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HEY LETS REVIEW THREE BEERS FROM Aardwolf Brewing, @aardwolfbar WHY NOT IT IS MONDAY SURE OK FINE

Florida is in such a magical and endearing place in the beer game at present. It holds a checkered past replete with some of the most coveted releases, the lowest bottle counts, and just short of Chicago, some of the absolute worst beer traders in the game. Despite the foregoing, this leaky waterhag filled peninsula has unquestionably pumped the everglades with some of the finest breweries in the game right now.

Since we are painting with sweeping generalizations about a huge swath of land occupied by an equally diverse populace, coveted Florida releases usually go like this:

1) take an existing style
2) add a bunch of obscure fruit, coffee, chilis, or white oak to it
3 release like 120 bottles to the public well knowing that over 1000 sweaty nascar bros will show up.
4) wait nine months and release the barrel aged version to cause a shitstorm of even more pandemonium and butthurt

That’s pretty much how things fly down there, five times a year since always until forever.

So today let’s take a look at an upstart brewery that is concurrently working within the climate of Floridian demands, but also ekeing out their own character: Aardwolf Brewing.

BREAKFAST TIME HERE COME SOME EGG WHITES

BREAKFAST TIME HERE COME SOME EGG WHITES

Whiskey Barrel Aged Early Bird Special

Stout aged on vanilla bean, cinnamon, coffee, aged in whiskey barrels

If this particular breakdown looks familiar to you, it’s because every fucking brewery founded after 2012 is brewing this same shit. It’s like dudes saw Founders drop CBS in 2011 and then talked their rich stepdads into buying them a 7 barrel brew house just to make this adjunct banger. Hold onto your hats: a stout brewed with coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, the works.

when FSTOPs go wrong: this fall on Outdoor Life Network

when FSTOPs go wrong: this fall on Outdoor Life Network

The first thing I would like to note is that this is markedly thinner than the traditional foray into this now predictable style. It feels more nimble and svelte coating the glass more like an imperial Porter in a way, leaving nice earthy foam on the glass. The nose dominates with coffee to a staggering degree and closes with a long toasty roast. There is a touch of residual sweetness but the ultra thin body and relatively low Abv don’t give this artist much canvas to paint upon. Sometimes an intentionally restrictive medium lends itself to focusing the performance; that is kinda the case here. The taste is focused and it delivers in the manner it promises without overstaying its welcome or feeling poorly crafted. It is tasty albeit not altering the consciousness of the style. If there is a “crushable” entry in this increasingly crowded realm, this would be it and it is unquestionably well brewed, but perhaps not spec’d to shatter any molds or conceptions.

drive up that content with multiple angles of the same bottle GOT IT

drive up that content with multiple angles of the same bottle GOT IT

I would much rather prefer something be delicious and come in understated rather than the typical under-attenuated execution we see far too often. This is nice but it won’t displace the greats within its ranks.

As a side note, there is a long lingering spice and cinnamon aspect that was borderline cloying.  In what may amount to an incredible amount of irony, DDB is being a bitch about the cinnamon.  There is simply TOO MUCH cinnamon on the finish that artificially dries out the mouthfeel and gives it a lingering spice profile that displaces the delicious coffee like a cup of Abuelita.  FINE.  I GUESS I AM JUST A CINNABITCH AFTER ALL.

They even included a nod to DDB on the label.

They even included a nod to DDB on the label.

Zagreus, Red wine barrel aged Tripel

Last week fuqqqed around and got a tripel dubbel

Last week fuqqqed around and got a tripel dubbel

Ah a barrel aged tripel, the diciest of consumer gambles in beer. This style can fall close to the pin of Curieux if it wants to play it conservatively; or it can aspire to hit the pinnacle of the genre like Sante Adairius’s Always in Life. More often than not, breweries turn out over oaked, over estery adjunct messes like Bruery BA five golden rings or something that becomes too big for its tripel britches.

The hue on this beer is a touch dark and i bunkered down for some mettalic or sweet crystal malt, neither showed up.

The hue on this beer is a touch dark and i bunkered down for some mettalic or sweet crystal malt, neither showed up.

