Tasting: February 6, 2014
Style: Imperial Stout
Beer #: 516
Undead Party Crasher
At one time, the craft beer industry seemed to follow the credo that “rising tides lift all boats”. To me, there was a peaceful co-existence and it certainly wasn’t unusual to see the stalwarts of the business collaborating on beer projects instead of fighting like corporate competitors. Well, times have changed and it seems with the over saturation of craft beer brewers, the business is starting to resemble the traditional “us vs. them” model. The primary battleground – trademarks. It seems that nearly every day websites like Beer Pulse report on suits, settlements and name changes.
This beer is a perfect example of the state of the industry. Clown Shoes Beer (Ipswich, MA) made a beer called Vampire Slayer. Some time later, another company started making a beer called Vampire Pale Ale. Clown Shoes never trademarked the name and was eventually pushed off the claim. Seems odd in that the trademark process usually involves research of other existing uses i.e. the NFL couldn’t initially trademark “Super Sunday” (they had to buy that one) and ultimately failed in their attempts to trademark “The Big Game”. Regardless, Clown Shoes didn’t want to pay the legal fees and ended up paying an undisclosed amount to basically a “who the hell are they?” company with apparently a very lame beer (74 points Beer Advocate). Now, we have Undead Party Crasher and the name is certainly a reference to trademark attorneys and the entire bitter legal experience. Frankly, even if it crawled onto my local shelves I wouldn’t buy Vampire Pale Ale out of principle. Litigation within the artisan community is a complete turn off.
Speaking about lawyers and craft beer doesn’t mix well with me so, I’ll just drop it and move onto the tasting.
Undead Party Crasher was reasonable at only $7 for the bomber. The label claims that Undead Party Crasher is made with holy water. I’m not sure of the validity of the claim as holy water receives blessings, exorcisms and prayers of an ordained minister. Physically, holy water is simply a combination of salt and water.
Initially, I’m totally impressed with the smokey flavor of Undead Party Crasher. It certainly isn’t over the top like a rauchbier – that smoked peat impression is just right. This 10% ABV imperial stout has a creamy mouthfeel with underlying subtle milk chocolate. I’m enjoying my last sips as much as my first one – I’ll put it at 89 points.