BONUS REVIEW: New Glarus Smoke on the Porter, the beer is much harder to make than the guitar riff is to play.

I love New Glarus and I don’t care who knows it. We all know my civil objection to Red and Tart, but quite literally every other beer is amazing without qualifier.

Now we come to this crossroad. I hate smoked beers, I dislike smoke, and even a flint and dry kindling makes me nervous. So here we go, don’t let me down Wisconsin.

So sticky, so rauchey.

Unplugged Smoke on the Porter
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
American Porter | 6.10% ABV

Let me start by saying that every. single. beer. In this unplugged series has been amazing. Seriously. I will also qualify that with the fact that this beer IS AMAZING, but I absolutely did not enjoy it. How is this possible? Well, did you ever see Tree of Life, and you know something incredible is going on but you just refuse to embrace the artistry and amazing deliberate moves set forth. Enough sophistry, is it good? Yes, but not to me. This is not to say that people are “wrong” if they enjoy this. I just cannot stand smoke in my beers unless it they buttress the balustrade with some elaborate railings. So the base beer is amazing, if you can breathe through the smoke and inhale into blankets like that movie The Negotiator, you’ll survive.

I guess I just don’t like my amazing porter tasting like beer jerky [sic] anymore than I would cure a delicious cut of meat with a porter. “I WOULD!” the masses resoundingly announce. Well, intersubjectivity rules again. Some people dress in Furry suits and dome one another up, I am not saying it is wrong, my intercourse is just less elaborate.

The Verdict: This is a great base beer, amazing taste, very drinkable, clean, on to style, great chocolate and slight mocha wash, if you can somehow ignore the HUGE smoke presence, another win for New Glarus.

There are some bad ass elements going on in this beer, but you aren't sure if they should be combined.


Arcadia Bourbon Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter, For When Your Life is a Total Shipwreck

So you take a porter, completely rape the style and boost it to a staggering 12% abv and then put it in a bourbon barrel and the beer nerd kids get all half chub, then you add some wax to it and the beerection is so hard that a kitten’s claws couldn’t scratch it.

When this thing breaches your hull, you're going down.

Man, this beer was a huge pain in the ass to open. They went for the 6 coats of wax option and I sure worked up a hunger for 360 calories of beer after going through that shit. IRREGARDLESS, notwithstamping the formgoing, the beer-

Arcadia BA Shipwreck Porter, 12% abv, Baltic Porter

A: Ah imperial porters, always a hazy venn diagram for beer nerds to debate about Imperial Stouts and other very pressing style classification issues. This has a nice water inkiness that produces a night frothy mocha head, but I’ve definitely heard this one before, more specifically it is a porter through and through in body and spirit. It is candid in a “did the neighbors see us through the window” sort of fashion. Straight up porter blood, no B’s and C’s.

For some people, barrel aged porters complete them, these people need an ottervention.

S: The nose of this beer has a nice toffee and brown sugar note to it that reminds me of a honey ham glaze with a nice oaky finish. The chocolate dallies in like a fat kid in PE class, but eventually makes it there. Very nice smell to it and I sure wish I landed more than just one of these but, then again, I have enough to take down as is.

T: This has a fantastic initial sweetness like a butterscotch kiss from See’s Candy, a nice boozy heat to the middle, and then a gentle chocolate coffee finish as a nightcap to the sip. I am liking this style more and more ever since Hill Farmstead went and fucked my world up with Birth of Tragedy, but this is an amiable substitute. As a side note, I paired this with a tuna melt and the two parties could not be reconciled, it tasted like shit all the way through on both sides like a Family Law case. So, dont pair this with fish, is what I am saying, or maybe don’t get divorced, I GUESS.

Sometimes just a little barrel aging is all it takes to turn that liverfrown upside down.

M: The thing I love about Imperial Porters is that you know exactly what you are getting: a ton of flavor and very mild filling and coating on the interior surfaces. That’s a Home Depot joke for all the painting contractors. Moreover, this beer washes clean and after just 12oz you start feeling it and watching iCarly seems like an acceptable thing to do.

