Socrates, the classical Greek philosopher, is credited with a lot of really insightful quotes, like “an unexamined life is not worth living,” and “the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing.” And let’s not forget his classic, “be suspicious of combining two good things.” Okay, that wasn’t Socrates, that was actually my childhood friend Damian, but it’s as wise as anything the founder of western philosophy said. Growing up, we would go see the Allman Brothers every Fourth of July and Damian couldn’t understand why the Brothers insisted on playing on the holiday every year. The Fourth is already guaranteed to be a killer party, why throw another killer party on top of it? Why not play a show on the fifth and then we’d all have two awesome days in a row instead of jamming everything into a single day. It’s solid logic that I think even Socrates would appreciate. Christmas is great, and while it might be tempting to combine Christmas and Easter into the same day, with maybe a live broadcast of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus going at it Greco-Roman style, I think we can all agree that it’s best to spread those two holidays out. There’s only so much fun you can have on a single day before it just becomes white noise.

I tend to apply that same philosophy when it comes to beer, too. Beer is great and so are things like chocolate and bananas and Christmas trees, so it might be tempting to combine two or more great things into a single package. That’s how you get Jelly Bean IPAs and Old Bay Lagers. These beers sound like a great idea, but they rarely work out and I usually find myself wishing I could separate all of the ingredients so that I could enjoy a bowl of Jelly Beans next to my IPA. So I was suspicious when Sweetwater released Pulled Porter, a bacon smoked flavored beer that, at first glance, feels a little bit like watching Santa and the Easter Bunny wrestle. Too much of a good thing, maybe even a little sacrilegious. But this beer works.

The Atlanta-based brewery partnered with Fox Brothers, arguably the best barbecue joint in the city to create the smoky, pork profile. Over three days, Fox Brothers smoked one ton of malt along with racks of bacon on their wood-burning smoker. Sweetwater used that malt to give this porter a smoky, bacony element that’s strong without being overwhelming. You get a hint of bacon, but it’s not like you’re drinking a bacon milkshake.

Look for the beer in four packs this winter. And in case you’re wondering, I already applied for a trademark on the term “bacon milkshake.”

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