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Archive for January, 2009

Allagash Curieux (2008)

January 30th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Allagash, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Tripel

11% ABV (March 2008 release)

BBW

The night had begun so innocuously.  Freddie, Maz, and I sat around Maz’s Gramercy apartment having a few quality beers and catching up before heading to the Bowery area for some Thai food.  After dinner we walked the neighborhood looking for any interesting place to drink at, finding none.  Then, I recalled a nearby bar I had recently read about, the semi-iconic Remote Lounge.

Here’s the lounge’s concept:  every single table at Remote has a television monitor plus buttons that give the table’s drinkers the ability to personally control one of the sixty surveillance cameras set up throughout the space, panning and scanning them, zooming in and zooming out, and thus “spying” on other patrons in the bar.  See someone you like and you can buzz them, alert them, even try to get them to pick up the phone at their table and speak to you for some childish flirting.

We paid the $10 cover and entered to find a pretty dead bar.  Didn’t matter as we had a blast for about a half hour as we futzed around with the cameras and flirted with the only other group of people in the bar, some girls actually sitting at the table across from us–girls we could easily just talk to as opposed to using the overly complex camera and phone system.

By 11:00 we were getting a little irked.  We’d paid the cover and shit wasn’t happening.  Then, slowly but surely, women starting funneling in.  Lots of them.  Hot women, skanky women, semi-clad women.  What the hell was going on?  Soon, the entire upstairs of Remote was packed, several hundred women getting wasted and dancing lasciviously with each other, and us three perverts using the camera controls to zoom in on their sexiness.

“Sorry fellas, you can’t stay up here.”

Huh?

The beefy bouncer informed us we had to go downstairs.  This was a private party.

“We can’t stay?”

“Not unless you guys are lesbians.  This is a lesbian singles mixer.  Downstairs, boys.”

And thus we were shuffled to the downstairs bar where we again found ourselves alone with our drinks.  But at least we had the camera controls to monitor the upstairs lesbian party which was getting quite randy, many of the girls going topless if not more, climbing on tables and the bar, bumping and grinding, pouring water all over themselves and the others.  It was a wild party and all we could do was watch it via grainy surveillance cameras.

Nevertheless, we tried our damnedest to flirt with the lesbians upstairs.  We zoomed in on them, encouraged them to use their cameras to look at us.  We scribbled notes on cocktail napkins and held them up to the downstair’s surveillance cameras, trying to communicate with the lesbians in any way possible.  Rude, drunken notes:

“We’re lesbians too.”

“Surely some of you guys are bi???”

“I can scissor-kiss just as well as any of you.”

Eventually, we’d angered the lesbians and they banded together, gathering like a mob posing for a picture, standing in front of the most prominent camera and giving the three of us the finger, before turning around and mooning us, before all the upstairs cameras went to static.  They had clearly told the manager to not let three heterosexual idiots ruin their fun.

“Now what?”

Again, we were alone and bored.

Maz, never much of a night-owl, wanted to leave.

I insisted he stay til at least midnight.  Why?  Because the downstair’s bar had huge sign plastered everywhere:

“TONIGHT!!!!  MIDNIGHT!!!!  BBW PARTY!!!!”

“What the fuck is a BBW party?”

“I have no clue, but we might as well find out.”

We continued tippling beers and soon enough some others started filtering into the downstairs bar.

I was drunk so my Sherlockian skills weren’t exactly at their strongest, but after a while I started noticing something:  “Say, am I crazy or is everyone but us black?”

Indeed, the entire downstairs bar had become African-American.  Sophisticated New York buppies.

Then, midnight struck, and a Lil John-looking pimp took the stage:

“Are you niggas ready for some BBW?!”

Cheers.

“I said, are you ready for some BBW stylee?!”

Louder.

And then, a half dozen of the most obese, gigantic black women took the stage and began droppin’ it like it’s hot.  The women, clad in thongs and lingerie had moves, putting their palms on the floor and shaking their giant Jell-O asses in the air and toward the crowd.  The men were going absolutely apeshit.

I looked around the bar.  BBW.  BBW.   BBW.

“OH MY GOD!”

I turned to Freddie and Maz.

“BBW?  Big.  Black.  Women!!!”

And the skinny men that fucking love them.

Lesbians upstairs, Big Black Women downstairs, buppies bumping around us, and three nerdy white guys sipping their beers.  Truly a night to remember.  We stayed and got steadily drunker as the surreal scene continued around us.

I wish this story had a splendid denouement that involved me getting on stage and tripping the lights fantastic with some 500 pound Nell Carter, but not all stories have great endings and we existed as nothing more than passive observers that night.

NOTE:  Remote Lounge is now, unfortunately, out of business for good, replaced by some rock joint.  Shame really.

Allagash Curieux

Just recently I had the newest release of Curieux, Allagash’s Jim Beam-barreled tripel.  I’d had this ages ago and since then had hailed it as one of my all-time favorite beers, though this batch wasn’t quite as great as I recalled.  A bit less bourbony and flavorful, the vanilla and coconut characteristics not shining through quite as much.  Perhaps this one is best drank a little more aged.  I think it’s slightly below Interlude in the Allagash family, but, whatever the case, it is still another outstanding brew from the boys up in Portland, Maine.

A

Rising Moon Spring Ale

January 28th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 10 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Coors, Country: America, Grade: F regular, Style: Amber Ale

5.4% ABV

To whom it may concern:

I’ve had a pretty good life.  Stellar health, insane handsomeness, an academic accolade or two, two wildly successful blogs, I’ve kissed a few girls (heck, kissed a few guys after Syracuse won the 2003 title), and once I was even kinda hit on by a drunken Kyra Sedgwick before Kevin Bacon arrived and whisked her into a cab.  I don’t have much to complain about.  But the weather outside is miserable, I’m turning 30 in thirteen day, and I just can’t take this cruel world any more.

To off myself I pour a glass of the shitty faux-microbrewery Blue Moon’s spring offering Rising Sun.  My friend, the late Taco Town Dave tipped me off to the poison-like qualities of this beer before it caused his ultimate demise just last weekend.  RIP TTD.

The smell is pungent, like one of those plastic squeeze bottle of fake lemon and lime juice.  No, even worst than that.  It’s downright zesty, like if one were to drink that powdered lemon dish detergent.  I recall in first grade when, to try and get her students excited (!) about learning to read, my teacher told us a s’posed-to-be apocryphal story about the adult illiterate who bought dish detergent thinking it was lemonade powder due to the lemon picture on the box.  That woman died.  Lesson:  if only she’d learned how fun reading is.  Teachers have such dumb teaching strategies.

I’m started to think if that illiterate really existed she had actually just bought Rising Sun.  I’m sure the autopsy couldn’t tell a difference.  The findings would probably be inconclusive.  Did she drink lemon dish detergent or Rising Sun?  My motor senses are slowing down, the poison quickly coarsing through my veins, affecting my CNS.  I’m typing with just my pinkie, the only appendage still with a range of motion.

I have about half the beer down.  My breath is gonna reek when they find my body.  Smells of cheap malts and foil.  I feel like I have ate a tin can.  If my leg muscles hadn’t paralysised I would walk to the bathroom and do a Scope gargle.

This is not a pleasant way to die.  I should have jumped off the GW Bridge, leapt in front of the A train, insulted Al Sharpton, anything else.  Getting this whole beer down is worse than waterboarding.  It’s like my uvula is being waterboarded by citric acid.  President Obama, please send this beer to Gitmo.  I hear there is some space now.

Four sips left.  My vision’s getting blurry.  Three sips.  I can feel my liver is failing.  Two more.  My heart is slowing as if I’m in a waking coma.  One.  My brain function is Teri Schiavo-ing…

Goodbye cruel world.  Hit “publish.”

Yrs,

AMG (1979-2009)

F

Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

January 26th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie d'Achouffe, Country: Belgium, Grade: A regular, Style: IPA

9% ABV from a bomber

That Guy

“A co-worker of mine is coming out to meet us.”

