In May, I heard some news that made me smile. I learned that Three Floyds was coming back to Ohio in 2011 after an absence of three years. I love Three Floyds and their unique approach towards creating and marketing amazing, world-class beer – my wife and I make the trek to Dark Lord Day every year and I often trade for the Three Floyds seasonal and specialty beers I can’t buy in Ohio stores. I wanted to share the awesome news with my readers, so I posted an article that got a tremendous amount of positive feedback and a bit of negative as well. See, while this seemingly happy news made Ohioans jump for joy, it also made people in Three Floyds current distribution area fear that the already extended brewery was going to send them even less beer. While I understand the concern, I specifically mentioned in my article that Ohio would NOT be receiving year round beers in 6 packs – beers like Gumball head, Alpha King, and new year-rounder Zombie Dust. However, rumors soon started circulating and the phone at Three Floyds started ringing with upset locals who feared Ohio was going to literally start stealing the beer out of the glasses of thirsty Hoosiers and Chicagoans.
My smile soon subsided as my credibility was attacked on message boards and my site was spammed with trolls. Looking back, however frustrating, the experience taught me how fragile the beer business is for small breweries like Three Floyds who care about the quality of their product but, simply put, can’t make enough for everyone. It’s a balancing act, and even worse, it’s a problem that has no definitively correct solutions, only a desire to try to make the right steps to push forward, whatever the next move may be. I also learned that, while I started this site to spread beer insights, reviews and news that made me happy, I’m not in the “official journalist” news business and felt awkward when challenged about sources and details – beer, to me, is fun by nature and I don’t understand why people try to suck the fun out of it in the name of beer “advocacy”. I’ve gotten over the shock that something I saw as sharing good news spun out of control – I just wish I hadn’t caused any worries for the hard working people at Three Floyds.
And this brings us full circle. See, my smile hadn’t totally disappeared, but today I’m grinning ear to ear. That’s because, to close the loop on this whole story and put all the silly stuff from the past to bed, I’m happy to announce to all my readers that…
The first shipment of Three Floyds beers will be in Ohio in the next 2 weeks!
That’s right – the re-launch is happening that soon! Remember, these beers will be very, very limited so you certainly won’t see them on very many shelves. But a few of Ohio’s retailers will get the first round of Three Floyds 22oz bottles shortly. From that point on, there will NOT be a steady stream (as in weekly shipments), but 22oz specialty beers will come to Ohio on a seasonal basis. What Three Floyds beers will be coming to Ohio in the first round? Not only will I answer that question, but I’m happy to share a brief excerpt from my experiences as an individual lucky enough to have tried each of the four:
Three Floyds Dreadnaught Double IPA
Dreadnaught is one of the first beers that really made me appreciate how big can also be balanced. This is truly a beer every hop head should try once in their life, and I’m happy to have sampled it many times in the past. The smell is hands-down the best part of the beer. Huge citrus and tropical notes jump out, spreading orange, pineapple, mango and grapefruit notes with a touch of pine thrown in. The tropical and citrus notes from the nose carry over to the taste. The bitterness is huge without being too oily or ruinous. There’s a nice malt base – almost too much for a West Coast IPA lover, but it certainly matches the big hop flavors. This is one for the hop heads and for those just getting into big, hoppy beers.
Three Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf Double IPA
Arctic Panzer Wolf is Dreadnaught’s ferocious brother. The beer is a huge hop bomb, one I find much more aggressive and in-your-face than Dreadnaught, especially when super fresh. While Dreadnaught has a tropical vibe with fruit and just a touch of pine, Panzer Wolf has emerged from deep in a forest of pine, grapefruit and apricot. The balance is also thrown out the window, as very little bready malt base emerges to counter the onslaught of enamel-ripping hops. There’s a good amount of lingering bitterness, then a relatively dry finish with just a hint of alcohol. For a 9% hop bomb, this beer doesn’t need to apologize to anyone – like it would even if you asked it to. Certainly one of my favorite Three Floyds specialty beers and one I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into!
Three Floyds MunsterFest Lager
Es ist nicht normal! Very true – this German style Oktoberfest/Märzen is not exactly normal for the style, but did you expect anything else from Three Floyds? While it pours a deceptively standard copper color with amber hues, the nose on the beer is the first thing that seems different. Instead of the typical toasty malt forward scents, there’s a bit more fruitiness and even a touch of citrus when it’s fresh. The taste even has hints of pumpkin and sweet potato to accompany the fruit and caramel. Nice crisp carbonation and amazing lace make this beer feel and look like something you’d see in a huge mug at a certain festival overseas. But, for a more accurate picture, take your typical Munich Oktoberfest tent and replace the oom-pah band with wailing death metal and you’re just starting to get close. This may not be a typical American take on the Märzen style, but that makes it even more enjoyable as the days get shorter and the temperature dips. An excellent beer to welcome Fall with!
Three Floyds Behemoth Blonde Barleywine
This bottle sticks out from the rest with its white wax (the color changes each year – 2011 is white), sealing it for years of successful aging. While it tastes good now, I’ve found Behemoth peaks about 3 years after its release. Why the name? Quite frankly, this beer tips the scales with huge flavor – in fact, some consider this 10.5% American Barleywine to be Dreadnaught’s big fat-ass sister. While I see a bit of that comparison, to me the difference is in the toffee and bready malt. There’s a great hoppy presence too that peaks in some grapefruit and orange hints, then fades to let the caramel and brown sugar of the malt drive home the taste in a way that can only be called excessive. Frankly, the mouthfeel is obese. This beer is worth every penny, but in my opinion, it requires some patience and aging for the dimples and stretch marks to fade away.
I want to personally thank everyone involved in bringing great beer to Ohio, whatever distributor, brewery or retail store you work for. Your passion for making us the best beer state in the country is inspiring and appreciated. I also want to thank Three Floyds for making such great beer and for agreeing to send it to Ohio. Keep up the great work and welcome back! Cheers!!
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