25 Sep B52 Looking Good Barry
B52 Looking Good Barry
(Hazy) Double IPA
Packaging: Draft, 32 oz Crowler
Looking good Barry. Looking good, you handsome motherfucker. Anshiowlamartinihh…?
That might be an accurate picture of you at the end of a 32oz Crowler of this if you didn’t have a solid sandwich first. B52’s latest IPA is yet another installment inspired by pop culture. It’s becoming their thing, and since I’m not a movie guy, I have to Google this crap to even write about it effectively.
Beer blogger that hasn’t seen Beer Fest? Not exactly. I saw it years ago, but movies just don’t stick in my memory. To be honest, Nick and I talked about B52 Looking Good Barry, and he mentioned the line above from the movie. He laughed so hard at me when I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about. After he explained it to me, the fog started to clear, and I was vaguely reminded of this clip.
Sam got this for me at the Looking Good Barry release along with the Tropical Shake version and some RAAAAAAAANDY. Not sure if I’ll write about the Tropical Shake version, but I’ll make that call when I bust it open. (Edit: I’m not writing on it. I drank it and I didn’t like it. It was painfully sweet. Someone mentioned to me that it was better fresh, but it’s like 2-3 weeks old. If that’s not still fresh, I don’t know what is.)
The Crowler art features a pic of the scene from Beer Fest where Barry’s in the bathroom mirror looking like an asshole as he admires himself from the perspective of a much smoother version of himself. The pic looks like it was ran through the Prisma iPhone app or live traced in Adobe Illustrator, and it’s grounded by a big maroon band and some shades reflecting the aforementioned smoother Barry.
But as with most of B52’s creations lately, they’re gone pretty quick. Here’s to hoping they brew it again. I understand that De Hazy German was dope this weekend. Anybody got extras?!
B52 Looking Good Barry pours a dark amber-orange, almost brownish that’s hazy, of course. There’s some creamy head that rests atop the pour like the “Asshole” beer box rests atop Barry’s head. Looking Good Barry laces down the glass in a pretty sturdy fashion, more like Kevin Heffernan’s character in the movie.
From the first scene, the can of B52 Looking Good Barry cracked open and filled my house with the same pineapply, tropical notes that RAAAAAAAANDY did. This one was a bit more fruity with apricot, mango, guava, stone fruit, and some other aromas I can’t identify on the nose. They were just a bouquet of tropical, fruity notes all simultaneously performing the role of extras behind the big pineapple. There is an astringent note that sneaks onto the scene in an unwelcoming fashion, but it’s not all that strong.
Once I took my first sip, I was able to sort out the characters a bit better and give them all their proper place in the credits. I get a strong citrus start on the tip of my tongue followed by the tropical notes as the sip goes down – pineapple and stone fruit hogging the limelight – followed by a generous bitterness and more tannic alcohol finishing it out. There’s a slightly soapy, floral note that rounds it all out. It’s just short of off putting, but it’s noticeable to a discerning palette.
The mouthfeel of B52 Looking Good Barry is much like other hazy IPAs from B52. It isn’t as creamy as you might expect, but somehow the nose and flavors make up for it. B52 has yet to call anything NEIPA officially, so they’ve managed to dodge some otherwise harsh criticism, but it may be an attempt not to pigeon-hole the beer. Garrison mentioned the exact same mindset when interviewed about Operation Juice Drop, their collab with Parish. (It’s kind of working so far.) The carbonation is perfectly balanced.
At the end of the day, if the beer’s good, you can blur stylistic guidelines all day, especially when in the midst of a continually emerging (nationwide) hazy IPA conversation that has yet to reach maturation. I think that’s working in B52’s strength with each of their releases.
It reminds me a lot of RAAAAAAAANDY in flavor and aroma, as I’ve already mentioned. It also reminds me of Wheez the Juice and UPGRAYEDD, with the movie references if that counts for anything?
Beers Looking at You, DOA, Nobi and Flying Saucer all had some B52 Looking Good Barry on draft, so we’re told, but that was a week ago. You might want to call ahead. B52’s the only place for sure that we can confirm had it. (Duh.)
B52 Looking Good Barry
Looking Good Barry’s pretty good, but there are plenty of others that have overshadowed it in the last few months, including B52’s own beers. The fruitiness from the workhorse Simcoe and fruity/herbal Ekuanot hops make Barry look pretty good, but the mouthfeel and booziness take it down a few pegs. I’m still sitting on the tropical shake version with giddy anticipation.
It’s still a good beer, but not quite great. If you disagree, holler. You can vote with the stars below or drop a comment if you’re feeling that bold. Beers to you, Houston!