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Some Drink it Hot

February 7th, 2014 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Whiskey, Wine

I’ll be honest, I like to make a hot cocktail on occasion.

Even more honestly, I’d rather be freezing my ass off cupping a hot mug of mulled wine, than sweating my ass off trying to grasp a slippery beer koozie.

I covered this very topic on Esquire this week, offering a few of my favorite–and manly, boy are they manly–hot cocktails for you to make at home, including:

  • Mexican/Irish Coffee
  • Hot Toddy
  • Mulled Wine
  • Hot Buttered Rum
  • Hot Punch

Find out more over at Esquire.com.

The Top Ten Beers I Drank in 2013

December 20th, 2013 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Lists

I drank somewhere around 800 different beers in 2013, but here are the best of the best.  Or, at least the best ones I remembered.

*As always, I’ve only included beers I tried for the first time ever in 2013, regardless of the year the beer was released. (Previous best beer lists: 20082009, 2010, and 2012.)

1.  Alpine Bad Boy (nitro)
An IPA on nitro certainly sounds…not recommended. Yet during a February visit to Alpine Brewing Co., this IPA was easily my favorite amongst perhaps the best IPA portfolio in the world (spanning Exponential Hoppiness, Pure Hoppiness, Nelson, and Duet).  Even ten months later, I can’t stop thinking about this frothy, milky, tropical burst of a creation.

2.  The Bruery Melange No. 3
Black Tuesday–my #1 beer in 2010–remains an incredible behemoth in the craft beer world and one of the best beers ever made.  After I’d had this Black Tuesday/White Oak/anniversary melange…I realized there were even further heights to explore.

3.  Kuhnhenn Braggot (2011)
I’m not even sure I’d ever had a braggot before this year.  This beer not only opened my eyes to another style of beer–if not libation (mead)–but to all new taste sensations.  (Now I sound like a commercial pitchman.)

4.  Goose Island Rare Bourbon County
Bourbon County might be my favorite beer in the world, so it feels like a bit of a cheat that I include a new variant of it on my top 10 list nearly every year.  But, hey, what I can I say…they continue to awe me.

5.  Lawson’s Finest Double Sunshine
I wish I didn’t think this was as good as every one else says. But, yeah, it is.  And now I’m one of those guys.

6.  The Bruery Chocolate Rain
Another Black Tuesday variant, though, to a certain extant, I feel the massive chocolate flavors cover up some nuance in the base beer.  Then again, who gives a shit about nuance with a 19% dessert-y booze bomb?

7.  Allagash Merveilleux
I had countless Allagash sours this year, but this stood head and shoulders above a really great bunch.  Hell, it stood head and shoulders above most legendary Belgian sours I had this year.

8.  Jack’s Abby 2nd Anniversary Lager/Mass Rising
This was the year I learned to love the lager–all thanks to Jack’s Abby.  And, especially, this unbelievable Imperial Pale Lager.

9.  Boulevard Love Child No. 2 & 3
I think I *may* have tried Love Child #2 when it came out in 2012–though I certainly don’t remember.  This year, though, with a little age on it, Love Child #2 was one of the most epic beers of my year, especially when the equally great Love Child #3 was thrown in for a mini-vertical of bourbon-barreled wild ales.

10.  Otter Creek & Lawson’s Finest Double Dose/Lagunitas Sucks
I simply do not drink the same beer more than once or twice. Yet, this year I found myself buying case after case of these two IPAs.  They might not have been my favorite beers of 2013, but they were easily my most purchased…and drank.

Honorable Mention:

Carton Monkey Chased the Weasel
Carton was my favorite “new” brewery of the year, and amongst a killer selection of off-beat offerings, this mulberry Berliner weisse was one I continually returned to.

Trillium Fort Point Pale Ale
Pale ales rarely hit the mark for me, but this was a total eye-opener and one of the best PAs I’ve ever had.

Prairie Ale
I’m stunned I had no room in the top ten for these Oklahoma iconoclasts, but alas…maybe next year as they are making some of the best saisons this side of Belgium.