“Oh, that’s cool.”

“No.  It isn’t.  He’s a huge tool.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“I guarantee it won’t.  Just you wait.”

“Then why’d you invite him?”

“I didn’t.  Jimmy invited himself.”

Stanton and I were splitting a bomber of the glorious Houblon Chouffe before we headed out on the town.  A Belgian IPA somewhat similar to the best of the style our country has to offer.  Very hoppy with a nice bite, and a frothiness like an Orange Julius.  Smooth, creamy, and delicious.

Afterward, we headed to a no-frills midtown pub to further wet our whistles.  When it’s just us two, Stanton and I are pretty low-key bar flies, quietly tippling pint after pint while discussing the bullshit of the world.  Our peace was about to be destroyed by a force of nature the likes of which I had never seen before.

“Why don’t you pussies have a real drink?”

I turned to see a giant mouth of smiling horse teeth.  Jimmy’s.  His chompers looked like they may have been wooden or, at the least, synthetic.  Shiny, streamlined like the chrome of a ‘64 Olds, an almost ultraviolet tint like those cool lamps some bars have to see a hidden stamp on your hand.  He arrived dressed to the…well what’s the opposite of “the nines?”  A silk dress shirt adorned with a lot of purples and forest greens swirling together in a vomitous array.   The top rakishly unbuttoned down to his sternum displaying a ghostly pale bird chest paradoxically with flappy man boobs and curlicues of chest hair more befitting the pubis.  The shirt was tautly tucked into navy blue chinos from either Dockers or Haggar.  They were clearly “wrinkle-free” and “stain-free” if those advertisements are to be believed.  A braided belt, natch.  Cheap DSW shoe warehouse wingtips so scuffed they looked like he had played a full rugby season in them.  And his hair do, oh his hair do.  Coarse black wires “butt-parted” down the middle and Aquanetted firmly to his skull, the around-the-ears and neck area shaved to the follicle, making Jimmy look like a moron wearing a retard hair helmet.

“Hey Jimmy, this is Aaron.”

“Nice to meet you dude, man there are no bitches in this place at all!  Total sausage fest!  Total sausage, huh dude?”

As Jimmy hopped and bopped like a coked-out “Roxbury Guy,” checking out the scene, I askanced my eyes toward Stanton.  He was rolling his.

“Where’s the fucking bartender?  I need to get my drink on.”

Jimmy was one of those guys that can’t even be caricatured.  Their core, their mere existence, is one of satire.  Ever see a movie that has a douchebag tool stock character?  And you go, “Yeah, true, that character was funny, but he wasn’t real!  People like that don’t really exist.”  Oh yes they do, friend-o.  They are Jimmy, a one man cottage industry of “Did he really say that?” catch phrases you will be repeating the rest of your life.

The attractive and busty female bartender came over to serve Jimmy.  He did a histrionic eye-pop ogle at her cleavage before holding out his hand, taking her’s, and doing a cringe-worthy kiss on the back of it.

“Hey sweetheart, I’m Jimmy, good to meetcha.  My pussy friends are done drinking beer for the night.  We want some ‘real’ drinks.  Three rum and Cokes.  Easy on the Coke, ha ha, catch my drift?”

The bartender scooted away biting her tongue to try and not laugh. This was getting borderline embarrassing as you are nothing if not the company you keep, but Jimmy had barely scratched the surface.  As she returned with the $18 round Jimmy snapped a twenty on the bar, firmly looking her in the eyes as if he had given her a hyoooooge tip.

“And keep ‘em coming, toots.”

Jimmy turned to us.

“Let’s shoot some stick.”

“Stick?”

Jimmy rolled his eyes like “Who are these fucking hayseeds that don’t know this popular 21st century argot?”

“Pool?  Billiards?”

“Oh, I guess.  I don’t really like pool that much but whatev–”

“Great.”

Jimmy was already at the table furiously chalking his cue as if he knew what he was doing.  He obviously didn’t as upon finishing the chalking he “blew out” the point as if he was the Sundance Kid cooling down his six-shooter, a sure sign of an amateur pool shark.

“What should we play boys?  Eight ball?  Nine ball?  Straight?  One pocket?  Bank?  Three-rail?”

“I think eight ball will be fine.”

“Ha.  Amateurs.  OK, that’s cool.  I usually play straight but this table looks a little…”

Jimmy put his stick on the table and rolled it, keeping his eye at table level like a jeweler examining a diamond.

“Yeah, this table’s a little crooked and certainly not tournament size, but, hey, play with what you got.  So, wanna make it interesting?”

“Sure.”‘

Stanton pulled out his wallet, “Dollar a ball, Five a game?”

Jimmy started uproariously laughing.  “I said ‘interesting.’  I was thinking more like…”

He did a Dr. Evil smirk.

“Five thousand dollars.”

Stanton and I started cracking up.

“Oh, you guys can’t afford that?  Pathetic.”

Stanton glared at Jimmy, “And you can?  You have the exact same job as me.  And actually, I know you make even less than me.”

“I invest well and I’m a good gambler, what can I say?  Shit, I just lost $100,000 last weekend playing darts with Bon Jovi in AC.  No big deal.  You win some you lose some.  I’m up like…”

He stared at the ceiling, “counting” in his head.

“…half a mill for the year.”

Stanton and I burst into even heartier laughter.  Jimmy didn’t know he was being mocked.  The game got under way at the dollar-a-ball bet and I won.  I’m not good at pool but Jimmy was terrible.  Buffoonishly bad.  After losing, Jimmy started acting like John McEnroe after a bad line call, throwing shit and raising a ruckus.  He even took his cue and snapped it over his knee, splitting it in two which I must admit was actually kinda impressive.  At the time though I was pissed because I like the bar we were in and if any one had saw it we were clearly going to get 86ed for life.

Jimmy wasn’t concerned though as he cavalierly opened the back door and threw the two cue pieces into the alley.  We headed back to the bar where amazingly no one had noticed the scene at the pool table.

“Let’s have some music.”

Jimmy fumbled in his pocket, coming up empty.

“Any one got some quarters?”

We were now openly mocking Jimmy.  “The man with ‘half a mil’ in the bank doesn’t have a measly quarter?”

“First of all, I don’t have ‘half a mil’ in net worth, it’s actually a ton more than that.  Most of my money is tied up in various investments.  What’s your guy’s portfolios look like?  I bet you don’t own any stock at all, do you?  Time to grow up, fellas.”

I handed Jimmy a few quarters and he headed to the juke box giving Stanton and I time to collude.

“Is that guy for fucking real?”

Stanton could only shake his head, so humiliated.

“Imagine working ten hours a day with him.”

“MMMMMMMMMMMMMYYY name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid Rock!”

We turned to see Jimmy furiously air-guitaring after having just ordered Kid Rock’s “Bawitdaba.”  It was such an obvious order, such a predictable music selection, Jimmy was not only meeting all my expectations but he was exceeding them.  I was in awe at the mere magnitude of his magnificent foolishness.

He air-guitar boot-scooted around the bar, using moves akin to those of Marty McFly when he played the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.  By now, the whole bar was staring at Jimmy as he tried to get women to rise from their seats and dance with him.  None obliged.

Afterward, Jimmy returned to his seat between me and Stanton, the two of us too stupefied to even speak.

“We got to kick this party up a notch, boys.  I’m gonna buy a shot for every female in the bar.  Hey!”

Jimmy started snapping his fingers at the bartender like he was Frank Sinatra summoning his minions.

I looked at Stanton, our eyes both saying, “He’s not really gonna do this is he?”

The bartender arrived.  “I’d like to buy a drink for every lady in the bar.”

The bartender laughed.  “Seriously?”

“Absolutely.  ‘Ladies choice.’  Whatever they like.  Price is not an issue.”

“Ooooooookay, but it could get expensive.”

Jimmy reached in his back pocket and like a swashbuckler unsheaths his sword, he whipped out an American Express Blue.*

“I assume you take American Express…Blue?”

