A Night To End All Dawns

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Am I alone in just wanting a straight bourbon barrel aged stout? Lately, I feel like there's always adjuncts or additions of stuff like lactose, vanilla, coffee, cinnamon, maple syrup, toasted coconut, chile peppers, cacao nibs, hazelnut, pecans, and ever more bizarre ingredients "foraged" in obscure ways. I'm pretty sure you could just bottle actual brownie batter and call it a beer, and you'll get people lining up five hours before opening. Don't get me wrong, I'm a total novelty whore and love a good pastry stout as much as the next guy, but sometimes you want to just get back to basics. Ultimately, that's what I really love, and when something only comes in, for example, a coffee treatment, I'm always stuck wondering how much I'd love a version that doesn't have that coffee. Blasphemy to some, I'm sure.

We all know that Kane has a pretty great barrel program, and their big flagship in that arena is their series of A Night To End All Dawns (henceforth ANTEAD) beers. In the past, they've made variants with coffee, vanilla, cacao nibs, coconut, and differing barrels (probably amongst others), but for whatever reason, this year there were only two: regular ol' Bourbon Barrel Aged and a Rye Barrel Aged. Speculation was that the yields were low this year, so there wasn't enough to go around for the variants. Fortunately for me, I managed to snag a couple bottles of the regular BBA ANTEAD (the other set with the rye barrel variant sold out in about 10 seconds during the online sale), and truth be told, I'm not all that broken up about not getting any variants (though I did have a taste of Vanilla ANTEAD once that was pretty darned great).

The description is pretty simple: it's a big imperial stout that spent about a year in bourbon barrels. I keep thinking the name must be an allusion to something, but as near as I can tell, it's just a nice, evocative name for a stout. Certainly it's not a reference to Kane's advocacy on behalf of the antichrist, who promises an eternity of darkness and thus a significant lack of dawns. A Night to End All Dawns soon approaches, and Kane will wreak doom upon the earth (they are located in New Jersey, after all*). Or maybe they're just making really good beer:

Kane A Night To End All Dawns

Kane A Night To End All Dawns - Pours a deep black color with half a finger of short-lived light brown head. Smells retains hints of underlying roast, with lots of caramel, chocolate, marshmallow, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Taste is sweet, rich caramel up front, some of that underlying roasted malt, chocolate, followed by the bourbon, oak, and vanilla, maybe that marshmallow, finishing with a boozy bite. Mouthfeel is perfect, rich, full bodied, and chewy, carbonation is just right, with plenty of boozy heat. Some might say it's too "hot", but I rather enjoyed that aspect of it. Overall, yup, it's a fantastic beer with depth and complexity, even (or maybe especially) without the adjuncts and crazy ingredients. A

Beer Nerd Details: 12.4% ABV bottled (750 ml black waxed cap). Drank out of a snifter on 11/9/18. Vintage: 2017 (released in 2018).

Yep, I really need to continue hunting down Kane's barrel aged wares, as they've been uniformly great so far. Or, you know, one of you local Philly area brewers could build up an equally effective barrel program (beyond sours and, believe it or not, coffee stouts). Or I could just drink Parabola all the time. Not the worst option in the world.

* I kid! I kid because I love.

Zwanze Day 2018

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Zwanze Day is a worldwide event in which Cantillon releases a new, limited lambic to the huddled masses, yearning to be drunk. The event spans many countries and is limited to 70 or so bars, worldwide. I attended the 2016 festivities at Monk's Cafe in Philly and was dutifully impressed with that year's Raspberry/Blueberry entry into the Zwanze canon. It's always a crowded event and some people get there very early and wait in line. If it means getting a table, that's a very good thing indeed and fortunately for me, I had some friends who decided to line up early and had an extra seat at their table.

Along with the Zwanze entry, which isn't tapped until later in the day, Monk's pulls out all the stops, with a whole assortment of other Cantillon lambics available. It was quite the rainbow:

Taste the rainbow... of Cantillon
Click to embiggen

A few of these were even new to me, which is always nice. Nath is made with macerated rhubarb in 2 year old lambic, and it provides a nice little bump in the tartness and funk profile of your typical Cantillon (I didn't take formal tasting notes, so I'll leave it at that - it was excellent).

Cantillon 20 Ans D'Amitié

The other new to me lambic was 20 Ans D'Amitié, a blend of Rhubarb and Raspberry lambics (so Nath and Rosé de Gambrinus?) that was produced for the 20th Anniversary of Monk's Cafe in 2017. As you might expect, it's delightful.

