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Archive for the ‘Style: Wild Ale’ Category

COOP AleWorks

December 22nd, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: COOP AleWorks, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Grade: A regular, Grade: A-, Grade: A-/B+, Grade: B plus, Grade: B regular, Grade: B-, Style: Amber Ale, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Style: IPA, Style: Stout, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen), Style: Wild Ale

Back when I lived in Oklahoma, back in the 90s, there really wasn’t any decent craft beer.  (Of course, I was a teenager.)  I kinda felt like it would always be that way.  This is a state where you can’t buy cold beer over 3.2% anywhere.  Then, I started hearing some rumblings that a brewery called COOP AleWorks was really cranking out some legit shit.  So, when I made my triumphant return to town over the weekend for a “How to Fail” book tour signing, I knew I would have to seek it out.  On both Thursday night and Saturday, I met up with COOP partner/bon vivant J.D. Merryweather (above) for some serious tippling, pretty much drinking anything in the brewery he would let me.  I was like a kid in a candy shop.  Or, to be less trite, like a drunk in a brewery.  And, wow, was it all good.

Horny-Toad Cerveza

One of two canned COOP offerings (along with Native Amber; the rest are currently tap only), this 5.3% ABV American Blonde Ale would seem to be the “lamest” offering from COOP, the one meant to convert the Bud Light drinkers…and it is.  But that doesn’t mean it’s lame.  No sir, this is a 5.3% beer with some serious flavor.  The Noble hops, the malt body, the carbonation, made me think this was more along the lines of a pilsner, but whatever it is, it’s damn good.

A-/B+

Zeppelin German Wheat

Yeah, no craft beer drinker likes American wheat beers, right?  If more places were making great efforts like Zeppelin, that might not be the case.  5.6% and packed with tastes of wheat and rye with just a little hops coming through, this is a solid drinker, better than most on the market.

B+

Native Amber

Red ales are always a crap shoot for me as they are a delicate balance between hops and malt that if you fuck up, they are just gross.  But COOP nails this one.  Caramelly and biscuity with a nice hoppy finish, this is the beer Fat Tire wishes it could be.

A-

Gran-Sport Porter

Porters are another beer that breweries never seem to completely nail.  Often too bitter and acrid, COOP has made one of the best I’ve had recently.  Chocolately and nutty, this had such a smooth, fluffy finish I was certain it had to have been served on a nitro tap.  Nope.  I really enjoyed this one.

A-

F-5 IPA

I highly doubt there’s an IPA this good made within 500 miles of COOP.  The classic West Coast bitter grapefruit and pine IPA, a little hefty at 7%, this is the beer that will turn a ton of Oklahomans into hop heads.

A

DNR Belgian Style Golden Ale

What an insanely intriguing beer.  An over-the-top complex mix of Noble hops, European malts, and Belgian candi giving this tastes of vanilla, cinnamon, and dark fruits.  And, at 10% this is one of the most deceptively alcoholic beers I’ve ever had.  You’ll want to keep sucking them down.  But don’t.  Or do.  I don’t really care about your health.

A

Territorial Reserve Oak-Aged Imperial Stout

By now every brewery is trying bourbon-barreled stouts and they should excite me as much as another boxing movie being released.  But just like “The Fighter” stunned me and found new ways to tell the pugilist’s tale, COOP has made a real corker of a barrel-aged stout.  Aged on Bulleit bourbon barrels, this might seriously be the smoothest, most perfectly melded bourbon-barreled stout I’ve ever had.  It’s not lacking in boozy taste, no way, but it’s not something that brings you to your knees either.  Rich, chocolately, and a “mere” 9.0%, it’s quite dangerous when you’ve become friends with a guy with the ability to over-serve you this.  I probably had five full pints and never got sick of it.  Wow.

A+

Red Zeppelin

This final beer is one that isn’t even available yet, one whose recipe isn’t fully created yet, and one that I’m not even sure I’m allowed to publicly discuss (I’ll wait for a cease and desist from J.D.), but it was my favorite beer I had from COOP so I want to scream to the hills about it.  Red Zeppelin is Zeppelin German Wheat aged in barrels on wild bing cherries.  This is a recipe they’re still working on and, admittedly, by now the souring had given the beer a slightly vinegary nose which some more amateur beer drinkers found unappealing, but I fucking loved it.  Just the perfect tart, sour, yet still slightly fruity taste I love.  It actually reminded me of Cantillon Kriek if I can be so bold.  I will be.  I hope they release and bottle this one day–it’ll sweep the beer nation.

A+

COOP is only available in Oklahoma so for now you’ll have to hope your company sends you there for work if you want to get some (or maybe write a book and go on tour there???) and I’ll have to hope J.D. is kind enough to build a pipeline to my house so I can always have some around to enjoy.  COOP is gonna be a big player in the beer world soon.

Pick up a last minute copy of my book, HOW TO FAIL!!!

Brooklyn Wild One

April 16th, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Wild Ale

ABV unknown from a 750 mL

My friends that don’t exactly know beer often assume that I will one day actually run out of beers to review.  I jokingly always assure them that if I simply reviewed every single Brooklyn Brewery beer that I’d have more than enough work to do for the rest of time.  And, you know, sometimes it does feel like I’m a hired mouthpiece for the Brooklyn boys.  Yes, my home team brewery has so many great releases that it seems I have a new one to try and review each and every week.  Their Wild One was a uber-rarity I had wanted to suck down for ages.  Long available only at beer fests and those pricey pairing dinners that sell out in a second, I finally lucked out earlier this week at a nifty Brooklyn Brewery event hosted by Blind Tiger.

Served to me in an unlabeled corked-and-caged bottle, this beer is the always reliable Local One bourbon-barreled with Brett for nine months.  But, whoa, does that take a terrific Belgian pale ale and allow it to enter an entirely new stratosphere.  The smell is fresh and funky like a typical wild ale but the taste is completely different.  Bubbling and effervescent, of course, the initial tastes are likewise sour, but the backend finish is delightfully yeasty, bready, vanilla-like, and most notably sweet from the Local One influence.  I just loved the complexity of flavors and the nice sweet and sour game battling it out on my tastebuds.  It was too good to even savor, I greedily slurped it down like it was Gatorade after a long run.

