This tale started at Dark Lord Day back at the end of April. At the brewery and after I obtained my ration of Dark Lord, I gave one of my sons some money to go back inside and buy a case of Zombie Dust “and something else I may like.” A short while later, he returned with the said case of ZD and a bomber of a beer called Permanent Funeral. On the label were the words ‘“Pale Ale.” Good enough. I wasn’t going to send him back for something different.
Since that day, that bomber of Permanent Funeral sat in the four-pack with the Dark Lords until yesterday. It was a loner slated to be shared at some summer family gathering. One of my other sons mentioned that he shared a bottle of Permanent Funeral at a small gathering he had at his house. I was amazed.
“At Four Seasons over there,” he said, pointing to the east wall of the living room. How was this possible?
That afternoon, I buzzed over to Four Seasons and, sure as shit, there was one lone bomber, the last bomber, sitting in the niche among the DFH bottles next to it. I snatched that bad boy and strode to the counter. I told Barry, “Do you know how hard it is to get this beer?” He agreed and said that now that I have it, it was gone, there would be no more. I don’t know how this guy does it but he knows about craft beer.
Back home, I grabbed the one from the Dark Lord group and put it and the newcomer in the fridge. They were now slated for consumption and critique in the review on Saturday.
Some odd things about this beer… Permanent Funeral is a heavy metal tune from the band called Pig Destroyer who played a set during DLD. Their name was on the label at the bottom. Also along the label’s edge was this description:
The wolf inside this pale ale is trying to walk upright. This bright and aromatic beer was brewed with our friends in the band Pig Destroyer.
Listen to the tune here. It’s a static image.
I don’t think that this was a collaboration effort but rather the brewery crew brewed this beer with the help of the band members, manning buckets and paddles and bags of grain during the brew process. The picture of the wolf on the label is quite bizarre, keeping with 3F’s tradition.
On to the research. Although the beer is labeled as a pale ale, according to both BA and RB, it was an Imperial IPA, rated at 10.5% alcohol. Man, this was right up my alley. Both the ABV and the bottled on date were missing from the label.
The beers were nicely chilled by Saturday night, and with no spontaneous garage parties covertly scheduled, I was assured a night of bliss, freely typing my fingers off until I was done. Now on to the beer.
The beer poured with a nice rusty yellow-orange color raising up a nice slightly off-white thick head of about an inch. The beer was quite cloudy and trying to see the carbonation was difficult. The aroma was quite citrusy with hints of orange and pineapple. It was a massive aroma. I could smell it the instant I popped the cap.
The first sip was huge in the taste department. The mouthfeel was significant and the sweetness was very prominent, but the highlight of the show was the finish. A nice bittering of tropical fruit hops made this beer shine. Hints of tangerine, mango and a little yellow citrus coupled with the big flavor made me think that quite a bit went into making this beer.
There was no taste of alcohol in the sips and just a little bit of heat in the stomach. Rather expected when the beer weighs in at 10.5%. The price was somewhat higher than other beers of the same ABV and style but, hey. It was 3 Floyds. BA has it in their review notes that the beer has 100 IBUs. If that number matters to you, then I’d bet you could tell stories of beers that were higher in bitterness and made your mouth pucker like an anus. For me, if the number reads to be above 60 then I know I’ll have a good time drinking the beer.
The first beer that came to mind that was similar, was also from 3Floyds and that was Zombie Dust. They classified that beer as a pale ale also but it swings more toward the IPA taste than the pale ale taste. I could only guess that the bill for the Citra hops or Mosaic or whatever the hell they used, must have been enormous. Maybe it was a new hyper-hybrid strain they grew in the labs down in the basement. This was a magical beer. Zombie Dust on steroids.
What was so sad and frustrating about this beer as well as other 3Floyds beer is that it’s so rare. I have never seen ZD on the shelves in the bottle shops in town nor in Joliet or at Binny’s out in Plainfield. My last case of ZD was bought at the brewery on Dark Lord Day and (sigh) it’s all gone now. This Permanent Funeral really ratchets up the IPA game. You can cite any beer in the 3F’s portfolio and you could find all of them near the top of any “best beers” list. The brewmaster probably can shoot sparks from his fingertips and walk a half-inch above the floor surface. But the brewery is too small to keep up with the huge demand for these quality beers.
I also remember Arctic Panzer Wolf, also from 3Fs that is another astounding world-class IPA. Dreadnaught ranks right up there as well.
Permanent Funeral was first brewed earlier this year and released at the end of March. It’s not listed in their list of beers on their website, unless it’s one of those x-ed out beers. Also there’s no way of knowing if this beer will be brewed again on a periodic basis. Right now, I’m living the moment, trying to etch into my memory every nuance of every sip because I know it’ll be a long time before I get to enjoy this beer again.
Here is where I’d say something like “if you see this beer on the shelf, pick up a couple of bombers.” Chances are, neither you nor I will ever see this beer on a shelf unless that shelf is located in or Near Munster, Indiana. But if you do happen to run across this beer, either in a store or at a friend’s, be part of the group that tastes this beer. You’ll be in for a taste treat you’ll remember for a really long time.
Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
Taste: Phenomenal! It cannot get any better than this.
Smoothness: Easy going, sippin’ beer to experience all the tastes.
Drinkability: Another sandbagger. After a few glasses, switch to a lighter weight IPA.
Bang for the buck: I’d say any 3Floyds beer at any price is a good deal.
Paid price: DLD bottle: $10.00. Store bottle: $12.99.
Get it again? In a heartbeat.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Cloudy. (sniff) Apricotty. (sip) Oh, yeah. A little bitter but I get a lot of that apricot. (sip) Too much. And it’s bitter for a lighter beer. Yuck. (She may have hit the nail on the head, but it’s on the wrong 2×4.)