10.7% ABV from a bomber
One of my best friends Mookie, a frequent reader of the Vice Blog despite the fact that he has never had a sip of alcohol in his life, sent me an angry text on Christmas Eve:
“I am reading the Vice Blog on my phone and am trying to plow through the beer snobbery to get to a funny story. You gone soft on us?”
No, I haven’t gone flaccid and I don’t need any Cialis. Just nothing that particularly interesting has happened to me in the last week or two while I am simultaneously trying to unload a backlog of beer reviews before the New Year. Having said that, I’ll offer a brief anecdote from last week to tide you over, Mook.
Drinking heavily on Thursday after an office Christmas party, my friend Johnny and I decided to go the absolute diviest bar in the neighborhood. One of those Irish joints–Blarney Stone, Blarney Rock, Blarney Shit, I can never recall its exact name–where anything goes, with the exception of smiling or happiness. The kinda place that doesn’t even have mixers behind the bar, you best drink your liquor straight, perhaps on ice. The kinda place that would even be too dingy for Mickey Rourke’s character in “Barfly.”
Just as Johnny and I were entering the Blarney, the bartender was furiously ejecting four girls. Four fairly attractive and marginally put-together girls. Certainly not the kind of females that typically go to this joint. (The kind that do go usually need to put two barstools together to create a super-stool to sit their wide loads on. The kinda lasses that bring in their own pizza pies to the bar. The kinda women that order entire pitchers for themselves. Though I ain’t hating.)
When the Irish barkeep returned I asked him what had happened. His still seething response of which I will not try to replicate the cadence of?
“So I picked up one of those girls and took her downstairs to the basement to fuck her. Since I’m the only bartender tonight, I told her friends to serve themselves while I was gone. When I returned they had plowed through tons of top shelf bottles!”
I only wish I’d arrived at the bar a half hour earlier. No, not to pick up the slut before him for a quick downstairs romp, but rather to be left to my own devices and bottles of Jameson Gold.
“Movie and some Chinese food?” is what every non-Jew thinks he is being highly comical in asking a Chosen Person about their Christmas day plans. It’s the “Check please!” joke of the holidays. In stereotypes there are some truths though. I do indeed spend Christmas at the movies–always–because, shockingly, even in Manhattan, almost everything is closed. After a movie or two I usually grab a steak and then proceed to get loaded.
Today’s (first) libation was Black Ops. I’d been anxiously awaiting this beer. Since Brooklyn Brewery refused to announce an exact release date for it, I was forced to call the Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room literally every single day from the Friday after Thanksgiving until just a week ago when the fed up employees were finally able to change their answer to my question of “Has Black Ops arrived?” from “Are you the guy that keeps fucking calling every day?” to “Yes, it is finally here!!!”
I expected nothing short of a masterpiece from Black Ops and indeed it is. I’ve been having lots of bourbon-barreled beers recently, the world class Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout just two days ago in fact, so I was in perfect shape to compare this one to several other greats.
Aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat (no clue what that means), and re-fermented with Champagne yeast with an always seductive cork sitting atop it. A filthy black pour that instantly stained the sides of my glass. A deliciously boozy aroma of chocolate, vanilla, and much roasted coffee. The oaked bourbon sensations absolutely pummeled my tongue. I half-expected to piss stout after finishing this bottle. A great beer that I felt could have used just a tad more sweetness, though that is the most mild of gripes.
This is a beaut, but I’d say it still loses by the smallest of margins in a photo finish to Bourbon County which remains the king of bourbon-barreled stouts.
(Oh, one final note, I really didn’t think this tasted like Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout at all, though I’d like to do a side-by-side comparison to be sure. I had thought that Black OPS was simply a bourbon-barreled version of that one but now I believe this is a completely different stout. Though I may be wrong.)