D: For the huge bourbon presence and sweetness, this beer still gets a high marking in drinkability for its versatility, small format, and sheer deliciousness index. I would recommend giving this to a sorority girl and shaking your head ruefully when her palate rejects it forthright. This is a gentleman’s drink, to be consumed on boat decks with passing ironic references to the title. Again, BA imperial porters aren’t all over the place so this is a great one to spread around.

Some people think imperial porters are a weak substitute for the real ultra kush imperial stouts. I see them as something altogether different.

Narrative: Devin Worthington threw his back out at work. Well, to be more specific, he was reaching for a Payday in the vending machine and torqued his C-2 vertebrae, but that’s splitting hairs. After the first two days of watching endless daytime dramas and Court TV he began on a new venture: shipbuilding, in bottles. At first glance, the old impossible bottle schtick seemed like something you’d see in a glass case next to a wooden wolf carving or perhaps a beanie baby collection in a finely appointed trailer. However, his new passion called for a tiny nautical lifestyle and he put a pot of Progresso clam chowder on the stove to celebrate this ambitious undertaking. The manuals set forth the traditional mast raising technique from inside the bottle, but fuck that, Devin wasn’t some land loving labia, he wanted the real deal: mini-long handed tools. The epoxy got all over the inside of the bottle and his expensive tools proved as useless as his disability checks. When he sobbed over breaking a tiny balsawood mast, he knew his life was the real shipwreck.


Hill Farmstead The Birth of Tragedy, Apollonian vs Dionysian and Everyone getting Twisted

Thus Spoke Aleathurstra

Ok so what’s the deal with this asshole? Well it’s the imperial version of an already badass porter, Twilight of the Idols. It is named after a Nietzsche work, it has bourbon, coffee, and a nice alcoholic heat to it. It’s like they read my diary.

Hill Farmstead Birth of Tragedy, 11% abv, Imperial Porter aged in bourbon barrels

A: The appearance has that classic imperial porter sheen to it, like the coat of an alcoholic panda bear. Black and slick in all the right places, it beckons to slippery asphalt and car crashes that New Englanders no doubt survived in obtaining this succulent potation. As a side note, my bottle had hardly any cabronation, wah wah, here comes the wahhhmbulance ready to pick some nits.

Ok ok, bourbon barrel aged porter, let's settle down.

S: This has a crazy powerful bouquet that smells like melted chocolate, toffee, boozy vanilla extract, and a mild hint of bourbon heat. There is a sweetness that is perfectly balanced by mild alcoholic heat, just like your old bus driver.

T: This is an incredible porter and I know that I ride this brewery’s jock like its jock will soon be discontinued, but it’s really that good. Top 5 porter and guess what, one of the other spots is held by, that’s right Barrel Aged Everett. I can’t get over this brewery, like the haughty 14 year old girl, who just wont accept that her 22 year old boyfriend wasn’t really in love with her. Ok so, it has a nice sweetness that enters and has a set allowing the alcohol waft to permeate and suddenly you forget that you are at a drive in, then a mild coffee pick me up before the bourbon mellows it all out. Just ridiculously pleasant, koala foot massage pleasant.

Just. Want. More Sick Porters.

M: It is thin, like a porter should be, no fat ass imperial stouts up in this mix. It is just light and coats just enough to be rewarding but then hammers its point home. The alcohol is like a stage director in all black watching every movement, making sure that the pilgrim chocolate kids dont miss their entry cues. Holy mixed metaphors.

D: This is incredibly drinkable, I am trying to tame myself from powering through the entire 500ml bottle with little success. It is thin, hot, and sweet, oh wait here’s a patently obvious female entendre. Nope, keeping it classy here. It is totally drinkable and I wish it came in sick sixers or at least tall boys to take up to the lake. PSYCHE. This beer is meant for hearths and post skiing discussions, luge comparisons and other highbrow Vermontean prose.

Do want more.

