Beer Review: Airing of Grievances (Black Flag Brewing Co.)

Beer Review: Airing of Grievances (Black Flag Brewing Co.)

Airing of Grievances by Black Flag Brewing Company in Columbia Maryland

Happy Festivus

Happy Festivus everyone! Its finally here!

Happy Festivus

Its always a joyous time of year, to get together with friends, and family, and celebrate Festivus! December 23rd is the day to honor the rest of us, with the best holiday thats ever happened – Festivus. Its the time to spend with family, friends; to gather around your table and enjoy a small feast, set up an aluminum pole with a good strength to weight ratio, and to air all of those grievances you’ve had with everyone… before you select one person for your feats of strength.

So grab your aluminum pole, get your friends together, air your grievances, call H&H Bagel and tell them you’re on strike, and await a Festivus miracle – because who knows, you might be called out for the feats of strength and you might need it.

Airing of Grievances

What are some of your grievances you need to air? With family and friends? Or with the beer industry? Or with life in general? COVID-19 is still getting a large share of my grievances in 2021. Especially this new Omicron variant. Human beings are definitely getting a large amount of my grievances as well. The craft beer’s misogynistic worldview that is slowly changing (but not fast enough) is a large grievance for many in the industry (myself included). The lack of diversification. Etc. Etc. Etc.

So what are yours?

Black Flag Brewing Company

Black Flag Brewing Company has been on my radar for a long time now. Known for using pop cultural and nerd culture references for a while, they first hit my radar when they did a Final Fantasy series a while back, particularly their ‘Black Mage’ beer. We first got to check them out back in October when we did our travels through Columbia Maryland after the Brewfest for MS.

You can read more about our travels that day here: Going Hysteric Through Columbia Maryland – Brewfest for MS, Hysteria Brewing Company, Sapwoods Brewing, and Black Flag Brewing.

So leading up to this week, we had a couple of choice places to go and get some ‘Festivus’ or ‘Seinfeld’ style beers. Second Sin Brewing in Bristol released a Seinfeld themed beer – “Cherry Seinfeld”. And Icarus Brewing released a Feats of Strength stylized beer called ‘Treats of Strength’. And of course, Black Flag released ‘Airing of Grievances’. I did the online ordering of Icarus Brewing Company’s ‘Treats of Strength’ along with their Festivus glass – and it got delivered to a friend’s cousin’s house. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get it from them until after Christmas break. But don’t worry – we’ll definitely be doing a review of it.

What we decided to do, was go do a tour of Maryland again. Which you can read here: Ambling Around Annapolis Rocks, Frederick, and Columbia Maryland: Annapolis Rocks, Attaboy Beer, Idiom Brewing, Steinhardt Brewing, Smoketown Creekside, The Brewer’s Art Tavern, and Black Flag Brewing.

I also got to pick up the new Star Wars themed beer – “Let the Haze Flow Through You” while at Black Flag as well (though, the other Star Wars themed beer – “This Isn’t the Haze You’re Looking For” was sold out), so it was certainly a double win, and a wonderful trip. (I can guarantee you will see a beer review of that on the blog as well, don’t you worry.)

But enough preambling, let’s discuss the brewery itself.

The back wall at Black Flag Brewing Company

Black Flag Brewing Company is a micro brewery from Columbia, Maryland. (An hour and 30 to hour and 45 minutes south of Harrisburg Pennsylvania.) According to Untappd it has 432 unique beers with a total of 157,180 ratings, and a global average rating of 3.87 as of 12.23.21. They have no brewery description listed on Untappd.

They are known for a lot of unique and nerdy beer names, such as ‘Nerd Herder’, ‘Black Mage’, ‘Airing of Grievances’, ‘Z. Morris’, ‘K. Kapowski’, ‘Let the Haze Flow Through You’, etc. They definitely have a ‘geeky’ or ‘nerd – chic’ (or ‘geek – chic’ or whatever cool modern hipster naming they use nowadays) vibe to their brewery. I’ve gotten to get to the brewery twice now, and have enjoyed all of the beers, and definitely dig the vibe. The first time we went was a late Saturday night, and loved sitting at the bar, and the second time we went was on a Thursday during the dinner hours and got a table and it was a jumping full bar. Both were great experiences, and both times we left with beer to take back to PA.

Beer Review

Alright, alright, arlight. Lets finally get to the beer review… its why you’re probably here anyway right?

So lets do it then!

Airing of Grievances by Black Flag Brewing Co.

Beer: Airing of Grievances
Brewery: Black Flag Brewing Co.
Style: Stout – Imperial / Double
ABV: 9%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: This amped up version of our classics gingerbread stout features deep chocolate and coffee notes inherent to the malt build with a robust addition of nutmeg, gingerbread, and milk sugar to give ample flavor.

This smells like you just kicked over and stomped on some poor little kid’s gingerbread house. Or you just bit the head off your little sister’s gingerbread man and play – acted like it had no head and was now a headless zombie wandering around the countryside looking to zombify the townsfolk on Christmas morning…. ….not that I would ever have done anything like that. Just saying…. But anyway, yes, the aroma on this bad boy is strong nutmeg, strong cinnamon, strong stout notes,

Appearance is a dark black, a Nietzsche ‘staring into the void’ black, a ‘Razor Ramon hair’ black. Black as my ex-wife’s soul black. (Oooh… that might be a bit too dark, huh? Maybe thats somebody’s grievance to air this year… aha! See how I segued that right back to the beer? Boom! Nailed it…. moving on….) This is a dark, creamy looking stout, with a very full heavy brown to tannish head. The bubbles are varied and interspersed, and it left lovely lacing down the glass. Even when I had it as a taster in the brewery it had a lovely head to it, and looked overall creamy.

