beer review! : Crooked Stave Nightmare on Brett

the last of the three sours i got today! one and two can be found here. this one is dark and spOoOoOoky and exactly everything i love.

from Crooked Stave in Colorado, the bottle describes it as

A demonic dark sour, Nightmare on Brett takes on many facets during its transformation to the sour side. Dominated by dark fruit aromas and flavors, the underlying cacao notes meld with an acidic tart berry finish.

it’s seriously dark with a slight head. it poured very silkily which might explain the (lack of) head and i don’t expect a lot of effervescence from it.

slight coffee notes on the nose followed by dark fruit sweetness and then a nice, full sourness to round it out. this is a very lovely, rich beer that feels appropriately late summer/early fall, and it would even work very well for a winter solstice celebration. i can imagine biting into some ripe blackberries every time i take a sip. i think on the whole this might be my favorite sour of the day, even though the other two were still very tasty and interesting. this one just hits all the various notes i like i guess. i’m very happy 🙂


beer review! : Brooklyn Brewery Kiwi’s Playhouse

sour number two! this one’s got kiwi! (my review of sour number one is here)

here’s the whole description from Brooklyn Brewery, which i should note says that this is better than rosĂ©. truly a bold claim so we’ll see how it holds up

The kiwi fruit is a very odd thing indeed. It’s sweet, tart, playful….but also brown, furry, and supernatural green on the inside. Frankly, the kiwi is altogether weird, but it’s also pretty delicious. Did we go there? We sure did, by peeling an entire pallet-full of ripe fresh kiwi fruit and adding it to a finely tuned sour beer in red wine barrels for a few months. We blended this with another beer that’s spent over a year in barrels to add extra complexity, and then re-fermented it all in the bottle.

The result is Kiwi’s Playhouse, a strong, playful beer with a distinctly tart edge. Kiwi’s Playhouse sports a bright palate that’s dry, full of tropical fruit and more delicious than eye-watering. It’s great with everything you want to eat this summer – barbecue, fish tacos, seafood, salads, goat cheeses. Forget the rosĂ© and get yourself into Kiwi’s Playhouse. Trust us – it’s more fun in here.

it starts with a pretty mild nose with no particular flavors jumping out, and a nice fluffy head that hangs around a while. straight sour at the front and then a light fruitiness. if you didn’t know it was kiwi i doubt most drinkers would be able to pinpoint the specific fruit, although it is meaningfully different from citrus or berry-oriented sours. while the sourness up front is very tart and sharp, it also has a second-stage sourness that’s drier and little more vegetal. i didn’t love the first few sips but this one is growing on me as the complexity comes out. i’ve not had many of Brooklyn’s more experimental beers so this one is a pleasant surprise, particularly as it’s an extremely drinkable 9% ABV.

all that said, this wouldn’t be replacing my rosĂ© anytime soon, though i can see it being very delicious with some fish tacos. 4.5/5

beer review! : Cambridge Brewing Company Hendrix Sour Ale

the first of the sours i got from BEER TOWN! this one is from Cambridge Brewing Company in Massachusetts, made with cucumbers and aged in gin barrels.


it has an interesting toasted wheat color and a lot of cucumber on the nose, with a creamy-looking head that disappears rather quickly, giving way to effervescence. it starts with some BIG cucumber fruitiness and then a moderate sourness augmented by the effervescence. this is a wonderful summertime drink. this could easily replace a pimm’s cup for your garden party drinking needs. 4.5/5


Northern Monk Patrons Rhubarb Sour

apparently the universe has decided to make a beer just for me. this one comes with pop rocks.

from Northern Monk Brew Co.:


so this beer is probably about as ‘high concept’ as you could imagine and 100% the kind of beer people make fun of when they complain about craft beer culture, but those people are reactionary dickheads so fuck em!

the key theme of it is rhubarb, both in flavor and design concept, which is all thoroughly explained under the peel-off label.

the exterior label (from Lord Whitney, ‘Connoisseurs of Make-Believe’) is weird and shiny in a way both fun and reminiscent of a hologram comic cover, and the bottom of the can includes pop rocks because why not this beer is already wonderful might as well just go completely silly.

