Even a fascist pig needs a break now and then. With all of the pressures of exploiting a subjugated workforce, oppressing the public and torturing any and all potential rivals or political dissidents, it is important for even the most piggish authoritarians to have a place of security and respite.
A place where the world cannot reach them or threaten them with their different views on the ways of the world. A private place. A relaxing place. A…safe space.
Now, all of this having nothing to actually do with the beer, it is difficult when considering the theme of this brew and its predecessor, the fascist pig, not to draw parallels between other fascists in the world. Fascists who undoubtedly demand between bouts of ordering others how to think, feel, speak and act, that they have a safe and protected place for themselves, free of the wretched mess that is the rest of humanity. Fascists who, if allowed to age and refine themselves in just the right way, might actually develop some sincerity and sweetness to them.
So now, we’re onto the beer.
Finch’s Fascist Pig is on its own, a red ale, noted generally for its strong malt and caramel notes as well as its rich and buttery texture. Swimming its red/orange body are hints of rye complemented well by the bold malt notes which more or less dominate the brew’s overall flavor profile. Well reviewed and well-liked by many a snob, enthusiast and aficionado, this creation of Chicago based Finch’s Brewing is now brought to us after a curious absence on the shelves of certain beer shops in a new and refined manner.
Now arriving as a bourbon barrel-aged big red ale, the Pig In The Wood serves as a demonstration of how such an aging process serves to embellish and uplift the kinds of characteristics the original Pig was known for in such fine order. To begin with, we have the malt.
As is standard for bourbon barrel-aging, a defined and boozy sweetness, similar to that of the spirit itself sort of imbues itself upon and within the brew. For crafts such as barley wines or Belgian ales, such serves to accent the alcoholic and/or yeasty bite that are generally the hallmarks of such styles. However here, in this malt forward, caramel rich red we find the flavor addition serving to double down on the base and intrinsic nature of the beer itself.
Bigger and maltier if gauged by the sweetness of it, the robust middle-heavy mouthfeel and even more buttery texture to the brew serves up something of a fat and slightly boozy overall tone. At only 8% abv (small by comparison to some, yet still higher gravity than others) the hints of supple bourbon and oak blend beautifully in with the softer notes of caramel and rye. Though tempted to call it decadent, which is itself a perfect adjective to use in this case, it remains a hearty sort of ale, meant to be enjoyed less in little sips and more in solid gobs.
If you’re a fan of bourbon-aged brews, as I am, who enjoys the mixes of sweet and bitter, smooth and biting, it is likely this Pig In The Wood will satisfy. A new twist on a well-known drinker’s delight, it serves, at least in my eyes, as further proof that cask aging such as this is a solid winner with many brews and one which is likely to stick around.
While the brewery may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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