It’s hard not to judge a book by it’s cover. The same goes for beer. As beer gets infinitely more creative, so has the artwork that goes along with it. Atlanta’s Second Self Beer didn’t just brew a great beer and slap a label on it. Manic Pixie Dream is a “next level” kind of collaboration.
This story starts a bit before the beer was brewed. Brewery co-founder Jason Santamaria has been a fan of Keith P. Rein’s artwork for a while. The guy is best known for the Slaughterhouse Starlets Series. Basically, he takes famous females like Winona Ryder or Taylor Swift and juxtaposes them into a murdery, Dexter-like composition. When Santamaria married his wife Liz, he noticed Keith P. Rein to be the dominant in each other’s art collection.
All Santamaria needed was a good reason to reach out to is favorite artist. As it turns out, Rein has always wanted to do a piece for a beer can. Manic Pixie Dream was born.
The Second Self team went big when it comes to the beer. The base is an 11% alcohol by volume Russian imperial stout, that has been aged in Blis barrels. The mere mention of Blis will make a beer fan salivate. Blis Gourment is a Michigan based company that ages maple syrup in bourbon barrels. After the maple syrup is drained, what you have left is a playground for one hell of an awesome beer. As an added bonus, Second Self infused locally roasted Batdorf & Bronson coffee.
Santamaria and Rein weren’t satisfied with just creating one label. Especially with a beer as complex as this one. Blis barrels are hard to come by, and recipes like this one are expensive. Ultimately, this beer is in short supply. Created simply for your own happiness. A bit like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl movie trope.
Coined in 2005 by film critic Nathan Rabin after watching Kirsten Dunst’s character in Elizabethtown, MPDG is a “bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” Other examples include Kate Hudson’s character in Almost Famous, Natalie Portman in Garden State, or Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot.
With Manic Pixie Dream in mind, Rein drew four different iterations of Pixie. Each label breaks out a component of the beer – Coffee, Maple Syrup, Bourbon, and Grains. Besides the incredible artwork, the beer is fantastic. Truly a sipper, where the each of the components starts to pop as the beer warms. After the barrel-aging, you’re drinking at near 14% alcohol by volume beer.
Second Self is holding a special release event on February 26th where attendees can purchase all four cans. The brewery is planning on making Manic Pixie Dream a series going forward, with an evolving list of styles (including a sour/wild ale).
This is one of the few times we have found ourselves torn between the beer or the artwork that’s more exciting. A few more sips and we might just decide.
Nebraska Brewing MOAB, aka “Mother of All Bettys”debuts on Friday, February 17th.
The brewery uses twice as much grain and double mashed (two grain soaks) in order to get the hefty amount of fermentable sugar to make a stout this big. No other sugar was used in the brewing process.
After primary fermentation, the beer was transferred to four different bourbon barrels for six months of aging. The result is the biggest Betty yet.
MOAB will be available on draft on Friday, February 17th. The bottle release has been delayed until it meets brewery standards.
Debut: 2/17/17 (Draft)
Funky Buddha The Love Below goes on sale at the brewery again on February 15th.
The base beer is Funky’s Nikolai Vorlauf Imperial Russian Stout, that has been aged in both Cabernet barrels and bourbon barrels. The barrels were then blended together with real cherries and 100% chocolate.
Thick and sultry, this is a beer best consumed with a very special friend.
Funky Buddha The Love Below will be available at the brewery again on February 15th, 2017.
12% ABV, 40 IBUs
Alesmith Nibs & Beans Speedway Stout, a chocolate, vanilla bean, coffee laden edition of the venerable imperial stout, is on sale now.
A few times throughout the year, Alesmith uses their nationally known imperial stout as a brewer’s playground. This round, Speedway Stout goes full-on dessert beer. The brewery has added vanilla beans, cacao nibs, and locally roasted coffee. What we’ve heard is that these variants are fantastic. Now is the chance to find out for yourself.
Each quarter we stretch our creative muscles and brew a variation of our year-round imperial stout. This quarter’s variation, originally created for the popular 3 day Speedway Grand Prix event in our Tasting Room, features vanilla beans from Madagascar and Papua New Guinea, cacao nibs from Brazil and Madagascar, and locally roasted Colombian coffee from Swell Coffee Co. This beer balances the aromatic quality of the vanilla beans, the nuttiness of the cacao nibs, and the earthy fruity notes of the coffee with the roasty, chocolatey flavors of our imperial stout.
AleSmith Nibs & Beans Speedway Stout will be available in 750 milliliter bottles. The brewery is pre-selling this online now, $22 dollars per bottle.
Schlafly Smoked Stout, a new limited release, debuts Valentine’s Day week.
Built for colder weather, Schlafly Smoked Stout truly is a fireside sipper. The barley is smoked with beechwood, giving the beer hints of smoke. The finish is slightly hoppy, with smoke and a touch of chocolate.
“Our Cellar Beers are meant to be conversation pieces. It was a 2017 goal to expand our offerings of
unique, larger format beers and encourage guests to enjoy and share the beers with friends. The Smoked Stout is exactly what you want to be drinking this time of year. Robust and rich, the appropriate amount of hops provide balance while the Belgian crystal malt and German smoked malt lend complexity.” – Ambassador Brewer Stephen Hale
Other limited releases in the series includes Belgian Golden Ale, Baltic Porter, and ESB.
Schlafly Smoked Stout is available in 750 milliliter bottles. ERP, $13.99.
Style: Smoke Beer
Availability: 750ml Bottles
Debut: Valentine’s Week, 2017
8.5% ABV, 45 IBUs
Southern Tier Thick Mint, a new imperial stout by the New York based brewery, debuts in April.
The brewery’s Blackwater Series is home to some of the most well known beers in the industry. Creme Brûlée, Choklat, & Mokah imperial stouts are just a few examples. Spring brings Girl Scout cookies, and Southern Tier has a perfect beer pairing.
Southern Tier Thick Mint mimics on of the most popular Girl Scout cookies out there, Thin Mints. (For some reason we always find them in people’s freezers.) The 10% alcohol by volume imperial stout is brewed with cocoa nibs and mint. Another dessert beer cometh.
We made big ways when we introduced Choklat in 2007. Since then, our affection for decadent, flavorful, dessert-like beers and a zeal to venture into the far corners of the flavor world, have been the drivers in our endless quest to brew the perfect indulgence.
Southern Tier Thick Mint is slated for 22 ounce bottles in April, 2017.
New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve Mexican Spice Cake join the special “Reserve” series of beers in the near future.
This series is centered around the brewery’s Dragon’s Milk, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. You might see the subtitle “Unlimited Release,” as it’s year-round.
The Dragon’s Milk Reserve Series is known for different spins on the brewery’s barrel-aged imperial stout, like Rum Barrel Coconut, Vanilla Chai Spice, and a high alcohol by volume Triple Mashed. Soon, look for New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve Mexican Spice Cake will join the coveted lineup.
The “Mexican Cake” flavor has become a popular one in beer, combining flavors of cinnamon, chilis and vanilla. Combine those flavors with bourbon barrel-aging, and it would seem another hit is headed to the Reserve Series.
Full and Smooth, this Reserve’s chocolate character is enhanced by the soft heat of chilies, mellowed out by hints of vanilla and cinnamon.
New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve Mexican Spice Cake will be available in 12 ounce bottles. The brewery has not yet announced this offering.