard on 808 drums. All of the off diacetyl and DMS aspects are gone and this shines radiantly like that Westbrook Gose star in the sky. There is a nice salinity and mineral character to it, brackish saltines and lemon water, oceanic spray of juicy refreshment. It is intensely crushable and the pinnacle of a session driller, BP certified. While the fruited version is still much better, I can’t think of anything on the old west coast channels akin to this and it doesn’t have the needlessly lacto/aggro kettle soured profile of some of the, let’s call them TILLAMOOKIAN DEVIANTS.
In sum, I gather that Creature Comforts is a year and a half old upstart who cares a shitload about how they are perceived and it will be interesting to see how they handle the mounting interest and pressures of bottle releases in the future. This won’t be the last we hear from this incredible brewery or their infinitely shittier fan base.
WED MD: the old SideProjectitist, a disease wherein you cannot control who loves you, or the childish lengths they will go to in pursuit of completely subverting that relationship and ruining shit for everyone.