I’ve been to a good number of genuinely pretentious or exclusionary beer joints. The Three Floyds brewpub back in the day, for example, made a point of hiring dismissive assholes as bartenders. They were almost always nice to me, but I saw how they treated others—telling a man that he had to answer a riddle in order to purchase Dark Lord, refusing to pour for people until they pronounced a beer’s name correctly, or otherwise acting like the beer version of Nick Burns: Your Company’s Computer Guy. This is unappealing when the beer is great, a death knell when it’s merely okay.
I don’t think Lord Hobo was being genuinely snobbish or dismissive in their pre-release cockiness (during which time, I’ve been told, they said they were about to release the best IPA in the world). There’s no proof of this other than that every time I’ve been to the bar or brewery I haven’t detected the slightest hint of derision or meanness from any of the staff. They seem nice. Bumptiousness is just their schtick. And, man, has that hurt them.
Also… okay, they have three base IPAs that they mix together for Boom Sauce. Each of those IPAs is better than Boom Sauce. Two of them, including Consolation Prize, are significantly better. Yet they chose Boom Sauce as their widely distributed flagship. I got no idea.
Anyhow, stepping back a bit, taking stock of the YOU GOTTA IMPROVE THE LIQUID, BRO dogpile, it’s become clear that people are shitting on this brewery just for the sake of shitting on them. Because none of their beers are bad, and a couple are actually quite good. Cocksure, yeah. Overpriced, definitely. But still good.
Consolation Prize is the strongest of their four regular IPAs, and also the hardest to find outside of the brewery. It pours thick and very dark, and is absolutely fucking redolent of dense malt and pine hops. The aroma is very similar to the lauded DIPAs of old, basically like a firmer Dreadnaught.
It tastes a bit rough up front, piney with light nodes of syrupy malt. But then near the middle this incredible rush of tropical fruit hops takes over and it does not let go until the very end of the sip, which is buffeted nicely by chewy yeast. After a few sips, my pallet becomes so scorched I no longer detect the roughness of the front half and it’s just like I’m drinking vaguely alcoholic passion fruit punch.
Some may argue about the merits of such an intense cannonball of a beer. It is one of the least delicately brewed DIPAs I’ve ever come across. But it’s new. The body is maybe the thickest I’ve ever come across in a pale ale of any sort, and the massive fruit hop blast is beyond what I thought was possible in a beer. It doesn’t taste quite like anything else I’ve ever had, and I think that’s exactly what they were going for. Imperfect, but still really good.