I would stand in line in the freezing cold for this beer if it was released at a yearly one-off event, that’s how much I adored it.  I even went back to the bar for a second $26 bottle.  I am going to assume it is only lack of knowledge of its mere existence that prevents this beer from being one of the most coveted rarities on beer trading forums throughout America, because simply put, it might be the best wild ale I’ve ever had.

A+

Veritas 004

November 18th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: The Lost Abbey, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Wild Ale

The Brew Slut*

The Brew Slut had considered calling herself the Brew Hottie, or the Brew Bitch, or even the Brew HasAVagina, but ultimately nixed all those options.  The Brew Hottie sounded too childish, the Brew Bitch sounded too aggressively feminist, dykeish even, and she in no way wanted any cute beer geeks to think she swung that way.  That’s why she had briefly considered the Brew HasAVagina, but ultimately thought that might be seen as clinical if not confusing.   What has a vagina?  The brew itself?!  Suffice to say, Brew Pussy was also out for obviously reasons.

Thus she decided to become the Brew Slut (to differentiate herself from those boring girls that actually cared about beer), bought a URL from GoDaddy, and registered her new beer blog with Wordpress.  She was ready to go.  To take over the beer world.

Now the Brew Slut didn’t really know much about beer, but that was fine, she was young and didn’t know much about anything.  But she sure liked to drink, loved going to bars and having all the boys fawning all over her.  Not the cool bars of course.  At the cool bars the cool boys paid attention to the legitimately attractive girls, the thin girls, the non-annoying girls.

The Brew Slut had gone from club to lounge to tavern to pub to dive to watering hole until she finally found one place where men paid attention to her:  the craft beer bar.  At first, she had thought she’d accidentally wandered into a gay bar.  Besides the waitress, there wasn’t a single female in the joint!  But no, these men were dressed too schlubby and were far too out of shape to be gay.

She had sat down, ordered an Allagash White–the only beer on tap she’d ever even heard of–and before she’d taken one sip, guys were talking to her.  Yeah, the guys were kinda chunky, slathered in bad facial hair, wedged into tight beer-related tee-shirts, nervous and fidgety despite being socially lubricated–but they were talking to her!  They didn’t care that she was mediocre-looking, that she had a big beer gut, or that she was loud and annoying, they still desired her!  These were now her people!  And so long as she pretended that she might one day fuck these dorks, they continued to slobber all over her.  And she loved the attention.

The Brew Slut started posting three days a week on her Brew Slut blog, mainly cut-and-paste jobs of brewery press releases, stolen Google images of beer bottles, a rare review of a common beer she’d had which were essentially just regurgitations of other smarter people’s earlier reviews of said beer.  But what the Brew Slut most specialized in were posting photos of herself.

The Brew Slut comically hugging a huge flight of beer samples.

The Brew Slut shoving her sloppy tits into some unwitting bartender’s face.

The Brew Slut clinking glasses and cheers-ing her “fellow” beer geeks.

Man, the Brew Slut thought she was one gorgeous creature.  And why wouldn’t she?  For every time the Brew Slut posted pictures of herself she’d immediately get an enormous influx of comments from web-surfing beer geeks:

u look hawt brew slut lol

I really like you in that dress, Brew Slut.

more pics plz!!!!! :)

The Brew Slut’s blog traffic was increasing rapidly, as beer geeks told their geeky friends about this chick–this Beer Slut!–that actually likes beer!  Like US.  She must be the perfect woman.

Trying to spread her “brand”–the Brew Slut was one of those dumb people that always spoke in buzz words like “branding” and “paradigm”–the Brew Slut took to Facebook and Twitter with abandon..  She would use all the tools of “Web 2.0″ and “social networking” to become a star.  She befriended on Facebook all the big wigs in the industry.  Began writing to them on Twitter too.

The BrewSlut @dogfishbeer Hope to one day have a pint with Sam! #whore 1 minute ago from txt

TheBrewSlut @sierranevadaca Your beers make me horny! #whore 2 minutes ago from TweetDeck

TheBrewSlut @StoneGreg Me, you, and an Arrogant Bastard sounds like a terrific 3some!  #whore 3 minutes ago from Twitterific

Shamelessly e-flirting.  Dozens upon dozens of tweets and re-tweets and re-tweet-tweets per day.

Wouldn’t you know it, the guys that ran the beer industry soon took to her just like the beer geeks did.  They started buying advertising from her, inviting her to beer festivals and private tastings, special release parties and pairing dinners–gratis, comped, on the hizzy–where she would yak their ears off about her brand under the guise of interviewing them for her blog.  All the while shoving her tits in their faces.

The brewmasters were only human and a girl–even a mediocre one that brays like a donkey–was still more fun to be around than 99% of the beer geeks that hectored them with questions about proper attenuation.

Drunk one night off of some of the rarest beers in the world, after finally reaching the top, the Brew Slut went to bed thinking:

“What’s everyone talking about us gals having it tough?  All you gotta do is find an industry with a lack of females in it, and a ton of loser-ish men, and you will easily conquer it.  Man, it’s great to have a vagina.”

It was the only wise thought the Brew Slut had ever had.

Veritas 004

8% ABV bottled

I enjoyed this Lost Abbey masterpiece during an impromptu souring tasting alongside Temptation and Beatifcation–masterpieces in their own right–yet Veritas blew both out of the water.  My man DW provided this ultra-rare retired beer, a blending of Yellow Bus, Duck Duck Gooze, and Cuvee de Tomme, one of which I’d had before (Tomme), one of which I own but have yet to tipple (Duck Duck) and one of which I shall probably never touch sadly enough (Yellow Bus.)  I didn’t know what to expect and was a little thrown when the brew poured an an apricot orangey yellow with just a touch of foam.  Didn’t exactly smelled sour and I started to get confused about the style.  But my first sip was magnificently wild and each additional one was even better.  Fizzy but smooth, strong tastes of sweet peaches which blended nicely with a citric and grape tartness to make for some sumptuous drinking.  Just silly complex, juicy and bursting with flavor, I see absolutely no flaw in this offering.  Even most A pluses have a minor flaw or two, but not this one.  Not only the best wild ale I’ve ever had, Veritas 004 is in the running for the best beer of my life.  You’ll probably never get to try this beer and, shit, I probably will never get to try it again, so I guess we’re both back to square one now, aren’t we?

