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These Brewers Gonna Make Me Unleash the Dragon: Passionate Dragon. Happy Barrel Aged Beer Day.

First thing’s first, happy Barrel Aged Beer Day, bump this in your lonely cubicle:

So after the shockwaves of Fundamental Observation continue to reverberate. the sweatjoweled world continues to await the sophomore release from these young OC upstarts. You might remember when I went to the Bruery anniversary and called Passionate Dragon the best beer of the entire festival, even better than Fundamental Observation.  So I went into this already knowing what type of dragon fist lay in store. Does this hold up in bottled format? Is there logic attendant to the bottle? From zero to R. Kelly, how much passion are we talking about in International Passion Units (IPUs)?

ALL QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED.

So much embarrassment to take low fstop photos like this outside of the home.  Such shame.

So much embarrassment to take low fstop photos like this outside of the home. Such shame.

“Passion and dragon fruit saison aged in wine barrels. In collaboration with Arizone Wilderness Brewing, this saison is brewed with passion fruit, dragon fruit, Centennial kumquats, Rosemary, fresh bay leaves, and White Sonora Wheat. It’s a mouthful, we know, but this beer showcases our shared passion to push craft beer forward.”

Alright at the outset you may be thinking:
“DDB you give other breweries a raft full of shit for using adjuncts in a saison, suddenly your homer instincts kick in and these guys get a fukn pass?”

Well, allow me to temper those objections by stating: this beer is fucking amazing.  If you want to add pink peppercorns each lovingly rubbed on the urethral tip of a BJCP master, then go for it, so long as the beer is amazing. I read the description and was like “oh god damn it” but then knew the incredible pedigree of Arizona Wilderness and the calm set in.  Those comforting chest pets to relieve anxiety.

First and foremost, the bottled version of this wasn’t as trubby and jammy in its tannic turbidity as the draft version.  It turns out, the bottled version is way fucking better.  If you wanted a slurry fruit mess, call Pizza Boy. The brewers elected to blend and allow the final version to ferment longer, giving it more of a nuanced barrel characater, less smuckers, more tannins, more structure, and this inimitable lingering bay leaf menthol added to the fruit that lasts and lasts underscoring the oak saturation.  For this reason, you don’t get the cliche MAGENTA OMFG that newmoney kids lose their shit over, tasting with their eyes pell mell.

These labels are still admittedly busy and obnoxious. Raygun nostalgia with like 9 diagrams, 500 words of text: too fucking much going on.

These labels are still admittedly busy and obnoxious. Raygun nostalgia with like 9 diagrams, 500 words of text: too fucking much going on.

Another note is that this beer is a full 1%  abv over the draft version and much much drier as a result.  The alcohol is seamlessly integrated into the fruit and barrel presence in a scary way.  Usually this dryness is accompanied with some sausage fingered acetic aeration, intense tartness.  That is not the case here, this beer bangs like Rockford Fosgate subs in a bandpass box but never gets too intense or acidic.  It is without comparison of recent memory, a single foot planted hard in the saison realm without letting monoculture emphasis denature the experience.

The taste never jumps completely to rely upon fruits like a crutch, nor does it expect the spices to bail them outta county either.  As a result you have a hardened saison criminal, who is a bit fruity from the time in captivity but in that hard way that you just have to respect.  In terms of analogues, this is less a saison and more of a Biere de Garde.  The whole affair drinks like a fruited, less acidic, cleaner Biere de Norma. Yes, I realize the implications of stating that something with this many ingredients is better than a Hill Farmstead beer, I stand by it.  The shit is like 2 tabs of Demerol that starts out normal enough and suddenly your face is being attacked by the sidewalk.  You be gripping parking meters tripping not an insubstantial number of balls, tryna make it out of this fruited farmhouse alive.

The beer itself is inversely good to the quality of this shitty pic.

The beer itself is inversely good to the quality of this shitty pic.