The bartender eyeballed a head count of the women in the bar.  Stanton and I did too.  We counted about fifty.  Average drink six bucks, this was gonna run Jimmy a lot.

As the bartender sucked it up and walked around the bar explaining to every woman in attendance–most of whom were with men of course–what was going on, Jimmy stood self-satisfied with his hands on his hips like Superman, smiling his big smile as he bobbed his head to the music, swiveling around to examine the scene around him.

“I’m gonna have to fight off the pussy with a stick after this!”

If only we could have heard the conversation the bartender was having with each woman.  I’d imagine it went something like this:

“See over my shoulder, that ugly goofball with the big teeth?  Yeah?  Well, this may sound weird but he wants to buy you a drink.  Oh, no, he’s not hitting on you, not exactly, he’s buying a drink for every female here from that old lady in the corner to even all the betrothed.”

After each lengthy explanation you could see the look in the girls’ eyes, a look of confusion followed by a shrug and a “Well, I guess I have nothing to lose” nod of agreement.  Beers, vodka tonics, red wines, and shots started quickly being dispensed for all.

I was becoming curious.  “Jimmy, are you going to like stand on the bar and toast all the women simultaneously once they have their drinks?  Shouldn’t you at least make your presence known to all?”

Jimmy snorted at me with disdain.  “Get real.  Only a douchebag would do that.”

He gave an over the shoulder “Do you believe this guy” thumb point at me, thinking Stanton was clearly in his corner.

By now every woman had her drink and nothing had happened.  Nothing.  Jimmy was still bobbing his head, readying his stick to fight off the pussy with.  Finally after like ten minutes an average woman came over.

“Are you the guy that bought all the drinks?”

Jimmy smiled coyly and winked at her.

“Oh.  Well thanks.  That was nice.”

She left the bar with her boyfriend.

And that was it.  The only girl that even spoke to him.

The bartender tapped Jimmy on his shoulder and handed him the leatherbound bill folder.  He flapped it open:  $351.

For just a split second I saw Jimmy’s eyes bulge, his brow sweat, and his mandible fall to the floor.  But he quickly recouped and dismissively tacked on a $100 tip and celebrity scribble of an autograph.

“Big deal.  I spend that much in five minutes when I’m partying in Vegas.”

You could see that he clearly didn’t expect to spend that much money and probably didn’t even have it.

“This place fucking sucks any ways and the women are ugly bitches.  I’m calling my driver.”

He pulled out a business card for some livery service and punched some numbers into his cell.

“Takes me all the way home to Clifton for only ten bucks.”

And ten minutes later Jimmy was gone.  A hurricane of hilarity.  It had felt like only ten minutes but he had actually been in my life for about three hours.  I will never forget meeting him.  How many people can you say that about?

Stanton told me the next day that–en route to his mother’s house in Clifton where he still lives–Jimmy threw up in “his” driver’s car.  Oh, and was charged $75.

A

*No annual fee, not particularly hard to own if you are older than, say, 18 years of age.

Bachelor Tip:  Don’t be a tool, get bar stools that exude subtle confidence and simple modern design.

This helpful hint is provided by All Barstools.

Captain Lawrence Nor’Easter (3rd batch, 2008)

January 25th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Captain Lawrence, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

12% ABV from a bomber

Legend has it that noted Southern writer and drunkard William Faulkner would wake up most mornings after a night of heavy drinking certain that he had figured out the meaning of life the previous night.  Only problem was, now sober, he couldn’t remember what exactly he had realized while drunk.  Thus, the next night as he sat home imbibing alone he made sure to have a note pad at his side.  And, the next morning when he awoke prone on the floor, his head throbbing, a smile crossed his face as he stood up and promptly walked to his desk to find his notepad, which had scrawled on it in slurred handwriting his one brilliant thought from the previous evening:

“I’m drunk.”

I think we’ve all had great ideas while wasted only to realize they were simply great “ideas” once sobered up.  Tonight I had several offers for fun–a “Tiger Woods” Wii tournament in crazy ass Queens, some wine-drinking with a girl I just met down in the East Village–but, with the frigid temperatures and a desire for tranquility, I’ve decided to sit home drinking alone.

Luckily, I made a nice score today, finding Captain Lawrence’s semi-rare Nor’Easter at the Bowery Beer Room.  I was most excited as I had thought this limited quantity beer (only 225 cases, though, sadly, this beer “expert” still doesn’t know how many bombers are exactly in a case (help?)) was only available up at the Captain Lawrence Brewery in Pleasantville, New York and had already sold out even.

So, here’s the deal for this post, I’m gonna live blog as I get drunker and drunker throughout the evening.  Now, I don’t believe alcohol improves one’s writing–nor did Faulkner for that matter, he never wrote while drunk–but it should nevertheless make for an avant garde post here at the least.  Or, rather, maybe a really shitty post.  But artists have to try new things.  If I write honestly–and I will, never even correcting the drunken errors that will deserve (sic)s in the morning–it could get downright “The Truman Show” embarrassing as I’m not exactly a normal person when I drink at home alone.  It won’t be an exact science because–presumably–the fact that I am writing my own Saturday night ethnography will perhaps prevent me from keeping it 100% real, you know like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, you can’t observe something without changing it, like why reality TV innately can never be real.  Then again, the drunker you get the less self-aware you get, so who knows?

And with that, let’s begin, here at 10:06 P.M. as I pop the top on the Nor’Easter.  It should really have a “cork and cage” top, as would befit such a rare, high-quality beer as this one.  Pours quite dark, almost black with a maroon gleam to it.  Interesting taste.  The bottle labels it a winter warmer, noting it is an ale brewed with elderberries and aged in bourbon barrels.  I have no fucking clue what an elderberry is, sounds like it might be in the same genus as the snozzberry.

10:15 PM, I should note the conditions I’m dealing with.  Just on the positive end of recovery after a week-long cold.  My apartment is fucking freezing and I have a space heater on the floor pointed right at my balls.  Oh, and my internet is down for some reason forcing me to steal the linksys WiFi (”pixienet”) from the old bag that lives below me.  And I really have no plans for the evening, no movies or TV shows to catch up on, nothing to read or write, no correspondence to be made, nothing.  I’ll let the alcohol pave my way, shape my evening.  Currently, I’m just drinking and “watching” channel 628 on my cable.  That’s actually a golden oldies radio station that plays a lot of songs that most people my age have never heard of and would probably hate if they had heard them but which I inexplicably love and know every single lyric to, stuff like “Creeque Alley,” “The Book of Love,” “Happy Together,”* and “Lightening Strikes” by the inimitable Lou Christie.

10:40, with nothing on television except for deplorable Dane Cook comedy specials, The Winter X Games and Australian Open, and “Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins,” I’m forced to throw in the only Netflix I have sitting around the house, a somewhat acclaimed independent Argentinian film from last year, “XXY.”  Here’s the synopsis:  “Ines Efrom plays Alex, a 15-year-old hermaphrodite in this compelling tale.”  Let it never be said I’m not an open-minded guy.  I saw “Milk” last night, never would have guessed that would end up being only the second most “gay” film I would see this weekend.**

10:45, OK, “XXY” is incredibly artsy and subtitled.  Not a problem, typically, I love films like that as I am indeed a cineaste, but drunk I can’t understand anything so sophisticated and my reading prowess becomes too slow to keep up with the words on screen.  Oh, yes, I have somehow become quite buzzed.  I’m shocked the Nor’Easter is 12% as it goes down so smooth, but the results with less than a half bottle finished are evidence enough.

11:04, watching the Shane Mosley fight end, I’ve decided the Nor’Easter is quite good.  Thinner mouthfeel than I’d like, it actually goes down like a wine, maybe like a wild ale, and I do feel like I can taste a little wild yeast in there which adds to the intrigue of the beer.  It’s yet another unique offering from Captain Lawrence.  I’m starting to feel like they are one of the rare breweries–along with, say, Dogfish Head, Stone, and Allagash–that make beers so sui generis that from taste alone I can place exactly where they come from.  Quite a tribute to them.  I guess I’d like the Nor’Easter to be more bourbon-y but don’t listen to me, I like everything more bourbon-y.  Hell, maybe I should scrap beer and just make bourbon my daily drink, who am I kidding?