Fuck what all the haters keep lobbing toward Lost Abbey–overpriced, overflat, etc–they have quickly become maybe my favorite brewery in America.

A+

*Any similarities to sluts living or dead, is probably intentional.  And, if there actually is some “Brew Slut” somewhere out there, I appologize for taking her name in vain.

Russian River Temptation & Beatification

November 11th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Russian River, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Wild Ale

My favorite sport, college basketball, began this week which means it’s time for me to start drinking shitty beers.  I never mean to, but it always occurs.  Now I’m not exactly avoiding bars like Carrie Nation during the off-season, but once college hoops begins, it seems like I’m living in watering holes.  And, while in the off-season I’m a fixture at fine establishments such as Rattle ‘n’ Hum and Blind Tiger, drinking cask IPAs, quads, and imperial stouts, I’m forced to move to more, ahem, hoi polloi drinking establishments to watch games.  Good beer bars simply don’t excel at having good, if any, TVs to watch big games on (though Rattle ‘n’ Hum is passable) and I am fine with that.

Thus, I move to indistinguishable bars in the East and Greenwich Village that do have great TVs, all the obscure sports packages, but don’t have great beers.  Sure, this is Manhattan, and even the absolute most pathetic bars usually have Brooklyn and Sam Adams Lager on tap, a comically overpriced Chimay even on the bottle menu, but it’s impossible to avoid the $5 pitchers of Bud when you’re hunkering down for the next twelve hours to watch hoops.

And, you know, that used to trouble me.  The more refined my palate gets–I can’t believe I just said that–the less I’m able to even chug down a macro for pure drunken sustenance.  I used to think, the only thing that would make watching the great Syracuse Orange crush Georgetown yet again, would be if I was sipping a glorious beer while I watched the game, as opposed to the Miller Lite I held in my hand.  But now, I’ve come to realize, that I no longer believe that.  In fact, I know that’s patently false.  For you see, I think I maybe have become one of those douchebags that actually enjoys contemplating his fine beers.  Shit, I can’t have a TV blaring a silly game between a group of pituitary cases trying to stuff a ball through a hoop interrupt my beer enjoyment!  Thus, I think I am now thankful for shitty beer.  Thankful I can have something to do–like Jerry Tarkanian biting on his towel, Leo Mazzone rocking in his dugout seat, Jim Leyland smoking–to keep me occupied and keep my nerves at bay as I watch my favorite team in another nail-biter.  A pint of some obscure Belgian lambic simply wouldn’t do the trick.

However, when I’m not drinking shitty beer on game days, I’m gonna have to be tippling the shit out of the good stuff.  Like last week, when I was able to put together a pretty nice beer tasting leading up to game 6 of the World Series courtesy of friends DW (Beatification) and Jay at Hedonist Beer Jive (Temptation).

Temptation (BATCH #4)

7.25% ABV from a 750 mL corked-and-caged

Temptation, currently the 30th ranked beer in the world, is a blonde ale aged for nine to fifteen months in French oak chardonnay barrels.  A goldenrod color with a bubbly head.  Flavors of sour apples, white wine, oak and, of course, Brett, all nicely balanced together.  I didn’t find it to be that mindblowingly complex, but it’s nevertheless flawless for what it is.  Perfect for fans of wild ales that are smoother and less mouth-puckering.

A+

Beatification (BATCH #2)

6% ABV from a 375 mL corked-and-caged

A wordsmith, of course I love a beer that teaches me a new vocab word–”a state of supreme happiness”–as well as how to pronounce it–it’s bee-AT-uh-fi-key-shuhn not BEAT-uh-fi-key-shuhn as I dumbly thought–right there on the back of the label.  Currently the 85th ranked beer in the world, Beatification ages in the absolute oldest barrels Russian River has that no longer have any wine flavor or oak flavor left in them. Russian River notes, however, that “a cocktail of ‘bugs and critters’ (Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus & other wild yeast & bacteria) remains in the barrel.”  This is easily the most tart Russian River beer I’ve ever had, making Temptation seem soft in comparison.  Citrusy and earthy, I personally enjoyed this a tad more than Temptation, but, for you, it will all depend on how much you personally enjoy physically interacting with your adult beverages as this one will keep you puckered and wincing til the last drop.

A+

As it now stands, I’ve had four of the five Russian River -tion wild ales on the Beer Advocate top 100–Santification is all I’m missing, any one got a bottle to spare?–and perhaps I should be embarrassed, though I’m not embarrassed, that I have given them all unequivocal A pluses.  They are all that fine.  It’s amazing how unique each one is.  Russian River isn’t just pumping out the same wild ales and making different labels for them, no sir.  These are carefully crafted beers, each rather easy to different from one another, all worth going to the trouble to locate (and pay out the ass for!)  Russian River brings it ever single time, clearly in the argument for finest brewery in America.

And, just for the hell of it, my rankings at this second in time for their wild ales:

1.  Consecration
2.  Supplication
3.  Beatification
4.  Tempation

For anyone who has had 3, 4, or, lucky bastard, all 5 of the major Russian River wild ales, what are your rankings?

Ithaca Brute

July 20th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Ithaca Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Wild Ale

An oldie but a goodie, by popular request…

Miss Maine

“Sean, you’re going to probably say I’m crazy…but you know who I think the hottest woman here is…?”

Sean looked around.  We were at our close friend Joe’s wedding up in Portland.  A large guest list filled a large reception room at a large chain hotel.  There must have been several dozen tables with at least a good looking woman or two at each.

I continued.  “I think the hottest woman here is her.”  I nodded halfway across the room where an older yet truly sublime woman stood alone.  Flowing auburn hair, perfectly symmetrical features, a heaving yet firm bosom coming as close as possible to the appropriate/inappropriate chasm without breaching it negatively.

“Oh yeah, she’s gorgeous,” Sean concurred.

“How old do you think she is?”

We were 26-year-old dopes at the time.  Even 30-year-old gals were too aged and sophisticated for us and this woman was clearly older than any we’d ever encountered at Hoboken’s finest watering (hell)holes.

“35?  40?”  I guessed.  I had no clue.  I was certainly not fit to man a weight/astrological sign/age guessing booth at the county fair.

“I don’t know, it’s hard to say, but she is absolutely phenomenal.  One of the best looking women I’ve ever seen at a wedding.”