Notables (alphabetical)
Allagash Coolship Cerise
Bear Republic Cafe Racer 15
The Bruery Sour in the Rye
Carton Regular Coffee
De Dolle Oerbier Special Reserva 2005
Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale
Goose Island Cherry Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout
Jack’s Abby Baby Maker
Kuhnhenn Saison Braggot
Omnipollo Fatamorgana
Pizza Port Bacon & Eggs Porter
Schlafly Single Malt
Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Quad with Plums
Victory DirtWolf
Westbrook Gose

This was the year I also fell in love with meads, much to my girlfriend’s chagrin.  A few favorites from a burgeoning obsession:
1.  Schramm’s The Heart of Darkness
2.  Wild Blossom Sweet Desire
3.  Drake Brothers Apple Pie

Here’s to some delicious, safe, and memorable drinking in 2014!

-Aaron

How to Tailgate With Quality Beer

September 20th, 2013 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Over at Esquire this week I discussed one of the most important things in the world today:  why one should have a “quality drinking” tailgate.

With football having arrived, so have the nerves. No, not the nervousness over how your team will fare this season, but, rather, the fear over what you’ll drink while tailgating. Yes, football tailgates are bastions of watery beer and rotgut booze. What’s a craft beer and artisanal spirits lover to do? Sure, you could not be a snob and simply suck it up as you suck down a few skunky Heinekens. You’d do better to convince your friends why a quality alcohol tailgate is superior.

The gist of the piece was that quality beers and booze(s) mean several key things to the tailgater at large:  you’ll piss less, you’ll bloat less, and you’ll get drunk more.  Not to mention, once you’ve had a few drinks you’re going to be far more likely to get involved with some sweet, sweet sweet NFL betting action action (which, let’s be honest, makes watching any game a whole heckuva lot more fun).

A few of the beers of note I mentioned in the article, and which I actually brought to my last tailgate included:

Westbrook Gose — this canned gose (a fairly obscure salty/sour Germanesque style), is lower in ABV, although not that low, and perfect for an early morning tailgate.

Tired Hands The Rest of Your Life — a growler of this uber-funky Pennsylvania saison scared the masses, but absolutely delighted me.

Allagash Merveilleux — finishing my final hour before game-time with this sour masterpiece was the icing on the tailgate cake. I honestly think this might be the best Allagash sour I’ve ever tried.  Oh, and I’ve had plenty.

Of course, once I got inside the stadium I abruptly ended up shelling out $12 for foamy Coors Lights…and the rest they say is–well, I can’t remember.

I’m Now Writing About Beer for Esquire

July 12th, 2013 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

In case you missed it–and you should be ashamed for not more closely following my career–I’m now writing some beer-related pieces for Esquire.  I’ve written two so far, and here they are:

How to Be a True Blue Beer Geek

How to Throw a Craft Beer Party for “Normal” People

Yes, I seem destined to only write things with “How to” in front of them for the rest of my life.  (How to escape that pigeonholing?)

Well, at least most people seem to enjoy these Esquire pieces–except this dude–and I hope you will too.

Cheers.

Aaron

5 Bars To Check Out In Vegas

July 11th, 2013 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

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There are a lot of different reasons to vacation in “fabulous” Las Vegas. For fans of stage performances, the constant exhibits of Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil, and passing concerts are a major draw. For those who like supreme luxury and comforts, the resorts themselves are worth the airfare. And of course, fans of online gambling at sites like http://www.betfaircasino.com flock to Vegas every year to try their hands at real casino card tables.

But often the feature of Las Vegas that visitors find most enjoyable is its long list of unique and incredible bars. Vegas resorts and casinos are constantly trying to one-up each other, and that never-ending competition often results in absolutely spectacular venues and attractions. The bars - inventive and original - are prime examples. Here are 5 to make absolutely certain you visit on your next Las Vegas vacation.

1. Minus-5

This bar at Mandalay Bay is about as unique an experience as you’ll find in Vegas - namely because it’s kept constantly at -5 degrees! This ridiculously cold standard allows for everything in the bar, from furniture to decorations and drinking glasses, to be made of ice, which certainly makes for a unique atmosphere. And don’t worry - guests are given fur coats, boots and gloves upon entry.

