A Deal With The Devil Anchorage Brewing Company How much did you pay?

A Deal With the Devil Barley Wine aged in Cognac Barrels. Brewed by Anchorage Brewing Company, Alaska

(C) 2018 popsonhops

A Deal With The Devil Anchorage Brewing Company

Tasting: July 13, 2018
Style: Barley Wine aged in Cognac Barrels
ABV: 17.3% (wow!)
Beer # 1,134
Batch # 2, Bottled, December of 2014

Other Bottle Notes:

Degrees Plato: 39
Hops: Galaxy

Sticker Shock

When Firestone Walker first came to New Jersey, one of their first offerings was their 13th Anniversary Ale. I had sticker shock at the $20 price tag and vowed that there was no way I would pay $20 for a single bottle of beer. Well, I passed on that anniversary ale but just a few years later, I found myself buying two bottles of A Deal With The Devil Anchorage Brewing Company for $35 each. I couldn’t believe I was doing it…but I had to have it.

The Crossroads

The second leg of my story is the reference to the deal with the devil and the connection to blues guitarist Robert Leroy Johnson (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – 1986). Although the details of Johnson’s death are disputed, it is widely held that he was poisoned at the age of 27. He is prominently mentioned as a member of the famed “27 club” — named for musicians that died tragically at the age of 27 including Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Wilson, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse.

What makes Johnson so interesting is the legend of his rise to fame. According to this legend, Johnson brought his guitar to the crossroads at midnight and sold his soul to the Devil. In exchange for his soul, Johnson would create blues that would make him famous. You might remember the movie “The Crossroads”; the story of a young musician’s search for Robert Johnson’s 30th (and unpublished) song. However, Johnson’s fame came long after his death as he would have been 50 when his fame skyrocketed in 1961.

The Experience

Massively sweet and above all, filled with caramel flavor. The mouthfeel is like nectar and the barrel influence is ripe with underlying dark fruit. A Deal with the Devil Anchorage Brewing is by far the best barley wine I have had. In conclusion, worth every penny for 96 points.

Confused about terms used in this article? Check out my Glossary .

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Very Green Tree House Brewing, a rare green gem The hell with limits

Very Green Double IPA (8.3% ABV) brewed by Tree House Brewing Company, Charlton, Massachusetts

(C) 2018 popsonhops

Very Green Tree House Brewing
Charlton, MA
Beer #: 1,133

When Tree House brewing was located in Monson, you were lucky to walk away with a total of 12 cans and maybe a couple of growlers. When they moved to their new location in Charlton, I knew it was only a matter of time before the allotments escalated. I was thrilled the first time they cracked a limit of a case. Today, it seems that the only limits are set by your wallet. At about $4 per can and at times a limit of 120 cans, you could drop $500 in one pop.

Very Green Tree House Brewing is a rare release at the brewery and is a variation on Green – 97 points . It’s made with American and Australian hops.

Tastes a bit dank with a plush mouthfeel. Lots of character, I get pineapple and a short sharp citrus, Sweetness is well-balanced. Dangerously drinkable and certainly worth the critical acclaim. While my tastes have evolved since I had Green for the first time in 2015, I’ll put Very Green Tree House Brewing at the same 97 points. Really nice. Wish I had more than two cans.

If you visit the brewery check out the Availability before you go!

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Equilibrium Can Release Middletown, NY Can releases, bottle shares and more

Equilibrium dHop4, Dream Wave Fluctuation and Fluctuation

(C) 2018 popsonhops.com B

Saturdays are Equilibrium can release days. The social media site with the best information is the Equilibrium Instagram Page.

Parking: The brewery is located directly across the street from the Middletown police station.That should be incentive enough to obey the parking rules. The brewery has a main lot but it will fill up on Equilibrium can release days. The other businesses in the neighborhood have had some issues over parking and I hear cars have been towed. My advice? If you drive into the lot and its full, continue through the lot and you’ll see a long and narrow lot between Hanford and Mill Street. That usually handles most of the overflow parking.