If you went to the Stone Anniversary/Sourfest and had the immeasurably shittier “YOUNG DRAGON” rest assured, this is a completely different beer that stomps out that squad until they turn the lights on.  The nose is a phrenetic Hungry Hungry Hippos match wherein kumquat and tropical fruits compete with oak and lingering saison esters to gobble up your white BALs with their wanting maws.

The mouthfeel initially has a Welch’s Passionfruit juice that serves as an opening band to warm things up for the main event when the dry tannic skins spit hot bars over a kumquat instrumental. Bay leaf is in the back providing bitter structure with sick beatboxing.

This sold out immediately online and there was some degree of chaos from a unilaterally reschedule sale, switched to a Sunday morning.  I can foresee the degree of butthurt being noteworthy once the reviews for the bottled version start pouring in.  The sweet punishment of success, an ambrosial delight endemic to the beer industry.

All said, I enjoyed this more than Fundamental Observation and this beer brings something I seldom encounter in items with this much taking place concurrently: pirouettes of vinous balance. If this isn’t in the DDB top 10 of 2015 I would be surprised, you would be remiss to skip this one as I can’t identify a clear analogue in recent memory.

Electric currant: currant saison.  These guys continue to load shells into that bullpup ambidextrous cellar

Electric currant: currant saison. These guys continue to load shells into that bullpup ambidextrous cellar, stoked to see if these guys can sustain success beyond these first two homeruns.

We shall see.

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On the Real Tho, What the Deal with Side Project Framboise du Fermier?

Alright we all know the lore behind this shit.  300 bottles.  Midwest hype.  1 per person per mule per grandma per collateral body present for the tickets that were allegedly/surreptitiously handed out to selected attendees. At least that is the way I heard it.  No sooner than buttholes were healing from the anal fissures attendant to the prior two fruited fermiers, this drops and all the sad tickers are carrying around their pink socks lamenting self-inflicted Fedex woes.

Let’s not get it twisted, landing this is going to be an exercise in self-flaggelation and St. Louis fecespeddlers have no empathy or shame in their rapacious requests. It is kinda like in the Ostfront when Germany was retreating, after years of dealing out abuse, the rest of the trade world is about to receive some grim comeuppance from an area that previously held Schlafly as the piece de resistance. “If they do only a fraction of what we have done to them, we will be in complete ruins.”

Alright so, whale pedigree, whale expectations: BUT HOW DOES THIS BERRY BANGER EVEN TASTE? Let me introduce you to my stove, traps queens on deck.

That look is undeniable. God damn.

That look is undeniable. God damn.

Fruited Wild Ale, 8% abv

St. Louis, Missouri

Straight out of the gates, look at this majestic cranberry, roseate, blood of the nonbelievers spilling on the cobblestones.  It is easily one of the most beautiful wild ales this side of Cable Car Kriek and has flawless carb, sheeting and this delightfully filthy dance of residual seeds and flesh dancing in the globe. Stepdad is gonna spank those 9th grader asses stop sign red for opening his pink beer while he is at work at Cici’s Pizza.

I braced for some acetylaldehyde or maybe a touch of some formative Rose De Gambrius vinegar, but the whole affair takes things to the redline zone in every way.  There was no expense spared, no restrain used, no nuances employed, this is a 9 minute long raspberry Dragonforce solo that melts your baby momma’s face when she looks at it directly.  It is liquid fruit by the foot, gushers, red 5, muddled berries, smuckers, intense acidity that burns your eyelashes magenta, and waves of so many hispanic roadside fruitstands.  I imagine this is what it would feel like to get jumped into a gang, in a berry field.  It is just too much of a good thing to the point of being berry incarnate.  It cannot be reasoned with.

Behold, the ruby weapon, awakened after so many millenia of hateful slumber under the desert.

Behold, the ruby weapon, awakened after so many millenia of hateful slumber under the desert.