2. Noir Bar

This dark bar is located beneath the LAX nightclub at the Luxor, and is noteworthy primarily due to its reputation for interesting mixed drinks. Bartenders at Noir Bar have to uphold this reputation, and that means that there’s hardly a location in Vegas where you’ll find tastier drinks. Be sure to sample the PB&J cocktail!

3. Deuce Lounge

Another bar with a dark ambiance, Deuce Lounge is more low-key than many of its counterparts, which can be a bit refreshing. The word “sophistication” comes to mind, as the focus is primarily on elegance, décor, and delicious drinks. That said, there is some gaming within Deuce Lounge, which in the more relaxed atmosphere can be a blast.

4. Red Square

Another popular theme bar at Mandalay Bay, Red Square is basically focused on Soviet Russia. With a beheaded Lenin statue situated outside the bar, Red Square serves up literally hundreds of varieties of Russian vodka in a bar with the coloring and design tendencies most Americans associate with the Soviet Union.

5. Parasol Up & Down

Essentially a set of two bars - an upstairs and downstairs lounge - Parasol Up & Down looks out over the Wynn Hotel’s water and fountain shows, making for spectacular atmosphere. More “casino lounge” than “club” or “bar,” Parasol Up & Down is great for a late afternoon cocktail before you really get your Vegas night going.

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The Top Ten Beers I Drank in 2012

December 21st, 2012 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Lists

No need for much ceremony, I’d guess I drank somewhere around 700 different beers in 2012, and here are the best of the best.

As always, I’ve only included beers I tried for the first time ever in 2012, regardless of the year the beer was released. (Previous best beer lists: 2008, 2009, and 2010)

1. Hill Farmstead Society & Solitude #3
I love Heady Topper–my #1 in 2011–but this is the best Vermont IPA I’ve ever had.  Maybe even THE best IPA I’ve ever had.

2. Goose Island King Henry
A boozy barleywine aged in a Pappy Van Winkle 23 barrel? What could possibly go wrong? Only the fact I’ll never taste it again.

3. Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break
In the running for best coffee beer I’ve ever had.  Straight dessert.


4. Drie Fonteinen Schaerbeekse Kriek
The utter heights of Belgium fruit lambic, its cherry tartness making others tastes like a syrupy Lindemans.

5. Cascade Sang Noir
An epic American sour ale, so fucking tart and wine-y, even more complex.

6. Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA
Sixteen years since they started, Stone had one of their best years ever, and this was one of their best beers ever.

7. Avery Uncle Jacob’s Stout
Makes my beloved Bourbon County Stout seem a little thin.  Boozy and thick as a milkshake.

8. Allagash Coolship Resurgam
Brilliant American representation of a pure, unfettered, sourass gueze.

9. Thornbridge Kipling IPA (cask)
This UK-version of an American IPA is so dank and delicious, I nearly emptied this cask by myself.

10. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
The best Black IPA EVER made.  Must be the rye.

Notables:

Avery Meph Addict
The Bruery Fruet
Captain Lawrence Hops N’ Roses
Cigar City Dos Costas Oeste - Grapefruit Wood Aged
COOP Territorial Reserve Oak Aged Barleywine Ale
Deschutes Collage Conflux #1
Uerige Doppelsticke (2008 vintage)
Evil Twin Without You I’m Nothing
Goose Island Bramble Rye Bourbon Brand County Stout
Mystic Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Fermented Saison
Stone Fifteenth Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA aged in Lowland Scotch Barrels
XBeeriment Black Force One

Drunk Drinking

July 13th, 2012 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Social media.

Where new brides annoy us with countless wedding photos.

New mommies annoy us with innumerable baby pics (Madison’s first poopy!).

And newly published authors annoy the shit out of you with pleas to buy their new book.

Not this time.

This is the one and only time I’m going to tell you about Drunk Drinking, just released on Amazon. It’s my collection of writings–mostly new, some old (but improved!)–all about that one subject we truly care about most. There are stories and essays about the drunkest par 3 public golf course in America, about the nerdiness of rare beer release “parties,” how one drinks alone in a packed bar on a Friday night, what a liquor cabinet should look like depending on your age, and one about a guy simply known as “the anti-game, self-inflicted cockblocking tourist.”

