Gimmicky beer names are nothing new, and frequently ridiculous: Star Trek Golden Anniversary Ale: The Trouble With Tribbles; White Whale Ale (infused with pages from Moby Dick, which is not far off from bits of real panther). America.
So we wouldn't blame you for thinking "I Miss The Old Kanye," an 8 percent abv American wild ale from Baltimore-based Stillwater Artisanal, is a cheap ploy to sell suds using the name of the music world's biggest star. Grab some hops, borrow a lyric from the latest album, and take the bling that rolls into the bank.
But you'd be wrong.
See, Stillwater — founded by former electronic DJ Brian Stillwater — has a history of producing solid beers inspired by the stars. The brewer says he thinks hard to mix musicians with appropriate beers styles. "Moneytree$, an IPA drawing its name from Kendrick Lamer, paired the rapper of the moment with the style of the moment, session IPA. Hopvine Bling, a Berliner Weissbier inspired by Drake, is "a lady pleaser," Stillwater told Men's Journal over the phone. Both found fans, earning 4.16 and 4.21 out of five stars, respectively, from the notoriously critical BeerAdvocate community.
So when Stillwater says the latest in his pop culture series is "a deeper thing than a marketing ploy to get Kanye to tweet at me," we believe him. (Although, he admits, he hopes Kanye does @ him.) Mr. West is a complicated man, so the complex brew, which features a tagline claiming "twenty-three flavors" and includes ingredients like juniper, prunes, plums, star anise, cloves, and Brettanomyces, had to match.
Admittedly, the newest offering hasn't done as well as the previous ones, scoring just a 3.07 a few weeks after its debut. One reviewer, in typical acerbic Beer Advocate prose, wrote: "Smells like Dr. Pepper, as advertised. However, that's where the similarities end. Tastes like metal, adjunct cherries, and off spices."
Ouch. But Kanye wouldn't want you to take someone else's word on what to drink (or what not to drink). We don't think you should, either.