“Agreed.  Is she married?  What’s her deal?”

She’d been alone for most of the cocktail hour, but as it wound down, she was joined by four of the cutest young girls you’ve ever seen.  Ages approximately spanning from four to eight and clearly of her beautiful loins.  Yet not a man in sight.

“Is she divorced?  Widowed?  Maybe her husband just couldn’t show?”

“Who knows.  Why?  You planning on hitting on her?  Think you got the goods to tack the F onto the MIL?”

“Maybe.”

“Ha!  She is so far out of your league in every single category it’s not even funny.  She would laugh in your face and spit in your eye if you so much as approached her.”

He was right.  But I was still young, brash, optimistic, and drunk.  And, anyways, if you can’t hook up at a wedding you are an abject failure in life.  I told myself this.  Yes, I thought I might have a chance just yet.

By now the guests were seated, the most beautiful MILF in the world flanked by two daughters on each side of her.  I was the Best Man and took the dais to deliver my speech.  Predictably, I killed it.  Oh, you’ve surely seen a good speech or two before but this time I motherfucking killed it.  Like Eddie Murphy “Raw” killed it.  I had the tuxedoed and ballgowned guests slayed, rolling around on the tacky industrial carpeted floor.  Hell, I had been so damn good, my Q-ratings quickly soared so far through the roof that I usurped the luster of the bride and groom.  Something you never want to do.

Though few of us will ever be celebrities, we all have those times in our lives where something we have done, or had happen to us, turns us into a provisional celeb for so ever brief of time.  Maybe just a few minutes, or even a few hours, perhaps even the whole night.

Well my bravura Best Man speech turned me into wedding celebrity numero uno for the remainder of the evening.  Men wanted to shake my hand, old folks wanted to Mazel Tov me, women wanted to flirt with me.

Though not the one woman I wanted to.

But still, who was she?  I called over Joe.

“Psst.  Who is the middle-aged piece of ass in the turquoise gown?”

“No idea.  Never seen her before in my life.  Yeah, she’s cute.  Hey, Shelly…” he called over his wife of just an hour.  “Do you know who that lady is with the sparkling necklace?”

“Her?!  That’s Miss Maine.”

“Miss Maine?”

“Yeah, she finished like 3rd in the Miss America contest one year.”

“What year?”

Shelly was getting borderline perturbed by my questions.

“I don’t know.  Sometime in the seventies.  She was a classmate of my mom’s.  She’s like 50.”

“50?!”

I didn’t care, she was gorgeous.  Yet I still couldn’t figure out a way to reach her.

When she was seated, she was surrounded by her little girls who she was clearly deeply devoted to.  Any time she stood to grab another beverage, hit the cake table, use the ladies room, she was surrounded by her phalanx of daughters.  And on the dance floor, the four surrounded their mother like a force field, she amazingly able to skirt the line between dancing erotically and like the best mom in the world.  Or maybe I was just sexualizing her to the nth degree.

It was no use, I couldn’t get anywhere close to her.  I would never get a chance to have a private tete-a-tete with her.  And, shit, even if I did somehow seduce her, then what?  Why we’d have to get a babysitter to watch her four daughters as we headed back to my hotel room to make sweet, sweet love.  Sean was a helluva friend, but I didn’t think he’d play babysitter just to facilitate the culmination of my fetishisms.  No one should trust their kids with Sean any how.

Finally, I decided to say “no mas” and give up.  I started drinking heavily and set my sights on the second most attractive girl at the event.  A girl my age.  A girl clearly into me.  We would indeed hook up that very night, we would amazingly become boyfriend and girlfriend eventually.

At 11:59 PM as the reception was all but a wrap, my girlfriend-for-the-night and eventual girlfriend-for-two-years excused herself to use the restroom.  Giving me my first moment of solitude perhaps all night.

I stood on the edge of the dance floor having a nice moment to myself.  A goofy, drunken and euphoric grin on my face as I replayed the pleasantries of the evening behind me, speculated on the perversities of the wee hours ahead of me.

There was almost no one left in the hall.  A few couples having one final musicless dance, the cheesy mustachioed DJ packing up his equipment, a hotel employee or two vacuuming.

And then…

A light tap on my shoulder.

I turned around to find myself face to face with Miss Maine.  She was alone.  If she was a 10 out of 10 from the, at closest, ten feet I ever get to her all evening, she was amazingly even more beautiful from close range.  Luminescent eyes, not a wrinkle in sight, taut and elastic skin, and clearly not a buck of “work” done on her.

I was speechless, only able to raise my eyebrows to implicitly say, “Yes?”

“I absolutely loved your speech.  I’ve been keeping my eye on you all night and I just wanted to say, whatever girl snatches you up, is the luckiest girl in the world.”

She smiled, leaned in and kissed my cheek, then immediately exited from the banquet hall and my life.

Brute

7% ABV (Batch #: E!010)

Picked up a bottle of Brute and several other new classics this weekend at Philly’s splendid Foodery store.  Brute, from Ithaca’s Excelsior! line, would end up being one of the most exciting beers I had in an over-indulgent great beer weekend.  Fermented in oak with three champagne yeasts, this wild ale acted as a splendid Saturday morning breakfast beer–quote Cash:  “The beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad, so I had one more for dessert.”–sparkly, carbonated, and effervescent with a nice sweet citron taste making this almost like a beer mimosa.  Of course it had a subtle sourness and maybe lacks a little complexity but this still remains one of the most balanced yet flavorful wild ales I’ve ever had.  Really enjoyed it.

A

Goose Island Juliet and Sofie

July 14th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Goose Island, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B plus, Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale, Style: Wild Ale

Was lucky enough to get to try the two newest releases from Goose Island’s Reserve Series, and here are your reporter’s humble findings.