Twenty-two pieces in all, with one special bonus essay. Over 35,000 words you probably haven’t read before.

If you loved The Vice Blog, if liked How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide or The Cheat Sheet, you’ll dig Drunk Drinking too. Guaranteed. If you hated those, why are you reading my blog, weirdo?

Even better…want a free copy of Drunk Drinking?

For the next week (til July 20th), just write an Amazon review of either How to Fail here or The Cheat Sheet here, email me a link to that review (aaron@aarongoldfarb.com), and I’ll send you a Kindle, epub, or PDF file of Drunk Drinking.

Even better than that, for the one Amazon review that makes me laugh hardest, I’ll send you a “The Works” goodie bag full of autographed books and Goldfarb schwag.

Or you can just pick up Drunk Drinking for about the cost of sending five Third World children to college.

Even if you don’t buy, please share this on Twitter or Facebook. The more you share it now–this second!–the less likely am I to renege on my promise to never annoy you with the hawking of this book ever again. Or to start posting tons of baby pics on Facebook.

Saison D’Erpe-Mere Zymatore

May 21st, 2012 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: KleinBrouwerij De Glazen Toren, Country: Belgium, Grade: A regular, Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

While at the great DBGB last night slip slidin’ the night away with the carpet salesman, I noticed a beer type of the like I’d never seen before:  a gin-barrel-aged brew.  Now, I didn’t even realize gin was made in barrels, but glad of it, because this beer was outstanding, a funky saison with a leafy, crisp botanical finish and just a slight hint of sourness from an additional barreling in pinot noir barrels (!).  Seems this saison is part of something called The Zymatore Project, as press-release-explained below:

The Zymatore Project is our endeavor to create liquids of unheard flavors and aromas that destroy the boundaries of beer, wine, mead, cider & spirits.

Using barrels of the highest quality and pedigree from acknowledged leaders in the wine & distillation crafts we take beers, meads & ciders to new and unexplored levels.

What may seem like unlikely combinations of liquids & barrels are designed to create new flavors & aromas that transcend conventional definitions.

Such quality makes it unique to be served to people playing casino games at classy casino floors. The unique blend of different flavors makes it a one of a kind product.

Now I’ve never had the base saison, heck, I hadn’t even heard of this brewery, but this is one of the more interesting tipples I’ve had this year, and it makes me want to seek out all the other intriguing offerings from “The Project.”  Which I most certainly will.

Of note, nerds on Beer Advocate–and Garrett Oliver no less (not calling you a nerd, good sir!)–have had a most interesting discussion about these beers.

A

2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament Beer Pool

March 13th, 2012 by Mike | No Comments | Filed in Boxes of Beer

Is this really the THIRD Annual “Boxes of Beer” Basketball tournament?

Time flies.

Good times have been had, and good beers have been won. Maybe this is your time.  Maybe this is the year you avoid the upsets and nail the winner. Maybe this is your One Shining Moment. Who knows, you could be walking around lucky and not even know it. A haul of some of the finest beer from around the country awaits.

Sign up today.

Password is “Beer”

Feel free to invite your friends, acquaintances, cell-mates, spiritual and religious advisers. The more the merrier. Email me if you have any questions.

PS If anyone has New Belgium Cocoa Mole bottles and wants to trade, let me know.

Espolon Tequila

November 2nd, 2011 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Tequila

Now we all know I like my free shit.  And I get lots of it due to my celebrity status as a world-famous novelist.  More and more free shit coming every day, all from PR flacks that want me to write about it.  And, by “write about it,” they mean:  write exactly what THEY want me to say about it.

But, I’m an “artist,” and I have “integrity”–sorta–so I never bow to the man.  Though I do accept the free shit.  And…if I do write about a product, about some free shit, I write about it because I love it.  Such is the case with Espolon Tequila.

Now I’m not much of a tequila drinker–and it’s usually only the super high-end 100% agave almost-Scotch-like anejo that I drink when I do–but Espolon is one worth mentioning.  It’s just as cheap as the garbage swill college kids shoot, but it tastes so much better.  Soon as the college kids learn about it, Cuervo won’t exist any more.  Check it out at your finer getting-loaded establishments.