This offering hugs the curieux design so conservatively that you might have a hard time telling the two apart, aside from moderate differences. Now is benchmarking and coming close to nailing the industry standard worthy of derision? Not really, Hyundai bites luxury brand styling all day and makes cars for single parents year in and year out. This beer is dry and doesn’t exhibit the flabby honey and banana issues most Ba tripels fall into: thank god.  In fact it is more oaky than honey, and the red wine barrel gives it this tannic dryness that almost reminds me of Darjeeling or a floral type of chamomile tea.

she's not a shower, she's a grower.

she’s not a shower, she’s a grower.

You certainly should drink this around 50 degrees because it becomes a bit hefty at higher temps and a syrupy mouthfeel develops.  If you see this, you should certainly pick it up, but if this shares the same price point as Curieux it is hard to make a compelling argument for one over the other as they are so similar in scope and execution.  Pretty tasty stuff, nothing you need to slip your Fedex delivery man’s L5-S1 over tho.

Brandy Barrel Aged Mariachi
Stout Made with Cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, and chilis

Wait, this beer, from Florida...I am getting some feelings of Deja Vu

Wait, this beer, from Florida…I am getting some feelings of Deja Vu

Man if you want a textbook definition of the most predictable stout release from Florida, here it is.  This infected Westbrook upwards, and then spread like some Umbrella corp virus to all of the brite tanks around the nation.

If you read DDB, you have already had a billion beers just like this, so let’s parse this down to how it is DIFFERENT from the various iterations of this style.  It isn’t as hefty as Huna, the barrel profile comes across as understated but presents a light caramel sweetness as though it wasn’t racked for a significant period of time or didn’t hit optimum saturation (i.e. basically anything released by a North Carolina brewery.) The peppers aren’t overpowering and if anything this is a bit hamfisted in the cocoa aspects.  I had this side by side with regular ass Mexican Cake and, despite having barrel aging, the two are about comparable in quality.

This could use less sweetness and brownie batter from the cocoa nibs and allow the various other aspects to shine.  This is the best of the three and it is worth seeking out because it presents a novel riff on an increasingly crowded genre.  While it fails to reach the heights established by BA Abaraxas, Brandy Huna, or Double Barrel Mexican Cake, it stands its own and parries blows with admirable speed and dexterity.

In sum, I like where this brewery is headed in terms of marketing, branding, ambition and DDB nods. In jumping headfirst into the foray of the most contested styles they are bold and didn’t fail in any one of their attempts.  It will be a pleasure to see how things progress with these guys in the near future.

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@CycleBrewing Nooner 8, Getting Kicked Square in the old Hazelnutsack in the best possible way

If you have been in the trade game for a hot minute, you will know that low bottlecount whales have kinda been the Florida NICHE for quite some time.  Back in 2011 when the world had a nervous breakdown over the 50 bottle release of Funky Buddha WIDE AWAKE, the precedent was well established, which is to say nothing of the 84 bottles of Apple Brandy Huna and all kinds of other apeshit releases.  Well today we have a 1 per person, 300 bottle release that put up world class stats in the stout game, so why not soloskull this shit and share it with no one, PAR FOR THE COURSE ON THE DDB COUNTRY CLUB LINKS

Even the nicest camera wont make someone less of an adjunct stout coveting shitlord

Even the nicest camera wont make someone less of an adjunct stout coveting shitlord

Nooner 8, Floridaland, Cycle Brewing

Hazelnut BA Rare Dos, 10.5% abv, Imperial Stout

The elongated countertop was essential to the composition

The elongated countertop was essential to the composition

A: It pours viscous and emits a frothy mocha frap foam that cascades upwards like a garbage disposal pushing your refuse back into your life.  The coating is nicely executed and stains the glass enough, but not in that weakling Central Water(y) sort of way.

S:  Even just pouring this it is a hazelnut, coffee creamer extravaganza.  It smells like some negligent ass barista dropped a bottle of torani syrup in my kitchen and just left it there.  It is wave upon wave of Snickers, Kit Kats, Malted whoppers and sticky chocolate.  I even get an odd like laundry dryer sheet sort of waxiness on the nose, straight up Yankee candle shit for sure.

STOUT BALLERS CHECKING IN

STOUT BALLER SQUAD CHECKING IN

T:  The taste is a liquified Ferrero Rocher.  If you are poverty status and dont know what that is, that is an overpiced candy that white people give to other white people at Christmas when they hate each other.  It is comically overdone with vanilla oils like Tollhouse cookies, wafflecone, just absurd amounts of oiliness to it that creates a sticky sweet greasiness like a funnel cake.  I can see people loving this in limited doses but holy fuck this goes completely overboard and makes Grey Monday seem restrained by contrast.

