Tuesday, July 3, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Burton Baton Oak Aged Imperial IPA | Dogfish Head Brewing | Milton, DE

Entering the practice of drinking craft-only beer is not that dissimilar to the practice of an actual, theologically-based religion, except way more rock n roll and not exclusive to the two major holiday seasons.

Like other dogmatic veneration, the Church of Craft proposes a generally recognized belief system of cultural and sociological rules that mandate loyalty and blind faith.  It asks that you promote The Good Word through activism and circulation.  And when shit gets Jackie Chan, the book of Cicerones 23:19-20 implies an all-out jihad against The Great Satans: A-B InBev and MillerCoors.  

But like most people in Texas, I grew up ordained Shiner by association -- with occasional schoolboy dabbles into the subsects of Celis and Pete's Brewing.  That continued for most of my youth.

Later in the post-formative years, palatal baptism by Spoetzl long since dissipated, I wandered alone in the desert of general witchcraftery and adjunctism.  I was a mess.  I was all over the place.  There were $9.99 24-pack beer runs intertwined with $16.99 4-pack orgies; mixing genetic traits, living together in sin.

At some point in this malfeasance, I left the denomination altogether and took up wine.  WINE!

While leaving the House of Hop was a good time to develop my practice as a functional drunk, my heart was always still in beer and not in purple-toothed snobbery.  Besides, I didn't even know what fucking slate and pencil shavings were supposed to taste like!  I was in a dark place, like twice as dark as a Teroldego, with its delicious spices notes and hints of tar and red fruits.  And pencil shavings.

This was about the time I discovered Dogfish Head.

The more I went back to owner and general badass Sam Calagione's beer scripture, the more I related to the common philosophical ideas about how beer should be enjoyed, something I talk a shitload about on this blog.  Sam Calagione crusaded my ass back into the circle of nirvana, escaping the cycle of suffering and rebirth through other less enjoyable spirits.  Dogfish Head was doing interesting things with beer.  New things with beer.  Historically, influential, and epic kinda shit.  They were cultivating a following through alluring beer practice.

Also, during communion, one could listen to a shitload of Dirty Projectors and The National -- so, there was very little resistance in getting all glassed over with conviction.  I was born again. 

The Dogfish Head Brewing Company has been both pious and divine throughout their relatively longish history, adhering to base recipes that promote the inclusivity of all Craft's children -- but also duplicating bygone recipes that had been lost to ancient archives.  Dogfish Head was formulating an entirely new beer rubric with which to grow their following.

Burton Baton is an amalgamation of that new-meets-old parameter.  It is a big, Double IPA beer aged with Cricket bats and East Coast cosmopolitan crank.  Actually, those wooden slats are called staves, and the meth flavor is, in fact, northwestern hops.  Both are used in cohesion to impart vanilla goodness counterbalanced with bitter hoppiness.

Burton Baton uses the advanced Bourbon Barrel Aging Kit to provide maximum bath salt delirium beginning with bright, citric acidity and finishing with smooth, floral hops.  However, its what happens inbetween those two goal keeers that makes this beer really impressive.  Burton Baton imparts the beautiful smell and flavor of honey nectar drizzle just before its maple syrup inflection in its defensive third.  Then, Burton Baton holds vanilla notes in the midfield, before advancing to the attacking position with bold, unsweetened green tea bicycle kicks.  Like the beautiful game, this is the beautiful beer.  Cohesive, intuitive, aggressive.  And it finishes strong near the goal.

If Dogfish Head, like world football, is religion, then Burton Baton is the gospel according to Messi.  Go forth and conquer.

ABV: 10.o%
Acquired: Spec's

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