Review: Otter Creek/Jack’s Abby Brewing Collaboration | Joint Custody

photo credit: jacksabbybrewing.com

photo credit: jacksabbybrewing.com

Otter Creek Brewing Company is something of an anomaly.
…and I’ll tell you why.
Otter Creek is part of the old guard when it comes to Vermont breweries. Lawrence Miller founded the company, back in the early ‘90s. Now he’s chief of Health Care Reform. Yes, in this great state, a drinker can grow to make pivotal decisions about how we obtain basic healthcare.

Freedom and Unity, indeed

Anyway, Miller brewed, largely by himself, for a decade, surprisingly sailing through the collapse of many breweries in the late ‘90s. That is, until Morgan Wolaver—of Wolaver’s Organic Ales—bought him out in 2002. Oh, and they made such fine and natural beers, like big-eyed masturbatory King Harvest songs. Bucolic brews named “Copper Ale” and “Stovepipe Porter” were romantic and keen, and well, pretty boring, but the Brewery made consistently good brews over the decade.

Then came the onslaught of beer-hipsterdom stemming from the artisanal and craft movement of the mid-to-late 2000s and all of the entitled pricks yoked to it.  The brewery ultimately suffered, as a result. Wolaver’s reign would eventually end in 2010, when a private equity firm, Fulham and Co., acquired the company via its subsidiary, Long Trail Brewing Company. Literally, at this point, you’re the furthest from relevance and cool as possible. You’d think, any attempt of reinvention would surely result in not only embarrassment, but also the certain demise of the sick man of brewing in the VT craft brew culture.
Enter Mike Gerhart.

“Brewmaster Mike” joined in 2008, leaving a position at Dogfish Head to infuse the withered Otter Creek with fresh blood, just like Lance Armstrong. However, instead of being reprimanded by Oprah, Otter Creek somehow saw some success out of their reimaging. Full of stoner tropes, Otter Creek abandoned their rustic roots and broke out the wah-wah pedal. Seriously, you cannot find a Facebook post not making a reference to weed, weed culture, or flat out being stoned. It’s fucking weird. It’s like reading those posts by that one uncle who never grew up, who manages to maintain an affinity for Cheech and Chong and Star Wars at the age of 45. It’s hard to believe the hipsters eat this shit up, but indeed, they do. To an extent, it’s hard to blame them. This tongue-in-cheek rebranding obviously comes as a gamble, potentially discomfiting the brand’s older, loyal clientele. It’s hard to show up to that company party with a six pack of “Joint Custody” not expecting to get some questions about why the VW bus on the label is billowing with smoke.

Seriously, it is hard to take this beer seriously, but I’m willing to try. The beer is a collaboration with

Massachusetts’ own, Jack’s Abby Brewing. The beer is described as a “nouveau pilsner”

Or whatever the hell that means

Knowing full well they’re grasping at an attempt to be cutting edge, I take their nomenclature with an

ever so small pinch of salt.

While it has a inch of white head on the beer, it recedes quickly. It pours a bright yellow with hints of

earthy amber. It’s slightly hazy. At first sniff, there’s pineapple and apricot. White grapes then begin to

emerge. These are grapes similar to what you’d find in a Riesling. There is also apparent stone fruit detected, which I’d

describe as unripe peach. Then, I get a nice burst of lemon and pepper. Finally, an ever so slight ripe banana tickles my

eeney-weeny widdle nosey-wosey on the back end.

Very much so, do I get dried apricot in the taste. I get bitter orange peel, biscuit malt character and

essentially what I can only describe as mango fruit leather at the end.

Right off the bat, I notice that the mouth feel is a little thicker than one would expect from a lager. Also,

you do get a slightly oily, dry finish from the hops, I expect. It is, however, otherwise crisp.

Do I recommend this beer? Yes. I think it’s certainly worth a try. While it’s much more expensive than

any other Otter Creek beers available in six-packs, it is only around for a limited time (supposedly)– but

you can find it all across New England (and some mid-Atlantic states).

I don’t know.

I guess if Dr. Dre can do it…

*8.3 out of 10*

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