Just an exceptional stout, no need for concern

Just an exceptional stout, no need for concern

M:  This is nimble on the palate and doesn’t coat excessively, but jesus does that Hazelnut exercise some squatter’s rights. It imparts an endless oiliness on the gumline that clings with the sweet nutty aspects for dear life.  You know how when someone does “DONT STOP BELIEVING” in kareoke you get to laugh your ass off at them having to do the same chorus for the final 3 minutes? That is how this plays out.  I want to take another sip and it is like ENOUGH ALREADY, you made your point.  This is the hazelnut equivalent of asking someone “wait so what is Crossfit” or “so if you are vegan what can you eat?” It is going to be long laborious interaction.

adjunct stouts put ur tastebuds inthe friendzone so hard wats the point

adjunct stouts put ur tastebuds inthe friendzone so hard wats the point

D:  I killed this with relative ease but felt like a decadent 18th century French aristocrat.  This is a perfect example of a beer that will put up Calvin Broadus numbers because invariably some stupid fuck will give up their entire cellar to land it and it will get split 19 ways to much fanfare and backslapping at a tasting.  So of course everyone will lose their shit.  Don’t get me wrong, it is VERY good, it is better than Grey Monday due to approachability, but it isn’t on some next level Puga Royale/BVDL shit. Seek it out if you care enough, with 8 of these you might land an Aquavint Derk Lerd.

ONE CAN ONLY DREAM.

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@Degardebrewing The Lily, Those Tillamook Ballers Unequivocally Hit Wild Ale Excellence.

If you are like the average person, you might grow a little confused with the 14 different De Garde beers released every month, each with moderately different labels.  Some are Keepers only others are Trappers only, some are sold inside of Trapper Keepers reserved only for Founders members.  It gets confusing.  Other times you will seek out a beer only to find “OH YOU JUST GOT THE REGULAR CHERIMOYA BU? No that one sucks the currant gin Imperial Cherimoya Bu is THE SHIT.”  Well rest assured, this beer is the best beer that De Garde has brewed to date and it enters into the realm of God Tier AWAs so forcefully that I don’t see how Trevor and them boys can outdo themselves after this masterpiece.  Let’s review this 180 (?) bottle jammer in today’s review.

It took me a long. ass. time.  To finally land this.  For some reason when people know they have the best bottle possible, they dont want to trade it away.  WEIRD.

It took me a long. ass. time. To finally land this. For some reason when people know they have the best bottle possible, they dont want to trade it away. WEIRD.

De Garde, Tillamook Cheeseland, OR

7% American Wild Ale with Tempranillo Grapes

As usual, let’s let the FIVER employee do his commercial copy for the beer:
“One of the oldest barrels from our stock, a lambic influenced sour ale.
We added a hefty harvest of whole cluster Southern Oregon grown Tempranillo grapes from a favorite vineyard. Big rustic and spicy fruit aromas with a bracing acidity, and earthy backdrop.
We expect this beer to evolve positively in the bottle over a long period, but the brightness and fruit character is very enjoyable now!”

A:  This looks quite a bit like Grrzz Druiven at the outset and I kinda rolled my eyes with an “OH YOU” thinking I knew what was about to go down.  The carb crackled away with light pinkish marroon foam that subsided quickly.  There was minimal sheeting and it just drops into this ruby purplish amber three point stance and starts poppin for dollars.

If they named this beer BRISTOL it would have left a more sour taste in my mouth

If they named this beer BRISTOL it would have left a more sour taste in my mouth

S:  This is where shit starts to get real, the dry tannic grape aspect wafts like a massive pinot noir and raspberries.  This is certainly dry to the core but it also has a sort of madeline bready sweetness to the nose with a touch of vanilla, on the tip of your nose like an ultra cute first date where you schedule a baking activity because both of you are socially awkward and need a crutch to facilitate interaction before you decide if you want to fuck.  WAIT A SECOND.  There is a bit of ultra lactic Cascadey shit going on here like Cascade strawberry, but I guess I will give it a pass depending on how it tastes.

T:  PASS OBTAINED. This delivers the most nuance of any De Garde offering to date and never is hamfisted in its pucker, or too brash in its acidity.  In a staggering move, this De Garde impresses by sheer balance and moderation.  If your face was melted by the Ambrees and you need speech therapy, this will be your Esuna.  The grapes are present like a blend of Alexander the Grape and Strawberry Short Cook otter pops, you get a smuckers strawberry jamminess, acidity that serves to compliment instead of dominate, and a lingering tannic closer that tells your stepdad that he can sleep on the couch tonight.  It is a beautiful moment.