The taste takes the acidicty, fruit, and completely tactless overkill of the nose and takes it to suborbital heights.  This is not the Platonic form of a framboise, it is some malevolent Mojoverse where science has been harnessed to go beyond the berry into a weaponized raspberry neutron bomb.  It is ambrosial and deriding, like that abusive girl you met on Tinder who only hits you up after 3am. Given the quality of the interaction you tolerate the violence, if under suboptimal circumstances.  This is unlike ANY berry beer you have had, RASPY or otherwise.

Let me underscore something: this is NOT a one dimensional lactic acid bomb like Upland moves through the basic palate raffleranks. This is those end game weapons that are so powerful that they break the game as a result. Alright you know how everyone has a rock hard lambic boner for Framboos despite the fact that 2014 was flat and riddled with exit flaws? Imagine that is something like Old Rip Van Winkle 10. This, by contrast is something completely more insane, outside the penumbra of your training, this is uncut barrel strength WLW that will not be dominated.

clacking those pink bottoms, all these poverty tickers belly up to the bar tryna throw singles at a raindance tick

clacking those pink bottoms, all these poverty tickers belly up to the bar tryna throw singles at a raindance tick

There are waves of tannic skins that spin down your mid palate with delicious black cherry and currant heft but streak like an orbital laser, exothermic destruction on the back palate.  I had to drink my first glass with a water nearby, not unlike WLW.  I promise you guys I was not being a tamponpalate, this is way over the top intense and made for the St. Louis 13 person tastings in which these are invariably only opened. The magnificent drag down the throat is like uncut raspberry blow, the drip is enough to make some tickers cough because it isn’t stepped on.

tfw you at work not embarrassed to read 900 words about a fruit beer but see this and close the tab

tfw you at work not embarrassed to read 900 words about a fruit beer but see this and close the tab

At about the last 8 ounces, I had two chapped labias on my face and had to “proof” the raspberry fury down and I cut it with a Highland Park blended saison All the yeast.  The blend felt like a resignation, like i quit, I Tapped Out like so many stickers on slammer Silverados. Candidly, the blend was incredible and added that grist and cheesiness that the beer needed.

It is not flawless, but god damn if it isn’t some straight up once in a lifetime barrel strength madness that has never been replicated. It is the beer form of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, no one needs 702 raspberries under the hood, but if you have the cash to get it, by all means go fucking nuts on the backstreets.  This is not a daily driver framboise, the berry burnouts are far too substantial for my weak dentistry.

DDB gets that coveted berry banger and gives criticism, the music of weak bloggers screaming in unison

DDB gets that coveted berry banger and gives criticism, the music of weak bloggers screaming in unison

Thankfully, every Untappd dipshit will be checking in a lukewarm meniscus pour so small it cant even retain surface tension.  This bilateral exchange of misplaced reverence and undeserved pride fuels the current trade scene, with Kafkaesque results.  We can’t blame Cory King for that, but we can blame him for not getting Mother 3 ported to the United States as Mother 3.  THANKS A LOT, CORY. FUCK.

1

Veritas 015 is Big Willey Style, Got @LostAbbey on that I Am Legend Tip

Lost Abbey has around a 40% kill/death ration with the Veritas line, more than enough to keep you in the majors.  For every whaley V004 we receive, there’s always some oddball V009 stuttering and playing with a Leapfrog book.  By now people just treat the Veritas series like dropping a hot acid round in the revolver and spinning the chamber, because when it pays off it pays off hard.  This is one such instance where you not only don’t get lit up like Veritas 011, but this enters the ranks of the best Veritaseses ever created.

Let’s cut up this fruit AWA and get our Rachel Ray on in today’s review. Knife work gettin you promoted up from line.