Narrative: “Existing within the framework entitles you to undeserved, awkward sexual interactions. That is the nature of a collegiate degree” the professor boomed to the teeming auditorium. His teaching methods were unorthodox but shattered the line between biology, psychology, and will to power. “You see, this is the only time that your biological willing will be in comport with the acquiescence with your biological counterpart.” Several students shifted in their chairs and looked left and right, largely Asians and Latter Day Saints. “The supple and demean curve hits its apex at precisely 20 years of age. It is at that age that alcohol enters a golden period of divine inspiration of inhibition where each person may assert the fulfillment of the Dionysian condition while still feeling confident in the missteps guided by the Apollonian age. You will have sex, it will be terrible, but it will be compulsory.” A scandinavian girl had seen enough and left promptly. “You see, all of dark willing is urging, and that is controlled ultimately by a tempering of the passions, and 20 years old is the exact age when both sides meet in a murky confrontation of rationalized bad decisions. It is in this moment that you will be the most alive, the most willing, and consequently the most powerful. You will never receive as much affection, as easily, as everlastingly as this year of your life my college juniors.” The student body began to look left and right with much trepidation and embarrassment. As much as his homework made little sense, the handjobs were rough and undeserved, the kisses pounding and syncopated. It would take the purchase of a Dodge Challenger and countless dates to recapture the ethos that was ejaculated into the air of that auditorium that day. “Only then, will you all become ubermensch. Now, go make out.” Class dismissed.


Dry Dock Urca Vanilla Porter, Sweeter than Bieber’s Baby Mama

I think I am getting an Urca just looking at this pic.

Dry Dock Brewing, Urca Vanilla Porter, 5.3% abv

A: The appearance is a deep mahogany with a really watery character, wishy washy soapy lacing, with some rub a dub dub mocha to it.

S: This beer has a waft of almond, a huge vanilla sweetness like a Starbucks next to a Strip Club, and a mild coffee finish. The experience is sweet and fulfilling, like the first time you heard Ashton and Demi were getting a divorce. Ahh, refreshing.

Just whispering some sweet vanilla sloth nothings into your ear.

T: The taste is sweet with a sticky vanilla bean at the forefront that slowly fades into a coffee and chocolate finish, a bit of acidity at the end washes away this beer like the taste of koala tears. Don’t act like I am the only one.

M: This is very watery and the the body is thinner than than Mila Kunis’s STAGE THEATER CREDITS, you see, expectations, this beer defies them. The sweetness and thin body make this difficult to stomach, its like a cinnamon roll with too much frosting, not enough roll. This would be an awesome additive to pour in a bigger stout and breakdown into two awesome vanilla stouts, it’s like King Theseus’s ship, but with an alcoholic engineer.

The sweetness and vanilla overload make me feel like a decadent fat ass.

D: The body is thin, the taste is ridiculously sweet, and it leaves you feeling like you made out with a dental hygienist who loves vanilla ice cream. Like, “keeps it at work” level of love. It tries hard and presents something new but, its like a big sword with a tiny handle, it needs some maltiness to comes to grips with itself, badumtish.



Amon Amarth Ragnarok Porter, One of the Only Reasons to Move Out of Indiana

AAAmon, I worka 3 jobs mon, Oh, I'm sorry? In Living Color references not welcome here? Fine.

Amon Amarth Ragnarok, Porter 8.2% Abv

A: This has a deep watery coffee appearance to it with deep brown hues and a nice cool whip head with stained glass lacing. That shit cray.

S: It has an incredible hop presence which is basically to be expected from 3 Floyd’s they put hops in their children’s baby bottles. I dont get anything else, it’s pretty limited and not chocolatey or coffee as the appearance would suggest. Ho hum.

Looks like one thing, turns out to be another.

T: This tastes like a black ipa with a little bit of coffee to it. I call shenanigans, this isn’t a porter at all. Here I was, innocently hoodwinked into drinking what I thought would be an amazing chocolate funland, and I end up in the grass mowing down herbal goodness. It isn’t exactly bad, but I can’t help but feel like orphan dreams smashed on the rocks around December 25th.

M: The mouthfeel is thin and herbal with a lingering dryness (read: Just like a fucking IPA.) It doesn’t coat that well, which I guess is good since I dont feel like wiping pine cones off of my teeth, at least not when I was expecting on holding Gene Wilder’s hand into a magnificent candy paradise. This isn’t bad but it is just unexpected. I went to see Drive expecting a rom-com and, well, just go see that shit and you’ll understand.

Some things, despite their packaging, have underlying truths.