And of course, there were a whole slew of other Cantillons that we all know are fantastic, like the Kriek (still my favorite, to be honest!), Rosé de Gambrinus, Grand Cru Broucsella, the Classic Gueuze, and Vigneronne.

Zwanze 2018

Finally, there was Zwanze 2018 Manneken Pise. If you're interested in lambic, you've no doubt discovered that it's damn near impossible to track down Cantillon lambic. Even ordering direct from Belgium (with it's absurd shipping prices) isn't a particularly viable option anymore. Back in 2015, Cantillion acquired a new building across the street from their current location. Over the next few years, they increased production and had to source a whole slew of new barrels to age their lambic. Enter three particular sets of barrels that stood out: those that had previously held Sangiovese, Amarone, and Chianti. Ah, the wine of my people! Anyway, Zwanze 2018 is a blend of lambic that had been aged in those three types of barrels. And it's quite nice, adding a noticeable but distinct vinous character to the typically oaky, tart, and funky Cantillon lambic base. Some subtle fruit notes and a nice, light, tannic dryness make this a somewhat unique experience. Again, I didn't take formal tasting notes, but they're normally pretty boring and ultimately, yeah, it's a big shock that Cantillon produced a good lambic. Stop the presses.

So yes, another successful Zwanze day under my belt. Well worth checking out if you have a Zwanze venue near you. I'd be curious to see what it would be like at a less crowded venue, but it's hard to turn down an afternoon at Monk's (and if you somehow manage to snag a table, many of the issues with the crowd are minimized!) Anywho, now that Cantillion has increased capacity, here's to hoping we see a little more of their stuff making its way into our hands... And maybe I won't wait a month to post something about it next time.

(Many thanks to Kaedrin friend Dana for taking/sharing that fancy picture with all the beers lined up.)

Xyauyù Gold Label 2011

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A solid decade of beer obsession has weakened certain of my more frugal impulses, sometimes to the extreme level of buying beers like Baladin's line of still barleywines like Xyauyù. It'll put a hurting on your wallet for sure, but I must say, there's nothing else quite like it.

Baladin's Matterino "Teo" Musso is one of the folks leading the charge in Italian beer, and likes to experiment with beers like this, which he calls a "sofa beer", presumably because he used real sofas in making the beer (or just, like, sitting on a couch and sipping this is cool. What I'm saying is that sofas are either an ingredient in the beer or a place where you'd want sit whilst consuming. One of those two things.)

This is a barleywine (#BiL) that has been exposed to air in order to kick off an intentional bout of oxidation, then aged for 2.5 to 3.5 years before release. It's bottled without carbonation and comes completely still. The whole process is tremendously unusual for beer, but has an air of dessert wines like an old tawny port or sipping sherry. I suppose some barleywines actually live up to their name. There's a whole bunch of variants, including ones aged in differing barrels and tea or tobacco or other wacky ingredients, but to my mind, the regular ol' gold label is pretty spectacular by itself.

I realize that most people won't pony up $45-$50 for a single 500 ml bottle of beer, but I will say that this pricing does put it in the company of well aged port, sherry, and madeira wines, which aren't exactly cheap (and are often significantly more expensive). Not an everyday beer in any sense, but as a rare splurge, I think it's worth the stretch and would fit a digestif role fantastically. After all, Barleywine is Life, and it doesn't get much more lifelike than this:

Baladin Xyauyù Etichetta Oro (Gold Label) 2011

Baladin Xyauyù Etichetta Oro (Gold Label) 2011 - Pours a clear, dark amber color, almost brown, no head whatsoever, flat as a board. Smells wonderful, raisins, figs, rich caramel, toffee, molasses, some nutty aromas, an intense nose. Taste hits those rich caramel notes, toffee, molasses dark candied fruits, dried plums, raisins, figs, a nice nutty character, some oxidation showing but in the best way possible, and a heaping helping of booze. Mouthfeel is completely still, flat, but still rich and full bodied, not quite syrupy, with a pleasant boozy heat. I used to be bothered by low carbed beers, but somehow it doesn't bother me here at all, and indeed, I can't imagine this having the same impact otherwise (not sure if this just means I've gotten over a carb sensitivity issue or if it's just this one beer that works). Overall, this is some spectacular stuff, though rating something so unique is a bit of a challenge. I'll call it an A-, but still recommend the experience if you've got the stomach for spending that much (some places will do a thing where they pour you a 3-5 ounce glass, which won't be particularly cheap, but definitely more manageable than a whole bottle. This was how I got my first taste of this years ago - it blew me away and made the decision to bypass frugality and purchase a bottle much easier.)

