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TIRED HANDS CAGE MATCH: Singel Hop Nelson vs. Farmhands – Two Saisons Enter, ONLY ONE LEAVES

I have enjoyed the marketing, branding, products and general panache set forth by Tired Hands Brewing Company. They set forth an extremely high quality product, laid out a groundwork of not only delicious beers but also a solid framework of innovation as well. The beers and marketing structure reminds me of another certain saison master out of VERMONT , but I will defer on that topic for the time being. Their galaxy hopped gose, GHOST, is a perfect example of it. Instead of trying to determine which saison to review from these saison ballers, I will treat you to an old fashioned CAGE MATCH. There will be only one survivor left to rule the farmhouse.

Here are the contenders:

For the visually impaired, this is the Singel Hop Nelson

Tired Hands Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Saison / Farmhouse Ale | 5.00% ABV

I forget what was going on, I forget a lot of things when I drink this much saison. I can’t be expected to be responsible for all of Nana’s medication all the time.

Tired Hands Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Saison / Farmhouse Ale | 5.00% ABV

Appearance:

Nelson: This isn’t a particularly beautiful saison at the outset, the carbonation is pretty tame by the outrageous saison standards that we have seen this week, but it is far from deficient. It has a sort of dull shine to it like a yellow/orange shirt that has been washed with some towels. The lacing is pretty and makes some wispy lil ghosts on the glass.

Farmhands: This looks very similar to Nelson, no fucking shit, right? I enjoyed this a bit more though because it had less of wateriness to it and came across as a bit more creamy in execution. It was the same type of growler, shipping, and conditions so this should be pretty fucking equal but this one is clearly more attractive. Feel me.

WINRAR: Farmhands OG.

Both beers come from a proud lineage.

Smell:

Nelson: This should be obvious, but it is overwhelminly Nelson hops. I drank this beer 4 days after it was growlered and it was still raging with a lemon, tangerine, light pine, and a faint bandaid aspect to it. I usually am not a fan of single hop variants using all Nelson, that Stone Best By was a completely bag of melted plastic. This is quite the exception. At the backend is a bad ass grassiness that supports and compliments the lemon scone aspects going on.

Farmhands: This takes a more traditional approach and I feel is better as a result because you can actually apprehend some of the nuances. In the Nelson it is hop onslaught, in this version you get some light honey, grassiness, a gentle spice, and some lemon peel. This just comes across as a more developed beer for anyone who isn’t a stupid ass Oracle chugging hophead who just discovered beer.

WINRAR: Farmhands OG.

Taste:

Nelson: The outset has a sharp sweet and almost tart aspect to it that I absolutely love in light watery saisons. The malts are almost imperceptible due to the fact that a huge grassiness moves in and leaves an aggressive bittering aspect. Haters may hate due to the hop profile pulling it off style, but fuck it, this is flat out refreshing and delicious.

Farmhands: This is more traditional and stays closer to style with a cornbread and wheat profile that lingers with a faint lemon but, for the same reason that New Glarus saison was kinda janky, this is more boring in execution. This is by no means bad, but the Nelson version just takes more risks and I end up liking it more.

WINRAR: The Nelson.

Two draft only saisons? 4 fucking liters? surfs up bro, getting so pitted.

Mouthfeel:

Nelson: This initially has a sweet honey stickiness to it but the hops are so over the top that all other nuances are completely choked out like Will Smith’s dog in I am Legend. As a result this is almost medicinal after the first pint because the pints seriously just do work on your cage, steady grassy hadookens right into your chest. I can’t hang with this kind of alpha acid abuse.

Farmhands: The farmhands has a creamier mouthfeel and a gentle sort of lemon acidity to it, but it again doesn’t blow me away with something I can tell my ungrateful ass grandkids about. I enjoy the light crisp finish of the Nelson version more, it feels like they added water to it and kept the abv, which doesn’t make sense TO SCIENCE, but I don’t care, sometimes I like those cones in my facehole.

WINRAR: Nelson version.

Drinkability:

Nelson: This would be super high on the D scale if it wasn’t so. god. damn. hoppy. some people will have a fat cone boner and love this beer for that reason but I seriously challenge them to take down a full 2 liter by themselves like I did. Shit goes from fun to a full on drying chore. Your mouth ends up feeling like an incense show and smelling like Lillith Fair.