The line: The brewery uses a numbered ticketing system and tickets are given out beginning around 5:30 a.m. (opening at 11:30 a.m.) If you arrive later in the morning, you’ll have to find the person with the tickets. Everyone can help you spot him. The idea is that you have a reserved place in line and you are free to leave/come back or partake in the bottle share. At opening everyone attempts to find their place in line. There’s a lot of “hey, what ticket number do you have?” No one from the brewery checks and it relies on self-policing. There are some unscrupulous characters, but as you draw closer to the front, the number checking intensifies. On this particular Saturday, I arrived at 8:30 and got number 259. I was served at nearly 1:00.

When you get to the front of the line, you tell them what you want (no forms).

The Bottle Share: It must begin pretty early as the table was filled with empties by 8:30 a.m. I didn’t intend to partake, but I did bring a few cans of Tree House, in case there were some trading opportunities. I had to laugh as I did put out a couple cans of Tree House onto the table and some guy who just arrived (empty-handed) picks it up and checks the date before he gave himself a pour. If you do partake, bring a Solo cup as I didn’t see any around the table (maybe they were all gone). They do ask that if you partake in the share, that you stay within the fenced area. The day I was there, the brewery was pouring samples.

Other points: There are two doorways at the brewery that are open at release. One is the main release door (closest to the bottle share area). That’s where the Equilibrium can release happens. If there are special release glasses, you buy them on the can line. On the far corner, the other door is a small merchandise shop but worth a stop as they also sell crowlers.

Restrooms: It’s nice that the brewery has restrooms inside that are available. You’ll see the door by the bottle share area. It’s easy to spot as it’s got a lot of foot traffic. The bathrooms are upstairs and it will have a line.

Food: Not much food in the area, but the brewery has a griddle set up outside and they make egg sandwiches. No charge, just pay what you feel. Later in the morning, they broke out a nice looking piece of smoked brisket. At one time, the brewery had a tap room inside a connected restaurant. From what I gather there was a falling out. Look for a new tap room at the brewery.

As far as my haul at this particular week’s Equilibrium can release day, all three offerings were spectacular.

Beer # 1,130: Dream Wave Fluctuation: The main event of the day. It certainly doesn’t disappoint. Mellow, elegant, juicy, pineapple, wonderful mouth feel. Could be the best IPA I’ve had this year, 97 points.

Beer # 1,131: Fluctuation: As they described, this is the base beer for Dream Wave Fluctuation. Other Half Brewing applied their “dream” technique. As for the original, really nice. I’d say 95 points.

Beer # 1,132:  dHop4: I was completely surprised at this beer. It was an add-on and I wish I bought more. Well-balanced, juicy as you’d expect. 96 points

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MC2, Fractal Mosaic-Galaxy, Equilibrium Brewing Oh, How the Hop has Turned!

MC2 and Fractal Mosaic Galaxy by Equilibrium Brewing, Middletown, NY

(C) 2018 popsonhops

IBU has been an important craft beer label initialism for a number of years. It stands for International Bittering Units and it’s a numerical score that indicates (you guessed it) bitterness. In the beer world, the higher the number the more bitter the beer. Scores of 25 might represent a mild bitterness while a score of 100 or more might indicate a face-puckering bitterness. As a side note, bitterness isn’t limited to hop-heavy beer as stouts using roasted grains or coffee also present a bitterness.

Over past four to five years, the beer world has seemingly turned 180 degrees. Pushing the limits of 100 + IBU ales has given way to the pillowy soft juicy experiences of New England style IPA. Many brewers today forego the addition of bittering hops in the kettle in favor of a post-boil dry-hopping. While the boiling wort releases the bitter alpha acids found in hop oil, dry-hopping or late addition hops allow for a different hop experience.

Fractal Mosaic Galaxy by Equilibrium Brewing
Tasting: January 30, 2018
Style: IPA
Beer # 1,128
ABV: 6.8%

I really wasn’t impressed with my first can of Fractal Mosaic Galaxy. It was an easy-drinking beer that went down quick but it was demure and unassuming. While having my second can, it dawned on me the demure piece was bitterness. I see this beer in a whole new light. Taking it in slowly, Fractal Mosaic Galaxy offers up a swirling range of mellow hop characteristics like orange rind 90 points

MC2 by Equilibrium Brewing

Tasting: January 31, 2018
Style: IPA
Beer # 1,129
ABV: 8.2%

While Fractal Mosaic Galaxy may have been a low IBU, MC2 moves the bitterness up a few ticks. Certainly not face puckering but really well balanced. 93 points

My trip to Equilibrium last summer.

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