Beer Nerd Details: 14% ABV bottled (500 ml waxed and corked; packaged in a tube). Drank out of a snifter on 8/31/18. Vintage: 2011.

As mentioned above, there are variants, though I've only ever seen one or two. That being said, I may pull the trigger on one of those someday, though probably not anytime soon. That being said, I have another beer review coming for something uniquely pricey and boozy, so stay tuned.

Suarez Family Brewing Quadruple Feature

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Every year, I take a vacation in upstate New York (these are the occasions that inspire the Operation Cheddar trips to Vermont) and this year, I noticed that there's an alternative route to get to my vacation destination that takes me past a few NY breweries of note. Case in point: Suarez Family Brewery. Dan Suarez cut his teeth working at a series of NYC breweries in the mid aughts (notably Sixpoint and Brooklyn) and then became Sean Hill's first employee at Hill Farmstead. After a few years there, he set out on his own, creating his family brewery in upstate NY and putting out what he terms "crispy little beers". From what I can tell, they seem to specialize in saisons (which tend to be similar in character to what Hill Farmstead puts out) and pilsners, with the occasional pale ale thrown in for good measure. The brewery is a small but comfy little place, and Suarez seems to have lots of plans. For now, they're just serving their beers, but someday they hope to have tacos and other foodstuffs. Until then, we'll just have to deal with their world class beer. Let's dive in:

Palatine Pils

Palatine Pils - Before I left on my trip, I bought some local beer to drink whilst on vacation (and before Operation Cheddar), and promptly left that local stuff at home. So when I got to Suarez, I grabbed a few extra four packs of this, which became the unofficial beer of the week. Pours a clear, pale gold color with a finger of white, fluffy head that has good retention and leaves a bit of lacing. Smells of earthy, grassy noble hops with a bready crackery character that fits well. Taste follows the nose, a light bready character with some noble hops kicking in. Mouthfeel is light, crisp, and quaffable, really well balanced. Overall, yup, certainly one of the better pilsners I've had... B+ or A-

Beer Nerd Details: 5% ABV canned (16 ounce pounder). Drank out of the can on 7/31/18 (picture above is in a willibecher glass in September). Canned 06.27.18. Drink by 08.29.18.

Suarez Proclivity

Proclivity - Country beer brewed with fresh pineapple sage. Pours a pale golden color with a finger of white, fluffy head that doesn't quite stick around as long. Smells good, similar, light musty funk and hints of spice. Taste is sweet, with a little more spice and some sort of fresh herbs (presumably that sage), finshing with a light tartness. Mouthfeel is a little heftier than Call to Mind, well carbonated, no less crisp or quaffable. Overall, this is also great, maybe a hint better, but overall quite similar. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 5.4% ABV bottled (750 ml). Drank out of a tumbler glass on 8/1/18. Bottled: 2/18.

Suarez Call to Mind

Call to Mind - Country beer brewed with chamomile, lemon thyme, and lemon balm, briefly ripened in oak casks. Pours a pale golden color with a solid finger or two of white, fluffy head that leaves a bit of lacing as I drink. Smells nice, light musty funk, hints of spice, and some tart lemon lime action. Taste starts sweet, hits that tart lemony note, then moves on to a light spicy funk. Mouthfeel is light bodied, low acidity, well carbonated, crisp, and quaffable. This goes down fast. Overall, it's a great little farmhouse number, akin to something like HF Florence. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 5.4% ABV bottled (750 ml). Drank out of a flute glass on 9/7/18. Bottled: 3/18.

Suarez Postscript

Postscript - Country beer brewed with a generous portion of raw spelt sourced from their neighbors, then aged in oak casks. Pours more of a pale, straw yellow color with a finger or two of fluffy white head. Smell is back to the tart lemon character, but with plenty of funky aromas and some spice too. Taste is a little more rounded, starting off sweet, hitting those spicy notes, then some oak, and finishing with a well balanced tartness. Mouthfeel is more like Proclivity than Call to Mind, that oak is definitely doing its thing, well carbonated, moderate acidity, still pretty darned crisp and quaffable. Overall, oh wow, another great farmhouse beer from Suarez, big shocker. Very good. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 4.8% ABV bottled (750 ml). Drank out of a tumbler glass on 7/31/18. Bottled: 5/18.