I also decided to make some PR-friendly cocktails with my Espolon in honor of Day of the Dead, whatever that is.  And, you know what, the cocktails were actually really damn tasty.  I tell you, those PR flacks can drink with the best of them, so when they say stuff is good–even if they have to–they’re usually right.  They know their (free) shit, and I thank them for it.

Try these cocktails below tonight when you get home from another miserable day at work (you should considering getting into PR…or, novel writing) and let me know how it goes:

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday widely celebrated across Mexico and Latin America honoring the lives of friends and relatives who have passed, is gaining immense popularity in the United States. Each November 2nd, crowds dress in colorful costumes, don skeleton-like makeup, parade through the streets and erect decorative altars in remembrance of the dearly departed. The traditions of Day of the Dead are far and wide: pottery calaveras (Spanish for skulls) are painted bright colors, graves are adorned with yellow marigolds and glasses of Mexico’s national drink, tequila, are raised in celebration.

This year, to commemorate Dia de los Muertos, mixologists from some of the top bars and restaurants in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York have created Espolón Tequila cocktails that stir up the complex essence and celebratory spirit of the holiday.

The following intriguing cocktails bridge Mexican traditions with modern mixology.
On Day of the Dead, make your way to these cocktail havens and sip a specialty Espolón cocktail in honor of those who have gone before.

If you need more information on Dia de los Muertos or hi-res images for the cocktail recipes below, please let me know.

Best,
Shani

About Espolón
Espolón Tequila is a super premium, 100% pure agave tequila, whose bottles are adorned with intricate Day of the Dead-style imagery. Inspired by 19th century artistry, the labels celebrate Mexico’s storied history and culture. Available in Blanco and Reposado, Espolón Tequila is a versatile spirit, perfect for sipping or mixing in cocktails.

The Procession
Created by Daniel Hyatt
The Alembic, San Francisco
1.5 oz Espolón Tequila Blanco
.75 oz White Crème de Cacao
.5 oz Ruby Port
.75 oz Hibiscus Tea, chilled
2 dashes of Orange Bitters
Orange Peel for garnish

Directions:
Shake ingredients together with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. For garnish, twist a strip of orange peel over the top.
Background:
In Mexico, hibiscus is a well-known ingredient, most popular in the traditional drink, Agua Fresca. Its striking color and slightly tangy bite add layers to this cocktail, creating a truly complex drink. The pink-red hue of this cocktail is one of the most vibrant colors you will see gracing the streets during Dia de los Muertos.

The Afterlife
Created by Jorge Guzman
Ofrenda, New York
1.5 oz Espolón Tequila Reposado
.5 oz Frangelico
.5 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Chile Piquin-Cinnamon Syrup
2 dashes of Wormwood Bitters

Directions:
Shake ingredients together and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Background:
The exotic spices in this cocktail complement the bold flavor notes and sweet tropical fruits found in Espolón Reposado. Essentially, the drink is a celebration of life and death. Both sweet and spicy notes in the drink echo the light and dark moments that people experience throughout their existence on earth. In the afterlife, these moments live on and continue to be celebrated.

Los Muertos
Created by Raul Yrastorza
Las Perlas, Los Angeles
2 oz Espolón Tequila Reposado
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz Apple Cider Vinegar Shrub
.5 oz Cardamaro Amaro
1 bar spoon Apple Butter Infused Agave Nectar
4 muddled Apple Chunks
Apple Cider Foam for garnish
Blackstrap molasses for garnish

Directions:
Muddle apple chunks in bottom of a mixing glass. Shake all ingredients together with ice and double strain into a rocks glass over ice. Top with apple cider foam and drizzle with blackstrap molasses.
Background:
During Day of the Dead, ofrendas (offerings) are given to the dead, and range from fruits to music, tequila, song and dance. Inspired by the open-air fruit and spice markets of Oaxaca, Mexico, this cocktail combines flavors of apple, agave and ground spice. It is - at its core - an offering, paying tribute to the dead in its combination of traditional gifts often left at altars.