Juliet

6.7% ABV on tap

It had been a real struggle to find this wild ale that’s been getting magnificent reviews, so when I learned that the very much underrated UWS beer bar George Keeley’s inexplicably had the only keg in the city, I decided to start Happy Hour at 2:00 PM and head up there.  So new, a tap doesn’t even exist for it–that’s just a computer label hastily scotch taped onto the handle–Juliet has an absolutely tantalizing description on the brewery website:  “Fermented with wild yeasts and aged in Cabernet barrels with blackberries, Juliet is a tart, fruity, complex ale. Notes of wood, tannin, dark fruit and spice make Juliet an ideal beer to suggest to Pinot Noir enthusiasts and beer drinkers who are fond of Belgian sour ales.”  Alas, I found that description a tad more erotic than the beer itself, though, don’t get me wrong, this is a very, very good beer.  Somewhat lacking in flavor upon first sip, the wild yeasts eventually came through strong, stinging my uvula with every sip for I have neglected to mention that I was nursing a sore throat.  It went down harsh but the taste was still great.  I probably should have just gargled and spat to prevent the intense throat pain.  But that wouldn’t be fair.  Oh, what I do for you guys, playing through the pain.  I truly am the Willis Reed of beer reviewing.

A-

Sofie

6.5% ABV bottled

The Captain secured this bottle for me, Goose Island’s wild yeasted and aged in wine barrels saison.  Wow is it fizzy, foamy, and effervescent.  Tingly on the mouth like champagne, a slight sourness from the wild yeast.  Tastes of citrus and pepper, this a solid enough saison though perhaps a tad boring.  Just like this review.

B+

And thus, my final overall rankings for the Goose Island Reserve Series:

1.  Matilda
2.  Juliet
3.  Pere Jaques
4.  Sofie

But they’re all quite swell.  Goose Island continues to make some pretty great to even mindblowing stuff and prove they are one of the Midwestern’s finest breweries.

SAVOR

June 2nd, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Odell, Brewer: Russian River, Brewer: Smuttynose, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Style: Quadrupel, Style: Wild Ale

Though I’ve had a slight compunction in the past in hanging out with the geekiest of beer geeks, this weekend I found myself at Washington, DC’s Savor beer and food “experience.”  Said experience was held in the lovely National Building Museum, a phenomenal space where smartly dressed people, and your’s truly, enjoyed fine beer and soggy finger foods.  A crowd seemingly consisting more of foodies, cultural scenesters, and folks that enjoy wearing blazers just for the heck of it, the beer geeks were easily spotted as those hirsute men taking copious notes in their Moleskines, spending far too many seconds with their noses inside the rims of their tasting glass before taking a sip, too scared to look any of the many attractive women in the eye, and those lads treating Tomme Arthur and the godfather of craft Jim Koch as if they were Dino and Frank (uh…guilty as charged*).

According to my count, I sampled 36 of the 118 available frat sodas, so take the following for what it’s worth.  My highlights from the “experience” include, in alphabetical order:

Avery’s aromatic and white-winey wild Brabant, Boulevard’s silky funky Saison-Brett, The Bruery’s bready and creamy Saison Rue, Foothills’s slightly overrated but still spectacular Sexual Chocolate (on tap!) and vastly underrated Hoppyum IPA, Great Divide’s decadent Espresso Oak Aged Yeti imperial stout, The Lost Abbey’s deserves-all-the-praise-it-gets Angel’s Share bourbon-barreled as well as their tart/sour/boozy Cuvee de Tomme, New Holland’s refreshingly zesty Golden Cap saison, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder which I had misjudged the first and only previous time I’d had it as this is an A+ worldbeater no question, and Two Brothers’s caramelly Cane & Ebel red rye.

Now the above “honorable mentions” are a smattering of A-’s and A’s and perhaps even an A+ or two, but my three Best in Shows in ascending order were:

3.  Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) — By far my biggest surprise of the evening.  I knew the boys up in Portsmouth made good if not great stuff and I’d seen this one on shelves plenty of times, but who knew this 8.5% ABV quadruple was so goddamned spectacular?!  Actually, apparently no one knows that or even thinks that as it gets a pedestrian B user grade on Beer Advocate, but let me just state that this is one beauty.  A dominating explosion of sweet Belgian candi and sugary dark fruits, this beer still remains incredibly smooth and drinkable with absolutely no cloyingness.  Honestly, I really can’t think of a better Americanized quad out there, and lest you think I was already in the can and am thus overrating this one compared to seemingly everyone else…it was my first beer of the evening and next to nothing else came close to it for the next four hours.  In fact, periodically throughout the night I would revisit the Smuttynose booth to selfishly have a second and third and fourth pour.

A+

2.  Russian River Consecration — Already quite “famous” in its short period of existence, it deserves all its hosannas as this brew instantly replaces Allagash Interlude as both my favorite wild ale and red wine-barreled beer.  A rust red pour full of acidic tartness, oaky Carbenet flavors, green apple sourness, and some funky vinegar sensations this brew was shockingly refreshing and I could not get enough of its glory.  I’m also glad I didn’t have to pay the bloated costs for this one–reportedly around $25 a bottle–which perhaps led me to enjoy it at maximum capacity.

A+

1.  Odell Woodcut #2 Oak Aged Golden Ale — I’m embarrassed to admit I knew next to nothing about this Fort Collins, Colorado based brewery, had never had one of their beers before, and didn’t even have this brew on my fairly lengthy “to drink” crib sheet I was carrying around in my ass pocket.  Luckily, about halfway through the evening, I serendipitously ran into a beer geek friend and a seemingly innocuous question of “So…whadaya enjoying here?” let to him all but grabbing me by the scruff of my neck and dragging me over to the Odell booth where he claimed that easily the best beer in the house resided.  Quite skeptical, I took his word for it and, wow!, he was 100% right.  A handsomely champagned bottled with a slick label befitting the beer’s name, this is truly one of the most flavorful beers I’ve ever had in my life.  A creamy malt backbone with tastes of buttery toffee and caramel, clean oak, vanilla, and candi this beer is phenomenal and I feel lucky to have tried it.  Now I’m sorry I missed out on Woodcut #1 which my minimal research shows me was released last year in a stingy small case number.  I’d love to get my hands on a full bottle of Woodcut #2 but it doesn’t even appear to have been officially released yet and doesn’t even have a placeholder entry on BA yet.

Whatever the case, Odell hits a moon shot home run in their first at bat against me.  That’s a 1.000 OBP and a 4.000 slugging.  As good as it gets.

