Wednesday, August 8, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Love Child #2 Bourbon Barrel Aged Sour Wild Ale | Boulevard Brewing | Kansas City, MO

Yeah, so, wild ales have gradually been poking their corked-up little heads around the beer aisles more and more lately, and the problem that I see with that is these things are entering the public perception as if to be taken only as one giant fad that will undoubtedly be crushed by its own bombastic popularity, clamored for- and chipped at- by the philistine masses, just before suffering a demise as sudden and gloppy as Whitney's coronary artery.

Also -- and St. Augustine help them -- so many Sunday drinkers are still delicately coquetting with their IPA phase, so it will likely be a while before they can take another radical style as seriously as this one requires.  This is a style that demands focus from both the brewer and the consumer, and overall, we are being trolled by the lack of dedication by both parties.

The major issue is this: most beer drinkers haven't really experienced a truly inspired wild ale, and instead are resting their opinions on spineless, neutered versions of unpasteurized brettanomyces and lactobacillus affected beers, thereby increasing their faddish expiry.

Let me use this semi-cogent analogy: The modern American music festival is killing the gig-going experience in that their producers are sloppily organizing event space, lazily booking and scheduling flashpan acts, scheduling like-genre'd bands to compete with one another at key times, consolidating a nest of several thousand quarterwits into a condensed area, and then charging an exorbitant fee for the pleasure of staring at a video screen while Chloe Summerbeanie sings the refrain to every shitty Avett Brothers song that ever existed.

Because of overwhelming demand for buzzing bands and the ease of rushing an under-conceptualized product to market, full-set gigs are less likely to return through Schlocky Metropolis, USA for a proper show -- at least until the next album.  Festivals are saturating a healthy, thirsty market with a poor mockery of a good product.

Similarly, many commercial wild ales are being rushed to market with below-average quality, diluting the prestige with mass-production, then overcharging for the entire, banal experience.  Many of these wild ales are about as alluring as Justin Beibers menstruation-drained vagina, becoming popular without becoming deserving; over-expressions of beer; stale hay, foamy rot, fermented fruit juices with its only goal being the shriveling your scrotum with tart.  Not good.

Well-designed wild ales provide only a subtle kerfuffle with your palate, still presenting a pleasant, rewarding, albeit, surprising experience, bringing a panache to its casual vulgarity; the way it should be when seeing The Black fucking Keys at The Mohawk instead of a park with 70,000 assholes.  The expression is Rock n Roll, but the nuance is balance and control.  It is an intimate style of beer, and wild ales -- more specifically barrel-aged sours -- should be treated the same way a beautifully tannic wine is treated; affably and split in two.

OK, so truly great sours are not exactly the will of the miserly, either.  I might have had to forgo basic necessities for a day in order to procure this one from the Beer Yeti at Spec's, but drinking a good sour is like eating your greens, and I'm better having done it.  If you can't set aside a small allowance for minor luxuries, well, you may as well be a fucking Soviet or root for Chinese gymnastics.

A couple of nights ago, the vibe was right for a wild ale sour beer, so my wife and I decided to split this treasure like a couple of distrusting pirates -- one of her favorite styles is, in fact, sour ales, so I have to keep a smarmy eye on her pours.  My favorite part of the experience was asking her to concentrate on the notes so that I could have some relevant shit to write about in this article, and then watching her go into hysterics about it.  Her approximate words were something like, OMFG, The taste lives up to its aroma!, before heading off to presumably take a long shower.  It was a very efficient and precise review on her part.

Boulevard did, in fact, engineer a very astute, finely tuned beer that tasted wild in name only.  Love Child #2 was controlled and beautifully balanced.  It was engaging through its entire lifespan; fussy without being frivolous, the way great wine presents itself.

There was definitive accuracy in the beer, hitting each flavor profile with precision: sour cherries, muddled nectarines, tangerines, hard candy, and finishing with sweet bourbon sugar.  The alcohol presence was more of a compliment than a feature, although, was very prevalent in my post-ingestion speech.  Fashernating!, I thought, which came out verbally more like "Holwry fushing shit!".  Then I went off to take a long shower.

ABV: 9.6%
Acquired: Spec's

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