For the most part the brewing community is kind of a perpetual love-in. Brewers of note often collaborate with one another and even sometimes share their recipes with their homebrewing superfans. With this much hippie sentiment floating around, it’s really kind of a miracle that no one has attempted a patchouli ale yet. There’s dozens of beers out there vying to be the standard for tailgating, but isn’t refreshment just as important during a drum circle?
“Hey, Moonbeam! Pass me a Patchouli Light!”
However, these are still businesses and on occasion disputes arise that no amount of brotherhood can dissolve. That’s when brewers must turn to the Thunderdome legal system for answers.
I was almost as astonished to learn that the Lost Abbey Brewery was suing Moylan’s Brewery as I was to discover there’s enough legal activity on such fronts to justify the URL “brewerylaw.com”. I’m so glad there’s finally a beer blog out there completely unencumbered with discussions on beer.
The nature of the dispute is one of trademark infringement, specifically around celtic designs central to the Lost Abbey tap handles. I can’t say much about the legal particulars, but I will suggest to Moylan’s that this one isn’t worth fighting. There is an overabundance of celtic iconography out there just waiting to be exploited. I cooked this up in no more than 5 minutes:
The elegant celtic knot and calligraphy are sure to catch the eye of any pasty-skinned American yearning to glorify their family’s likely bleak history in the mother country . It’s simple and elegant, even despite the fact that “Tá leabhar agat” translates to “You have a book.” When utter nonsense works this well, there’s no reason to cling to old designs. Last I checked there aren’t many Celts around that will call you on it.
Another beer crisis solved. You’re welcome, Moylan’s.
IPA (6.5% ABV)
This brew has a hazy golden tone to it and a thin pillowy head. The nose is very flowery, but not in an overpowering or artificial way. It reminds me of a florist shop with that melange of contributing flower scents and the smell of freshly cut stems, but without the oppressive sadness of knowing 80% of their sales are from philandering husbands recently caught railing their secretary on the copy machine.
“But Honey, LOTS of guys in the office have PacMan-shaped moles! It could be anyone!”
A fair amount of malt is present through the taste, but the primary flavor is what I’d call a Hopwich – it’s layers of floral hop notes with grass culminating in a sticky, herbal finish. The term so perfectly exemplifies the experience that I was going to coin it on urbandictionary.com, but it already exists. Decorum prevents me from reprinting that definition here, but it involves two guys, one girl, a trampoline, and a fair amount of prerequisite aerobic conditioning.
It’s not even fair to call the aftertaste on this a “finish” because even after you swallow it’s far from done with you. The hops resin on this has the kind of durability that usually only accompanies an adamantium skeleton and mutant powers of regeneration.
Worst. Crossover. Ever.
Go ahead and try to rinse your mouth out – you’ll only make it angrier.
I am personally not a fan of the more herbal hops, but I have to respect the hop volley this has delivered. This IPA is not for the faint of heart, but the worthy among you will cherish it.
Kilt Lifter (8% ABV)
If urbandictionary.com is to be believed, a kilt-lifter is a woman whose beauty inspires a certain tell-tale swelling beneath the kilt. In case that isn’t clear enough, I am obviously referring to the rapid onset of severe elephantiasis. I have no idea why a parasitic infestation of the lymphatic system is considered so favorably by the Scots, but it’s probably a cultural thing.
All the pictures we put here to accompany that paragraph featured content too raunchy or depressingly diseased to include. So here’s a widdle bunny wabbit.
This cloudy ruby-hued brew is described as a scotch-style ale. Since “scotch ale” is already a style, this is a coy way of calling it a stylized style, giving them the liberty to play fast and loose with any recognized standards. Those crafty bastards…
The nose is bright and sweet, with apple cider notes and bread crusts. It transitions beautifully into the first taste, which delivers loads and loads of squaw bread and a light peppery spice. Despite all that malt character, it retains some of the cidery tartness and manages to be chewy without bloating.
There’s no appreciable hop character to this so the flavor doesn’t dry out much. That’s not a trait I usually cherish, but it’s part of the reason I really enjoy this beer style. Scotch ales pair nicely with most foods, especially fare with oodles of BBQ sauce, because it’s like a slab of bread that you can drink. I like that a lot because it saves me the time of juicing the bread in the blender myself. I didn’t become a beer reviewer because I enjoy chewing, people.
The Kilt Lifter does a worthwhile job of delivering a lot of bready flavor with a righteous belt of alcohol warmth, but a bit more hopping would have really made the experience dynamic.
Dragoon’s Dry Irish Stout (5% ABV)
Since this article has been so definition-intensive I thought I would share what the term dragoon means:
The thick, beady head of this beer rises out of its murky, black depths. This beer would be a great selection to hide a body in, provided you had very tiny enemies. It’s got an amazing smoky scent to it, which is almost like a rauchbier. This probably calls for another definition:
The dryness of this libation is the first dimension that really strikes you. It desiccates the palate a bit. It has the bitterness of the Guinness Extra Stout, but with the unfortunate mouthfeel of a soda. The carbonation literally buzzes in your mouth and throat. There’s a lot of smoke and additional lemony-sour flavors that linger in the corners of the mouth.
As a tribute to the dry irish stout style, this one doesn’t strike me. It has some interesting dimensions, but the flavors are a bit unbalanced. I enjoy elements of it, but I probably wouldn’t actively seek this out again. There are some wounds that even bacon cannot heal.
As an aside, I discovered incidentally that this pairs really nicely with salted almonds. So if you’re looking for a not-so-epic beer to pair almonds with, you are good to go.