This one is gonna hit you strong and hard and fast with that nutmeg and ginger and cinnamon. You are getting a hammer to the face Thor style with strong waves of gingerbread house goodness. It might be a bit too intense for some, and it is a bit heavy. There’s also a bit of a coffee bitterness to this that underlies it all as well, so that really seems to kick up the ante on the ginger and cinnamon and nutmeg, making this a bit strong for some. The milk sugar does add a creaminess to this, a light, softening to it, but the nutmeg, ginger, and coffee really hits hard and strong and powers through it. The stout base is very good, its strong, and its a heavy hitter, but at 9% its not too powerful as to kill you on the booziness or make your head swim. There is nothing cloying or too sweet, nothing off putting, and the mouthfeel is just right, a heavy dense beer with no papery watery-ness to it. There’s no off flavors or anything off putting. No horrible aftertaste, but you will get strong ‘ginger burps’ from this (and possibly even hiccups as my friend did). This is the perfect beer to cozy up to on a cold Festivus night after you’ve defeated the weakest family member in a feat of strength, and you’ve aired all of your grievances with everyone, and finally kicked them all out of your wretched home, to get to sit down and relax. Possibly watch the newest Matrix movie on HBO Max (which will most likely get added to your grievance list for 2022), or watch the Thursday Night football game, or just avoid all human contact due to the Omicron variant running rampant. No matter how you celebrate Festivus this year, this would be a welcomed addition to it, as its a terrific and wonderful stout. I imagine it would pair perfectly with cookies and hurt feelings (due to the grievances being aired). Just make sure that pole has a strong strength to weight ratio. As you might need it if you kill a four pack of these bad boys on your own.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Average Untappd Rating: 3.79 (as of 12.23.21)

Lets Celebrate

So what’s everyone doing today to celebrate Festivus? I’m wrapping this article up (11:29AM), and will soon be heading out to finish getting the last second stuff for my daughter’s stockings. (Already got their gifts, have no fear, I won’t be reaching for a doll, and fighting a man for it, and coming to the conclusion that there has to be another way…). What brewery or beer shenanigans is everyone getting up into?

In the meantime, enjoy some of these Festivus related GIFs. (I had to include them in the article. Had. To. Just. Plain. Out. Had. To. Its like a law or something. Seinfeld and Festivus by extension was made for GIFs at a time when there really wasn’t even GIFs. Oh, to go back to the 90s and watch Seinfeld again as a young teen and fall in love with it, before the internet was what it is now. Back in the days of AOL dial-up sounding like a beached whale getting stepped on, or before AIM and leaving some kind of ridiculous ‘BRB’ message, etc.)

Anyway, I present to you some Festivus GIFs:

Icarus Festivus

For those curious about the Icarus Festivus beer I mentioned earlier – Treats of Strength – my friend’s cousin has picked it up, along with the Festivus glass. They will be returning after Christmas, so I should be able to get my grubby little hands on it sometime before the new year, and will hopefully have a review of it up before then. (Crazy to think that just tomorrow will be December 24th – Christmas Eve – already, and after that Christmas, then a week until News Year Eve / New Years Day).

Anyway, here is a picture Icarus Brewing posted today to celebrate Festivus:

Icarus Brewing – Treats of Strength

Want More Seinfeld?

Want more Seinfeld? (Don’t we all! And obviously Netflix did considering the huge deal they signed just to have it on their network!) Want to know some background history on Festivus? Well here you go.

This is an article from Mental Floss about 9 things you didn’t know about Festivus:

Our review of a Seinfeld related beer:

Happy for Christmas, or are you a Scrooge? Here’s two more Christmas themed beers we’ve reviewed:

For More Pop Culture / Nerd Culture / Popular Beer Names

Looking for more interesting beer names? References to something obscure and different? Well, we’ve covered plenty here on The Beer Thrillers. Check them out below:

Star Wars:

Rick and Morty:

Space Balls:

Game of Thrones:

The Simpsons:

Back to the Future:


A Christmas Story:

Pro Wrestling:


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:



Thanks For Reading

As always, thank you everyone for reading. Do you have comments, suggestions, questions? Airing of grievances? Issues with the blog? Is the site working good? Something you’d like to see us review, write about, read, etc? Let us know in the comments section here on the blog. Also be sure to check out all of our social media pages (listed below).

I’m heading out to do some last second Christmas shopping, and to celebrate Festivus. I would like to wish everyone a very happy holidays, a wonderful Happy Festivus, a Merry Christmas, and everything else. I should have a post tomorrow night that will be Christmas related (you’ll have to wait and see!). And I’m back to work on Christmas day, but I might be posting something in the morning. Who knows. We’ll see.

Until then, I hope you are able to defeat your challenger(s) in the feats of strength today, so you can end Festivus.


-B. Kline

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