Farmhands: This is far easier to drink and doesn’t have a huge liability sack of dryness and resin in tow. I enjoyed the sweet meets acidic aspects to the Farmhands with the light grassy finish instead of subjecting my mouth to fucking Bath and Body works for 2 full liters, wait, make that 4 full liters. I am a champion.

WINRAR: Farmhands OG.

TOTAL WINRAR: Farmhands Saison is the more delicious making beer. Nelson is still legit but feels more like a hybrid trying to bang two styles at once, which at a party, never works out and it goes home alone.

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East End Brewing Gratitude, This Barleywine is Gratuitously Good, Completely Excessive

I was always stymied by the rare offering. At the outset you have releases to the tune of 700ish bottles and everyone trades hard for these but then I heard it was NOT BARREL AGED. I was a skeptic until I had an epic barleywine showdown and it drilled other BA contenders and made the horrible Lift Bridge Commander look like a bottle of Zima. This beer rips open malt anuses and delivers a sweet panache that can’t be imitated:

The person in the background seemed a bit GRATUITOUS.

East End Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
American Barleywine | 11.50% ABV

What you know about that blue wax 2009 vintage dog? Gripping two clips, sliding barleywine heaters in the 2 seater.

A: This has an amazing turbid aspect to it that is not unlike BA Old Backus barleywine. The sheeting is pretty modest and, for a 3 year old beer it maintained the carbonation in a legitimate manner. This is what Paul Wall would floss with in a CL mercedes, it is classy but not as overstated as 808 drums. Just look at that muddy baby, you want to pinch its cheeks and take a smooch.

Despite the lack of barrel aging, this beer is mature for its age.

S: This has an incredible waft to it, milk chocolate, chocolate milk, melted raisinettes, sweet brown sugar, and cream of wheat made with a sweet smooch. I love this beer and this might be the best non-BA Barleywine that I have ever had, srsly, it is that bomb, you don’t even need to cut the red or the yellow wire.

T: This has an incredible taste with a light caramel char, dark cherries, plums, some notes akin to a quad, but it still maintains that brown sugar profile that makes it unmistakably a fantastic barleywine. This may have started as an American barleywine but, after a few years the hops have really mellowed into just a light citrus that makes this beer incredible through and through.

Hey guys, tonight we are going to open a dank non-BA barleywine
Oh cool bro.

M: This is exceedingly thin for the style but, given the huge malt blasters firing on all 8 cylinders in the taste profile, the tires hit the pavement hard. The thin nature of this beer doesn’t mean that it isn’t a freak in the palate sheets and the abv is the sneaky camera man capturing the whole thing without your knowledge or consent.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable, especially with some age on it. I don’t know if you could pass this off on novice beer drinkers but anyone at the Hop head level or above would love the robust sticky sweet character of this beer and merk it mercilessly. You ever seen ABC’s groundbreaking drama “Switched at Birth?” no? Ok, then you are qualified to drink this amazing beer.

wale whale whalez. What rare ass barleywine are we enjoying today?

Narrative: Dwayne was the best employee at the EZ Lube in Sante Fe. Fram filters, synthetics, high mileage he knew it all. Sure it seemed like a pedestrian task, that is until the average person tried to do it themselves, suddenly that old SL500 wasn’t so useful sitting like a hunk of overpriced german steel in the driveway. One fortuitous day, Dwayne was on his way to work and noticed a plume of smoke on the horizon. “OH MY GOD.” He pulled up to the scene of the tragedy and saw them all just stopped there, dead in their tracks, the death rattle of heroes that had seen better days. “WHAT’S THE SITUATION HERE?!” he called to the police officers as he ran over to them. “Well they just started making a little tick and-” Dwayne ripped open the hood of each stalled car and found that each had been negligently filled with 10W-30, INSTEAD OF 10W-40. “Oh for the love of gargbhhh-” the mere scene made him vomit on the side of the road. He swiftly went to work on a quick flush and replaced the oil in record time. “Thanks kid, you really saved the day today, now we can go shut down that Stem Cell Research protest, you’re a real hero, you know that? Not us today, you Dwayne.” The cars glamed as the exhaust resonated through the strip mall. Dwayne was the best damn 20 minute hero that $8.25 per hour could buy. His side job at the caramel factory seemed downright pedestrian by contrast; he was a brilliant genius that people overlooked far too often.