The Abercrombie & Fitch store on Fifth Avenue has got to be the most deplorable retail space in the entire world. Unfortunately, I have to pass it most every single day. The first thing you notice is the stench. Depending how the wind is blowing, you can smell this store from as far north as Central Park and as far south as the NBA Store on 52nd. The odor is that of a cheap cologne factory explosion. It’s noxious, penetrating your nostrils and sticking to the fibers of your clothing, making any person you interact with for the rest of the day wonder why you smell like a Maxim Magazine cologne sample. Then, as you get closer, you notice the blue velvet-roped off line. You think, “Weird, is there a ‘hot’ new nightclub for douchebags, touristy yokels, and fanny-packed moms that now opens on Fifth Avenue at 1:00 PM on Wednesdays?” Nope, A&F literally has a queue–and usually a lengthy one at that–waiting to get into a fucking store that every mall in every shitty town in America already has. Unbelievable. I thought the lamest thing a tourist could do while sightseeing on Fifth was to stand across the street from the Trump Tower and take a picture, but nope, this trumps (actually not sure if I intended this pun or not) even that. Of course, every place with a velvet rope needs someone standing guard, and the “bouncers” for this stinky dump are shirtless concave-chested and prepubescently hairless nineteen-years old “models.” The little tourist girls seem to love to get Polaroids taken with these chaps. Firstly, I can’t believe Polaroids still exist, but secondly, I’ve now decided getting your picture taken with a shirtless A&F “hunk” is the lamest thing that can possibly be done on Fifth. These models are the kind of guys that only a fourteen-year-old from Wichita would find attractive. I see the braces-wearing gals giggling with glee as they leave the store, staring at their autographed keepsake as ambiguously dirty thoughts run through their minds. Within a year or two, the girls will stumble upon this souvenir at the bottom of their desk drawer and chuckle at themselves, embarrassed for being so silly back when. By this same time, these effete little 130 pound boy bouncers will either become like the 90-97% rest of us, start reading The Vice Blog, drinking beers, and developing nice little guts. Or, they will become like the other 3-10% rest of us and admit they are homosexuals, maintaining a lithe muscular physique. I’ve never been in the store but I bet further atrocities lurk within. Maybe I’ll visit one day, wasted, just to see what the bouncers will do if I start going apeshit, wondering why they won’t change the TV monitors to the damn Yankees game and bring me a gin. I’m guessing it would take like fifteen of them to bounce me. It would be like the Lilliputians tying down Gulliver.
I usually have a slick little segue to advance from my opening anecdote into my beer review, but not this time. I just fucking hate this Abercrombie & Fitch store so much, it is currently my biggest bane in the goddamn city, and I really felt like blasting it*. Ah, now I feel better. Onto the beer…
I thought I’d read something, somewhere, that some British magazine or newspaper or website had called St. Peter’s Ale the best beer in the world. So you can imagine I was pretty excited when someone gave me a bottle. The bottle is cool fo’ sho’. Looks like some sort of apothecary’s magic elixir. And, after I’d poured the bottle into my pint glass, I noticed that, now empty, some odd, latticy, crystalline bubble formation had remained.
Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but it was very cool. Very odd. I’d never seen a beer bottle do that before. It was hypnotic. Is that a sign of a good beer, or just a weird fucking one-time quirk? Who knows.
Immediately, upon consuming this so-called highly regarded beer, I was kinda confused. It has a skunky, semi-woodsy smell. Taste is much more muted however. Very thin, very light. Really nothing special. Kinda just tasted to me like the sort of beer British people have been going to pubs to polish off fifteen straight pints of for the last several hundred years. And, with such a low ABV, that is definitely doable. Don’t get me wrong, though, this is a vastly superior beer to the kinds of beer Americans polish off fifteen straights pints of.
Having said that, the brew is decidedly not spectacular, and it’s certainly not the best beer in the world. Afterwards, I searched out that article I thought I’d read. Aha! It was The Independent and they had actually claimed that St. Peter’s IPA was the best beer around. That make a little more sense.
*Amusing footnote: Headed to a wedding this weekend where it stands a good chance I will find myself at the hotel pool taking a dip at some point. I will ironically be outfitted in an A&F swimsuit, a faded pair of trunks I think I purchased back in 1998 or so for a college spring break trip. What can I say, I don’t go swimming a lot and I’m pretty lazy in updating my wardrobe.