A+

*

Russian River Supplication

August 21st, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Russian River, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Wild Ale

PREVIOUSLY ON MY TOP TEN MOST WANTED LIST

7% ABV mini-magnum (BATCH OO3)

THE VICE BLOG’S 2008 ELECTION COVERAGE

The Vice Blog endorses:

NOT VOTING

They say you can’t complain if you don’t vote. BULLSHIT. You can best complain if you don’t vote. And “Rock the Vote”? Fuck you MTV. It’s borderline criminal to encourage your retarded minions to just willy nilly pull the lever like some neanderthal at a one-armed bandit. You only do it because you know 90% of them will vote for the Democrat. But it doesn’t matter, both candidates suck. Both candidates always suck.

Here’s a little secret friends. Politicians don’t care about you. They care about attaining fame and power and on-the-sly affairs with skanky women out of their league, and a whole lotta Facebook friends. And, believe me, more power to them, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I pen my hilariously entertaining, provocative, and intellectually stimulating blog posts in order to attract the very same things. But I don’t pretend that I’m doing it for “you.” These politicians aren’t doing anything for you. Or for “us.” No politician ever has. Sure, some are better at faking compassion and empathy than others, but no, they don’t care about you.

If they really cared about us they would go get a real job. You know, something that actually benefits us. Something that benefits society. Like…say…being a fire fighter, or a doctor, a novelist, an architect, a chef, or even a garbage man. The only problem is, the kind of person that goes into politics goes into politics because they aren’t smart enough, skilled enough, or talented enough to do anything else. The quiver of their skill set is empty, not a single arrow. Politics is the grad school of the real world. People go into grad school because they aren’t competent enough yet to begin living a productive life and people go into politics for the very same reasons.

Hmmm…how can I use my intense ambition to gain fame and fortune without any talent? A reality show? Well…yes, but you’ll lose your dignity. Ah, politics. You lose your dignity there too but you get more fame and faux-power.

And it is faux-power. With rare exception, professional sports team mascots are far more powerful than politicians.

This is not anti one side of the other. This is anti all of corporate politics. Politicians are good at only one thing. Making worthless laws. Actually, they’re also good at being foolish little nerds that produce fodder for late night comedians. But all these fucking laws…

You can’t do anything nowadays. You can’t smoke anywhere, you can barely drink. You can’t eat fatty foods. You can’t get married if you’re gay. You can’t do drugs that only harm you. You can’t fuck hookers. You can’t take multiple wives. You can’t clone yourself. You can’t even commit suicide. You can’t, you can’t , you can’t, you can’t do anything any more.

And I predict by the year 2025 we won’t even be allowed to eat meat. It’s coming folks, believe me.

What a fucking nanny state we live in. We have no freedom.

You say politicians protects us from vices? Poppycock. Those things are only vices because politicians say they are. I’d much rather write the Enjoys His Life blog.

Politicians aren’t economists but they think they can pontificate on the economy. They’re not scientists but they think they can make laws about the environment and medicine. And they’re not moral paragons by any standard but they hypocritically think they can dictate how we have to exist.

We’d be better off in an anarchy. We know best how to live our own lives.

Finally, voting is not cool. It’s just not. No one thought it was cool to vote in student council elections. And they were right, it wasn’t. I should know. I was once my high school class president, winning the (un)popular vote by I think something along the lines of a 6 to 2 total vote victory (in a class of some 700). Yeah, not exactly a good electoral turnout. And there’s no reason to turnout for a national election either. John and Barry are just as big of nerds as the people like me that were running for class office back when we were seventeen. You shouldn’t support nerds.

OK, fine, you want to exercise democracy. You want to get that stupid sticker that says “I Voted.” Wow, you voted today?! Like 130 million other people? Cooooooooool. I took a shit, masturbated twice, and ate a chicken salad sandwich. And you don’t see me affixing a sticker with all that info onto my cardigan’s lapel.

But maybe you feel bad, like I did (somewhat), when my emigre pal Ian derided me for refusing to vote when so many other people only can dream that they live in a country where they could exercise such power.

Fine, if you absolutely have to vote…

Then vote for BOB BARR.

He’s the closest to a laissez-faire candidate we have. And the closer to that, the better for us all. Plus, he has an awesome Errol Flynn-esque mustache and he makes fun of the bad breath of his very own supporters.

Ah, Supplication. I don’t know why Russian River calls it that, but it’s a perfect word to describe our election season. Supplication, a humble request from your dear Vice Blogger to not vote, and rather just sit back and enjoy glorious beer..

The great Marie said she had cellared this one for about a year. The bottle claims it’s a brown ale aged for fourteen months in pinot noir barrels. So if you do the math, that’s over two years of aging. Cool. Probably the most vintage beer I’ve ever had. Excluding that Chelada.

The label also notes that wild cherries, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus are added to the barrel during the aging process. Then, the Supplication is bottle fermented to add carbonation and make it like a champagne or sparkling wine. Yeast sediment remains in the bottle.

Supplication pours an absolutely gorgeous color. A very unique color for a beer. Like the juice of a blood orange. Unbelievable lacing.

You can definitely tell it’s a wild ale by its smell but it’s not that overpowering. Darker than the few other wild ales I’ve started to encounter in the last few months.

Wow, it’s tart. However, it’s tart but not sour. If that makes sense. Cherries are very detectable. The flavor is so pronounced and delicious. If your like tart cherries you will adore this beer. The oak and yeast are very much noted too. I like it much better than the Cuvee de Castleton wild ale I had recently, and that one wasn’t too shabby itself.

Supplication is more flavorful, just as tart, but more balanced with other components. Of course very fizzy like a champagne. But tastes like a red wine. The other wild ales I’ve had seem more like whites. Goes down smoooooooth. Not that alcoholic or potent in taste. And the more you drink it the better it becomes.

Maybe I’m a weirdo, maybe I’m an oddball, but I like to drink the yeast sediment. On bottle conditioned bombers, my first glass I usually do a slow (recommended!) yeastless pour. For the second glass I always add the sediment though and I always, to a glass, like the second one better. Maybe it’s all in my head, maybe I’m a weirdo, but it is what it is.

A very odd, strange beer that I don’t think Joe Sixpack would like. I’d like him to try it though. I’m sad I don’t have more of it and may never get to sip it again.

Because it is WORLD-CLASS.