So yes, well worth seeking out Suarez, and I've certainly found a new, regular stop on my way to vacation.

A Vinous Tilquin Double Feature

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Back in the day, I wasn't especially enamored with sour beers. Like the scared apes at the beginning of 2001, I'd cautiously approach the sour beer monolith and give it a tap every now and again, but it wasn't until I drank a bottle of Oude Gueuze Tilquin that I became a true believer. Obviously, I've since expanded my horizons considerably, but I'll always have a special place in my beery heart for Tilquin. They have slowly been introducing new fruited variants over the years (and are planning an expansion to drastically increase these offerings). A few weeks ago marked the worldwide debut of Oude Pinot Gris Tilquin. As it happens, Monk's Cafe had some bottles on hand for that event, and while there, I also got to try some of the Oude Pinot Noir Tilquin. Both are rather nice!

Oude Pinot Gris Tilquin

Oude Pinot Gris Tilquin à L'Ancienne - Made with 280 gr of, you guessed it, Pinot Gris grapes per liter of lambic. Looks like your standard gueuze offering, golden and a little cloudy, with minimal head. Smells nice, that vinous character coming through well, with a nice funk to it. Taste has the standard Tilquin character, funky earth, tart fruit, lemony sourness, oak, but with an added vinous sourness that is clearly coming from the grapes. Mouthfeel is a tad low on the carbonation, but good enough, medium bodied with a higher acidity than you get out of the usual Tilquin lambics, but it's not going to strip the enamel off your teeth either. Overall, it's definitely a winner, distinct from the other offerings, complex, tasty stuff. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 8.4% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a tumbler on 9/3/18 (the worldwide debut was 9/1/18). Batch 1. Best before: 21/12/2027.

Oude Pinot Noir Tilquin

Oude Pinot Noir Tilquin à L'Ancienne - Made with 260 gr of Pinot Noir grapes per liter of lambic (batch 1 may have involved more grapes). The grapes come from Valentin Zusslin Estate, because you've probably heard of that one, right? Pours a darker pinkish red color with an off white head. Smells nice too, vinous aromas mixed with earthy funk. Taste is distinctly more funky and less sour than the Pinot Gris, but the grape still expresses itself well, this time adding a hint of drying tannins to the normal funky and tart fruit party. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated, and lightly acidic. Overall, I liked this one a bit better than the Pinot Gris, but it's quite close and they are different animals. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 8.2% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a proper Tilquin gueuze tumbler on 9/3/18 . Batch 2. Best before: 04/01/2028.

Tilquin is always a good time, and of the big three, is more reliably available. Variants like this... perhaps not as much, but even the standard Tilquin offerings are great and well worth seeking out. On second thought... no, just leave them on the shelves. Thanks.

Athens to Athens, Grist to Grist

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So Jackie O's Pub & Brewery is located in Athens, Ohio, and for this beer, they collaborated with Creature Comforts Brewing in... Athens, Georgia. This is surely not a coincidence and in fact, evidence of a deeper conspiracy. There is an Athens in New York and we all know the OG Athens in Greece. It's spreading. Fortunately this conspiracy seems to be aimed at making beer, so we might as well take advantage.

This is a smoked barleywine style ale aged in bourbon barrels for about a year, which sounds all well and good... except for that "smoked" bit, which warrants suspicion. Sometimes this means you'll be wondering who put their cigar out in your beer, but fortunately in this case, our collaborators either went with a light touch on the smoke, or the bourbon barrel treatment mellowed things out enough that it's adding complexity without overwhelming the base. For grist thou art, and unto grist shalt thou return. Well that doesn't make sense, but the beer is pretty good:

Jackie Os Athens to Athens, Grist to Grist

Jackie O's Athens to Athens, Grist to Grist - Pours a murky cola color with finger of light tan head. Smell has a bit of caramel, bourbon, oak, and vanilla, and a background of residual fruity sweetness. Taste is sweet, lots of caramel, more bourbon, oak, and vanilla than the nose would imply. If I do the tasting equivalent of squinting I can detect a hint of that smoked malt coming through, but it's not one of those situations that will leave you wondering who put their cigar out in your beer, it's just a sorta background note of tobacco that adds complexity. Mouthfeel is rich, full bodied, and well carbonated. Overall, this is pretty damn good. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 11.5% ABV bottled (375 ml). Drank out of a snifter on 7/15/18.

Very nice, but situations like these always make me wonder: what would a more "normal" version of this be like. I tend to think the same beer without smoked malt would be better, but maybe I'm just yelling at clouds here.

