I don’t fucking know.
I guess the beer is named after some jam band artist.
Like the kind of crunchy shit you see that old-time, communist, bird-loving hippie with Birkenstocks wrapped around his elbows
Eating a crappy harmonica
Dancing outside of the santanic co-op on a skateboard
Getting a tattoo of colonel Bernie Sanders on his inner thigh—
The right one—
Like, when are we getting back to those good old days when nobody cared that there was lead paint in our pancakes, and when we we’re bad, we got the good old-fashioned two-by-four to the groin.
I can remember Momma,
standing on her ironing board,
flipping the bird
And gramma and grampa would tell us about
Hacky sack fuckin
Fuck outta here
But the beer’s ok.
It looks like peepee with a bright white head. It looks as American as Lager, with a capital fuckin’ L.
It’s not completely clear or transparent, but somewhere between transparent and translucent, whatever the fuck that means. Also, it’s sort of reminiscent of sparkling hard apple cider. It’s leaves a decent, inappropriate, sticky lacing on the glass.
Very light aroma. Floral akin to tulips, light citrus, hint of pine, mango, bright orange on the back end.
bitter orange peel,
white bready malt,
white grape, faint fennel on the back end.
Crisp, yet medium body, dry finish.
Better than the average pale ale, but does lack some in aroma and taste.
*8.0 out of 10*
Do you owe 500 dollars in back taxes to the Swedish government?
Does your mother know that you know that the cat smokes crack underneath the porch?
Have you, or a loved one, watched 27 Geico commercials in a single sitting?
Do you know what a ham sandwich is?
What is the Internet?
How many ARE you?
Did you ever want to learn a language in 4 days?
How about 73 days?
Are you not telling yourself that you didn’t know that you were aware that everyone knows that you said that you’re nothing but a fat, melting, piece of horseshit?
Why didn’t you?
What more dock off the total panel most episodic sent with folk queen pacifier under the fountain register did that?
You went and ate all the mmmmminimum
FOLLOW THE RULES
OUR OPERATORS ARE INSIDE THEMSELVES
Have you, or your mortgage poured black, with a nice khaki-colored head?
Do you pay attention to the color?
Do you watch it staring back at you?
…If you pay attention to the color, however, you notice it is actually a very, very deep garnet color. Like a black, with hints of rust. Auburn highlights on the edges of the glass when exposed to a lamp.
DONALD TRUMP IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT
It smells like burnt sugar, sour cherries, and it even has a red wine character—tannic, vanilla, almond, light tobacco. Chocolate,
Like the the best dryer sheet ever
ARE YOU, OR A 2011 KIA SORENTO, SUFFERING FROM
…Cherry, tart, lactic bite, dark chocolate, cocoa, bitter, tart raspberry, slight vanilla, very drying, tannic bitterness towards the back end, astringent. Coconut, acetone, classic acidity of a fine red wine. Very oaky on the back end, adding some additional vanillin. Vinous complexity…
CARL TO DAY
THIS RATE I BETTER START WALKING
…very quaffable, thinner than expected. Drinks like a slightly carbonated wine.
*9.2 out of 10*
What the fuck?
*0.0 out of 10*/*10 out of 10*
“He’s going in for the 30, Bob. –the 20, the 10… TOUCHDOWN! He’s pulling up to the drive-thru window! Look at this champion! So clear, so concise, so sure!
“I want a McDouble and a large fry.”
“OH, my goodness, Bob! Did you see that? Wow, there are certainly some folks out there who are not into the cold dip crowd!”
“Right you are, Phil.”
Are you ready to step your food game up?
Are you ready to accommodate your eatings with all of the appropriate accoutrements?
Well then, I’d like to take a couple minutes with you to discuss the perfect paring: A McDonald’s McDouble and large fry with a can of Fiddlehead Second Fiddle. Let that one sink in.
Fiddlehead Brewing’s Second Fiddle clocks in at a mean 8.2% alcohol by volume, and it cuts right through the fat of this disgusting piece of shit of a meal. That being said, the McDouble holds its own.
