GHOSTS IN THE WHIP: DDB takes a ride to @phntmcarriage Brewing, LA Beer Week Cant Stop Wont Stop

Oh shit the LA Beer week reviews continue after yesterday’s Absolution write up gave people srs feels. Today we focus that malt soaked gaze upon some oddly charming macabre upstarts: Phantom Carriage.

So what is the deal with these Carson ballers whipping up american wilds, leveraging in equal measure macabre golden age Horror films and South Bay oil refinery microflora? Their business model at the outset appears to be a “Rare Barrel from the South” of sorts, with an emphasis on barrels, blending, bats and Black Lagoons.

Even in night mode, it is difficult to demonstrate how fucking dark this taproom is. Snaggletooth nightbeasts can get mad love here.

Even in night mode, it is difficult to demonstrate how fucking dark this taproom is. Snaggletooth nightbeasts can get mad love here.

The tasting room is the typical industrial park complex but when you enter the pitch black tasting room it feels like a cross between Disney Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion. There are chalk murals of Boris Karloff and Vincent Price and it looks like it needs one of those dry ice machines and fake cobwebs to nail down the “Horror Section” milieu of a VHS rental store.

The taplist doesn’t offer a incredible variety but that is like going to Kuhnhenn and complaining about the multitude of massive beers. They maintain a decidedly Awa verve and even when they set out into the farmhouse realm it still feels lactic and acidic throughout.

Would you like a tart saison, a sour wild, an acidic american wild, or a sour berliner? SUCH CHOICE TO BE MAKE.

Would you like a tart saison, a sour wild, an acidic american wild, or a sour berliner? SUCH CHOICE TO BE MAKE.

So is their beer any fucking good, or should it be buried in a graveyard with some Troma DVDs?

Broadacres: Their berliner was refreshing, watery, Gatorade with a touch of salinity akin to De Garde Petite Mosaic. Pretty deece.

Ambler: not really farmhouse so much as it was just a straight up sour golden ale you have encountered a billion times before.  Nothing exceptionally deficient, but given the layout of most mediocre breweries, this would be top tier for the average brewery, if they had a single sour at all.

Cushing: this is syrupy, acetic, with a cloying abrasiveness in the vein of a less attenuated Upland “lambic.”  Shit was WNBA 100% not bitches.

These photos are even shittier than the usual DDB photos because the brewery is about as well lit as a 8th grade makeout party with nothing but bandos

These photos are even shittier than the usual DDB photos because the brewery is about as well lit as a 8th grade makeout party with nothing but bandos

Leapwood with Brett: The special offering of Leapwood with Brett was easily the best beer on draft and was so good that it seemed out of place amongst some of the the forgettable sours padding out the ranks. When placing it against the serviceable but decent Muis, Leapwood seemed like it was from a completely different brewery, this would be legitimately worth seeking out to purposefully avail yourself of this phenomenal beer.

Muis: like a more watery version of Cushing, this was basically all Brett Lambicus, kinda one dimensional, dry, but with a nice lemongrass finish that lingers. 6 nugs on the dro scale.
Their bottle list was on point with a wide array of bottles from local breweries, other Saisons, wilds, Shelton brothers items, and even limited beer from the “would be” competitor, Smog City brewing. You would have to be a persnickety complainer to not be able to find something to enjoy, even if you don’t find Phantom Carriages lineup completely compelling, the guest taps, the variety in the bottles, the collaboration with other breweries like Cascade and LA locals make it a pretty tough spot to really talk shit on.

My main complain is the sheer redundancy of some of their sour blonde iterations OVER and OVER and OVER, like a lesbian who gets her tubes tied: WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS.



The brewery appears to have its voice dropping with some glimmers of pure athleticism and greatness, with the barrel aged stretch marks of awkward development as an undercurrent at this time. There are some great beers, and a bunch of mediocre barrel fillers. The aphotic movie room with a Vincent Price film on was a magnificent touch if only because I have never seen a brewery with enough balls to go beyond the tragically trite “BARRELS AS TABLES, grain sacks for seats, HEY LOOK A FOOD TRUCK” bit.

While this may be a nonissue to some, I ordered the hummus and baguette and it was really fucking good. The pairing was completely shitty with a flight of Casacade lactic bombs as a sidecar, but that is largely my own negligence.