11:05, my stolen WiFi is only connecting at three out of five bars, making it too slow to look at porn.  Drag, isn’t it.***

11:15, I go to the bathroom to piss.  Heading out I glance at the mirror and notice my sideburns don’t see to be even.  I spend about ten minutes continually taking a “little off” each side trying to make them match.  Instead I just fuck them up more and make them a lot higher than I’d like.  God, I’m gonna look like a retard tomorrow.

11:16, I decide to call up some “Summer Heights High” on HBO On Demand.  You ever seen it?  A very funny Australian show, though not quite as genius as some people claim.  I highly recommend it though.  Puck you.  Getting tipsy far more rapidly than I expected or wanted to.  I’m eating some cheese and crackers to sop some of it up.  More specificially Australian cheddar from the Fairway Market.  Sublime!  Is their anything the Aussies are good at?  Eh, relief pitching I guess****.

11:17, Jesus, my fucking HBO On Demand cuts out too!  What the fuck, Time Warner?!  Luckily the best episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is currently on regular HBO:  “Krazee–Eyez Killa!”

11:45, I just did one-hundred drunken push-ups.  Some time ago I might have been embarrassed to reveal to you that, for whatever reason, I enjoy doing push-ups and free weight curls when I’m toasted, but in recent months I’ve learned from other male friends that they too enjoy that pasttime.  How bizarre!  Men are so weird, right?  I’ve thought long and hard about why I enjoy doing push-ups whilst drunk and I’ve come to two possible conclusions:

1.  When one is drinking home alone they are in a–somewhat–self-loathing state and they can’t deny the evidence that they are injesting hundreds if not thousands of liquid calories making them, perhaps naively, think, “Hmmm…I should probably at least do something to counteract this, fat ass!”

2.  It’s so fucking easy to do push-ups and lift weights while drunk as your pain threshold becomes astronomical.  Sober, even pumping out fifty in a row is…well, a workout.  But drunk, son, I can throw down one-hundred in a row, no problem.

12:01-12:09, wine-drinking girl calls me.  I don’t answer.  Not cause I’m asshole but because I never answer my phone no matter who calls.  Two minutes later she texts me:

“come over ;)”

“it’s too cold.  you can come to me if you want.”

“r u drunk?”

“not exactly.  but you are.  so don’t be a hypocrite.  and quit using “r” and “u” and emoticons in texts to me.”

Radio silence.

12:15, I realize I could probably be hooking up post-haste if I wasn’t such an asshole.  I should probably just accept that the women I date will write in what is almost a completely different language from what I know.  I decided recently that I’m too immature to date women my age so I started pretty much exclusively dating women born in the mid-1980s and higher.  “And worse” you might say if you are a woman my age.  But cut me some slack, they like what I like:  drinking, being attractive, not getting married, not having kids, and not moving to the sticks.  So, heck, I guess I should allow them to write to me like retards.  Settled.  My new philosophy starts tomorrow.  I shudder to think about the first 1990s girl I date.  Will I need a translator with me at all times?!

12:16, another text from her:

“YOU ARE an asshole.”

(Nothing I didn’t know.)

Aaron Goldfarb, influencing modern grammer more than Strunk and White.

So, I guess I need a new 1980s girlfriend now.  Any volunteers?  Please fax me your resume.

12:20, you ever have the strange remembrance come to your head of some girl (or guy) you had a one-night stand with years ago?  You knew them for all of, say, twelve hours, eight of which you were either drunk and/or sleeping, yet you’ve never forgotten them.  Not cause they were necessarily interesting or great in bed or even because they did something so oddball that you use it as fodder for bar stories for the rest of your life, but rather because…well who knows?  Any how, I thought of one of those girls and I decided to look her up on Facebook.  She’s more attractive than I recall.  Looks like she lives in San Francisco now.  I can’t tell whether she is still single.  I wonder if she has ever looked me up.

12:22, my friend Derek texts to tell me he’s drinking some Distiller’s Masterpiece.  I am so fucking jealous.  You have no clue what that is, do you?

12:35, I’ve finally finished the bottle and, I gotta say, I liked Nor’Easter better the more and more I drank it.  Just like Captain Lawrence’s Cuvee de Castleton this is a very complex, sophisticated beer.  So glad to have tried it.  Might be my record holder for the longest duration I’ve spent on a single bomber, clocking in at about the same time as a Greg Maddox complete game.

1:01, hmmmm, now what to do?  I’m not that tired but I do have a busy day tomorrow.*****  I’d like another drink but here’s the problem when you’re a beer connesseur:  I don’t have a Coors Light in my fridge.  And, that’s, truthfully, what I need now.  All I got in my fridge are 9% stouts and asskicking barley wines and highly esteemed beers I would never want to drink while so lit up.  So I’m screwed.  I’m not going to waste any good beer and even if I was willing too I would have to spend another hour or two to drink them and get incredibly hammered in the process.

I guess I’ll get in bed now and watch something stupid on E! or MTV.  I’ve had a nice night.  Don’t let anyone tell ya you can’t have fun alone.  Or drink alone.  I haven’t figured out any secrets to the universe, I haven’t figured out the meaning of life, either, but, to quote Faulkner:

“I’m drunk.”

A

*I chuckle every time the great “Happy Together” plays and the line, “If I should call you up, invest a dime,” thinking how precious it is that people used to use pay phones.  Oh, and a call was only ten fucking cents too!

**Was that offensive?  If so, let me apologize.

***Name the famous pop culture reference.

****Lookin’ at your Graham Lloyd.  Though you were great in bench clearing brawls.

*****Of drinking and watching sports, yes.

Dogfish Head Immort Ale

January 23rd, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Dogfish Head, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Strong Ale

11% ABV

I hate bar crawls.  So lame.  I know that’s going against conventional drunkard wisdom but I just don’t like them.  A bunch of fat guys and ugly girls that never drink decide to make some t-shirts on Zazzle or at Kinko’s, mob together around a nebulous idea or celebration, say “Woohoo!” a lot, and pretend they are having a caaaaaaaaaaaa-razy time on a Sunday afternoon while the rest of us are just trying to have our steak and eggs and watch some college hoops.  Then, by the third or fourth bar, one guy is passed out in the corner, some chick has pissed her pants, and two friends are making out in a booth.  Boring.  That’s why I invented something truly interesting:

The 86ed Bar Crawl

Here’s how it works:  One may not head to the next bar until they have been ejected from the previous bar.

Sounds simple?  It’s not.  Especially when I list a few things you are NOT allowed to do.

1.  Use curse words or epithets — That’s too easy.  Any one can just throw out a few n-words or f-bombs or…cunts, and get tossed.  So have some creativity.  Say things that sound like curse words.  Like niggardly.  Dumb people think that’s an offensive word when it just means stingy or miserly.  Tell the black barkeep, “Jeez, pal, quit being so niggardly with your bourbon pours.  You only gave me like two fingers worth!”  You’ll be on your ass on the curbside in no time.

2.  Intentionally throw something or break something — As some one who likes to do these things when I am lit up, I will tell you that they often quickly lead to ejections.  For some reason, when I’m wasted I find it hysterical to “make it rain” using bar napkins or tiny red straws, grabbing an entire stack and throwing them in the air.  Yes, this is why no one likes me, especially service industry professionals.  You can however, legally, accidentally, drop your pint glass a time or two, but I will note that that action will actually not lead to many tossings and just causes a mess which will make you feel bad when you see the lonely bar back getting the mop out.

3.  Physically altercate someone — Everyone knows the easiest way to get thrown out of any establishment — bars, sporting venues, Synagogue — is by coming to blows with another human or employee or the Rabbi, so that is why fighting is simply not allowed.