D: For a double IPA, this has a great drinkability and, even with the huge abv, this is plenty sessionable. However, I just feel so badly misled that I cant with an honest conscience tell you that I would seek this out and buy it again. These excuses from the Porter only go so far, it needs to come out of the hop closet and declare that it truly is. Embrace the cones.

Narrative: Chase Franci applied make up to his face assiduously and prepared for his big speech. “I can’t keep this up forever, come on Chance, just tell Mr. Walters the truth!” Just as he was uttering these thoughts to himself, Mr. Walters’s assistant burst in and announced “Mr. Walters will see you in 5 minutes, good luck.” The company internal minority promotion initiative seemed like a smart enough idea: promote diversity, engender a core nucleus of new ideas and add altering viewpoints to the corporate board. This would be all well and good but Chase was as white as the convergence of the UV spectrum. He pushed his make up materials into his briefcase and exited the corporate bathroom with a cool, calm poise as he strode down past the cubicles. Chase’s co-workers stared agape at the patently offensive racist makeup that he had just applied. Chase flicked a dab of shoepolish off of his lapel and smiled big, the look of an alter ego that was shooting up the corporate ladder. Chase strode into Mr. Walters’s office and declared “wazzzzupppppp!” Mr. Walters just sat there for a moment wondering, “what in the name of God did Chase think that he was doing? Surely he couldn’t have actually believed that blackening his face like a silent movie character would suffice to earn him a spot on the- actually, that is a pretty bold move.” Mr. Walters took out a corporate checkbook and immediately wrote him out a bonus before Chase could utter another cliched phrase. Mr. Walters smiled and handed chase a check, payment for being a complete fraud, “OH SNAP! THAT IS SOME SERIOUS CHEDDAR!” Chase exclaimed as his now-subordinates shook their heads in disbelief.


1/2 Idjit! Porter, Dugges Ale, Sweden Only Rocks 1/2 a Idjit

For those who can't take a full Idjit, here's just a 1/2 Idjit. The size of the porter isn't everything.

A: The appearance is dark and murky with deep iced tea browns at the edges. It looks like the repository water at your favorite water park. It has pretty mild carbonation and comes off as lackluster as a Deer Tick album, it just doesn’t care if you enjoy it or not. Which is strange because I thought Sweden was all into helping its citizens and giving away everything for free.

Meanwhile in Sweden. . .

S: The smell is like a chocolate ashtray, burnt malts, like a scorched boil happened or someone was abusing cocoa beans something fierce. There’s also a deep coffee smell and a sort of tobacco finish. I’m not stoked to drink this and the $14.00 price tag didn’t help matters much. I was probably just subsidizing the health care of those poor Swedish brewers.

T: This is burnt malt at first and then the smoky notes sheepishly show up slowly. The whole Racine tragedy unfolds as the triangle love interest is completed with stale coffee as the virgin martyr. This might be a compelling one man monologue but the whole thing just takes way too long and has no fulfilling finish, it’s like Kurt Russell in a glass.

This is my life if I never had Idjit again, full or half.

M: the mouthfeel is thin and swift, imparting burnt cigar and chocolate dust along my teeth. I dont think my teeth whitening was worth the offshading that this beer imparts but, it is dead on for the genre so I guess we can’t knock it for giving the old college try. The old second string noseguard for
Kent State sort of try.

D: Overall, I dont smoke and I dont make out with people who smell like American Spirits. So I guess, no, not very drinkable and I am not stoked to drop a ton of MAD COIN on this Swedish meatball again.

Oh no, I just drank the whole bottle. Oh yes, that was a waste of money and calories.

Narrative: Torgny stabbed the arctic sheeting lightly and stared off into the distance. “TORGNY! You are must to be making the sheets faster! LARGER!” his supervisor called out to him. Life was rough on the ice farm. What with the whole, making the ice, waiting til the 9 month winter season and harvesting it; life was rough and cold. Torgny would complain, however, every morning at the crest of 12:45 p.m. when the sun was rising, he would see his old classmates pile out of the brewery. Each looked comically like a Victorian era oil prospector, smoking an oversized cigar, eating Toblerones with careless abandon. “That life is not for me to be having,” he thought in broken English and shook his head. Sure his hands would split with terrible cold and his ice sheets would only be made into Formula 50 Smart Water, but there could be nothing less fulfilling than making chocolate tobacco water that no one liked. “TORGNY, is the timing for the lunching RESPITE!” MMM sweet huskmankolst and tasty pitepolt.


