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Wicked Weed | Oblivion

Wicked Weed | Oblivion
Christopher Hilliard

ABV: 8.7% | IBU: negligible

We use a lot of colors when we talk about beer. This beer is amber. That beer is black. This one is straw. That one is brown. These are all quite common. Yet, for all of my beer-drinking life, I have only infrequently come across the color red. Maybe it’s my geography. Some of the world’s best-known and most highly acclaimed beers come out of Belgium, among them a variety of reds. Rodenbach’s Grand Cru, Duchesse de Bourgogne from Brewery Verhaeghe, and New Belgium’s La Folie are just a few examples.

In spite of (and thanks to) my geography, I’ve been fortunate enough to come across a delectable sour red ale from one of North Carolina’s finest breweries, the Asheville-based Wicked Weed Brewing Company. They call it Oblivion, and they give it a little story.

Dust enveloped the sky as his feet set down on the fiery dirt. Drei reported his location and prayed for a response. None answered. He looked once more at a worn picture of his wife, and stepped into oblivion. A luminous glow emitted from the giant cave and gave him hope, and he wondered if it could be his salvation. Abruptly, the earth shifted, cracked and fell into darkness. When the fury ceased, Drei stared into the abyss but he was no longer alone. Glowing creatures surrounded him, casting light throughout the cave. The beauty overwhelmed him and he almost forgot: this was the end.

The story serves as sort of analogy, a narration to accompany to the drinking experience. When you first see it, it can look opaque, as though there were nothing to more to see, dark like oblivion. Yet when you look a little closer, you’ll find the red, coppery glow. When you smell it and taste it, the luminous creatures appear. It smells of earth, perhaps musty like a cellar, and of aged, ripened fruit. Blackberry tartness leaps on the tongue and is complimented by the sweetness of dates. The bright and smooth character and exceptional tang render Oblivion distinct and enjoyable. As a side note, I imagine it would be especially good with a mildly sweet custard dessert like crème brûlée or panna cotta.

Should you choose to track some down, and I highly suggest you do, try your luck at one of North Carolina’s many bottle shops. Better yet, give their beer finder a whirl and let them do the work for you.

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