Gotta offset those AWA kCALs

Gotta offset those AWA kCALs

M:  I was bracing myself at each swallow for this to pull off the mask and turn into some punitive Upland dominatrix just stepping on my cubes, making me beg for less acidity because I BEEN A BAD BLOGGER O FUK YA. But that thankfully never happens.  It provides this dry, yet jammy execution like a well done Rose, bursting with fruit and then dropping off the moisture cliff like when your Sig Ep buddy TRAVIS tries to guess women’s bra sizes at the club.

D:  This is exceptional through and through.  It stands head and shoulders above the whole De Garde canon, and approaches that near impossible rank of Southampton Black Raspberry Lambic, Cable Car Kriek, Pipeworks Blue Lady and all the other usual suspects you see listed as flawless iterations of the AWA genre, if maybe a touch below. If for some reason you can’t land this I would suggest uhhh, taking Omniscience and Proselytism, mixing it with Cerveza Tempranillo and a splash of Atrial Rubicite.  Landing all three of those would probably take less than this elusive minx. BUT WHY GILD THE LILY AMIRITE?

Whenever someone talks about Oregon, this is what I imagine.

Whenever someone talks about Oregon, this is what I imagine.

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@7venthSunBeer Mixtape Collection UNDER PRESSURE, Tiny Bottle Run Revenge from Floridians

Remember back in 2011, those simpler times when Florida breweries kept knocking out sub-50 bottle releases making those Sole Comp runs look like Inbev production levels.  7venth Sun comes from that era of “ITS WIDE AWAKE AND I AM GETTING RAPED ON THE TRADE BOARDS” and 28 bottle releases of Funky Buddha Raspberry Berliners.  These were things that actually happened back then.

Remember back in 2012 when these guys released a cherry coconut berliner with fucking 25 bottle run? https://dontdrinkbeer.com/2012/08/31/put-the-cherry-in-the-coconut/

Because I do.  Anyway, let’s see how the intervening years has treated this Dundam giant.

If you thought your bottle game was legit, stop and ask "does my tick have a hand sewn sweater?" If not, up your bottle accouterments fashion game.

If you thought your bottle game was legit, stop and ask “does my tick have a hand sewn sweater?” If not, up your bottle accouterments fashion game.

Who knows the abv on this shit? Who knows anything about this except that it is a kumquat saison? Those 7S Guys are so mysterious, straight up Vincent Valentines of the berliner world.

KUMQUAT IN A SAISON? Florida swag levels about to be wetter than the Everglades.

KUMQUAT IN A SAISON? Florida swag levels about to be wetter than the Everglades.

A:  This is a gritty radiant mess and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It’s like seeing deep crosshatching on illustrations or single grooves in woodworking that let you know this shit is str8 grassroots.  It is turbid with excessive carb that spills out onto the collar of the nicely appointed sweater.  I am serious, the bottle came like that.  The fuq, I know.

S:  This is pure farmhouse through and through, reminds me of Logsdon seizoen bretta with that greek yogurt and lightly sharp cheesy note like cave aged cheeses.  The citrus is not overwhelming and comes across less like juice and more of a wafty rind like something tropical garnishing a cruise ship drink.  The whole thing feels real good, complex in layers but a simple unified approach: fruit smoothie.

T:  This is less complex than the nose let on, but the trade off is that it is exceedingly crushable.  The fruit bursts off of the page in embossed italicize flavor font.  You get kumquat in a more manageable manner than say that acid rain that is Sour in the Rye Kumquat.  It is saison first and fruit second, everyone knows their role and precisely what it is that the rock is cooking.  I think the score for this beer either demanded too much or failed to appreciate the simplicity and elegance of the stripped down approach.  Of course, since we have a series of instarones who are saison experts all of a sudden, anything less sour than Beatification is off style to these 2k13 tickers.

I rekd thes saisons fest.

I rekd thes saisons fest.

M: This is creamy with an expansive carb that almost becomes irritating because you cant grip them fruits with all that billowing creamy frothiness covering your slippery tan body, wait wut. It could be a touch drier and a bit more acidic but ho hum, it’s like complaining about not having a LAY DOWN SEAT in your flight to Dubai.  Things are going pretty well either way.