4.  Actively try to goad someone into physically altercating you — This is a debatable issue but I don’t think it’s fair to get in some one’s face — especially a musclebound Red Bulled-up meathead — and encourage them to slug you.  Hitting on their girl, making fun of their sleeveless T and orangey fake tan, and slyly lampooning their drink choice (”Huh, you usually don’t see men order Sex on the Beach shots.”) is perfectly acceptable though.

5.  Tip poorly – Just not fair to the bartender or waiter.  Tipping with change or weird coinage (a buffalo penny?) is probably not verboten but it is pretty uncouth.  Then again, most all is fair in love, war, and the 86ed bar crawl.

So there you have it, your guidelines for the 86ed Bar Crawl.  Now venture out there, impressionable youngsters, and have some fun with it.  How many bars do you think you can get 86ed from in a night?  As for me, I do an ad hoc 86ed bar crawl nearly every time I go out drinking.  I think my one-night “record” is four establishments.  I really need to grow up.

How would you get ejected from each venue during an 86ed bar crawl?

Immort Ale

I would never claim to have tried every Dogfish Head beer, they make so goddamn many I could literally have a Vice Blog devoted solely to that brewery, but I thought I had at least heard of all their offerings.  Apparently not so as I was a bit excited to spy this on the shelves.  Arguably my favorite brewery, I never miss a chance to try another of their inventive offerings.  This was quite good, though not transcendent by any means.  It’s a very nice strong ale accented with juniper berries, vanilla, and maple syrup which gives it just a hint of sweetness that makes it feel almost like a strong ale/barley wine hybrid.  DFH claims it is oak barrel aged but I didn’t detect those tastes.  Very good.

A-

“On your deathbed, it’s your virtues, not your vices, that you’ll resent.”

(Author unknown.  I was cleaning up some papers just this morning and found this written in one of my notebooks.  But who said it?  Me?!)

Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 30 Reserve

January 21st, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 61 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Harviestoun, Country: United Kingdom, Grade: A-, Style: Old Ale

8% ABV handsomely bottled

She was so hot.  And I was on my game.  I’d make a joke, she’d laugh.  Uproariously.  I’d make a witty observation.  She’d nod in agreement.  “So true.”  She was impressed with me!  Both my present lot in life and my dreams for the future.  I was instantly in love with her.  We made plans to have our first date on Friday.  Sex was inferred.  Lots of it.  She went to the bar’s bathroom.

“Why are you talking to that disgusting pig?”

Sal butted in.   My other friends were mocking me.

“What are you talking about?  That girl’s way attractive.”

“Not at all. She’s like a 4 out of 10.”

BULLSHIT.

I thought my friends were getting my goat.  Fucking with me.  And who says that they have good taste?  They drink shitty macro beers and are disgusted by anything that actually has hops in it.  Why should their thoughts on women be any more than unsophisticated? I was certain the new love of my laugh was gorgeous.

A girl she was with started to dry heave in the bathroom so they had to split.  I spent all the next day fantasizing about her, even though I couldn’t picture her and didn’t even recall her name.

She finally Facebook friended me Thursday night.  And my friends were indeed wrong.  She wasn’t a 4 out of 10. 

She was like a 2.

“And those are good pictures of her,” my asshole of a friend chipped in, without me even asking.

Oh, did I mention I was like twenty beers deep on Wednesday?

I had started drinking at 5:00 PM with some quite hefty brews, uncorking a bottle of the Ola Dubh Special 30 year. We all know my thoughts on beers that are corked, foil-wrapped, boxed, and/or barrel-aged (in this case in Scotch) so this was certain to be a winner. And indeed it was. Scotchy, boozy, though still quite drinkable with a smooth creaminess and nice mouthfeel. A very good brew.

Obviously, I had to make up a lie and back out of our scheduled date.

I told this story to another friend on Saturday and he gave me an incredible pearl of wisdom:

If you are incredibly drunk and a girl is still seemingly into you, then she is probably disgusting.

I thought back to my interactions with the girl on the night in question and I began to have some flashbacks.

I remembered some of the jokes I was making. Cringe-worthingly unfunny. I recalled some of the antics I pulled. Just really fucking annoying. I harkened back to the topics I discussed with her. Embarrassingly self-indulgent and dumb.

Now I understood why my friends did not want to deal with me that night! And, I also understood why the girl did. She wasn’t amused by me. Nor was she impressed. And she certainly didn’t find me funny. She was simply sucking it up and letting me act like a drunk asshole for the plain and simple fact that I was…a man. A man actually talking to her, hitting on her, for once. No attractive woman–fuck, no average-looking woman–would have put up with my garbage. This girl was forced to.

Unfortunately for her, I actually have standards–quite brutal standards–when I’m sober, so obviously she had no chance with me by the next day. Women, if you really want me and you’re ugly, you better find me on a wasted night and seize the day then lest you never get another shot.

Though my friend’s nugget of insight really changed my drunken seduction mindset, it also upset me.

“So does this mean that I can never get an attractive women when I’m absolutely shitfaced?” I asked him.

He smiled knowingly.

“Nope. She can be even drunker than you and wake up the next day looking at you sleeping beside her and think, ‘God, what have I done?’”

A-

Michelob Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale

January 18th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: F regular, Style: Winter Warmer

6% ABV on tap (not cask!)

I’d seen the interesting snowman tap popping up in a lot of bars in the city.  And “normal” bars too, bars whose “best” beer is shit like Stella, so I was kinda intrigued.  It was labeled simply “Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale,” no brewery mentioned, piquing my interest even more.  It seemed Wallace Shawn inconceivable to me that all these bars were now serving a jen-you-wine bourbon barrel-aged beer.  I did some further research.  It’s a Michelob product.  Ah…makes more sense.  Nevertheless, I had to admire their gumption in actually attempting such a seemingly interesting beer.

The other night I yet again saw this beer on tap and finally got a chance to try it.  The beer poured quite dark, could this be a legitimate boozy stout?  My friend took the first sip while I paid.

“Tastes like a Heath bar.”

He nailed it.  It tasted exactly like liquidized Heath bar.  The funny thing is, I love Heath bar.  It’s arguably the best candy bar around and it is certainly the best candy bar to be used in McFlurry/Blizzard-type candy ice cream treats.  But, as the most prominent taste of a beer, it was heinous.

This beer also had very medicinal, dental, flouride-type flavors in it.  Disgusting.  So artificial tasting, so terrible.  Absolutely zero tastes of bourbon, zero tastes of any sort of complex aging, and this is clearly not a “cask” beer no matter how you want to define cask, even by its most loose definitions.

The gall of Michelob to claim they are making something so ambitious when this is just more assembly line bullshit shrouded by a well-conceived marketing campaign.  Have some courage to actually make what you are claiming or don’t attempt to make it at all.  I really think beer companies should be fined for such blatant duplicity*.  I would really like Michelob to prove to me that this beer was casked for even a single fucking day.  I’m guessing the only bourbon involved in the creation of this beer was in the glass of the Anheuser-Busch CEO as he drank and laughed his ass off at yet another semi-successful attempt at duping the public.

If I wasn’t paying Manhattan pint prices I would have walked into the bathroom and dumped this down the urinal after just a few sips.  Oddly enough, my friend loved this beer and drank pints of it all night.  He did make a valid point in noting how one never sees a macro beer with such a high ABV.  Having said that, my friend also wasn’t able to go out Saturday night because he had one of the most wicked hangovers of his life.  Being that he didn’t even drink that heavily, all there is to blame is this terrible artificial brew and all the sugar in it which quite clearly infected his brain.

Avoid at all costs.  Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale will almost certainly make my worst beers of 2009 list.

F

*I’m as laissez-faire as they come when it comes to government intervention.  Nothing chaps my hide more than grandstanding, sanctimonious, hypocritical congressmen trying to nose their “voice” into all parts of American life (to wit:  steroids in baseball, the BCS, etc.)  But I would completely support them in bringing the major macro brewers in for a hearing to bust them for their egregious taste crimes against humanity.

