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I still haven't seen most of the Marvel films since Age of Ultron but this got me more hyped than Star Wars.
You're missing out!
Films since AoU:
Ant-Man - Good!
Civil War - Great
Doctor Strange - Good!
GotG2 - Great!
Spider-man Homecoming - Great!
Thor Ragnarok - Good-Great border
IMHO of course.
All of them better films than Age of Ultron, honestly.
I think it’s a blessing they have to keep the X-Men separate. It’s too many goddamn characters with conflicting stories in one universe.
There, I said it.
X-Men were a thing I knew long before the Avengers characters, I grew up on the cartoon and read that comic more than anything else, and I agree. Keeping them almost quarantined from the MCU has been a huge net positive.
Mug club memberships sold out in 6 hours.
Get your Founders Mug Club membership before it sells out.
Taproom opens Dec 4th.
So, huge thanks to everyone who made this possible - without you guys being willing to be a part of these things, they wouldn't happen.
So, the rundown on the beers; I'm listing these in order of their secondary $ value to oz ratio, roughly.
Goose Island Vanilla Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout - 2014
While not the original barrel aged vanilla stoutwhale (arguably that would be 2010 Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout), this one was instantly a standard-bearer for vanilla intensity at its release. While it was supposed to retail for $25, most stores charged closer to $35-$45 on release, and the bottles were snapped up as soon as they hit stores. Truly a rarity to see this one on a shelf on the day of release, you were more likely to see it on the counter if the store even displayed it at all. The going rate on a bottle of this is $200-225 and its ubiquity and relatively large production volume allowed it to essentially become a commodity beer - bottles have been known to change hands dozens of times as they are shipped across the country on one trade after another. I was lucky enough to score this bottle off of a person who was the original owner so it had solid provenance. 3 years after bottling, this was still tasting great, although I'd say the vanilla level has definitely fallen a bit since the days when it was fresh.
Bottle Logic Fundamental Observation - 2017
This is definitely the new hotness in the scene; Bottle Logic's Stasis Series beers have a huge following, with their ticketed releases almost always selling out. Bottle Logic still reserves a percentage of their beer to go out to distribution, too, so some people get lucky enough to score it on the shelf of their liquor store if they weren't able to make the ticketed releases. FO takes a really solid base beer (Their Darkstar November) and gives it a huge vanilla treatment that few other beers have managed to pull off. This one retails for ~$25 for a 500ml and trades/sells for around $100 currently.
Kane A Night to End All Dawns Vanilla - 2015
Kane's ANTEAD series beers have been extremely popular for the NJ brewery and definitely helped put them on the map. The 2017 release was lottery-based and if you won you could buy a 5 750ml bottle set of the base beer and 4 adjuncted variants for $135. Secondary on a single bottle from that set is in the $100-150 range.
Witch's Hat Vanilla Bean Night Fury - 2017 (B2)
This Michigan brewery has developed a huge following since it began releasing barrel-aged versions of their Night Fury stout with adjuncts like peanut butter, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla. The Vanilla Bean variant has been released almost every batch since 2015. Released in bombers through 2016 and 12oz bottles starting with the March 2017 release, this beer can only be bought by Mug Club members for the first day, after which remaining stock is sold to the public. The bottles we drank were from the August release, and each Mug Club member could only buy 1 bottle for $9. Demand for this one is high enough that it's common to see purchase and trade offers in the $50-60 range currently.
J Wakefield Ryevan Drago - 2017
The second bottling of this beer from this frequently hype Miami brewery came out in mid September and sold out quickly at a 2 per person limit and $30 per 750ml bottle. One of three beers from this tasting that was aged in rye barrels, this is a solid entry in the style. For $60-80 in cash or trade, a bottle of this can be yours.
Prairie Vanilla Noir - 2016
This Tulsa brewery's barrel-aged beers have been a favorite among beer fans since they started releasing them just a few years ago. They've managed to expand production and volume and maintain really solid consistency and quality too. The vanilla variant on their Noir barrel-aged oatmeal stout is a popular one and the $14 12oz bottles usually disappear from shelves quickly. For as well-liked as the beer is, the $30-35 secondary price is actually relatively reasonable to scratch the vanilla beer itch.