A+

Captain Lawrence Cuvee de Castleton (2nd batch, 2008)

July 29th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Captain Lawrence, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Wild Ale

PREVIOUSLY ON MY TOP TEN MOST WANTED LIST

No ABV listed but purpoted to be 6%

Throughout my entire childhood I was a collector extraordinaire. Baseball cards, comic books, Pez dispensers, action figures, celebrity autographs, movie paraphernalia, Wheaties boxes, vinyls, and things so much more nerdier that even I am ashamed to discuss them. Or, have repressed them from my memory as if they had sexually abused me (pogs anyone?). I went to card and comic shows, flea markets, garage sales, auctions, and autograph signings to procure my minor treasures, usually accompanied by my father or a fellow nerdy collecting buddy. Eventually, I got bored with amassing shit as I moved into my teens and more interesting and loftier pursuits entered my frame of reference. And, I thought I’d pretty much given up collecting for good around age 15 or so when I virginally realized that I didn’t want to ever bring a girl back to a bedroom filled with displayed Starting Lineups and Spawn comic books. I was wrong.

I am very much still a collector. I am very much still a nerd. I am a beer collecting nerd. I came to this eureka moment in a most startling and sudden manner this previous weekend.

The weekend saw the release of Captain Lawrence’s exceedingly rare (only 840 bottles released per annum) and highly acclaimed (a perfect score on Rate Beer) Cuvee de Castleton. I could not find a single person to go with to the brewery, but that wouldn’t stop me, I knew I had to make the 38 minute train trek upstate by myself. My readers and my taste buds deserved it. Also, this beer could only be purchased on site. I’m always up for an adventure and this was going to be my first time entering the world of true beer freaks. I expected a scene, but I was totally blown away by what I was to witness.

The release was at high noon and based on the buzz on beer forums and messageboards (yes, these exist) I speculated if I got there between 10:30 and 11 AM I should be in fine shape. Stupidly, I went out and drank hard on Friday night, not being tucked into bed til 5 AM or so. Back up at 8:30 I threw on some dirty clothes and my hangover shades and hustled to Grand Central, catching a 9:30ish train off the isle. Of course, fucking Metro-North was delayed but I still pulled into Pleasantville, New York around 10:50. The Captain Lawrence website claims the brewery is only 8 city blocks from the station, but I got incredibly lost, proving that either I was still very drunk or am very much a retard. However, I opt for option C and will claim that the Pleasantville locals are retarded as every single person I passed gave me conflicting directions. People! One of the finest breweries in all of North America is in your tiny hamlet and you don’t know where it is?! Good lord, it is your town’s greatest treasure.

Any how, after probably walking on every single inch of sidewalk in Pleasantville and the surrounding towns, after considering hitchhiking and praying for the only cab for surely hundreds of miles around to pass by me, I finally stumbled upon the right path, sweating pure grain alcohol and fried bar foods from my pores as I sauntered into the Captain Lawrence parking lot at 11:59, just as brewmaster Scott Vaccaro arrived, the doors were opened, and the beer was released to the public. I was well in the back of the line and probably looked and smelled homeless–though I didn’t hear anyone clever enough to quip, “Hey buddy, this isn’t a special release party for Cuvee de Mad Dog 20/20, hehe.”–but I nevertheless tried to schmooze up the people around me.

Always anxious to learn things I don’t know, to pick the minds of strangers, I started talking to the guy right behind me in line. He looked normal–nice clothes, a smart haircut, claimed he had come up from Brooklyn–but he was an unbelievable dork. It was like trying to talk to a fucking MIT doctoral candidate. I’m not sure if he knew more about beer than me, but he was using all sorts of unnecessary esoteric terms, treating beer as if it wasn’t some pleasure to be consumed and enjoyed and used to stimulate female loins but rather some public policy initiative to filibuster about. He also kept mentioning his “girlfriend.” People that find a reason to constantly mention their “girlfriend” unprovoked and apropos of nothing–”Wow, the weather’s sure nice today, just like my girlfriend said it would be.”–usually haven’t had carnal knowledge of a female in years. And, in fact, out of the hundreds and hundreds of people camped outside the brewery, the only three members of the fairer sex I saw were one obese chick who had been dragged along (wheelbarrowed along?) by her boyfriend, and two cute little girls that had been brought with their no-doubt-deservedly divorced father. (I was quite curious whether those girls would be allowed to purchase any bottles as each person was only permitted to buy four maximum.)

I couldn’t even converse with this nerdy little twit behind me, as he was doing all the talking, pontificating, droning on about beer as if he was trying to hypnotize me. I finally reached my last straw when we were each handed a tiny sample of some other brew. You see, it was a convivial atmosphere in line, with people all across the northeast converging at Captain Lawrence, most folks bringing along a bottle or two of interesting and semi-rare beers from their neck of the woods in order to share with those unable to get the stuff in their own areas. My nerdy cohort and I were lucky enough to be handed a few plastic cupped ounces of Ithaca TEN, a rare brew I’d been wanting to try for a while. I cheersed the man who gave me the free tasting and quickly gulped it down. Indeed it was tasty. That whole process took me, oh, about 45 seconds, you know, like a normal human being. After dispatching of my drink I looked next to me to see that the nerd had been hovering with his nose above the beer–eyes sensuously closed and erotically fluttering, natch–for the entirety of the previous minute, looking as if on the verge of passing out from carbon monoxide poisoning. Then, with an unannounced but quite ceremonious fury, my man ferociously sniffed, nay snorted, the fumes of the strong beer as if he was trying to double-barrel some coke so viciously that it would instantly go up his nasal cavity and explode his brain to smithereens. As you can imagine, the additional processes he went through in order to finish and fully enjoy the ounce or so of beer took several more minutes. I cannot imagine going out drinking with this bloke and his “girlfriend.”

He was the paradigm of the kind of beers snobs I hate, and others like him were all around me. At this point, I decided to give up on talking to people, just hoping to quickly nab my rare beers and get some free samples in me as the previous night’s drunkenness was wearing off and the delirium tremens were sneaking up. The line was moving slowly, however, and I couldn’t help but observe the other anxious tipplers around me. The dorks around me. Fat, poorly dressed, hirsute, goofy, and annoying. Just like the populous of any sort of convention where a small coterie of like-minded collectors gather. Later, I would actually hear one man to say his friend as they first sipped the Cuvee, “Dude, we are livin’ la vida loca.” Swear to God.

I’m not sure if beer is enough of a social lubricant for these people. I suppose beer can lubricate one enough to give them the courage to speak, but never enough to make one say things interesting. Or normal. I looked at these people with disdain. How can we share the same interests I wondered?!