Three Floyds Behemoth Blonde Barleywine

January 13th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Three Floyds, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Barley wine

PREVIOUSLY ON MY TOP TEN MOST WANTED LIST

12.5% ABV from a waxed-covered bomber

Living in a city like New York, food isn’t hard to come by, no matter the time, your location, or your mental state.  Thus, when wasted, one should always be able to get a slice of pizza, perhaps some cheap Chinese or Indian food, or even a sandwich at the all-night bodega.  But sometimes you get so drunk that you lose your wallet, or your bearings, or…your sense of self, and next thing you know you find yourself grubbing on the most despicable of concoctions.

This rarely happens for me, but here are some of my worst ever drunken meals.

5.  Macadamia nuts — “Macadamia Nuts?!” you say.  How can that be my 5th worst drunken meal ever?  Aren’t macadamia nuts delicious?  Indeed they are.  In fact, I’d dare call them the second best nut after the unshelled pistachio.  So what gives?  Here’s what gives.  I was in DC for a wedding and, as the only single guy amongst my friends, I was forced to get my own room at the ritzy hotel.  After a night of drunken floundering with female wedding guests I returned to my room alone.  Where I apparently ate an entire jar of macadamia nuts from the mini-bar.  Something I don’t remember at all.  By morning there were none left save one single nut on the floor.  I tried it.  Phenomenal.  Price for jar:  $35!  As Morty Seinfeld once said, “They’re like 80 cents a nut!”  I think I paid an even higher rate.  I would have been better off buying two PPV porns.

4.  Burger King — No explanation necessary.  If you ever are drunk and BK is your only choice, just save yourself the 1500 calories and go to bed.

3.  Can of uncooked vegetarian chili — For a while I lived with a vegetarian female roommate.  Meaning that I stayed quite skinny as she never had anything worthwhile to steal when I came home drunk at 4:00 AM.  However, one night I was so desperate for sopping-up-the-booze sustenance that I swiped a can of her vegetarian chili, spent about 45 minutes trying to figure out how to use a can opener, before eating the cold, uncooked chili straight from the tin like some boxcar hobo.  It was disgusting.

2.  Circus Peanuts — A few months ago I went out drinking hardcore and I don’t even remember how I got home, a running theme I’m sure you’re starting to notice.  The next morning I woke up in bed completely clothed, even my shoes still on.  And, surrounding me in bed and on the floor was a spilled bag of circus peanuts.  You know, those orange gelatinous chunks of disgustingness.  I hate those things when I’m sober.  Why in the world did I buy some at 4:00 AM?  Was I hankering for Styrofoam? I picked one peanut up and took a bite.  I immediately sprinted to the bathroom to dry heave.

1. My most humiliating drunken eating experience happened just last week though.  I had gone out drinking with the boys but had arranged to end the night at the apartment of a girl I hook up with on occasion.  Arriving at her place at 3:00 AM I didn’t think I was that drunk.  I didn’t think I was that hungry either.  The next morning though, when I woke up, the girl had a strange look on her face.

“What did you do in my kitchen last night?”

“Huh?”

“There’s Parmesan cheese everywhere.”

Oh god.

I had a drunken flashback to the night before.  After we had hooked up, she had immediately crashed.  I, however, realized that I needed a nosh.  Like a cat burglar I snuck into her kitchen to examine her vittles.  Fuck!  She had nothing.  Literally nothing to eat.  No chips, cookies, leftover pizza, nothing.  All she had in her fridge was salad dressing and…one of those large shakers of Kraft Parmesan Cheese.

Now in my sober life, I hate that shit.  If I’m eating pasta, I want real fresh Parmesan shaved over top it.  Not some powdery, chalky pseudo-cheese.   But, I guess at 5:00 in the morning drunk, I thought this would satisfy.  And, in my flashback, I recall turning my head upside down over the sink, like someone about to get their hair shampooed at the salon, before I proceeded to literally shake the cheese powder into my face, for the most part missing my pie hole and getting it everywhere else.  In the full-of-water cups in the sink, on the counter-top, coating the floor.

I was so humiliated, I just had to pretend that I had no clue what had happened.  I even blamed her roommate.  And, of course, the girl didn’t accuse me of eating powdered cheese straight from the shaker because, I mean, come on, what kind of deviant would do that?!

The kind of deviant like me that starts his night with a bomber of 12.5% barley wine.  Recently when I was visiting friends in DC they took me to one of the best beer bars in America, Birreria Paradiso, where I was stunned to see that they had a single off-the-menu bottle of the famed Three Floyds Behemoth Barleywine, a beer I thought I would never be lucky enough to indulge in.

They charged us $20 for the bomber but it was well worth it.   The smell was potent and awesome, tons of malts and hops.  The taste was similar, quite burning and boozy, minimal carbonation, with tastes of pine, citrus, and caramel.  My minor issues is that the mouthfeel is a little thin and it could use a tad more sweetness.  Not the absolute best barley wine I’ve ever had, but damn fine.

A

So what are some of the worst things you have ever ate (eaten?  I can never conjugate correctly) while drunk?

Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Stout

January 12th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 23 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Southern Tier, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Stout

11% ABV from a bomber

The Great Sports Trivia Quiz

Oh, the silly games men play.

It started with some casual shit-talking over e-mail on Friday.

Sal goofed on Graig for having lost to him in the recent College Bowl Mania challenge on ESPN.com.  He noted that Graig was lucky the contest had been so close, quote:

“I have sharted more sports knowledge than [Graig] has in that goofy head of his.”

Graig responded promptly:

“Any time, any place…sports trivia challenge.  I would MURDER you and you know it.”

And, since I am an classic goader, egger on, and rabble rouser, I responded:

“If you wish, I will compose an all-sports trivia challenge for you two, to be competed over in the afternoon on Saturday.”

I knew Graig, a fiery competitor and prolific gambler, would relish the challenge, would put his money where his mouth is, but I wasn’t so sure about Sal.  As Sal waffled for a few minutes, I continued trying to get this deal arranged.  Why you might ask?  Because few things are as interesting as watching two friends fight hard in a competition.  Sal and Graig are since-college best friends, former roommates, and currently coworkers, so a gambling competition between the two all but guaranteed fireworks.

Perhaps worried that Sal would pass, Graig told Sal he’d pay his apartment mortgage for February if Sal beat him.  Finally, after about an hour of deliberations, Sal and Graig agreed on the deal.  One-hundred all-sports trivia questions, $20 per correct answer, questions to be approximately split up into these categorical proportions.:

Obscure sports………………..2 questions
UFC……………………………..2
Women’s hoops………………..2
Autoracing……………………..2
Lacrosse………………………..2
Horseracing…………………….2
Soccer………………………….2
Boxing…………………………..4
Winter Olympics……………….4
Summer Olympics……………..4
Tennis………………………….4
Golf……………………………..4
Hockey………………………….6
College basketball……………12
NBA…………………………….12
College football……………….12
NFL……………………………..12

Now came the tough part. Composing the quiz. It was only 2 in the afternoon, but I put aside all my work and plans for the day–seriously–because I knew how hard it is to make a trivia quiz. Oh, sure, you think can just quickly google “sports trivia” and cut and paste together a 100 question challenge. But that would neither be fair to Graig nor Sal. And, most online sports trivia is insultingly easy.

First, I quickly formed an ad hoc trivia team, shot out a cc’ed e-mail to a half dozen of my most sports-savvy friends, asking them to send me some of their favorite questions related to sports arcana. Soon, the questions were flying in–and they were good.

Meanwhile, I began writing out some of my all-time favorites questions that I’ve gathered from three decades of being a sports nerds (”Who was the first European to win the Masters?,” “Who was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento?,” “This man, nicknamed “The Bayonne Bleeder,” was purportedly the inspiration for Rocky Balboa?,” etc).

