Dangerous Man Blueberry Milkshake IPA. 7.3% ABV. Canned on 6.20. Purchase 6.29. Notes taken 7.6. And published on 7.13, because.
If you read this post about Oliphant I'm A Righty Pooster, then you know about my first encounter with a "milkshake IPA." Well, the first I wrote about. I'd gotten a taste of Modist's version just before the final keg kicked. That Oliphant post was the first time I struggled with understanding this style.
A few weeks back, I stopped at Dangerous Man to get some crowlers for my birthday celebration the next day. I was hoping to get a taste of this beer, but it was off tap. In the crowler store, though, I was glad to see a few left in the cooler. I opened one and shared with a gathering friends, but didn't think too hard about it. It wasn't that kind of birthday party. No notes, no swirling, no sniffing. Just drinking beers with good friends.
Almost a week later, I sat down at took notes, and that's when I put my thinking cap on. A week later, I finally share them with you:
Thoroughly hazed, oddly crimson coloring, nearly purple....blue-ish red? with a pinkish head above. Right from the gate, weird.
In the nose: Soft and sweet. Fruity. Yeah, blueberries. Creamy. Milky. Huh. Just as advertised. But...but....it's totally like a smoothie, or yogurt, for christ's sake. What?
In the mouth: Smooth and easy, creamy and fruity. Smoothy-y, yogurt-y, milkshake-y, but where's the IPA, and why???
Medium-bodied, long, fruity finish, low bitterness. How is it an IPA? Not sure. Label of the crowler reads: "Blue Milk IPA", and I think they're just trying to make a Star Wars reference. (Visit the crowler shop for nice view of Star Wars stuff.) It is tasty, but I just want to reject the concept outright, as being anti-beer. This is not what I signed up for when I joined the craft beer crusade. I want bitter, I want strong, I want roasty and deep and dark and impressive, and not a soft drink or a yogurt or a smoothie in a glass. My soul dies a little if I consider actually enjoying this. I can drink it, and it tastes good, but it doesn't feel like beer. Is anyone thinking: "We made beer better, by adding lactose and fruit!" I suddenly find myself in the shoes of those who rejected or questioned beers that I've enjoyed in the past, like lambics or barrel-aged brews, over-proof beers, crazy stuff like that. Through it all, bourbon barrel barley-wines, hot as hell Belgian crazies, thick as heck Imperial Stouts, I said, YES!, this is beer, what's your problem?!?!
This stuff, though? I'm thinking, Are you improving beer, or just, you know, warping it? There's not enough bitterness to call it an IPA, and the smoothie/creaminess is great, but very not beer. (What about cream ales, you demand of me, do you hate those, too? Well, yeah, I'm not that big of a fan, but they don't have milk in them, either.)
Am I a hater? Am I not on the bandwagon? Am I old and in the way? This is the second "milkshake IPA" from DMBC, after the boysenberry version, which I missed out on, and I remember a recent exchange on Facebook where one friend mentioned having this beer, and another friend who is very active in brewing asked "Do they still make beer there?" I got a good laugh out of it, but when the place has to keep up pace with the chocolate milk stout, the coconut milk stout, and the peanut butter porter, it seems pretty true.
Stop the gimmicks, before it gets way out of hand. Or is it too late?
I'm a little worried that DMBC is pleasing the wrong people with beers like this. We shouldn't, they shouldn't be promoting and propagating weird not-quite-beers like this to a gullible, not-quite-craft-beer drinking public. If this was all the rage at a brewpub populated by hard-core, heavily bearded beer geeks, and it got no further, that would be one thing. But DMBC draws a larger crowd and they have different demands. It echoes further, and I worry that people will soon think that all beers should have peanut butter and blueberries and milk and what have you. That you're nothing without your apricot and bacon beer. That you'd better have your year-round caramel apple kolsch or you're nothing.
These are the things that keep me up at night. It could be worse.
So, I sat on that for a week, and wondered if I should publish my late night ramblings as is, or edit them, or reconsider them. Answer: yes, no, no. I will not agonize over this stuff any longer. The next time I encounter a "milkshake IPA", I'll either skip it or keep my mouth shut.
Edit: I did edit it. A little. I'll add one thing: This is a well-made beer, it's just not for me.