Ballast Point Big Eye IPA

December 5, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Ballast Point, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: IPA.

6% ABV bottled

A friend had to go to her gynecologist the other day.  A small girl, she’s struggled in having her new boyfriend penetrate her.  The gynecologist insisted that was physically impossible, and her problems were all mental.  She insisted they weren’t to which the doctor finally replied, exasperated, “Tell you what then.  Go down to Eighth Avenue, buy a dildo, and come back here and show me you can masturbate with it.”

(Have you digested that…?)

I also have been getting into a lot of awkward situations lately.  Especially this time of the year.  Seems that every other night for the last few weeks I’ve had a birthday party to attend.  Birthday parties always bring out the awkwardness, not that a drunkard like me gets fazed that often.  One such recent soiree amazingly came on the exact same date as my last girlfriend’s birthday.  Instead of sending that ex a birthday card, I should send her a thank you card, because since she dumped me, I’ve never met so many women in my life.  It was one of these women, Angie, who I had only been dating for a week or two, who had her birthday on that formerly meaningful day to me.  I was loathe to attend a birthday party for a girl I had just started dating, seeing all sorts of problems arising, but, with a little prodding from her, I eventually agreed to.  I would almost immediately regret that decision when I then recieved the evite and learned the party would be less than a block from where my same-birthday-ex lives, putting me the closest I had been to her apartment since getting 86ed from her life.

Things got even worse when a huge college football game I really wanted to see got rescheduled for the same evening.  Obviously, I began pre-gaming by myself quite early to eliminate my nerves and inhibitions, polishing off several Ballast Point Big Eye IPAs my sister had bought on a recent jaunt to San Diego.  I’d asked her to find me some stuff from the area’s more famous breweries (Russian River, Alesmith, etc) so I was a bit disappointed when she only brought back the Ballast Point.  Oh, I’d heard of the brewery, sure, I just thought it was a “lesser” one.  However, simply based on their IPA, I was clearly wrong.   An incredibly frothy head, it smelled like a classic piney and citrusy California IPA.  Nice hops made for smooth session drinking.  I look forward to trying more stuff from the place.

After three brews, I headed up Amsterdam Avenue wearing a disguise* lest I run into my ex.  Knowing my fortune, I figured she’d be hosting a birthday party in the very same bar.  Luckily, that would not be the case.  But things would go nearly as badly.

Immediately upon arriving at the watering hole, I learned I had gotten there late.  Seems I had misread the stupid evite.  Her brother, Timothy, a man who resides in the Upstate sticks and who I had yet to meet, quite rudely and tersely informed me of this.  He must have stalked me on Facebook because he recognized me the second I entered the place, as he stood watch near the door like some overly-freckled, America Eagle-clad, miniature version of a palace guard.  I never understand brothers that protect their sisters’ vaginas like the Hope Diamond.  It’s peculiar.  Queer.  Your sister’s a grown woman, she doesn’t need your 155 pounds of protection and your lame insight in order to make romantic and sexual decisions.   She’s not Joanie Cunningham and you ain’t Richie, though, come to think of it, Tim did sort of look like him.

This little nerd immediately starts giving me the third degree about my “intentions” for his sister, a topic of conversation I’ve wasted far too many hours of my life having.  I could have quoted Lloyd Dobler when he was once asked a similar question (“What I really want to do with my life–what I want to do for a living–is I want to be with your [sister].”), I could have said something real nasty (“Fuck her while you watch since you seem to care so goddamn much.”) but instead I simply kowtowed to the mid-thirties apparent virgin and predicted a bright and innocent future with his kin (“Hey Tim, can’t wait to hear what you say at our wedding, heh heh.”)  Tim’s lucky I didn’t tell him what my intentions were for him as my mind was spinning with schemes.

Tim escorted me to a back private room where the party was already in full swing.  Angie was predisposed with some people so we were only able to have a second of loving eye contact, a friendly can’t-wait-to-shake-this-boring-dialogue-so-I-can-kiss-you grin from her.  Waiting for Angie’s conversation to end, I went to mingle and schmooze up some of her friends, none of which I had met before, nor even knew much of anything about.  However, the reverse was clearly not the case.  I was the star attraction, Angie’s mysterious new man, who she had already told them “so much” about.  They swarmed me like hungry pigs in a sty, I the farmer entering with a slop bucket.

