I’ve never completely taken to heart the old adage that “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” After the tens of thousands of CDs that have made their way into the Paste office, you begin to notice a correlation between the artistry that goes into the packaging and the artistry of the music it contains.
Of course there are exceptions. Islands’ Arm’s Way comes to mind, as well as and Yeasayer’s Odd Blood. But nobody defies the ugly label warning like Pennsylvania brewery Weyerbacher.
Their oak-aged quad Blasphemy certainly isn’t their worst offender—a black crow barely visible on a dark blue background, sitting on a weathered cross. But the clash of fonts—a Gothic black-letter title below the comic-sans-ish logo—doesn’t scream “quality.”
Still, I’ve long been a fan of Weyerbacher’s QUAD, one of the best examples of the Belgian Quadruppel style coming from these United States. Blasphemy takes QUAD and ages it oak barrels, making it a super-malty, super-sweet, super-boozy offering. The mouthfeel is almost buttery, and it pours much lighter than I would have expected.
If I have any nit to pick with what’s actually inside the bottle is that it’s almost cloyingly sweet. Actual quads from Belgium like Rochefort 10, St. Bernardus Abt. 12 and Straffe Hendrick balance the sweetness with a complex mix of flavors. This is a beer to sip late at night when you’re in the mood for a brandy but remember you’re not a 70-year-old man wearing a smoking jacket.
It’s dessert and it’s delicious. It’s even beautiful, once you pour it out of the bottle.