Rolling up Big Willie Style of the Sour Game V15 I AM LEGEND

Rolling up Big Willie Style of the Sour Game V15 I AM LEGEND

Lost Abbey, San Marcos, North County Toolboxland Churchillsburg, CA

6.5% abv, American Lambic Wild Ale with Fruit, AmeriFoune

This beer showcases exactly what Lost Abbey does best: making the best fucking sour blonde ales in the game.  Whenever you hear them shutting the club down with some DDG or Cable Car joints, it is never centered around some sour dark ale or barrel aged barleywine. Lost Abbey blonde sours pay fat dividends like that unsplit Berkshire Hathaway stock.

When I heard the specs on this beer it sounded like an even more fruited version of Spontaneous Cheer, my micropeen was primed for a tart road trip.  The beer pours more radiant and bright than Spontaneous Cheer and looks outright radioactive in the glass, frothy carb bursting forth lacing the glass with intense pop rocks crackles, an appearance strangely similar to Duck Duck in many ways, or Cable Car 2013.  You get the jist, I dont need to draw it out for you like the plot of Sense8.

This beer get funky just like D.O.C. do

This beer get funky just like D.O.C. do

The nose is cut kumquats, highly acidic, unripe tangerines, honeydew, there’s a wheaty sort of grist to it that almost reminds me of a mineral character, with a fully lacto finisher to it that is almost too sour for my gentle nose holes. This isn’t as apeshit as Veritas 10 in acidic fruit, but this is def a serious american wild Desert Eagle with that oaky kickback.

The taste is straight sub-saharan dryness, the cankersores about to be budding if you dont have some water on hand from those receding cells getting bombed on with dehydrating goodness.  The only thing keeping this from being some insane ph-bomb is the presence of fruit as it warms.  The magnetic tangerine and clementine are buttressed by peach and apricot, it’s every shade of citrus Life Saver in the roll, oaky, puckering and intensely satisfying. There’s a sort of cheesy marmalade aspect that gives a bit back from the armed tastebud robbery that it commits in the process.  It’s like a roguish bandit that puts a carnation in a girl’s lapel after robbing the tongue stagecoach. THANKS FOR THE FRUIT VERITAS UR A GOOD GUY.

Overall, this doesn’t have the stumbling blocks of other american sours that attempt to hazard this level of intensity and has a certain degree of panache that keeps it from being a one dimensional acidic asthma attack. This should be well up on the top of your want list despite the cost of entry because unlike most stupid ass DDB reviews, this is one time where I can’t be like “JUST BUY DERP D’OR FROM CROOKED STAVE” or pointing to some Belgian analogue.  I had this the same day as Fou and both are stellar and completely different.

OH WE ON THAT PAGANI VERITAS SWERVE? Hode up, lemmie get to a save point.

OH WE ON THAT PAGANI VERITAS SWERVE? Hode up, lemmie get to a save point.

Before you ask, yes, this is way different from Stone Bu, Imperial Peach Bu, Bu Banger, Bu Bae, Jew Bu, or whatever 47 different stonefruit berliners are released this month. While those might be easier to land, this doesn’t have much in common with many of the De Garde fruited offerings, and no it doesn’t taste similar to Fen Tao, due to the ratcheted up acidity. No disrespect to any of the foregoing, this just isn’t quite on the same scene, blowing seaweed green out that Pagani sunroof, cutting up them pitted bricks on the passenger side.

Seek it out, and be sure to offer up X-Mas Bomb or some shit so we can have some LULz in the process.

Here’s a handy Veritas chart of jankrank scaled from most trifling to next level shit:

V009 – most jank

V001- second most jank

V002- trifling

V011- moderately trifling 

V013- pretty deece

V008 – pretty legit with time sans tea

V010- tasty fun times

V014- damn I’m sweating 

V007- Shit is getting real

V0012- no jank, all body high

V006- it’s kickin in, I feel it

V004- can’t handle the club right now

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LA BEER WEEK BONUS REVIEW: @smogcitybeer Cuddlebug, Compelled Cuddling is Really Just Pinning Someone Down

Alright before we jump right back into the fray with another brewery review, might as well address this stone fruit prodigy that people have been mentioning with regularity on the trade boards. The Smog City barrel program seemingly has blind sided consumers and top tier tickers alike with monthly releases spitting hot rounds, dropping mad 16s on the South Bay. Even crusty kids with Pennywise shirts are peeping the BAL game.