honestly the packaging was so interesting i was kind of worried i might have shaken it up too much looking at everything.


the interior includes a whole description of rhubarb farming and the inspiration behind the photoshoot and the beer itself but i’m not gonna bother writing about any of that other than including the photos here because if you really want to see it all, go buy this beer because it’s super!

so, in a very simple sense this is exactly what it says on the (extremely ornate) label: it’s sour and kind of tastes like rhubarb. the color is a very pretty cloudy ruby/pink grapefruit.


more than that though, it’s dry and vegetal in a really interesting way because the taste is so unlike the big fruit flavors that tend to come in sours. i almost want to say it’s chalky, if that didn’t have a maybe negative connotation. tbh i kind of lack the vocabulary to describe this because it’s just very different in flavor and mouthfeel even though the basics (sour and rhubarb) are so straightforward. it’s just neat and weird in exactly the way small batch/craft/experimental beers should be. 5/5

p.s. the pop rocks are the only slightly less-than-stellar detail of this beer, because unfortunately they’re just flavored with cocoa butter instead of some kind of sour or fruit flavor, which would have made the whole thing perfect. (i suspect this is because we’re in the uk, where vanilla/plain pop rocks exist and are a thing people use/eat, instead of being considered a freakish aberration.) 20180731_1850271622122339.jpg

that said, they still actually work with the beer as a pairing and not just a gimmick because the sweetness of the pop rocks fills in some of the sweetness you might expect from a fruit sour or even a rhubarb dessert. you can almost think of the beer + pop rock combo as a super de/re-constructed rhubarb crumble.


beer review!: Tiny Rebel Gin and Juice Botanical Pale Ale

oh god i bought this before i saw the explanation/ad copy on the website:

The hip hop world has given us loads of ideas, so we thought it was only right we beerify the most famous cocktail rap has given the world.

Gin & Juice is a beer that combines the classic pale ale style, the rich, aromatic notes of gin botanicals and sweet fruit flavours that provide the juice for this party.

Bucket loads of juniper berries, citrus peel and aromatic spices give the beer a delicious, dry note, which is balanced out by the juicy fruit flavours from some punchy hops. It’s like an afterparty in your mouth!

Laid back!

‘given us’ sure does a lot of work considering how appropriation works! i just, ok, whatever, there’s so much going on in that i’ll just let it hang there like the embarrassment aneurysm it just gave me. anyways, Laid back!


as for the actual beer, it’s not terrible! i probably wouldn’t get it again because it’s not really my cup of tea but the gin and juice (mostly orange) do come through, and it’s not too hoppy. or, the hops that are there work with the gin botanicals to give it kind of a grassy backbone for the sweet/juiciness to come and go on. the only downside is what the description above calls ‘aromatic spices’ because it reminds me too much of halloween-time pumpkin beers. 4/5 for the effort and complexity even tho it’s not really for me


wine review! : Baron Gassier 2017 CuvĂ©e ÉlĂ©gance RosĂ©

i’m pretty sure this is the first CĂ´tes-de-provence Sainte-Victoire rosĂ© i’ve had and i like it a lot. it was on sale at Sainsbury’s for ÂŁ10 (down from ÂŁ13) so it was a little more than the usual ÂŁ4-ÂŁ7 range of bottom-shelf wines i go for but still worth it imo.


it’s lovely and smooth (with a very pretty pale pink color). my main impression is that it’s silky but with the minerality that’s the main reason i love Provençal rosĂ©. that minerality almost goes into something like diesel or grass notes that i’m learning are common to South African white wines (which i also like) but the fruit notes keep it from going full gasoline.

aside from those mineral notes the most interesting thing to me is the texture because while this isn’t ‘heavy’ by any means it is definitely fuller than other rosĂ©s i’ve had. like when i say ‘silky’ it’s not just smoothness, it means there’s an actual weight to it that stands out. so for example, this maybe wouldn’t be my first choice to have while sitting on a patio in the sun, but it is definitely complex and delicious with everything i want out of a Provençal rosĂ©.