In this corner, here is the mighty Second Fiddle. Here is a strong, double IPA, with big IBUs (international bittering units) and a malt backbone to defend itself. In the other corner, the sumptuous McDouble: a devilish fast food sweetheart plaguing the hearts of many, many Americans. It has girth, it has beef, and it has thick, gooey, American cheese. It boasts pickles, onions, and ketchup underneath its squishy, fleshy bun. Second Fiddle doesn’t fuck around, however. It cuts like a knife through the big, fatty taste of the McDouble. The pickles linger on, but the boozy Second Fiddle answers correctly with a double dose of citrus. The fries add an extra, creamy, fatty edge to the equation, but even still, the maltiness of this double IPA kicks the shit out of this nonsense and lands a TKO upon the fast food tyrant. Honestly, The McDouble and the Second Fiddle get along pretty well. The McDouble offers a complex, fatty, salty character to the mundane fast food experience, and the Second Fiddle balances these sumptuous flavors with a measure of sweet, biscuit malt character and some intense citrus and pine flavors from the hop profile. This powerful malt character performs well against the saltiness of the McDouble and its sundry guile. Make sure you get some ketchup on your burger when you pair these two, as the ketchup adds a slightly spicy, acidic agent that brightens the flavor of the IPA. In doing so, it livens the fusel (alcohol) notes of the beer, and reminds you that you’re drinking a heavily alcoholic substance and eating fast food at 1 AM.
Want to know what’s so 2015?
Not fucking standing in a six-person line for an hour-and-a-half in a liquor store with a bunch of gross, chauvinistic, rotund beer Nazis who literally shit on every person who asks if we’re waiting in the goddamned Heady Topper line (Ok, they don’t shit on them physically—but they give the sad saps such a look that might as well be a telepathic fecal injection to the face).
You know what else is soooooo 2015?
Not waiting in this line for this beer to hit the shelves just to buy one beer. No, no, this isn’t a line to buy a case or two of some rare beer or something. No, you get one beer. No, you don’t get to have one of each beer available in this line, you get to choose one beer.
YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE IS SOOOOOOO FUCKING 2015?
Consciously not going out of your way to spend an ungodly $30—THIRTY DOLLARS—on this one beer just so you can bring it to the New Year’s Eve party and drink it all by yourself.
Nah, nah, that’s cool, you can just put it on the radiator in the bathroom next to the q-tips and Instagram that shit while you yourself are taking a shit!
HEY, LOOK WORLD! HERE’S HOW I’M RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR! HERE’S A THIRTY DOLLAR BOTTLE OF SOME SOUR-ASS BEER THAT MOST OF YOU WON’T EVEN LIKE! NAH, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT, LET ME JUST FLAUNT MY BOURGEOIS LIFESTYLE WHILE I DRINK THIS CRAP IN THE BATHROOM WITH MY PANTS DOWN AROUND MY ANKLES! IT’S LIKE YOU’RE ENJOYING IT WITH ME! ISN’T THIS GREAT? OH, HEY, WOULD YOU MIND CHANGING THE TOILET PAPER ROLL FOR ME?
It’s what the humble brewers at Brasserie Cantillon would have wanted.
Oh, I’m sure that the little old brewery in Belgium would just love to see that on the internet.
I’m sure they’d just love to see me rant about this junk, which took two years to make.
I’m sure they’d rather just have me talk about how refreshingly tart it is
–yeah, like a squirt of lemon in the eye
Or, perhaps discuss the complexity of the yeast character
–it’s like eating a piece of brie cheese after throwing it in a bale of hay and rolling around in it like a complete moron. Oh, throw some grapes in that mess, for good measure.
And then have a puke
But I’m sure they’d at least prefer that I comment on how easy-drinking the beer is
–you ever gargle vinegar before?
Look, even the word ‘gueuze’ (the style of this god-forsaken beer) just sounds like the byproduct of something disturbingly, deviantly sexual.
—Oh, my new year’s resolution?
To stop being an idiot, and just start drinking Coors Light for the rest of my life.
Just gimme a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese and let me watch hockey. Happy Fucking New Year.
What else in hell did you think it was?
