Fearful Symmetries

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05 April, 2016

A Deadly Dark Ale: dark something by Wisconsin Brewing Company

Today I am pleased to present the first ever guest beer review here at Fearful Symmetries and it was written by none other than the masterful purveyor of horror and weird fiction, Howard Phillips Lovecraft - H.P. to his friends. He was a bit trepid when I initially approached him but I managed to convince him in the end. I hope you enjoy.



The boreal winds cursed and whined one chill spring evening as I lumbered home from my local purveyor of adult beverages, Arkham Wine and Spirits. While there I had espied a new libation from the Wisconsin Brewing Company which snared my attention – dark something. The beers of brewmaster Kirby Nelson are well known to me and his tastes to some extent shared by me. The shop offered the beer in packs of four with the bottles ensconced in a carrying case that featured a photograph of the interior of what must have been the cranium of a madman with the word "CONSPIRACIES" emblazoned across the sides. Surely madness would lay ahead for anyone who dared decant this daemonic brew.

Upon arriving at home I hastened to bolt the doors and fasten the hasps on the windows. After setting my parcel upon the table, I carefully wrested a bottle from its eldritch packaging only to be confronted with the most disturbing label I have ever witnessed to be affixed to a beer bottle. The label's creator was of a parsimonious disposition as its abominable design was simple and cast in shadow with black and various shades of grey being most prominent. However, there was also a pallid circle outlined in ebon. It was as if the words "dark something" above begged to be segregated from the most luminous part of the label. Or perhaps the cadaverous circle required such segregation…? And those words bereft of capitalization – "dark something" - looked as if they had been transcribed from some grimoire, perhaps even by the hand of the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred himself. In that circle was an amorphous black pattern. It was part Rorschach and part iron-filings-waiting-for-a-magnet. My mind wrestled with it for a few seconds before finally being overcome by the ever-increasing unease.

I fell into some kind of oneiric trance as I gazed at the non-Euclidian geometry of the loathsome pattern. All at once the doors of consciousness were thrown wide open as the sound of a passing omnibus shook me from my stupor. Against perhaps my lone remaining strand of sanity, I removed the bottle's crown and secured a drinking vessel.

Commencing the decanting of the beer, I noted its near-obsidian hue as its ululting roar filled the room. Although a deep brown, it appeared as an impenetrable stygian gloom in the glass. I was eventually able to ascertain that the beer was quite clear. My glass was bedecked with a large, creamy, tan head that lasted a fair while. My eyes could not penetrate the gloom to determine whether or not the effervescence penetrated the liquid or remained atop it. All in all, the beer had a saturnine appearance.

Perhaps against my better judgment I placed my nose above the glass and inhaled. My tulip glass concentrated the foetid stench of the brew and I was able to discern the aromas of swarthy chocolate, roasted grain, and a small amount of sweetness which reeked of stone fruit. I cannot explain my motivation but I then endeavored to taste the accursed distillation of all things dark and devilish.

My tongue was at once assailed by a potent blend of malt flavors. The first was of raisin but it was not particularly sweet. Next was an admixture of tastes from grains that had survived the unspeakable horrors of the flames and been transfigured into having an ink-like appearance. Their horrors had produced dark, bitter chocolate and coffee flavors. A modicum of spiciness from hops in concert with some carbonation lurking in the brew's depths added a slight dryness.

When the pitch liquid had finally made its way into my stomach, I noted a prominent taste of pepper from those same hops along with their attendant bitterness. These hops combined with the beer's potency (at 9.3% alcohol by volume this brew is not for the tremulous) made for a very dry terminal taste experience. Having emptied my glass of the rich concoction, I saw that it was filled with sheets of tan lacing. It was as if the vessel desired to remain opaque despite the absence of any liquid.

This so-called "porter-dooppelbock" mutation stands as the darkest beer I have ever witnessed. It seemed to absorb the refulgence from the room just as a Creole sucks the brains from a crawfish and trap it in its hideous opacity. Still, I was entranced by its primordial blend of the darker flavors of chocolate and coffee as well as its pleasing dryness that all but obscured a modicum of malt sweetness.

I am of the opinion that the Wisconsin Brewing Company ought to dedicate a day for celebrating the release of such a thick, cimmerian, and potent potable which channels rich, deep chthonic flavors so well. I suggest the moniker of "dark something Day".

Junk food pairing: dark something possesses the tongue and engulfs it so any food pairing should be robust. I recommend a hearty potato chip such as Kettle Brand's Sriracha or Herr's Peppered Bacon.

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|| Palmer, 7:24 AM

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