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Hey It’s Friday, Let’s Review Four @oxbowbeer Farmhouse Beers. WHY NOT.

Maine has this odd beer scene that at one pole is the Northeast innovator of older days, and also a reactionary to what Vermont is currently producing. You have the consistent top notch work from Allagash, but you also have the likes of upstarts Bissell Bros and Austin Street brew company doing their own mixolydian riffs on the hoppy farmhousey doric scales from Vermont.

THAT GRIZZY GREEZY

THAT GRIZZY GREEZY

Oxbow shines best when it focuses in its realm of clear influence: shredding the high neck with saison solos. Their barrel aged pale ale was prison shanking unsuspecting palates in the shower and their draft lineups often don’t make it past state lines. Let’s take a look at some of their recent offerings to see what them ‘Bow boys be brewin.

Oxbow Grizacca Grisette 5.2% abv

I love liter sized grumblers but this is one instance where a two liter needs to be the mandatory format. The 33oz feels more like a comforting back massage without the full table shower. It is intensely clean and drillable, the hop profile steps aside and lets the lemony rustic cultures impart a dry lemon aspect that pulls tight head spins on the cardboard. It is simple and doesn’t have any real grist or heft to the mouthfeel which would be nice if you had a touch of that creamy wheat character but, as it stands it is a lemon orange carbonated Gatorade that you can drill during your shift at CiCi’s pizza. No one expects you to be sober at that job anyway.

feided

feided

Crossfade

With the barrel aged pale ale, oxbow proved that they were competent Brewers and blenders in the Wallonian realm. This beer drags their catalog backwards into obscured mediocrity. It is by no means bad, but chances are you have some 10bbls local upstart doing this same shit.

Kool Mo Dee fade.

Kool Mo Dee fade.

It is wiped out, watery, not especially complex, bitter and herbaceous, with a mild tart sweet tarts aspect to the finish. You can live your entire life, miss this, and your wife will still have an Ashleymadison account. This beer changes nothing and is of little circumstance.

Shit was aiite.

Shit was aiite.

Saison dell’argosta

Alright time to romp into a strange salty realm not unlike a Craigslist casual encounter. This is a clean, Low abv saison brewed with maine lobsters. That is about as Maine as you can get just short of a used Stephen King condom filled with autumn leaves. If you have tried Jester King snorkel, you basically have already had this shit. It is insanely drinkable and the touch of salinity only lends to chain combos, cascading your palate into the sky with no recourse.

Shared this with the boys at Highland Park Brewing. Zero ragrets.

Shared this with the boys at Highland Park Brewing. Zero ragrets.

These beers made with exotic proteins make headlines but the vast majority of snails, oysters, bulls testicles, whatever, are just unfermentable solids that contribute calcium profile, some alkaline and salt. That’s about it. Drop an alka seltzer into a Stone saison if you need to approximate this bubbly crisp experience.

In sum this lobster pot is incredibly delicious and refreshing, get your CLAWS in one before it TAILS it out of here.

beer not for gardeing

beer not for gardeing

Liquid swords

For all their mastery of the traditional saison game, Oxbow has piss running down its leg when it comes to Biere De Gardes. This french style eludes so many breweries and it is even harder to define the realm of good and bad beyond pointing to “acetic bad” and “Sans culottes good.” This Amber affair doesn’t have the red wine vinegar trappings of some amateur shit, they knew what they were doing, it just didn’t turn out that well.

I mean, it's alite.

I mean, it’s alite.

First and foremost, the body is too watery, splishy splashy, lacking that candy caramel complexity and red delicious you probably are craving. Secondly I am assuming oxbow has a hard ass water profile because it is lightly copper and metallic.

To approximate this experience, get some BFM Abbaye du St Bin Chien, add water to it, let it sit for an hour. Or just ask OEC for one of their jankest barrels.

Oxbow is clipping along with some hits, some mediocre whiffs, but no clear failures.  That’s more than some breweries can say at this juncture.