So what is in store for these guys? I can see them weathering the craft beer storm because they are decidedly focused with intent, branding, and a lineup that seems to be perpetually evolving. When I first tried this brewery at the Beachwood sour fest, it seemed like a few meh Brett trois strains and a sour golden with potential DMS issues. It was initially some Junior Varsity Monkish-tier shit. In a single year they have already improved incredibly and the glints of their best far outweigh their worst at this juncture.

I opened a bottle of Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock with the staff and they all were conversant, really friendly and self aware. While the beers themselves sometimes are not consistent enough to carry the day, the overall experience makes this place a must visit.

They absolutely will need to field a million tired ass Dany Prignon/Fantome Carriage jokes tho, that shit will NEVR get ode.


Fantome Dark White BBB Saison, Black Hat, Black Shades, Dark White Ghost, Oh Behave.

Dany Prignon kills it in the saison scene and spares no hides when it comes to strange new takes on what was almost a completely lost style. This is my favorite style of beer from one of my absolute favorite breweries. I try to swing things around from brewery to brewery, but this particular beer was so damn strange and phenomenal that I had to give props to the ghosthunters in Soy and tell the haters to count those funky spokes. Bring your flashlight, we are telling ghost stories.

The BBB stands for Better Business Bureau, which is srs bzness in Belgium.

Brasserie Fantôme
Saison / Farmhouse Ale | 4.00% ABV

A: This does not look like your typical saison outing and it looks more like a biere de garde in execution but aint nobody complaining. The carbonation is actually ratcheted back from the usual “cork hitting the ceiling levels that this crazy ghost loves to present. These bottles can be dangerous. There is a deep copper meets watery bronze look to this that goes off the beaten hay/golden/orange juice look of many other saisons, but ain’t nobody complaining. I enjoy the light lacing, little spotty foam like a jacuzzi that has too many people in it.

If you open this at a tasting, you instantly become the pimp of the year

S: This has a light lactic tartness on the nose that is faint and reminds me of Fuji Appleas, you get a little bit of musk like puppy fur, and there’s some hay and faint herbal aspects to this. Everything feels like it has been turned down a couple notches. It is a gentle Fantome, the most chill of the ghosts, timid but sweet in execution.

T: This has an incredible musk meets light tartness to it like lightly salted hawaiian rolls. The mild honey pokes its head through the curtains and sees that its stepdad, lemon peel, has attended the rehearsal. All is well. This is simple but incredibly refreshing in the sweet meets light funk and light tart. Everything is just gentler and drapes a bretty shoulder over your shoulders to comfort you.

If you plan on getting into Fantomes, say goodbye to your expensable income. srs.

M: This is incredibly light and crisp as the same time. The watery aspects wash away clean, leaving you no time to ruminate over that should have been. The splishy splashy aspects make this on the Hill Farmstead Clara level of refreshing drinkable. If this bottle wasn’t $15.99, it might actually be sessionable, but I don’t know how hard you ball. I could drink this all day while watching a Night Court marathon, but that is how I roll.

D: Again, just exceptional in the way that it is present and memorable but doesn’t make the entire date about itself. It lets you tell canned anecdotes and nods lovingly in a refreshing manner. I love how the crisp tartness washes away immediately and the light funk gives it a solid backbone to lean its ghostly ass upon. My only complaint is that a beer this refreshing and simple should COST LESS, but that is hardly a fair criticism to lay upon the beer itself. Beer don’t know about no economics.

This is a little darker than I expected, but no one is disappointed.

Narrative: Construction of the trebuchet was not going as planned. Despite Leonardo’s assurances of improved design, the siege would invariably take longer than anticipated and the fields of Milan would remain in Ducal control. Salvatorri doffed his cap and kicked a rock in front of him and looked out upon the Palazzo. “We-a never-a gonna finish this-a siege!” he bemoaned in what could only be deemed a completely racist dialect. The counter balance was all off and the projectiles wouldn’t make it over the dominating granite walls, design to repel Papal control. Just then, a fantasm appeared out of the olive groves, glowing a deep golden hay color, wearing an anachronistic bowler cap. “Weeeeell hey fellas! Plannin a castle takeover? THAT SURE SOUNDS SWELL!” the ghost smiled and draped his ethereal arms around the 15th century soldiers. “mio Dio!” Salvatorri exclaimed, but was instantly put at ease by the gentle approach and amiable smile of this old ghost. Some would call him, Booberryesque. The lazy approach to things and finesse put all of the Romagna troops at ease and soon enough, the old catapult was as good as new. Later, while impressing Milanese people into forced servitude and accepting plenary indulgences for killing traitors, that old easy going ghost showed up again, wearing a pair of overalls and a straw hat. Salvatorri continued pushing a dirk into a wailing serf and winked back and that old trickster ghost.