So what’s the deal with this shit? OH GREAT YET ANOTHER STONEFRUIT SOURED BLONDE WOW SUCH ORIGINAL MANY INSPIRE. I thought the same thing and furrowed my brow, knowing that hard as nails lineage it would need to compete with: Persica, Fen Tao, La Fosse, Veritas 15, Fuzzy, the list goes on and fucking on.  Even making a 4.5% AWA with peaches and apricots already puts a red dot on a brewer’s head like Rodman.

Let’s go through the standard checklist that gets level 2 cicerones tumescent:

– Stonefruit

– 2000 bottle release

– brewery only

And then they need to clean the trub from those And1 basketball shorts because that’s all it takes these days. Except this beer is actually good, it’s really fucking tasty.

squeeze that peach until the juice runs down your leg

squeeze that peach until the juice runs down your leg

The pour looks a touch watery but leaves subtle cling before that carb crackles off and belies that potentially acidic affair waiting underneathe.  It looks clean and radiant, glowing like a Super Mario Galaxy Star.

The nose is intense pithy apricot flesh, cut nectarine, less peach and more farmers market clementines and satsuma almost.  The bouquet seems so representative of the fruits in question is feels supra-real, like when that yellow smelling marker smelled more like lemons than real lemons do.  This goes over the top and the acidity isn’t really anywhere to be found.  There isn’t much brett C or musky funk interplay and this is one of those “squeaky clean” sours that boost crushability in lieu of cheesy gristiness.

WHOA WAIT THIS IS NOT THE PEACHES I WAS SEEKING. i will accept this willingly.

WHOA WAIT THIS IS NOT THE PEACHES I WAS SEEKING. i will accept this willingly.

The taste is endlessly balanced, a fruit profile that never becomes cloying or artificial.  It has moderate acidity but you could easily crush a 500ml without a second thought. There is a touch of drying along the gumline but it never feels like they are learning on the fruit as a crutch.  With some fruited wilds, you toss 2 lbs per gallon of anything and YOU WIN THE GAME THIS TASTES LIKE FRUIT, but that isn’t the case here.  The fruit tannins serve to compliment rather than outshine the delicate drinkability of this beer, it’s like an ultra competent Steve Buscemi performance that makes everyone else appear even better as a whole.

A complaint that perhaps isn’t even a valid gripe is that it is TOO easy to drink and unless you actively contemplate this beer, it will be gone.  One phone call from your ex wife pestering you about DID YOU BORROW MY STEPLADDER and boom the entire beer is gone. THANKS A LOT, JANET, YOU STOLE YET ANOTHER THING FROM MY LIFE.  It isn’t insubstantial like some of the Bu’s, and it isn’t over the top like some nameless Floridian offerings, it his this perfect inner wall of satisfaction you want to rock upon until you crack your pit and juice it hard.

WAIT WUT.

how long been on them stone fruits? ALL DAY TICKER

how long been on them stone fruits? ALL DAY TICKER

In sum, yet another fucking great beer without a clear parallel, that is absolutely worth putting in and around your face.

0

The Bruery Mango Hottenroth, A Lackluster Jaunt Down the Produce Aisle of Sighs

Today we have a Hoarders only bottle that people were writing fanficiton about all year, just waiting for this banger to drop. All fucking year we witnessed other west coast breweries parade out reasonable ABV wild ales, fruited goses, fruited berliners, DOUBLE FRUITED sours. Each impatient dipshit in the Hoarders crew longingly shook a snowglobe and waited and waited for this beer to drop. FINALLY WORD CAME! HS ballers would get a single. bottle. with their membership. To prevent people flipping over Priuses in the streets of Placentia, another bottle was available for purchase. A single. bottle. The anticipation ran high and, with a crisp fulfilling base beer, WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Well strap yourself into that sex swing and prepare for that mango to get plenty bruised in today’s review.

