“The first and greatest commandment is, don’t let them scare you.”- Elmer Davis
“Fortune favors the brave”-Publius Terence
“I swear these motherfuckers at DuClaw are trying to kill me.”-Codpiece
We were rolling strong until about two days ago, my fine readers. (I drink the beers and the review goes up two days later–I don’t write these as I’m drinking.) I was floating along the river Hops, in my flat-bottom barley boat, whistling to myself as I drifted past the fruit trees. I had laid back with an easy drinking porter, chilled out with my new Viking main-man, and even hosted a rowdy tempest that was more peat than malt. All in all, good times. A few harsh words were uttered, but nothing completely untoward. Looked like smooth sailing.
Then, Hop river sped up, took a sharp turn around a blind bend and dumped me into the wide end of a bottleneck. The water’s will was steady, but in my way, preventing me from continuing on to the estuary and the sea beyond was a evil-looking bomber. DuClaw’s Pax Nemesis.
It turns out, the name was appropriate.
Enough with the maritime metaphors. This beer kicked my ass and nearly capsized my boat (sorry…not really.)
DuClaw is from Abbington, MD. That’s about 100 miles from where I sit, but since they’re in MD, that technically makes them ‘local’. I wanna love the local boys, it’s always good to root for the home team. Plus, DuClaw has some seriously kick-ass labels, and anyone who tells you that they’ve never bought a beer solely because of the label is a bald-faced liar.
So, swayed by the cool labels and the cool names, I picked up three bombers from DuClaw at The Wooden Keg. This is the first. It’s a jacked-up altbeir. An altbeir (old beer) is brewed with a top fermenting yeast at low temperature. It starts out muddy, becoming clearer and lighter in color as time goes on. Mostly, altbeirs don’t reach %11. This one, does. I don’t know what they did to it, but I wish they hadn’t.
The taste of this beer is almost completely artificial. It’s strange, almost as if they formulated a trippel and a bock in a lab, then slammed them into each other under a grain alcohol shower. It’s kind of thick, cloyingly sweet, and somewhat oily. And the alcoholic aftertaste? Dear lord. I’m not a weak man when it comes to spirits, and I’ve had brews well above %11, but none has ever given me the problems this one did. Have you ever poured vodka into soda and forgotten to stir it, just chugging it back right after you pour it, then regretting it as that taste of pure, unexpected alcohol made you burp and your saliva glands go into overdrive? This is just like that, except the soda sucks.
I was honestly stuck here, should I sip lightly, avoiding the feeling of nausea, putting up with the taste of this stuff? Or, should I chug bravely, throwing cation to the wind in an attempt to move onto a better beer and leave this foul experience behind me?
I think that, if you know me, you know which path I chose.
Man, by the end of it, I was sure I was going to lose it. My stomach was in pure revolt. Never again with this. I’ve got two more, but different DuClaws in the fridge. Let’s hope they’re better.
Taste: If you love yourself…
Drinkability: stay the hell away from this.
Hangover rating: I’m sure that if you drank two of these, you’d need Gorilla tape to get your head back together.