So I know I’m super late to the party with this hot take, but I do have some thoughts on Wicked Weed’s sale to AB. The last time we featured them was over a year ago in a growler. There are plenty of articles and plenty of hotter takes than mine out there you can read on your own that are mostly negative towards Wicked Weed. Most publications that revolve around craft beer are negative towards it. And I understand that. Apparently AB is trying to buy up some of the most rare hops in the world to use for their “craft” brands and squeeze the smaller breweries out. I get the rage. If it impacts Tropicalia in any form or fashion you can bet your ass I’ll be raising hell about it on here. But I don’t know how much the purchase of Wicked Weed has to do with that. AB would try to buy these hops up anyway I would imagine whether or not Wicked Weed sold to them. So what do I think? I’m fine with it at the moment. After all, isn’t it the American Dream? To build something up and sell it to a big dog for a bunch of money? It is to me. So for the moment I congratulate Wicked Weed.
I congratulate them for the moment. And I do this because of the cautionary tale of Goose Island. AB bought Goose Island a few years ago. In between blog stints Kendall and I became big fans of Goose Island beer. I loved the Urban Wheat and she loved the IPA. Then we went to Chicago with our good friends Alex and Kristin (and again a year later by ourselves) and both fell in love with the Green Line Pale Ale which was only available on draft in Chicago. Then I had a Jukin Luke at Tavern at the Park which is made specifically for them. And let me tell you, Jukin Luke is a ***** if I’ve ever had one. It’s the best pilsner I’ve ever had. They made great beer. And then AB bought them. I remember some of the articles about how the brewmasters were spending so much time with the brewmasters from AB to make sure they got the recipes down properly. I remember when I first saw Green Line Pale Ale for sale in Publix. I remember getting pumped and buying it. I remember pouring the glass so pumped for Kendall b/c she loved it more than I did. And I remember the look on her face and the taste in my mouth. And I remember pouring the remainder of the six pack out because it sucked. It was awful and whatever AB did the folks at Goose Island should be ashamed of. So that’s my warning for Wicked Weed. I picked up a 4 pack of the Pernicious and we both enjoyed it so I see no reason to change its ****.5 rating. But I’ll be paying very close attention to the quality going forward.
Speaking of North Carolina beers, here are our friends at Catawba back again. It’s been awhile since we’ve featured them, but the consistency of this brewery is amazing to me. This is their Astral Bootie Beer IPA, a session IPA checking it at 4.5% ABV. If you’ve read any of the other Catawba reviews (here, here, and here) you’ll know that subtle is the word with this brewery. And if you haven’t read any of the reviews you’ll know that now because I just told you. Every beer they have as subtle flavor, this one with subtle hops and a subtle bready taste. It’s so easy to drink but has such a nice flavor to it. I rated it on Untappd **** but I’m adding .25 star for the name Astral, which is the name of Bowie’s mentor in Shining Force II (#nerdalert). I’m pretty sure Alex will be the only person that reads this blog that gets this.
Up next we have Alltech’s Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale. This is legit cream soda beer. I’m curious to compare this to Not Your Father’s Cream Soda. I’m not kidding…..this is cream soda. It’s good. I can’t do anything other than describe this as cream soda. I rated it ***.25 on Untappd but that was a product of when I drank it….which was after drinking a bunch of other beers. It’s heavy like a cream soda so it’s not poundable, but it’s only 5.5% ABV so the alcohol won’t kill you. I’m going to leave it at its current ranking for the moment, but if I do a taste test comparison in the future I reserve the right to change it.
Up next is Frog Level’s Kernel Husky Wheat Beer. As you can see I drank this one out by the pool. It was also apparently $1.83 which isn’t a terrible deal. It’s a typical wheat beer. If you’ve had a wheat beer you’ve had this wheat beer. I give it an additional .5 star for Frog Level being veteran owned. ***.5
You’re getting all the mix pack today folks. Up next is Boulevard’s American Kolsch. Once again these guys deliver a high quality beer. As you can see from the picture above, I put this in the Yeti and drank it out by the pool while my sister made me blow my lungs out blowing up a float for her chatty not quite one year old. I didn’t give Benjamin a chance to take this from me as he so often tries to do, but he never got the chance because I put this down quickly. At 4.6% of smoothness, Boulevard produces a nicely slammable Kolsch perfect for this hot summer. ****
Kendall stole this from me. Maybe she’ll blog about it in 3 years or so? We’ll come back at you French Broad Brewing, don’t worry. I did sample it and was impressed!
Coming back at you later will be some New Belgium, a few Rainbows and Unicorns, and some Deutches Bier! Until then,