Them tropical tones on blast, looking all Naked/Kerny

Them tropical tones on blast, looking all Naked/Kernsy

The Bruery, Placentia
3.2% abv, Berliner with Mango

A: This is a messy, turbid affair that wears the mango guts proudly like an ornate sash of pulp and frothy flotsam. It isn’t particularly beautiful, but regular old Hotty didnt have a pilates body either. The carb exits almost upon inception, a wry tip of the hat as if to say “we lived in the bottle for long enough as it is, good luck with this one, Mango Hotty is a hot mess.” There is no lacing, no cling, just you and this second runnings from the Jamba Juice blender. A Petite Smootheeiere`

S: The nose is undeniably mango, tropical life savers, Haribo peach rings, yes yes, that is all present. Apricot Jolly Rancher even? Sure. The problem is not within the mango funzone, it is within the dark undercurrent of odd happenings that clearly were not invited and are stretching the expanse of a +1 roster. You get a sort of lemon meringue, alright not standard but, wait is that egg? Hold on, sulphur? Detonated fireworks? WHO LET THESE INTO THIS HERETOFORE AMAZING BEVERAGE? The whole thing closes with a sort of “bottle shock” note that makes it seem like, despite waiting so long to release this bottle, the March 31 pickup date pushed this to be released too soon. And DDB, like a stupid asshole wants to have the first review up, so I opened mine far too soon. Let’s move on.

Drop molly with your pet otter, pop a bottle of this, anything goes.  taste colors.

Drop molly with your pet otter, pop a bottle of this, anything goes. taste colors.

T: Things continue to get weird from here on in, theres some apricot fruit leather and a brackish spray like riding a clementine orca over a sea of Donald Duck Orange Juice EVERYTHING IS AMAZING- until you swallow. The clinging pulpy barbs leave an odd “Bubbilicious chewed way too long” sort of cling and a waxiness like those opaque candy bottles with juice inside of them. Something just seems, not quite right. It isn’t exactly sick or ropey or phenolic, none of that, but it feels kinda like I am sipping a molten mango Yankee Candle. The whole affair is circumspect and breaches the expectations of “Yeah I love Hottenroth, just put mango in that shit, alright, let’s get this done.”

M: This is crushable and drinks like an odd variant of Vitamin Water. It is crackly, crisp and dry, leaves a tannic presence along the gumline and leaves nothing to be desired in this realm. It never becomes too acidic or sweet and cloying. The weird eggy taste along the back palate is strange and I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation for it, if you like Mango Oikos Greek Yogurt, you will love this untameable Rancor.

The Bruery's reaction when I saunter in after this review.

The Bruery’s reaction when I saunter in after this review.

D: I can’t pretend to know what happened here. This seemed like a simple enough task but things just did not work out as expected. You take your Civic Si in for a new timing belt, suddenly it has a wet fogger system and isnt street legal and runs in a less than satisfactory fashion. Hottenroth is simple as shit and people love it. Adding mango to this should have been a plug and play affair but this thing has spoilers and sideskirts and all manner of shit that seems to have overly complicated the whole execution. This is by no means a bad beer, it isn’t a drainpour, and if you split it at a massive Indiana backyard share the untappd single digit reviews would rain like Phoenician arrows. It is a disappointment though, given the high hopes, delays, anticipation and fanciful imagination of beer nerds everywhere. Perhaps the promise of unbridled deliciousness were unfair from the inception, maybe Trevor put out way too many fucking tasty De Garde BU’s and people just assumed this would be the same way. I don’t know, it is Friday don’t you have better things to do than read this shit? It has to be 25 cent wing night SOMEWHERE.

SHAMELESS APOLOGIST SIGNING OFF.

I wear many hats around here.

I wear many hats around here.