Von Trapp Double Feature

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A few years ago, after Operation Cheddar III: Cheddar Harder and in the midst of Operation Chowder, I had a sorta lager revelation. After overdosing on hops for a week, I sat down to a Pivovar Kout Koutská 12° Dvanáctka, the best pilsner I've ever had in my life. It turned out to be just what I needed at the time, and after years of giving lagers short shrift, I vowed to give them more of a chance. And I was pretty good about it for a while! I still don't post about them often and truth be told, many don't exactly stand out, but I do really enjoy the whole "palate reset" I often get when hitting up a clean, crisp lager or even something a little more wacky, like Hill Farmstead's experimental oak-aged pilsner Poetica (from the most recent Operation Cheddar).

Many breweries try their hand at a lager now and again, but few seem to actually specialize in them. Vermont's Von Trapp Brewery is one of the few that do. Yes, this is the same Von Trapp family that inspired The Sound of Music, and the brewery is meant to produce an American version of the lagers they loved so much from their Austrian homeland. Even Admiral Ackbar approves:

Admiral Ackbar approves of Von Trapp

On the most recent Operation Cheddar, I finally nabbed a couple bottles of the stuff to see what all the fuss was about. I loved one of them and while perhaps less taken with the other, it'd still fill the palate cleanse role I enjoy from lagers. The hills are alive with the sound of lager:

Von Trapp Dunkel Lager

Von Trapp Dunkel Lager - Pours a clear, dark amber color, mahogany, with a couple fingers of light tan head. Smells nice, biscuity, toasted malt, some earthy, spicy hops. Taste has that nice crystal malt backbone, some toasty notes, finishing crisp and clean with some noble hops kicking in. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, just a hint of richness (i.e. this ain't no barrel aged monster, but it's got a nice malt backbone that will stand up to pairing with relatively strong dishes), well carbonated, crisp and clean. Overall, this is a really nice beer, and pairs well with grilled foodstuffs. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 5.7% ABV bottled (12 ounce). Drank out of a pilsner glass on 8/24/18.

Von Trapp Helles Lager

Von Trapp Golden Helles Lager - Pours a very pale, mostly clear, bright straw yellow color with a couple fingers of fizzy white head. Smells earthy and grassy, noble hops. Taste has a very light crackery sweetness with a minimal hop kick. Mouthfeel is light, crisp, and clean, well carbonated. Overall, this is a good lawnmower beer and a well executed lager, but it's not doing a whole lot for me. I'm not sure it's really supposed to do a lot, really, and that has its place for sure. B-

Beer Nerd Details: 4.9% ABV bottled (12 ounce). Drank out of a Willibecher glass on 8/26/18.

So there you have it. Certainly worthy of a look if you're in VT and overdosing on hops (which, if you're in VT, is likely). Trust me, a good lager like this will reset your palate and allow you to enjoy those heavy-handed DIPAs all the more. Stay tuned, I've got another pilsner review coming (and that one is a really good one too!)

Anchorage The Experiment

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Even for a science fiction nerd like myself, the prospect of visitation by extra-terrestrial aliens is pretty unlikely. Since this is a beer blog, I won't geek out on the scale and energy details needed for interstellar travel here, but I will note that a lot of the common stories about, for example, an alien craft crashing near Roswell, NM, strain credulity even further. If an alien species manages to travel thousands of light years, dodging all manner of interstellar obstacles, but gets tripped up by the tricksy New Mexican landscape, something doesn't quite fit. Then again, maybe aliens did land in Alaska and start collaborating on beer with Anchorage brewing.

This is a light sour fermentated in French oak foudres with a Belgian yeast and then aged for a year in those foudres with a mixed culture and finished on what I must assume was an obscene amount of wild Alaskan blueberries. Doesn't sound that unusual or experimental, but the color they were able to coax out of this stuff doesn't seem possible without the aid of extra-terrestrial brewers. Or just a shit ton of blueberries. Probably the latter, but the former should not be discounted. Unfortunately, my bottle did not contain an overabundance of carbonation, so the color (of the head in particular) isn't quite as striking in the picture as it could have been, but just look at this stuff!