D: this is crushable and I drilled this while playing Tales of Xilia, grinding away with some needless fetchquests.  If you want something complex to ruminate over, I would kindly direct you to Oxbow, Stillwater, or any of the similar purveyors of those saisons with depth.  This opts for sheer simple enjoyment and a flavor profile that crackles with personality and life.  Plus people will probably give these away for a song since the whole fucking world is in BTAC and adjunct stout mode right now.  Seeking out a saison in frozen conditions is like buying a car on a rainy day.

King ticker, popping fruited saisons up in the club, all the ratchets wanna get in them Anchor Bluezzz

King ticker, popping fruited saisons up in the club, all the ratchets wanna get in them Anchor Bluezzz

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Peg’s Nooner BATCH 2: RareR DOS with Vanilla Beans, NOT SOME JANKY BLENDED BERLINER

So it has been what, four months since these hateful little growlers were filled and people are still slanging them like yellowtop vials up on the boards. Some people swear by these 16oz swingtops and, I guess for a beer like this, it really doesn’t matter: people will seek them out irregardlessly. So if I recall correctly, something like 120 of these were filled, 1 per person, but of course in the wild west Florida trading scene, people get scooping up multiples like a Craigslist Casual Encounter. Enough pageantry, let’s see if you wanna flick your vanilla bean after today’s review.

I have the fattest nooner right now

I have the fattest nooner right now

Peg’s Cantina & Brewpub
Florida, United States
American Double / Imperial Stout | ABV ?

A: This is somehow more lackluster and just looks dingier than the RareR variant and far less excited than the Regular ass Rare DOS. It has some minimal lacing, a tiny head, some gentle sheeting, but nothing too apeshit. There is a certain sloppiness to it that screams artisinal that a 50 barrel system just couldn’t pull off. Not sure if thats just QC lipstick on the base of a maltcock, but shit is sloppy in a fun way.

hot sticky synthetic vanilla on stout action

hot sticky synthetic vanilla on stout action

S: This, like the RareR is also all over the place and not exactly what you would expect. If you are thinking “Alright, Vanilla Dark Lord right?” fucking wrong. You remember how the RareR DOS had none of that super traditional rum aspect to the nose, well this iteration of vanilla is kinda more like Hostess saccharine sweet frosting. There’s obviously the whole entourage of coconut, vanilla, caramel coated mallowfoam, but they are really muted relative to this big powerful “vanilla” aspect that comes across more like fondant, or some kind of confectioner’s delight. I like this beer less than both of the previous iterations, I feel like they set the boost too high and the turbos are just spooling up and whipping cake batter.

T: This presents that same wonderful brownie batter, a sort of 4 Roses bourbon werther’s original sweetness to the treatment, but again the real star is this Coldstone Creamery asshole just dominating the flavor profile with all this vanilla goodness. This wouldn’t be offputting if the vanilla was amazing, or at least balanced. This just takes this NY Yankees “more is better” approach and ends up alienating people and getting hated on. Let me clarify, this is still an amazing beer, don’t think I am saying this is some Clown Shoes level shit. I am merely stating that what should be a modifier largely detracts from the whole experience. Some guys want a girl who can squirt, but if she starts gushing vanilla extract all over, you would probably be like “ok, that’s it, no more for me, I am gonna need that $300 back.”

Some people fall in love with this beer and go through crazy lengths to be with it

Some people fall in love with this beer and go through crazy lengths to be with it

M: This is the same as the other ones, toeing that amazing line between thin ass offerings from Eclipse/Foothill/Central Waters, but straying away from the Hunas and Menacing ass Dark Lords of the world. Think along the lines of Parabola or a beefier Czar Jack. No I am not going to condescend and bring in the fucking casuals with some Ten Fidy or Old Rasputin references. This is for tickers flexing that iron, go to your offshelf pilates class this website isn’t for you.

D: Overall this is exceedingly drinkable, if you can get past the beetus nose and vanilla hammering away at your jawline. Like oh so many rare ass offerings, it’s really tough to recommend this 20% improvement if you are giving up BA Kopi or Birth of Tragedy type of stuff to land it. If it is a reasonable trade, absolutely seek this out. Otherwise wait until Doug has a family member pass away and he opens up his massive 7 barrel system*.

I am not saying they should have cancelled this batch, but maybe it was a bit rushed.

I am not saying they should have cancelled this batch, but maybe it was a bit rushed.

