“Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.” -Dante Alighieri
My home state of Connecticut has become rotten with self-proclaimed craft brewers. We have locals cranking out watermelon atrocities (hooorker), cannoli flavored sluice that tastes more like a fizzy glass of clove cigarettes (shablechhhhh), and even a few ales and lagers that smell like someone left raw chicken in the break room refrigerator too long (yeeeeeeeerk).
Believe it or not, it’s actually worse than I’m making it sound. I’ve personally seen brewers who seemed like they couldn’t quite figure out how to properly sterilize their tap lines and glassware, if they even knew that they should. I’ve seen revered locals that were so baffled by the technical aspects of temperature that they were sideswiped when their warehouse got hot in the summer. It’s amazing how terrible (most of) the local beer is here, sure, but it’s even more amazing that they navigated enough of the legal system to become licensed and viable. How did they do it?! They must have made some sort of deal with some sort of powerful entity.
Meanwhile in the southern half of the state, one of the few brewers actually making drinkable beer for us is receiving threats from a handful of confused nitwits for using Gandhi’s image on one of their most rabidly consumed beers, the Gandhi-Bot. Ignore that the eponymous, non-alcoholic Gandhi was a peaceful man. Ignore that Gandhi-Bot barely makes its way out of New Haven County, much less all the way to India, where a lawsuit has even been filed against them. Worst of all, they eventually caved to the pressure and sacrificed their own artistic license on the altar of the perpetually offended.
What’s causing the sudden surge of unrest in the world? Why are people so angry and why are we still charging them with the task of brewing us barely-carbonated hate in $9 growlers? Why are we caving to jingoistic terror? What the Hell is going on?!?
It’s not just the destruction of something good, the poisonings or the threats of violence, either; the craft beer movement finds itself in devilish company, with the booming resurgence of shitty frozen yogurt clones and waves of sourced whisky. Truly, these are accursed times. How much more evil can things get?
As was foretold, written in dairy and grain, the Devil has returned to destroy us all. But seriously, what better time for Arran to finish its demonic trilogy, The Devil’s Punchbowl, than now, during the vile age of toxic beer, mystery whisky and infernal yogurt shops? A wiser man would have seen this coming. Today, we’ll speak about the first chapter, released sometime around 2012.
Nose: Classically Arran, with sweet hay and a malty body. It’s a bit green, like a dried alfalfa and apples. Tropical undertones of mango and whiffs of an empty Count Chocula box. Fried masa, fresh ginger, and mild iodine round out the nose.
Palate: Exceptionally well blended. Apricots and apples, along with Arran’s traditional peppery finish. Mellow peat. Salty with blanched seaweed and oyster shells. It has a gritty sugary quality, kind of like sucking the finish off of a handful of honey roasted peanuts.
This is a solid punch to the whisky drinking part of your face. I’ll take it!
It is a limited edition, but I’ve seen a few in the wild recently so they are still out there. The packaging is appropriately badass, too, unfolding like some ancient tome to the list of all the casks vatted for this single malt. Quality and packaging symbiotically justify the hefty price tag for me; around $120 or so.