Hill Farmstead CAGEMATCH: Regular Everett vs. Barrel Aged Everett Porter, feefeeefeeeenfeeeeennnnnn

Hillfarmstead all dark up in this mix

Hill Farmstead Everett Cagematc- OH SHIT STOPLOSS IS ON? This night just got amazing.

Two 7% abv Porters duke it out for their father’s affection. Also, hey, Stop Loss is on.

Each one will plead their case in turn with a verdict at the end.



A: There is a deep watery mahogany to the color, not black but a rich chocolate brown. The carbonation is excellent and billows up with tiny bubbles. It’s like Ryan Phillipe’s lack luster presentation, you respect it but you know it could be a bit better.


A: The same as the BA version but with khaki bubbles instead of off-white. So like if Ryan did a summer at Catholic camp up in the high desert.

Winner goes to the regular version.


Barrel Aged

S: Warm boozy toffee and caramel notes, vanilla, nice cocoa waft, and a deep roasted honey note. There is a dryness of oak and a warm bourbon waft. It’s like dad came home looking all like a Tennessee Williams play but he brought you some Werther’s Originals.


S: The nose is less boozy but with more of a deeper chocolate waft. There is more of an almond and walnut, it is simpler in execution but not as much heat and simpler. It’s more like dad is a Eugene O’ Neill play and he has no candy.

Winner goes to the BA


Barrel Aged

T: There is fantastic prickly heat to the outset that gives a great boozy taste and a warming sweetness. The oakiness has a dryness to the swallow that gives your chest a nice warmth with a sweet cocoa finish. Imagine if you were 12 years old and ate a whole box of alcohol chocolates, not taken from autobiography, you’d be bloated but smelling all sultry like a community college student from Alabama.


T: There is far less heat and it’s a much more direct approach. The body is the same but without the intense prickliness and hot vanilla, the wood and almond notes stand out more and give a nice creamy finish like chocolate milk. It’s like the BA version goes for a high note and the regular supports a more standard chocolatey simplicity. You’d be more stoked if the Econoline van had windows in addition to chocolate, but hey sometimes thems the cards you’re dealt when your parents send a proxy to pick you up.

Winner goes to the BA


Barrel Aged

M: The mouthfeel is swift and hot, it is intense along the bittering zones but confuses the sweet palate with a strangely warm vanilla aspect that pulls this experience all over the place. The carbonation is a little bit less impressive in the BA version and feels less effervescent. Give old Nana a sloppy wild Turkey Kiss.


M: The mouthfeel is creamy with a fantastic chocolatey finish. The carbonation has tiny bubbles that crackle like woody alka seltzer. It is incredibly smoothe and washes away with a sweet toffee flavor.

Winner goes to the regular version


Barrel Aged

D: This beer is more fantastic to savor and ruminate on. The intense heat and pleasant warmth are more delicious, but ultimately hinder the drink ability of the beer. I was able to drink the regular version much more easily, but it was less memorable.


D: These are easily two vastly different beers and ultimately the regular version is easier to drink and much simpler to enjoy at first blush. It is like how an Accord is easier to drive than a Lambo, but ultimately the difficulty has its own pay offs.

Winner goes to the regular version.

What we learned

Ultimately, the regular version was amazing, more refreshing, and ultimately, disappeared faster. However, it simply wasn’t as memorable and it didn‘t shock me like a Step By Step Halloween special. Overall, was the regular version better? Sure I guess, but I preferred the barrel aged version because it was so much more vibrant and interesting. Short Circuit 1 was good and easy to enjoy but Gold Baller Version of Johnny 5 in Short Circuit Two was cooler, despite the fact that there was no Steve Gutenberg.

VERDICT: Regular Version Is The More Desirable, Popular Sister With Clearly Less Inherent Merit, Nerdy Interesting Sister
Who Lived in A Barrel Will Ultimately Develop a Sick Rack.

Remanded and Affirmed.