I quickly found out that literally all of her chums were workmates.  That typically sends a signal to me.  It’s fine to have coworker cohorts, but when a person only has work friends they usually don’t have any real friends.  It’s one thing to make and cultivate a friendship in the real world, it’s another to have pals that you head straight from work to the bar together to get loaded and bitch about Barry your asshole boss.  All these friends were quite terrible, a real horror show of women.  Each being seemingly decent looking until you found that one single defect that overshadowed everything good.  There was the one with the highly visible gum line, the one that seemed to have fifty-five teeth in her mouth, the one with a prominent birth control mustache, and the one that wouldn’t shut the fuck up about her “recent” engagement (four months ago). 

The latter mentioned buddy, clearly with either some prompting from Angie or more likely some nosiness of her own, had friended me a week earlier on Facebook.  I thought that was sweet until my news feed began to fill up every single day with her every-five-minutes’ status updates, all about her upcoming nuptials: “Shirley is shopping for wedding gowns!,” “Shirley is meeting the flower guy,” “Shirley is deciding between band and DJ,” “Shirley is admiring the engagement ring her latently homosexual fiance bought her,” etc.  Aaron is…already hating you and wishing he could delete you as a friend without you finding out.

Finally, Angie was free and came over to me with a big hug and a sloppy, wine-soaked smooch.  She was well lit up already.  In our few dates together I’d never seen her so drunk.  In fact, for our first date we had closed a lower Hell’s Kitchen dive bar down drinking pitchers of beer with countless Jameson shots yet she had remained unflappable, something I perversely found quite fetching.  But this time she was quite flapped, drunk and moody.  She quickly noticed that I was empty-handed.  As in, I hadn’t brought a present.  Hey, I didn’t know it was one of those parties, what are we, fucking eight years old?  We’re in a bar, not a rollerskating rink or bowling alley.  And, any how, I kinda have a rule about not getting birthday presents for girls whose middle names I still don’t know.  Then again, I’m also arrogant enough to usually think my best gift to any one is my presence, and not my presents.  Having said all that, though, seemingly every other one of the two dozen invitees had brought a gift, rendering the “new boyfriend” the “big asshole.”  As Tim tsked tsked me with his beady eyes, Angie began yelling at inconsiderate me, the row only ending when she needed to go piss.

I headed to the bar to finally score a drink and there I learned two things, one horrible, one amazing.  Which would you like to hear first?  OK, let’s go with the horrible.  The fucking bar’s satellite is down and I can’t watch the football game I had so hoped to keep an askance eye on.  The football game which I now wanted to fully focus my attention on what with a girlfriend that is wasted, her friends that are lame and make me viscerally vomitous, and her brother who seems to have unrequited love for his sis.  As I mentioned though, there was some good, that being that her West Coast parents had the acumen to set up a $1000 bar tab for everyone to imbibe from.  The bar tab came with no stipulations so, while everyone else drank Bud Lights, garbage vodka drinks, and Lame-tinis, I like an asshole began ordering the best bourbon in the house, the small-batch Booker’s which comes in at a scorching 127 proof, all the while remaining incredibly flavorful and quite complex.  “Neat!,” I thought and “Neat” I said to the barkeep when he asked how I wanted it.

Returning from the bathroom, Angie had calmed down, heck, seemingly having forgotten about our fight just a few minutes earlier.  Things began going decently, we’re goofing around, getting loaded, hey!, this was the girl I’d had so much fun with over the last couple of weeks.  I guess there might not be a chink in her armor.  Unfortunately, that lasted for all of fifteen minutes before Trevor arrived and made a beeline for her.

Trevor, her college boyfriend, her “best” friend.  Right.  Let me tell you something, women, though the smarter ones of you know it already, former boyfriends that you dumped yet which still hang out with you like a pathetic puppy dog are rarely friends with you.  They are just losers with no other female options, with no integrity, confidence, or self-esteem that continue to have the hopes that one day you’ll fall back into bed with them, back into a relationship with them.  Today’s the day!

Angie leaves us to make another lap around the room and I’m forced to speak with the dullard Trevor.  The kind of guy who is so predictable, so two dimensional, so amazingly a living-and-breathing archetype, that one need only know him for a minute to know everything about him, to fill in all the blanks.  A neo-hippie from Brooklyn who spends every second he’s in Manhattan telling you how much it sucks compared to Brooklyn.  I let him do the blabbering because I like to let idiots blather so I will always have content to write about. 

Here’s a few things one quickly learns about Trevor.  He’s the kind of guy that wears an Obama pin every single day even though the election has been over for weeks, still so proud that he voted for him.  Oh, sure, he would never remain a fan of a band that suddenly became even marginally locally famous, but he’s really proud, thinks he really unique, sui generis, that he was one of seventy million to vote for Barack.  I ask him if he wants to get a drink with me.  Naw, not drinking now, he’s decided he should remain sober for the month, detox a bit for his cosmic health.  Then let’s have some mozzarella sticks laid out at that table in the corner.  Nope, he doesn’t eat “processed” foods either, which makes me now realize why he is such a lithe little pixie of a boy.  And with his intentionally scrubby vintage clothing he looked like a lank Tom Joad who had decided to go east, young man, instead of west.