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Maine Beer Company, Lunch India Pale Ale, Tapping the Maine Vein

Happy Valentines’ Day. I bet you were expecting some chocolate beer, or a beer made from flowers, or the tears of a brackish spinster. Too bad, curveball from out of nowhere, WORLD CLASS IPA. No variations on a theme or significance, OR IS THERE? I don’t know Flaubert, let’s see what you are capable of, dig deeper, the hops lie below. Total eclipse of the hop.

Try to forget all those hateful stereotypes about people from Maine and keep an open mind.

Maine Beer Company, Lunch IPA, 7% abv

Bottled 1/24/12, consumed on 2/13/12, HOW IS THAT FOR FRESHNESS, HATERS?

A: The look of this beer isn’t offputting but I dont want to put a ring on it either. it has great soapy carbonation and head like the Put Em on the Glass video, sudsy and inviting. The color is a bit low on the SRM and you know I want that HIGHER. All in all, not the prettiest beer but, your palate would probably be down, stop fronting.

Sometimes you are in the mood for something dark and serious, but then you change your mind, this beer is...yeah...this is much better....

S: This is one floral and amazing smelling beer, it has notes of orange juice, apricot, pineapple, and sweet mango. There is almost no herb or that stupid offputting basil smell from high alpha acid hops, its just knocking the boots all night long all up in my nose holes.

T: It isn’t as juicy or as sweet as I was anticipating but wow it has a fantastic crossover taste that lies somewhere between orange rind and aserose pine needles. It is interesting because the first taste is very muted, you almost dont get anything in the sweet zones until you move it to the back of your palate and then it opens up like a jack in the box. Hop cone trojan horse. The resistance put up by my tastebuds lies somewhere between soft linen and balsa wood. I guess the question arises: Is it better than Blind Pig? It is more aggressive and muted in execution but in terms of sessionability, no.

This is an incredible IPA, srsly. SRSLY.

M: The mouthfeel is watery and clean, the soapy bubbles do all the work for you. The mild hop oils linger for a little bit but are swiftly swept up by dutiful conifer groundskeepers, I bet you just imagined the pine trees with moustaches you racist. I guess the next question is, is this as good as Sculpin? I wish I could be a hype machine and say yes due to rarity, however, this is one instance where I think pound for pound Sculpin is A BIGGER FISH. Simple puns, we are doing them now. This has a longer lingering taste but Sculpin has a great juiciness that I appreciate more. This is certainly more drinkable, however, I feel the juiciness of Sculpin carries the day. Don’t even bring Alpine into this mix, shit will go off the hinges chains and heezy real quickly.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and you dont need a lot of it, not due to ABV, but to to the simple palate to weight ratio. For such a gentle soul it just hit a resonant chord, A minor I believe, and just rides the pine and herbs out. The citrus minor has a mixolydian backseat role but this is still exceptional. It’s like making out with a really hot girl that has a permanent retainer, there’s aspects you would change, but it’s still enjoyable through and through.

There are certain things that the South is capable of, making incredible IPAs does not seem to fall within that suite of skills.

Narrative: Shel Vintius was not your average graveyard keeper. Well first and foremost, he called his plot an Herbortician Field. This was a rarely used, but niche service in contemporary society. You see, Shel was beat savagely with weeping willow switches as a child and developed an odd communion with the flora. The stinging bark was a panacea for his painful reality. “Oh yeah, just toss the saplings taproots bottom forward in the ebony case.” The affluent patrons sobbed demonstratively as Shel prepared the funeral for the plants. So much of love is predicated on cognition. So much of the human condition is invested in reciprocation and the semblance of a bilateral affection. Plants were not capable of this but Shel didn’t allow that to sway his opinion. He stroked the cold bark of the still living birch sapling and brushed his knuckles against the backs of the budding roots. He could still feel the beat of turgot pressure within the cell walls. “Gone too soon, hardly able to produce meiological pollen preparation, so chilling.” The family stood awkwardly watching this scene take place, the sign “Plant Recycling Plant Recycling Plant” was both misleading, and incredibly clear.