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December 31st, 2013 MARTIN CIZMAR | Drank
 

Drank: Bon Voyage (Block 15)

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Block 15’s Bon Voyage should be served Eliot Ness style: the barrel split with a broad ax, the foul brew inside left leaking into the sewer. That’s easy for me to say, of course. I invested only $3 in a 4-ounce pour at Beer Mongers. I knew I was in for a bad trip when I felt the heat of this barrel-aged Baltic Porter on my eyeballs. I sipped anyway, getting rotten cherries, rancid milk and moldy wood. The Corvallis brewery dumped toasted coconut flakes into the beer, but there’s no covering up the stink of whatever bad bugs were lurking in its rum barrels. Why does a well-respected brewery release something like this? Brewmaster Nick Arzner tells me this “challenging beer” is what he was looking for. That’s good, I guess, because there’s a lot on the line. It’s impossible to know what’s going to come out of a microflora-laden liquor barrel, and even harder for a small business to cut bait on expensive cooperage, an imperial-strength base and nine months of storage. The beer has its fans, Arzner tells me, but I’d call it untouchable. Not recommended.
 
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