Then, I did what I always do when around a freak show alone, I texted a friend to share in my hilarious misery.

AARON: “people that go to special beer release parties are the biggest nerds in the world. seriously.”

FRIEND: “are they dressed in beer costumes? real nerds always wear costumes.”

She was just making a joke, but she didn’t realize how prescient she actually was. I smirked and then looked up to realize that, yes!, everyone was in costume. Every dork in line proudly wore a crusty old XXXXL t-shirt celebrating their favorite beer or brewery. Hats commemorating beer festivals they’d been too. And, each nerd had brought along a favorite beer drinking vessel in order to have their first tastes of the Cuvee de Castleton. Yeah, it wasn’t as bad as dressing like Hermione, or Geordi La Forge, or fucking Captain America, but it was still a goddamn costume.

It was then, as I was in my fifteenth minute or so of queueing*, that I realized waiting in line for a rare beer wasn’t that much different than waiting in line for Ozzie Smith to not look up at you as he quickly scribbles his 5th grade penmanship autograph on an official MLB baseball for $20. It hit me, my God!, I’m like the John Cusack character in “High Fidelity,” who may be kinda handsome and put together, who may attract sexy women and get laid, but who nevertheless is as much of a geek as the loner weirdos that shop at the record store he owns!:

“I get by because of the people who make a special effort to shop here–mostly young men–who spend all their time looking for deleted Smith singles and original, not rereleased–underlined–Frank Zappa albums. I’d feel guilty taking their money, if I wasn’t…well…kinda one of them.” (”High Fidelity” 2000)

It all made sense now.

I came to an upsetting realization: normal people must look at me with the same disdain as I was looking down on these nerds! To an outsider I was indistinguishable from these cretins!

Aw, fuck it, I wasn’t “one of them.” I was much cooler than all these people. I may not be George Clooney, but goddamn I was still a different species from these Trekker types.

By 12:45, and just a few minutes before the beer was sold-out completely, I had my maximum four bottles, I had a refilled growler of their double IPA, I had a free sample or two in my belly, and I had glanced at a train schedule to realize I had just 4 minutes to sprint back to the station and get the fuck out of Dodge. With fifty pounds of glass and beer clanging in bags draped over my chest, I flip-flop sprinted back as hard as could. I must have looked the part of the consummate Vice Blogger on my ride home as I hogged three seats across with several hundred ounces of beer on me, a cigar protruding from the front pocket of my Polo begging to be smoked, all as I cavalierly read from the latest issue of “Playboy.”

I’m not sure if I can handle going to one of these nerd beer conventions again. It really held a mirror up to myself that scared me, that made me question who I am as a man, that busted my self-confidence in two, that made me think I should grow a sloppy beard and talk about original gravities, wort, and diacetyl all day.

Oh, who am I kidding?! The second another limited release comes out I’ll be up at Captain Lawrence or some other regional brewery dorking out, no doubt scorned by the others after everyone has read this anti-beer-nerd missive.

But let’s get down to brass tacks. How does this magical beer taste? It is surely one of the most limited released beers in America, and certainly the rarest brew I’ve ever had (compare to the 12K bi-yearly release of Utopias).

Captain Lawrence compares it to a champagne and they aren’t lying. I popped the top and it nearly exploded, ejaculations of foamy whiteness coming from the bottle like I was celebrating New Year’s. It pours fizzier than any beer I’ve ever seen before. On the label it is described thusly as a “…combination of Belgian style ale which has been re-fermented with hand picked Muscat grapes & aged in wine barrels. As the beer ages in the oak it undergoes a secondary fermentation using the wild yeast known as Brettanomyces.”

Cuvee de Castleton smells very much like a champagne and tastes like it too. Upon my first small sip, I almost retracted my tongue, I was so surprised by the intense tartness as this is the first wild ale I’ve ever had before. Definitely the most non-beer-tasting beer I’ve ever had as well. Even more so than Utopias. This really has nothing that really grounds it to being a beer except for the slight Belgian Ale of it. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Very carbonated, some good bite. You smell and taste white grapes and some spice too. Lemons and green sour apples. You’d have a hard time convincing a lot of people that this is actually beer though.

The sourness nails you at first so don’t give up on this beer after the first sip. It takes a while to figure out this brew’s brilliance. Luckily I got 4 bottles**, two of which I am making my first attempts at cellaring, which should actually make the beer even more sour Captain Lawrence claims.

Due to the tartness you have to drink it slowly, but that’s a good thing as it helps you absorb it better. I don’t think any one besides me will say this, but ask yourself if you like Sour Patch Kids before having this one. (Oh he’s so irreverent say the beer snobs reading this!) The tartness is remarkable though, my mouth was puckered for at least an hour after having the bomber. Everyone around me must have thought I wanted to kiss them. Perhaps I did. The beer makes you giggly and high just like some champers. I don’t completely buy that it’s 6% either. I was kinda fucked up after one solo-consumed bomber.

Cuvee de Castleton becomes more beer-like the more you drink it and the warmer it gets. The oak flavor starts to really come through in this insanely complex brew. I was confused at first by this beer as it’s my first wild ale, but by the end I was loving this and glad I have so many more bottles.

I really don’t think this is a beer that impatient neophytes will like and it would be hard to convince them otherwise. They should probably avoid it as I could see them doling out knee jerk F grades. And, considering I’ve drank one bottle and thus there are at maximum 839 left in the world, good chance these folks will never get to try this masterpiece.

Finally, I have never struggled so much to score a beer. I danced back and forth between maybe something in the Bs upon my first shocking taste before settling down, understanding the beer, and sometimes thinking it an A, many other times thinking it an A+. Really though, I think an A+ beer should be a no doubt about it. Of my only three A+’s, I knew they were A+’s the second I tasted them and likewise in each and every subsequent sip from there on out until the glass was drained. Thus, after far too much in-head deliberation, much like “Twelve Angry Men” inside my cerebrum, I had to finally admit that Cuvee de Castleton deserves an…

A

My final sip was an A+ though and I can’t wait to try bottle number two.

*Nerd fact: Only word in the English language with five straight vowels.

**Beer traders interested in having a bottle, please check out my Top Ten Most Wanted list and make me an offer in trade!