Thursday, July 23, 2015


I hadn't really been paying that much attention this past year to which beers were scoring the highest on which boards and whatnot, nor to which beers traders across the USA were selling their left testicles for, but I do recall that sometime in the past 2-3 years, BOOTLEGGER'S BREWERY had this Double IPA called "KNUCKLE SANDWICH" that had busted many a nut. It was an Orange County thing, something I couldn't get. My Double IPA lust/jealously-meter was off the charts. I wanted it. I needed it. Then I sobered up, and realized that there were 114 other excellent hoppy ales available within ten miles of me, and I forgot about it.

Two weeks ago, I'm in San Diego and I spot this bottle - the one you see here - sitting on the shelf of "Dick's Liquors" in La Jolla, CA. I buy it. I'm not sure if I'm getting the beer-collector-scum find of the year, or if this thing's in mass production now and it's become old hat to tongue-scorched youth all over Southern California. I just know I'd never had it. I opened it. I drank it.

So it's a big, big, big boy beer, no doubt about that. 10% alcohol, a dark and eerie orange/tan/brown, and with very little discernible foam. High ABV beers are often like that, sitting still and calm while coiling up to strike. Pine and resin are the big smells that waft up within whiffing distance of this thing, with sweet malts and alcohol trying to prop up just a massive gut-punch of hops. It's thick and "chewy", and I initially pulled an "overrated" yellow card on it before retracting my statement as the hops, malts and booze traveled through my veins and up into my cerebral cortex. 

There used to be this blog "Stalking The Big Beers", subsequently renamed "The Hop Hunter". This guy would have loved Knuckle Sandwich. The central casting customer is a thirtysomething bearded beer trader who tells himself he doesn't have a drinking problem; or, perhaps, a fortysomething, unbearded dorky dad who really doesn't have a drinking problem, but still allows himself the liberty of getting lit up from time to time with 22-ounce bombers of XXX IPAs. 7/10.

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