In fact, Trevor doesn’t like much of anything.  Oh, but he’ll sure tell you everything he dislikes:  the nebulous idea of “corporations” (even though the dilettante of a musician is forced to work low-low-level for a Wall Street one), the nebulous idea of competition, sports, American studio movies, people with money, free market economics, and television (doesn’t even own one he proudly proclaims, though he must be a Marshall McCluhan fan cause later he talks about watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on his Macbook.)  When it comes down to it, Trevor is the kind of guy that adds absolutely nothing to a conversation, unable to generate anything interesting of his own, only able to snarkily, and poorly, critique things created by other people.  He’s like a blogger that is only able to reblog stuff from others with perhaps only a single boring caption added.

If he was a movie character, critics would deride him as being too wooden and predictable, saying that real life humans have much more depth than this.  Sadly, that is simply not the case.  In fact, I find Trevor to be such a detestable fucking loser–the kind of guy that thinks listing your sexuality status on Facebook as “swinger” as being the height of American comedy–that it makes me question if Angie is a loser for having once dated him (and still being good friends with him no less!) and whether I am a loser, quod erat demonstrandum, for now dating and liking her.  To make myself feel better, and not cause I completely believe it, I note to myself that college for the 28-year-old Angie was almost a decade ago and why judge her on her past actions, past boyfriends, I certainly wouldn’t want to be judged on my actions, my past relations.

That was dumb thinking, though, and I should have analyzed the situation more rigoriously.  As the party heated up and Angie started ignoring me in favor of her friends and Trevor, I do what I usually do when I’m bored at a party, wedding, or whatever, I headed to the bar.  I start gabbing with the bartender and find him to be a very cool guy.  We talk about the fucked up situation I am currently in.  He agrees with me that, yeah, it was dumb to come to the party and, yeah, both Angie and Trevor were dumb for feigning friendship and I should just leave them both to their own devices, that I’m better than that. 

Finally, he poured me a triple of Booker’s into a plastic cup and said, “Leave.”


“Yeah, I’ve seen this story a million times before.  You’re just wasting your time here.  Take this bourbon, forget about that girl, and go to a bar that actually has satellite TV working.  And when you get there, could you please text me the fucking football score?”

He was a wise sage and I had to agree with him.

As I discreetly left the bar, I noticed Angie and Trevor in the corner now close-talking.  They would probably be kissing soon.  Pathetic.  Those losers deserved each other.

As I walked back down on Central Park West, sipping my bourbon, headed to a nearby bar I knew had good television screens, I deleted Angie’s name from my phone.

Just a few minutes before I began writing this, I was as per usual dicking around on Facebook.  Angie had finally gotten around to posting an album from that weeks-ago party.  Unsurprisingly, I was not tagged in any of the photos.  After looking through them, I revisited Angie’s profile.  She was now listed as being in a relationship with Trevor.  I spit my Starbucks Christmas Blend** across the room as I cackled heartily.  Crisis averted.


*Sidelocks, curly black beard, tallit, and a wide-brimmed black hat.

**I am decidely not a Starbucks fan and I rarely get my coffee there, but I must say that their Christmas Blend is quite good if you’re like me and like bold punishing coffee that tickles once down your gullet immediately tickles your spine.

7 Responses to “Ballast Point Big Eye IPA”

  1. Anton says:

    I read the news today oh, boy
    About a lucky man who made the grade
    And though the news was rather sad
    Well, i just had to laugh

    And this was a great version of the aforementioned. Wish there was some video footage of this one!

  2. Aaron Goldfarb picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
    Lives in a dream
    Waits at the window, wearing the face that he keeps in a jar by the door
    Who is it for?

  3. amm002 says:

    The man. The myth. The Goldfarb.

  4. Aaron says:

    The Mamma Mia video proved I’m no myth. Though it did prove I’m a man, yes. And from the looks of that hair and nose, probably a Goldfarb.

  5. amm002 says:

    Your story reminds me of a blind date I went on. She talked about her ex-boyfriend the whole time, I had a couple beers, and I went to the bathroom (only to leave). You made a good move.

  6. Aaron says:

    Too many women and bars in NYC to deal with unenjoyable ones.

  7. GOSU10028 says:

    Well written. Aaron. Awesome! Next beer on me. Go cuse!

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