*9.2 out of 10*
So there I was on another Saturday night—gallivanting about, loudly guffawing with leisurely shrillness. I sprawled out hazily with unabashed ambivalence, bouncing from conversation to conversation. There was food, there was drink. Our gracious host broke out an enormous bottle. I examined the specimen. The cap was popped. With constipated fervor, I jutted my glass forth for a pour. I ham-handedly pressed the glass to my blushing cheeks and dumped the beverage down my throat. I choked it down tenderly. I thought with a shred of legerdemain that the brew was reminiscent of an old-fashioned or perhaps a perhaps a Goslings paired with some generic cola—but I seemed to screech, “OMG it tastes like coke,”
like a teenybopper.
I slammed the glass down and dissociated myself from my aforementioned statement, as if the rabble muttered it amongst the din of the merry and the drunk. I slid away towards the foyer and approached my squeeze. I puffed out my chest and gasped out a few awkward lines as my eyes darted around nervously. I deflated into my beer. My legs wobbled and dissolved into the hardwood floors.
So now, I am gurgling down the fluid, breathing deep. Lemon, clove, grapefruit, and almond extract flood my mind. I babbled with contrived confidence. Witless, foreign wavelengths reverberated from the corners of my mouth. My hand grasped the banister with vigor, as in an attempt to pull the breaks on this derailing train. I raised the glass again to my mouth. Its ruby tinge glistened; the bubbles popped in my mouth, bringing new life. I stumbled and sat down next to her. My hand steadied upon the armrest I sat upon. Rigor mortis set upon my left arm with a gross, puritanical sentiment. I couldn’t dislodge myself from my position. I awkwardly looked up at her with an air of mercy. Her corpulent, sumptuous eyes left welts upon my psyche. Languidly, I drank away my nerves. There was a subtle bitterness amongst the near-cloying sweetness that seemed to linger on my tongue like bitter chocolate and caramel. It was reminiscent of her disturbingly sunny disposition. I was comforted. She engorged herself on hors d’oeurves and lamented her vices. I adored her. I, in my mind, would have caressed her every inch. She imagined miles, multitudes. I saw her a limited resource. She was my oasis.
As the glass rested in my hand, notes of dark cherry, chocolate and blood orange rose from the glass. There really was a strange pungency that was a bit reminiscent of cool summer’s stroll home as the beer began to warm. It was pleasant really. I could easily drink two or three more glasses of these, I thought. With that, I drifted into the night. If there are two things that I can say about this beer , the first would be that it’s quite complex; and two,
it didn’t get me laid that night.
*8.5 out of 10*
It was 7:20 am, Black Friday.
I woke up and took a five-minute shower. I brewed some coffee in a rush.
I muttered to myself as I scrambled with a fistful of paper towels to clean up the 100% pure Arabica mess that sprawled along the particleboard counter top.
I exchanged my soiled sweater for a few swear words, a coat, and I was off (like a prom dress, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA).
I hurried along to the liquor store on the odd end of town. It was a little crapper in a strip mall, but as far as I was aware, they had the Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout with the carbine-action, two hundred shot range—you’ll shoot your eye—
Just shut the hell up.
“Oh, are you here for the Bourbon thing?” The little old lady asked me.
“You bet your sweet, sweet fanny.”
“Excuse me, young man?”
“Geez, I’m sorry—I just got a little excited there—but if you’ve got it, flaunt it.”
“What was that?” She gave me such a look.
“Oh, nothing—no—yes—are you selling?”
“We are, but just one bottle per person, and it’s $8 a bottle.”
“That’s just fine,” I said (what’s wrong with me).
“What’s the big deal with this beer anyway? Is it beer?”
“Yeah, actually. It’s a very rare beer that’s released right around this time every year, and we don’t get very much up here, so, it sells very fast.” I had a cultish glint in my eyes that shut her right up. I was on my way.
I craved more.
I craved so much more.
I drove two towns over to the next liquor store. I walked in, got two words in and the lumpy man stopped me immediately.
“That $30 four-pack beer? No, that’s gone already!” He ejaculated, furiously. “I don’t know, come back later.” Fine, your establishment smelled like perverts and Slim Jims, anyway.
Crestfallen, I was that much more bloodthirsty.
I left my house Ishmael, came back as Ishmael, but now—now, at this very moment, I became Ahab.