Killibrew Black Tie Affair (Magagascar Vanilla) - 2017
Now on its fourth batch, this annual brew from two Detroit area homebrewers has developed a solid reputation for great barrel usage and being bold and drinkable despite its above 16% ABV. This is the first year the brewers used a full-size bourbon barrel for the beer, requiring multiple brew days to fill the 55 gallon barrel fully. They used a Michter's Rye barrel and it was aged nearly a year. While they keep most of the batch for private consumption, they've shared bottles and sent a few out to friends which has given them a respectable cult cachet.
Cycle Brewing Trademark Dispute Vanilla - 2016
Another Florida brewery putting out great stouts, St Petersburg Cycle has a solid following for their barrel program. Their hallmark has been taking their base barrel-aged stout (Rare Dos) and giving it different adjunct treatments and doing releases every few months of those variants. Some recipes get redone, but they usually have different names and follow a unique naming and branding scheme. They're producing enough volume that members can usually buy cases of their releases at $30 per 22oz bottle and the secondary value of most bottles is in the $50-60 range.
FiftyFifty Brewing Eclipse Vanilla - 2015
One of the breweries that's been doing barrel-aged stouts for a decent chunk of time is FiftyFifty out of California. They've been making their Eclipse series for over 7 years. The barrel-aged version of their Totality Imperial Stout sees different single-barrel treatments and sometimes coffee and vanilla variants. The beer's production volume and lack of hype have lead it to become a shelfie staple in the areas where it is distributed. In some ways its premium pricing ($30 for 22oz, on par with a lot of the smaller batch stuff) combined with the hit-or-miss nature of some of the variants hurts its perceived desirability. For those who are fans of it, though, it's one of the best values due to how easy it is to get.
Avery Vanilla Bean Stout
This entry from Avery is probably the largest volume beer we tasted, the definition of a shelf turd at $13 for 22oz and readily available almost everywhere in Avery's distribution footprint. Although Avery is well-known for high-end barrel aged stouts like their Uncle Jacob's variants, this lower-viscosity and ABV beer spends less time in barrels and is one of the mildest in the group at 10.8% ABV. Some people like the restrained barrel profile and milder vanilla level, though, and for those who enjoy it the beer does offer a solid value.
So how did these beers do? I've done my best to summarize how each taster ranked things and then put together an aggregate ranking as best as I could. In some cases, tasters gave beers identical scores - I did the best I could to try and establish some ranking based on their descriptions when possible. When not possible, ties were awarded and those beers split the point values.
Okay, so here's the skinny: 7 of 8 tasters ranked Avery Vanilla Bean Stout from Avery dead last. Beyond that, there was a lot of variance. Taking the rankings assigned to each beer from the tasters and adding the scores up (#1 being worth 10 points, #2 being worth 9 points, etc) resulted in the following ranking:
1 Prairie Vanilla Noir (2016) - 55 points
1 Bottle Logic FO B3 (2017) - 54 points
1 Goose Island Vanilla Rye (2014) - 52 points
4 Kane ANTEAD Vanilla (2015) - 44 points
5 J Wakefield Ryevan Drago (2017) - 40 points
6 Cycle Trademark Vanilla (2016) - 35 points
7 50/50 Vanilla Eclipse (2015) - 25 points
8 Killibrew Black Tie Affair (Madagascar Vanilla) (2017) - 18 points
9 Witch's Hat Night Fury Vanilla Bean (2017 B2) - 13 points
10 Avery Vanilla Bean Stout (2017) - 1 point
Vanilla Noir, FO b3, and VR were in a nearly statistical 3-way tie for first place - Their order on the list reflects the ones that did slightly better, but for all intents and purposes those 3 pulled away from the rest of the pack significantly. 337 points were awarded total, and those 3 won a combined 47.8% of the points.
Really damn interesting results! I did not expect Vanilla Noir to do so well - and I didn't expect Night Fury to be pulling up the rear - this most recent batch was not as great as some of the ones from memory. It's not surprising at all to see VR and FO in the top 3.
Anyways, that was a great time and I thank you all for joining me and trusting me with your time and money! Cheers!
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