Monday, January 30, 2017

Oliphant Party On Wayne (and more reflections on my obsession)

Oliphant Brewing Party On Wayne Blonde Ale. 7.4% alc./vol. 32 fluid ounces crowler. Somerset, Wisconsin.

If you'd care to take a glimpse into my mind, I don't mind peeling a bit back to show you behind the scenes. Here's the admission that I think you've already figured out: I have a bit of a mania, that I keep fairly in check. It is that collector's ambition to be a completist, and to have made claim to having had them all, whatever they may be. It's been a part of me ever since I starting collecting comic books in my youth, and continues as I collect beers, and beer experiences.

All the beers, and the beautiful chalk-work of Jeremy Hughes.
Part of the struggle inherent with this obsession is acknowledging it's futility. Take, for example, Surly Brewing Company. I was able to sample and document all of their beers at the beginning, but as they grew, and especially after the Destination Brewery opened and more taproom-only beers were produced, it become difficult, if not impossible to try them all. I would have to be single-minded in my devotion to visit them and taste every new ale they execute. But being so focused and determined in that one pursuit keeps me away from tasting the wares of others. And so it goes, and I can only try what I can try, and tamp down that sadness that comes from not conquering that unconquerable goal.
Cheers, Matt!

Here's the difference between collecting comic books and collecting beers and beer experiences. The comics are physical objects that exist in a form that one can find. I can get that missing issue of Marvel Two-in-One, it's out there somewhere. They are not of such limited quantity that it is impossible to locate one, for the most part. It's a matter of money, sometimes, or perseverance. The beers on tap at a taproom can be another pickle. They may appear but once for a brief time, and then never again. If you're not there at the right time, you'll never unlock that achievement. Oh,
well, so sad, life goes on. There are some breweries for
whom the desire to "try them all" is more powerful,
and all-consuming, like the hunger of mighty Galactus.

Some time in 2015
I've been enjoying the beers of Oliphant Brewing for over two years now, starting just months after they opened, and I only get out there once every couple of months. How I wish I could see them every week, but, see above. (And of course, they are 40-some miles away, not 4. You'll see many more reviews of beers in the 4-mile radius from my domicile.) (Actually, I have to stretch that domain out some. Four miles only covers three local breweries. Town Hall is 4.8 miles away from where I currently reside, and Sisyphus 5.1.)

I just got back from a visit, my first in a couple of months, and I looked back on their presence here. Reviewed 25 of their beers on the Nib, and according to one source, Untappd, they've brewed 143 beers. (And I've checked in 73 times, it tells me.) And I suddenly feel like an abject failure. I look back at the pictures of the chalkboard and my check-ins and I think to myself: Why didn't I bring back 3 growlers instead of one? Why did I only pick up one crowler that time? Why in the name of Xuul didn't I get this beer, that beer, the other one? What Was I Thinking?

So, with a renewed sense of purpose, I brought home 3 crowlers today, and immediately thought to myself: Why not 4? And one of those is one that I have never reviewed (and I always try to bring back ones I've never reviewed, of course) that I've seen many times before on the chalkboard, but passed over. Why? Because, blonde ale? Just not my style. Same reason I always pass up C.H.U.D.weiser. But the collector/completist urge rages within me, and that Beast must feast...and so, Party on, Wayne.

Clear, pale golden color, thin white head atop.

In the nose: soft, semi-floral, lightly hoppy, mostly malty, cereal grains and such.

In the mouth: This is tasty. Light bodied, crisp, clean, super smooth. More of a malt flavor, somewhat grainy, coming through, and very little from hops. This is exactly what a blonde ale should be like. It's what you want to put in the hands of the "just a beer" crowd. "What's your lightest?" There's one every time.

And it's a good blonde ale, and you can drink it. It doesn't thrill me because it doesn't go where I want to go, but it's there for the people who can dig it.

And that is in the essence why I've passed this one over again and again, because I know it's not going to give me what I want, like a Gobias or a Gaer Bear or an Ancient Bone Saber of Whosawhatzis. And now it's time for a bourbon barrel imperial stout. And my next Oliphant beer will be much more interesting.

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