I made my way back into Burlington. I went to pay Liam a visit at the local record store. They themselves were having their very own Black Friday sale. Then I saw the man with the white box.
“Oh, yeah,” Liam mused, “he bought out all the Bourbon County at City Market.”
“What? Is there any more?” I began to froth at the mouth.
A small hirsute man with a strangely attractive girlfriend then looked over at me. “You could try the store up the street; I think they still had a few four-packs when I was there last.”
Blood vessels were now bursting in my eyes. Liam cringed, like a baby.
I slipped across the snow and ice along the sidewalk as I dashed up toward Pearl Street. Stumbling in, I saw my treasure, sitting on the counter.
“You… have… Bourbon County?”
The woman at the register, weathered by Pall Malls and overexposure to Donna Summer shot a seductive glance. “$8 a bottle, baby…
Or, you could buy a pack,
and be the
I stammered. Blood dripped from my lips.
“I want to be the envy of
30 dollars later, I rushed back to my car so I could head directed to the local tap house to get, you guessed it, more of this god-forsaken beer.
I was the only one in the bar, at 11 o’clock in the morning, but I got it.
I savored every
LET THIS BE A CAUTIONARY TALE TO YE
Why the hell do we go out of our way to torture ourselves to track down these white whales?
That was a rhetorical question.
Don’t bother answering.
There is litany of reasons out of which we can posit. The better question that emerges, however, is what’s the kind of person that tracks these beers down? These types of people expand far beyond just beer culture, but the more fascinating aspect surrounding the culture itself is the true rarity of these beers. Perhaps you can find a digital copy of that rare LP, and stream it online. You can see a picture of a rare piece of art. You may own a cheaper copy of an otherwise rare novel. While these are lesser experiences of the “real” thing—until we finally invent Smell-o-Vision— there is no such replication for things olfactory or pertaining to taste. Whale hunting stokes a strangely competitive nature amongst beer drinkers. How competitive? Visit a craft beer forum and just search for “whales.” You may not notice it at first, but eventually, that raw stench of pathetic elitism will make you thankful that we, in fact, do not have Smell-o-Vision.
The concern, however, extends beyond the occasional aggressive one-ups-man-ship associated with the cult of Ahab; it also lies within our own psyche. There is a radio program out of WNYC called Radiolab—not to draw conclusions, but if you’re into craft beer, you’re likely into NPR, so you’ve probably heard of it. Anyway, there was a recent rebroadcast (as a matter of fact, I just heard it again not 10 minutes ago; you can check it out here: http://www.radiolab.org/story/91684-stochasticity) about stochasticity, or, in less fancy-pants terms, randomness. In one segment of this episode, they discuss the tragic tale of one Ann Klinestiver, who was diagnosed years back with Parkinson’s disease. She began drug treatment that mitigated the effects of the disease, but stoked a voracious gambling addiction. They drew parallels to a study by Wolfram Schultz around the turn of the millennium, in which he and colleague Roland Suri measured dopamine levels in a monkey’s brain when they brought him some yummy juice to drink (yummy juice, yummy beer, see where I’m going with this?). In the ongoing study, they found that consistently, the dopamine levels in the brain spiked earlier and earlier by certain triggers pending the arrival of juice. The anticipation of a reward is, in fact, a gamble.
Naturally, I derived my own meaning from this. Consider the beer geek; dopamine free-flowing standing in line, forking over literal gobs of slimy, stanky money for a bottle of beer, having traveled to AND fro (and I mean fro) for this nonsense, the geek finally takes a sip and realizes it
just tastes like beer.
Sure, there are some exceptional beers to seek out, and sometimes some of the fun comes from the chase, but we should cherish our local breweries and businesses as well. Greatness is sometimes down the next block. If you’re stressing over beer, you’re doing something wrong.
Most importantly, if you are going to go out of your way to get a beer like this, why not do it with some close friends in mind? Some of the best experiences are served by helping hands.
Honestly, some people take the culture too seriously, and I will be first to tell you it’s easy to become a little overzealous. I guess what I am really trying to say here is that I would rather be an Ishmael than dive too deep like an Ahab and get eviscerated by a manic cetacean—but that’s just me.
Drop the mike