Narrative: The University of Connecticut had never seen a season like this, and a turnout of over 30% of the seats sold at a women’s basketball game was staggering to say the least. “You girls are really doing something here, I mean forget Title IX, you girls are almost running only 49% in the red this season…A UNIVERSITY RECORD!” their Coach Ms. Hammerstein boomed in the opulent, nearly unused locker room. The mannish young women nodded plaintively and Coach Hammerstein caught power forward Takesha Williams blush. “You got something to say Takesha?” the coach importuned aggressively. “Nah coach it’s just, I wasn’t supposted to say nothin’ it’s just…” the rest of the team shook their heads as Takesha winsomely revealed the huge secret of their success. “Ain’t nobody tryna watch no women’s basketball, I mean, sitting through all that to see 41 points scored, it’s painful,” the coach sat on a bench and tapped her foot nervously. “Coach, we been Beaning, beaning all semester, since preseason even-” Takesha, a hulking amazon of an athlete pulled out a small vial of raw sticky wet vanilla beans. Coach Hammerstein dropped her gaze to the hexagonal tiles. “You…you told me it was air freshener, they are gonna cancel our grant. Dozens of the UCONN fans will be DEVASTATED!” Coach Hammerstein boomed as each young woman revealed their sticky sacks of beans. It was unnatural, and a conceitless way to ensure victory, but women’s basketball was hardly watchable without them all straight poppin their beans.

* I do not wish harm on any of the Peg’s or Cycle Brewing Staff and I am sure the Will and Intestate laws of Florida would treat his heirs amiably.

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Funky Buddha No Crusts, Pack This in Your Child’s Lunch, Crazy Trading Power At Recess

Do you like peanut butter? How about sticky jelly? You like being drunk? Well here is the solution for you, drunken PB and J explosion. I had this beer on two occassions, last June it was amazing, last January, it was like peanut butter Consecration and half the bottle erupted. In the interests of fairness, I will review the amazing first foray. Drink those Funky Buddha bottles early, guize, srsly.

Who knows, maybe your shining face will appear on this very illustrious beer website as an alecreeper. One can only dream.

The Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery
Florida, United States
American Brown Ale | 6.00% ABV

A: This beer had a nice fluffy appearance and great transparency to it with lucid brown hues throughout with amber at the edges. There’s a tame stickiness to it like a turbid glass of sticky chocolate milk.

PB and J beer? Next level ale maneuver. Fucking smart.

S: This is bizarre through and through. It has a deep peanut smell to it. Seriously. It smells like a burnt peanut/walnut with some oiliness to it. There is a grape skin element to it as well. It smells like an uncrustable.

T: This will be incredible easy: this is a pureed peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That is all that needs to be said. A grape juiciness is imparted in the middle with a huge dry peanut finish. I cant believe that I just typed that but yes, it is a peanut and grape beer.

This beer reaches for new heights and scores hard in the paint. Peanut butter alegasm dunking on fools.

M: It is light and lingers gently with a peanut oils finish. There is a huge amount of sediment in the bottom of the glass. It washes away clean and tastes incredible. I have no style guidelines to base this on but its is just simply amazing.

D: I have no idea how that they did this but it is incredibly offbeat and amazing. This is my introduction to this bizarre brewery and I am incredibly impressed. I feel like I could drink a ton of this, in the same way that I weighed 120 lbs in 5th grade. I love PBnJ sammies. Hands down.

I am content, but I want this many more of these.

Narrative: The Ukraine Gulag was oppressive and cold. The winters were harsh and provided little reprieve to its prisoners. Fyodor broke granite slabs in the dry cold winds day in and day out. The prisoners would have no hope were it not for one thing: the smackerels. Sergeyevich, the local lifer had developed an incredible knack for taking the hard tack, provisions and crafting delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from them. The prisoners bit delightfully into the sticky messes with careless abandon. “To the devil with the proletariat masses who keep us within these walls brother Sergey, for a single bit of your smackerels, I would brave the plains of the Gobi desert TWICE OVER!” An overseeing magistrate rapped his cane hatefully on the metal railing twice and the prisoners meekly demurred. “for your jelly…I will live on.” The prisoners nodded in concurrence. Sergey raised a single palm and sagely advised: “I don’t think you are ready for this jelly. No Alexey, you are not ready for this jelly.” He exhaled with indolence and continued to smash granite slabs, looking out upon the icy plains.