After an hour, I realized this was going to be even tougher than I had imagined. I had only written and assimilated a dozen questions or so. Twelve quality questions to actually ask my friends. With such high-stakes involved, I couldn’t give them any garbage. I was shooting to write a quiz that neither had questions so hard that only the Schwab could get them, nor questions so easy that everyone’s mom could get them. In the past, I’d composed some trivia quizzes for friends, but never more than 10 or 20 questions. 100 was downright unwieldy, this was clearly going to be a Herculean task.

I had dinner plans with a girl that night but was forced to cancel them to give me more time. Time I would certainly need. And, no I did not tell the girl I was choosing to compose a nerdy sports trivia quiz instead of dining and drinking with her. To keep me company I popped a bottle of Southern Tier’s Choklat, an asskicking imperial stout. Terrificly smooth while still being quite potent, this was perhaps the most chocolatey beer I’ve ever had. Certainly right up there with Ommegang’s Chocolate Indulgence, Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout, and Samuel Adam’s Chocolate Bock. I enjoyed the hell out of it, though its hidden booziness had me quite toasted just halfway through the bomber, giving me all sorts of drunken, wacky ideas for what sorts of questions to ask my friends (”Hmmmm…I wonder if, ‘Who was Webster’s father?‘ would be a good trivia question?”)

By midnight, I had completed the 100 question quiz. I was absolutely drained. Sadly, this was some of the most grueling work of my life. I should work for the Elias Sports Bureau. Of the 100 questions, I was quite proud of at least 80 of them, and was pumped to see how my friends would fare.

I got to my Graig’s apartment in Jersey City before noon the next day. We all had plans to attend the Syracuse/Rutgers basketball tilt in New Brunswick that evening to root on our alma mater, so we had no time to spare. I figured it would take about two hours to get through all one-hundred questions. Countless other friends of mine were quite intrigued by the challenge. Many of these people don’t even know Graig or Sal but they couldn’t wait to hear the results. Most were curious how each man would behave. Graig is quiet and humble, a huge competitor that takes losses hard. If he lost I could see him locking himself in the bathroom and crying, perhaps walking into a semi truck, maybe even skipping the basketball game altogether so as to grieve. Sal on the other hand is like the Incredible Hulk when he is angry, which is quite often for the hulking man. I was almost certain he would break something if he lost. He quite possibly would start some fisticuffs with Graig. Or me! I made sure my questions were well-vetted as I didn’t want any ambiguity in my answers to cause Sal to lose and thus lead to him pummeling me.

I couldn’t set a gambling line on the battle for several reasons. Both men know sports trivia quite well, but their knowledge is spread over different subjects. Likewise, Graig is well-known for getting jittery and, dare say, choking during competition. In fact, as I arrived at his apartment, he was literally quivering. Antsy, nervous, jumping around, like some fourteen-year-old kid who had been brought by his libidinous father to a brothel in order to lose his virginity. I’d never seen someone so freaked out about something so borderline futile. On the other hand, Sal was cool as an unbrined pickle, laughing, joking around, mocking Graig’s nerves, and even using some gamesmanship trash-talking to make his buddy even more scared.

Graig had no choice but to calm his nerves via drink. We had twenty-four beers on hand and by the end of the quiz, the three of us had blown through them all. A good decision I’m not so sure, but it was certainly a fun one. Graig got the first question right, but that was one of his few successes for the day. Sal charged out in front early and at one point was seven questions and $140 ahead, laughing, giggling, and clowning on Graig like Gary Payton smacked on the countless lesser NBA points that couldn’t guard him.

Three and a half hours later, all three of us were wasted and absolutely drained, too tired to even be that celebratory in victory or that demoralized in defeat. No one cried, nothing was broken, friendships were maintained, and your Vice Blogging moderator was not punched.

Sal prevailed by a score of 32 total corrects to 30 for Graig, netting the big guy a cool $40. Clearly, I had made the questions too hard by an order of magnitude. We all agreed that next time, they would write 100 questions and I would be forced under the sports trivial heat lamp to see how I fare. Can’t wait.

A-

(To view the full quiz, click here.  Highlight under each question to see the correct answer.  And, if any of you fools out there actually take the entire quiz, I’d love to hear your scores.  Please post in the comments.)

Stone/Jolly Pumpkin/Nøgne Ø Special Holiday Ale

January 8th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Jolly Pumpkin, Brewer: Nøgne Ø, Brewer: Stone, Country: America, Country: Norway, Grade: A-/B+, Style: Winter Warmer

9% ABV bottled

Argue with me if you must, and I roundly encourage it, but Queens is clearly New York’s most fucked up borough.* And, by “fucked up,” I mean it’s the borough where you are most likely to encounter some crazy “Am I in a movie?” “Did I just see that?!” oh-I-wish-I-had-my-camera-on-me bullshit. Now don’t get me wrong, I think this is a good thing. You may not, however.

Last time I was in Queens was a month or so ago. A girl had just ejected me from her apartment at 5:00 AM and I was drunk, banged-up, stuck in the middle of nowhere, and had no clue how to get back to Manhattan. After ten minutes of stumbling around looking for a cab, my savior arrived. A gypsy limousine. Literally I suppose.  The Egyptian driver rolled down his window and all but ordered me: “Get in. Front seat.”

A weird request if you’re sober, but not when you’re drunk and lost. I sat down, “What a night, have I got a story for you,” I lamented. The driver interjected, “No, brother, have I got a story for you.” As we drove back toward Manhattan he lit up a joint which we passed back and worth while he spun the tale of his previous passenger. Seems he was chauffeuring around a married couple having a night on the town. Midway through the evening, the husband told the wife he wanted a divorce, they argued, he hopped out of the limo, and hailed another cab.

So, of course, she did the only natural thing one would do in that situation…she told the driver to pull over so she could fuck him as an act of revenge toward her husband. “Happens all the time,” he lasciviously smiled at me.

By the time we had crossed the 59th Street Bridge, the joint was finished. “How ’bout another?” said my new friend. I nodded. So, of course, he did the only natural thing and pulled off to the side of the 2nd Avenue where he proceeded to roll another doobie and soon we were again feelin’ groovy. Finally, dropping me off back at my apartment, my spirits were buoyed. So were his. “This ride’s on me, partner,” he winked as he drove away.

Most Manhattanites are snobs that refuse to ever leave our borough. I’m a snob, but I’m always willing to leave the borough, especially if adventure is promised. And, I rarely turn down an offer from my friends in Queens because in that borough depravity is all but guaranteed.  So much so that I can’t visit it too often less my already suspect morals get even more corroded.

It was Saturday afternoon and I was bored. It was cold out and I had no plans. I had no personal initiative either.  Thus, beer was in order.  Carpe diem?  Fuck that.  That’s why alcohol is so awesome.  It helps you seize the day.  It helps you come up with plans.  It is nothing if not “decisiveness juice.”**

I went with a bottle of the semi-rare winter special collaboration from master breweries Stone, Jolly Pumpkin, and Norway’s Nøgne Ø. It’s been my favorite winter beer this year and it is surely one of the most unique “warmers” I’ve ever had. Tastes of ginger, juniper (making it have some gin-like qualities, nice!), chestnuts (never heard of that in a beer before!), white sage, and caraway. Spicy, delicious, and goes down easy. Perfect for a cold night.

Around 7:00 I got a text from Stanton:  “come to queens im trying to hit rock bottom tonight.”

I thought he was joking.  Maybe not.  But whatever the case, it sounded like a plan.  “carpe diem” I texted back.

I put on my most disposable clothing, stuff I’d wear when painting a house, helping a friend move.  I could tell this evening had the potential to be “one of those nights.”  I own so little decent clothes, I couldn’t afford to ruin or lose the few decent pieces in my closet.