Anchorage The Experiment

Anchorage The Experiment - Pours a deep, dark amber purple color with a finger of striking, dark purple head that alas, doesn't stick around too long and which I was lucky to capture in the picture as much as I did. Smells quite funky, earthy, with those blueberries coming through strong. Taste is sweet, with that earthy funk coming through, a little oak, tons of blueberries with a very light tartness. The funk here is something that feels distinct to blueberry beers, the sort of thing that turns almost smokey, though in this particular case, they did a good job preventing that (I had a bottle of Cascade Blueberry once that did not fare so well; again, this Anchorage beer did much better). Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, a little low on the carbonation (but there's plenty there), low acidity too. Overall, an interesting *ahem* experiment. Tasty, but the most striking thing about it is the other-worldly appearance... B+

Beer Nerd Details: 7% ABV bottled (375 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a flute glass on 7/14/18.

Pretty sure my teeth were bright purple after drinking this stuff. Many thanks to Kaedrin friend, fellow beer nerd, and Alaskan beer enthusiast Rich for helping procure the bottle. One of these days I'll get my greedy biscuit snatchers on an actual bottle of ADWTD for myself, rather than just relying on the generosity of friends like Rich at a share. In the meantime, Anchorage's more accessible brews are usually still worth a flier.

Smog City Bourbon Barrel-Aged O.E.

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The O.E. in this beer's name actually does stand for Olde English, complete with the anachronistic pseudo-Early Modern English spelling... that we know from the classic 40 ounce malt liquor of choice that we may or may not have duct taped to both hands in college (an act of breathtaking stupidity we called "80 ounces to freedom" but which was later dubbed by our cultural superiors as "Edward Fortyhands", probably a more fitting name), Olde English 800. Alas (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), this is not barrel aged malt liquor, but rather an excellent english-style barleywine aged in bourbon barrels for over a year (some sources say 15 months, the label is more vague). Unfortunately (or fortunately), it doesn't come in 40 ounce bottles. Pour one out for #BiL:

Smog City Bourbon Barrel-Aged O.E.

Smog City Bourbon Barrel-Aged O.E. - Pours a deep, dark amber brown color with a half finger of off-white head that quickly resolves into a ring around the edge of the glass. Smells amazing, rich caramel, toffee, brown sugar, hints of fruit, and that bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Taste hits the same notes as the nose, caramel and fruit, plenty of bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, rich and full bodied, though maybe not quite as much as the nose would have you believe. Overall, this is pretty damn fantastic. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 13.1% ABV bottled (500 ml waxed). Drank out of a snifter on 7/13/18. Bottled 5/14/18 #BIL

It's not going to unseat ADWTD or Aaron as favorite barleywines, but few would, and this is much easier to get your hands on.

Plan Bee Barn Beer

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This upstate New York brewery specializes in making beer with the use of only local, New York ingredients, some of which are even harvested from their own grounds (including, as their namesake would imply, honey from an army of sentient bees they are no doubt breeding for eventual world domination). Ingredients are often sourced from all over the world, even when you're "drinking local", so this "brewing local" focus is a nice twist, provided the bees do not perceive us as a threat to be eradicated, which they surely will. I've looked into visiting before, but it always seemed out of the way and I'm terrified of these vicious, unstoppable bees and their blasphemous, inconceivable hive mind. Writing this post, I have just now realized that I could probably stop in during the prelude to next year's Operation Cheddar (this year, I stopped somewhere else nearby that was not infested with swarms of monstrous bees, which we will get to in time). This particular beer appears to be something of a flagship and while not exactly widely available, I did find a bottle in PA. It's made with a coolship (for, um, cooling, but also inoculating with wild yeast and other beasties) and aged in oak.

Plan Bee Barn Beer

Plan Bee Barn Beer - Pours a pale, not quite clear yellow color with a solid finger of white, fluffy head with decent retention. Smells great, funky but bright and lemony, a little spice in the background. Taste follows the nose, a light funk and spice, tart lemony flavors, finishing with a nice sour kick. Mouthfeel is well carbed, crisp, and refreshing, light acidity, almost quaffable. Overall, it's a really solid little farmhouse beer. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 5.5% ABV bottled (500 ml). Drank out of a flute glass on 7/14/18.

I've had small tastes of a couple other Plan Bee beers, and they've all been pretty darned good. We will have to find a way to snag some of those beers in the future. In the meantime, I've got a few beers from the brewery hinted at above, and astute readers will recognize that I initially wrote this in July and thus I have a backlog of reviews to get through, so stay tuned.

Update: I have been informed that the bees are not hostile and that "Plan Bee" is not a military operation proposing a world ending hivemind threat, but rather a simple, good-natured pun. Many apologies, some comments above have been struck from the record.

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Hi, my name is Mark, and I like beer.

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