Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Damn It, Missed: Twenty Pounder

This beer blog is teetering on the brink between, "Hey, don't you have a beer-blog?" and, "Hey, didn't you used to have a beer blog?" The readership bar at the bottom of your screen looks like a performance evaluation of the NYSE. And/or the dwindling popularity of Lindsay Lohan.

Now, I've the best of excuses for this blogging malaise, or rather a triumvirate of them: new job, new house and a surfeit of other writing gigs. Which gigs, dear reader, I actually get paid to do, and with the amount of beer required to deal with the stress of (a) New Job and (b) New House, you'd best believe I'm like a one man Oktoberfest, and thus need the funds.

Anyway, I soldier on, and hope you will too, as this blog inevitably degenerates into the sort of off-the-cuff twaddle that might be jammed within the pages of a Supermarket brochure on food-pairing ("rich meats like lamb go best with a dark beer, like Molson Canadian Export").

And so to battle. Not B.R., I haven't the strength for one of those, although I've got the kernel of an idea for the next one, and it's a Duesenberg. No, today it's time to review Driftwood Brewing's latest, the Twenty Pounder Double Imperial Pale Ale.

At the outset, I was more excited about the release of this beer than pretty much anything else this year. Yeah, yeah; I bought property. Yawn-snooze-coma-D.N.R. A double-IPA from Driftwood Brewing? Hold on t'yer hat Ma, she's gonna be a big one!

If all the breweries of BC were forced to don sashes and compete in some out-moded chauvinistic beauty contest, Driftwood would be the contestant who played a cover version of Motorhead's Ace of Spades on the bagpipes, sashayed around in a shimmering one-piece until the floor was littered with bugged-out eyeballs and then recited the entire works of the Venerable Bede in Latinate, balanced the national budget, and cured all known diseases. In short, they rock and/or roll.

So when I heard that Driftwood was going to be putting out a beer that might be a local rival for my all-time-fav Southern Tier Un*Earthly, I immediately began hyperventilating and fell out of my chair. My favourite style by my favourite brewery? How great is that?

Well, and assuming you've read the title of this post you shouldn't be surprised, not.... great.

Someone packed the powder wrong, and the Twenty Pounder fails to live up to it's For Those About To Rock artwork and instead blurts out its charge with a sad trombone noise. Wah-Wahhhh. It's just all over the place and skunky, and ye gods, the aftertaste is as astringent as... uh... a really astringent thing.

Dan over at smallbeerblog did an excellent post on this beer where he asked the question (and I paraphrase), "Do we criticize the small brewers as harshly as we do the big guys?" It's a fair question, especially as I, like you, would preferably support our hard-working local brewers. But why coddle them?

We don't need to. Driftwood is still the best brewer around. When my Cali peeps come up North, all they ever talk about is how amazing Fat Tug is. Take that, Lagunitas.

But as for the Twenty Pounder, well, it's a misfire. Part of the problem of setting such a high standard for your beers is that they get judged by that standard. This beer comes up short, but only because when I see the Driftwood label, I expect nothing but the absolute best.


  1. Great review, if principally for the writing. You are woefully off the mark when your blog disclaimer jocularly implies that this blog will not be well written. It's a joy to read a blog about anything (especially one of my favourite subjects) where I lose the plot for the words. Keep up your posts, Brendan, and I'll, echemm, see you Friday night.

  2. Yeah keep writing Brendan or I'll cornhole you.