Queens is a quicker jaunt than people think.  I can get there far speedier–from Hell’s Kitchen–than I can get to Brooklyn, Hoboken, Jersey City, or even the Upper East Side.  Has any one ever done a “currency exchange rate” between the boroughs?  If not, it should be calculated.  Now, Queens isn’t exactly Oklahoma City vis-a-vis Manhattan but it’s significantly cheaper than it is in Manhattan.  Getting off the N train stop in Astoria–site of another legendarily fucked up Queens adventure–I found a craft beer store cum deli cum Indian adult video shop.  I was impressed with the selection, and amused when I had to wake up the shop owner who had fallen asleep watching a humiliation porn DVD at full volume so that I could purchase a sixer of Hop Devil for a mere $9.99.

Getting to Stanton’s apartment, I realized he had begun “Operation: Rock Bottom” without me.  He was already quite toasted, ten beers deep.  We aggressively dove into the Hop Devil as Stanton made me watch some “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” season four episodes, yet again trying to convince me of the greatness of the FX comedy.  Look, I know it’s considered sacrilege in many circles, but I just don’t think the show is as funny as everyone claims.  I watched all of season one and most of season two and, while I found it decent and semi-amusing, I didn’t think it was as iconoclastic as people so claim and it usually only gave me a medium-sized chuckle or two.  Eventually, my DVR started stacking up with unwatched episodes and soon I quit the program altogether.  Trying to prove the show’s worth, Stanton played me his favorite episodes from the most recent season, but again, I simply didn’t see any greatness.***

After the sixer was polished off, we went to watch my friend’s band at a legit Queens Irish pub.  Irish pubs in Queens are quite different from how they are in Manhattan.  It’s not something I can put into words, just a certain je ne sais quois, a visceral sensation.  There is both less and more happiness among the denizens.  There’s both more normalcy–like you’re just drinking in some one’s living room–and less–like you’re in some major sin den–it’s quite paradoxical.  There, after countless beers and Jameson shots we came to realize something:  it was literally impossible for the two of us to ever hit rock bottom.

You see, we may be drunkards, perhaps even borderline, semantic “alcoholics,” but we will never screw up our lives.  At least completely.  In totality.  We’re smart enough, savvy enough, seasoned enough, and wise enough to be full-blown tipplers and still maintain jobs, incomes, solid health, and relationships.  Yeah, we’ll get in mild trouble every so often, ruin entire Sundays sleeping it off, perhaps even miss a day or two of work, occasional offend those around us, send a dumb drunken e-mail or two, maybe even tarnish a friendship for a day or two, perhaps even get in trouble with an “authority” figure out two, but nothing large scale.  You could say this behavior is why we don’t have wives, children, mortgages, even pets.  But has it ever occured to you that we intentionally don’t have those things because we don’t want to bring any others into our selfish and decadent morasses?

It was both an enlightening eureka! moment and a bit of a depressing discovery.  What to do when you realize you can never hit rock bottom?  That you only have “warning track power” in the ruin-your-life game?  Did Chuck Yeager feel this way before he punched through the clouds and hit Mach 1?

Thus, we had no choice but to cancel “Operation:  Rock Bottom.”  Now what to do?  A shitcanned Stanton told me he knew of a Mexican dance club nearby, The Black Donkey.  Hot Latino women galore.  Only problem is, no gringos allowed.  “Operation:  Desert Shield” became “Operation: Desert Storm” and “Operation: Rock Bottom” became “Operation: Gringo Infiltration.”

I’m a swarthy Jew which makes it somewhat tough to completely pin down my ethnicity.  I’ve been thought to be Italian, Israeli, Middle Eastern, Greek, even black (!), and from countless Latino countries of origin.  Aside from my near six-foot height and liberal use of Yiddish argot, I could easily be confused for a Chicano. I wish I had a funny story about the infiltration of the club.  Something that involved me standing on Stanton’s shoulders and using a huge trench coat ala Alvin, Simon, and Theodore to sneak into the club.  Nope, we just ducked our heads down and threw out a quiet “hola” as we breezed by the bouncer and then passed through the metal detectors.  Aye carumba!  Unlike Plaxico, I typically have a rule about entering drinking establishments that see a need for friskings, but, when in Queens…

While Stanton got a bucket of the only beer available, I began ogling the women.  Good lord!  The club was like 70% female and all the girls were like Latino models.  Hour glass figures with huge asses and fake breasts oozing from their leather tops.  Why…if I didn’t know better…

“Stanton, is this…a strip club?”

“Not exactly.”

Here was the deal, the bar was neither a strip club nor a brothel and there was no nudity whatsoever, but it was a “pay-to-dance” club.  As in, ten bucks to simply dance–grind that is–with the hot women.  Absurd!  I loathe strip clubs, detest lap dances, and have no use for prostitutes, and now I’m going to pay to dance with a strange woman?  I don’t even like dancing with women I love!

Stanton was wasted though and has a Latino fetish of a sort, and is actually a semi-accomplished drunken hoofer, so he perused the line-up of chicks to find one to dance with.  Humorously, he was shot down by all of them.  “Gringo too wasted,” they all muttered.  We sat down at a dance floor side table to drink and begin surveying the scene for some further hijinks.

The next dance begun and all the minuscule Mexican men began to drag their purchased women to the parquet.  And then, I saw one of the strangest sites I’ve ever seen in my life.  I wish I’d had my camera on me, I wish the club wasn’t so dark that my cameraphone was rendered useless, because what I saw cannot be done justice in words, it was so fucking unbelievable.

The dozen or so men lined up hip to hip to hip to hip, etc. on the back wall as if pissing at a sports stadium urinal trough.  But, instead of relieving themselves, their $10 women got between them and the exposed bricks and they all began to grind on the women’s asses.  With authority.  My jaw was so far to the ground, I was so amused, that I didn’t notice Stanton methodically removing each Corona from the beer bucket.  I could not remove my eyes from the scene.

“How hard up are these dudes?  Paying money just to grind on a hot woman?  Seriously?  How long do they get?”

I turned to Stanton just as he put the beer bucket to his face and ferociously threw up into the melting ice.

Pulling his mug back up he smiled, he must have felt great, like a new man, a Phoenix coming out of the drunken ashes.  He answered my pre-barf question in the most matter-of-fact way.

“Well, they get to grind until they come, of course.”

Now it was my turn to barf.

“We better get out of here, Aaron.  Last time I came I got 86ed and we’re on the verge of that now.”

As we stood I noticed several men peeling off the grind wall, each Chino with a most indiscreet speckle of crotch wetness on their chinos.

I awoke the next day on Stanton’s couch, still fully dressed from the night before, my wallet and cell phone even in my jeans pockets.

Looking and acting like one hundred million pennies, Stanton informed me that it was now time for “Operation: Find a Wii.”  He planned to spend Sunday driving all around Queens and Long Island, hitting up Best Buys and gaming stores until he found the coveted video game system.  It sounded like more adventure was in store, but, unfortunately, I had a lunch date so I had to leave my pal.

The next morning, I received an e-mail from Stanton:

Played some awesome Tiger Woods Golf last night on our new Wii. The guy we bought from was such a characture (sic) of what you would think someone in Queens who sells hot Wiis would look like. Met him in the back of a Steak House called Charlie Brown’s. He claimed he’s in the Adult Entertainment industry and if we ever needed any Blu-ray DVDs he could hook us up. He then gave me his card. His name is Lou Bricate. Get it? Lubricate? You have to see this guy’s business card. I had a hard time keeping a straight face when he was talking to us.

Queens is so fucked up.

A-/B+

*My anecdotal rankings:

1. Queens
2. Staten Island
3. The Bronx
4. Manhattan
5. Brooklyn

**For that matter…alcohol is also bad idea punch, intellect intoxicant, insolence nectar, fighting fluid, boastfulness booze, smartass sauce, injury water, agressiveness aqua vitae, felony-committin’ firewater, and–of course–maybe above all else…depression drink.

***The greatest comedies of the past, let’s say, five years would be, in order:  “Arrested Development,” “Extras,” “The Office” (British), “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “30 Rock,” and “The Office” (U.S.)