Fantôme Extra Sour Special Original Creation, The Tartest Ghost To Inhabit Your Liver

It is no secret that I love saisons, within that penumbra exists Fantome, a ghost who haunts the cockles of my heart. So what happens when Fantome releases ~600 bottle release of extra sour, incredible saison? The world fucking ends, that’s what. I had the hardest time landing this. I tried to hit up my Hill Farmstead friends and they sold out immediately, then I bought one online, OOPS OVERSOLD IT, so they returned my order. I gave up hope. All was lost. UNTIL MY FRIEND TIM SAVED THE DAY FOR NO REASON. So here’s to Fantome, here’s to Dany Prignon, and here’s to Tim. Saison week just wouldn’t feel right without an epic Fantome up in the mix.

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

Brasserie Fantôme
Saison / Farmhouse Ale | 10.00% ABV

A: This is just a radiant turbid murky little lightning bolt that looks messy, but inviting at the same time, like sticky cinnamon rolls. The carbonation, as usual, is out of control. Some Fantomes you just set down and let them get their shit together because you look like a 17 year old pouring his first beer with these saisons. The lacing is minimal but the whole glass just radiates light like when you corrode something in Borderlands, yellow edition. This is staggeringly pretty, Ithaca Brute levels of prettiness.

At 10% abv, this doesn’t feel ruff at all.

S: The smell takes the normal saison offering and kicks up the lactic and pineapple elements to a juicy new realm. There’s a huge funk monster that is musky like wet leather and makes you think you left your bike outside in the rain. You get a slight element of peach and pear from the acidity and some old attic aspects from the closer. A strange, yet incredible quaff to it.

T: This is the smoothest 10% that I think I have ever encountered. The abv is masked brilliantly and there’s a creamy tartness at the outset like an orange julius, You get some residual wheat aspects from the middle body but it washes away into a funky pumpkin patch hay bale sort of musk. The whole beer is aggressive and takes saisons to dangerous new territory.

Fantome is serious business. Let the shortsighted n00bs have all the BA stouts.

M: The mouthfeel is dry, but not excoriating, the abv just sits back and orders the tart drones to do palate strikes. Again, this beer is not SOUR, per se. I have read reviews where douchenozzles complain that it wasn’t some lactic bomb that makes Cantillon blush. This is about as tart as a saison can get while being remotely to style. Some would argue that the 10% abv and huge fruit presence almost takes this into a new realm but to me it feel like a heavyweight boxer who tricked officials into letting him tear up the lower classes. On that note, this bottle was $35, so I doubt many lower classes are enjoying this.

D: This is scary drinkable, to the point where it hits the “MARVEL vs. CAPCOM 2” level where you can trick the fuck out of your friends with this trojan horse of a beer. You can drink this bad boy anywhere. Pull this out at a baby shower, enjoy your 10% treat and it looks like pineapple Ocean Spray and no one is the wiser. So, someone hook me up with another bottle please.

This beer takes saisons to SHOCKING NEW LEVELS. Tap low punch repeatedly to recover.

Narrative: Jerry’s Juice Emporium was failing miserably. First and foremost, people in Nebraska had an aversion to produce on par with 15th century Marseilles serfs. The midwest contingency just did not see what natural things growning on trees had to offer when Brach’s could make fruit snacks that were far more portable. One day, Jerry had the ultimate idea of leaving fermenting barrels of apricot and orange preserves mixed with the wheatgrass out back to make a SUPER SMOOTHIE BOOST. The usual crowd from Curves would pass, or sometimes enjoy a 700 calorie Milk Chocolate Protein MooMax shake, but never fruit. “Wait, what’s this here, HUNGER GAMES SMOOTHIE!” one patron who was likely named Tanya exclaimed. “Well no, it says hunger grain, but you, nevermind, sure.” She hurriedly ordered the juicy hay concoction and immediately felt as rosy as when she was 16 years old, just prior to her first child. “Imma keep my eye on you! I BE FEELING LIKE KATNISS ON THIS ONE!” The high alcohol content was completely masked and more empty pre-diabetic housewives came in droves. And that is how Belgium conquered the dustbowl. Fin.