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Archive for February, 2009

Russian River Damnation

February 26th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Russian River, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

7% ABV on draught

My Sick, Perverted Fetish

No, it’s not as bad, or perhaps the correct word is as “weird” as BDSM or footjobbing or something hirsute-related, so I suppose my sexual fetish is more akin to dudes that love big asses or big breasts.  Let me backtrack for a second.  For my entire postpubescent life I have been most attracted to skinny, tall, long blond-haired, big-busted women*.  Ha!  Aren’t we all, you say?  But have I just been kidding myself?  Ignoring my true carnal desires?  No, I don’t completely think so, but I finally must come out of the closet and admit that, aside from the aforementioned archetypal women, I do have a secret outlier sometime fetish for a certain type:

Big-nosed Jewish gals.

Is it something in my Deoxyribonucleic acid?  An ingrained part of my Semitic libido?  I’m not sure but I can ignore it no longer lest I be considered a self-hating Hebe.

I no longer can deny that when I’m riding on the subway, sitting across from a big-beaked lady, kinky sidelock-esque hair cascading over her face like the Holy Ark’s curtains shrouding a nasal Torah, yeah, I get a little titillated.  And when I’m forced to party in Murray Hill, I may be outwardly smarting, acting vexed at being in the crummy establishment, when I’m secretly a little turned on watching the Toucan-faced recent GW or Michigan grad poorly shaking her gelt-maker to an ironic (or is it?) playing of R. Kelly’s “Ignition.”  Or when I’m grabbing some Jewish donuts on a Sunday morning at H & H on the UWS, I can’t help but feel like I’m in line at a Judaic orgy, a slew of sweatsuit and Uggs-clad equine-faced cuties spending their daddy’s shekels on a sack of cinnamon raisins.

Oh lord, Elohim, it’s only getting worse, my desire for these beautiful exotic creatures with their conical goat faces, too poorly bred or raised by too practical (cheap?) of parents to have gotten rhinoplasty for them as a Bat Mitzvah gift.  What can a boy do?

I know what you’re saying, “You are an insensitive asshole.”  Correct.  I know what else you are saying: “How can you like such flawed, if not downright ugly, women?”  Well first of all, fella, watch it with the anti-Semititism.  Second of all, though, I hear you.  I used to feel the same way, sort of.  But I believe you may be thinking about the absolute worst of the breed.  Those 4′11″ and squat, hippy and big-assed and huge titted, natch**, annoyingly nasal girls with hair like Hurley from “Lost” and a constant scowl on their mugs.

But I’m not talking about those Chosen lasses.  No, sir.

I’m talking ’bout Mayim Bialik as Blossom.

I’m talking ’bout Lizzy Caplan or Kat Dennings.***

I’m talking ’bout Leelee Sobieski, Sarah Silverman, and House’s boss on “House.”  Helen Hunt, Sarah Jessica Parker before she started looking like a drag queen (we’re talking “Honeymoon in Vegas” days), and Jennifer Grey in “Dirty Dancing” before she went under the knife and never got booked again.  And let’s throw in Soleil Moon Frye for good measure.

It’s feels good to finally admit this, to no longer have to agree with my friends that, yes, she’d be perfect if she just had a normal schnoz.  No, she already is perfect!

Finally, I know what you’re thinking, sicko, and, no, I don’t want them to do anything unseemly with their nose whilst in the bedroom, that’s not why I like them.****  It’s just something visceral.  Something that can’t fully be explained unless you feel the exact same way I do.

Now I guess I should finally meet one of these dames.  I’m heading to my local Hadassah meeting.

Russian River Damnation

My first ever Russian River beer on tap.  I’d heard a rumor that Philadelphia was one of the rare cities that would be getting the coveted Pliny the Younger on tap and, finding myself conveniently in town a couple of weeks ago, I had hoped to score some.  Scouring the city, however, I came up dry.  I did find Damnation, though, at the marvelous Tria and quickly ordered it with no prejudice.  Unfortunately, it was not as good as I had hoped and now stands as the first Russian River beer I haven’t unequivocally loved.  Thinner than expected and quite mellow.  Almost felt like a very weak tripel.  Not much taste, not much complexity, light Belgian spiciness, slight sourness, some citrusness.  It was closer to “refreshing” than delicious.  Not what you want from a 7% Belgian strong ale.  Comparing it to Country Time lemonade also is probably not what we’re looking for here.  Having said that, the across-the-board reviews of Damnation seem much better than my initial experience so I do hope to try it again.

B+

*And, yes, agreed, you should really like women for what’s inside of them.  Sure enough–and you should also probably like a movie for its plot and not how many fiery explosion, scatological jokes, and bits of gratuitous nudity they include.

**Yes, all Jewish women have gargantuan breasts.  It’s a stone cold fact.  I don’t know why this is, it just is, perhaps something in the Manischewitz, maybe an evolutionary adaptation dating back to the wandering the desert days when it would be quite swell to have two large milk canteens strapped to one’s chest.

***Ibid.  And, Holy.  Shit.

****Jewish women also have gargantuan sexual appetites.  Another empirical fact.  I have no explanation for this one either.  I welcome theories in the comments.

photo credit:  Brian B

Avery Mephistopheles’ Stout

February 24th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 10 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Avery, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Stout

15.92% ABV bottled (Nov. 2008 BATCH 4)

A Modest Proposal: For Preventing the Homeless People in America from Drinking Low ABV Shit Beer, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public

If I was the kind of guy that was into charities, the one I would found would be called Craft Beer for Bums (CBB).  Oh how it upsets me so when I’m walking through my tony Manhattan neighborhood and see a hobo trying to keep himself warm with a pathetic forty of Olde English.  How saddened I am upon encountering a wino trying to drink his troubles away while forgetting that he smells like the Kansas City stockyards as he slugs some fortified wine.  How many tears have trickled down my cherubic cheeks watching a transient try to numb his pain and pass out for the evening on some rotgut potato vodka.

No, I will not stand for it any longer, from now on I want the homeless of the world drinking craft beer.  It just makes sense!  Man needs a certain amount of pleasure in his life.  You’re getting a lot of sex then you don’t need much else.  Not getting any intercourse and all of the sudden you’re gorging on food.  It creates a vicious cycle no question.  Which came first:  the girl was fat or she wasn’t getting laid?

The homeless are the same way.  Stinking like urine, members of the fairer sex are obviously not talking to them and thus the closest they get to coitus is that pocket pussy they stole from Babes in Toyland.  Likewise, little culinary pleasure can surely be derived from day old Dunkin Donuts munchkins.  Thus, the homeless have no choice but to get their daily minimum of pleasure from alcohol.  And I am the satyr that will orchestrate things.

What kind of life is it for these gentleman to be laying in a gutter drinking 4.2% Bud Light tallboys?!  It’s not a life, not at all.  They need stuff with taste and flavor and enough alcohol per volume to put them on their motherfucking asses.

A splendid beer to start a craft beer neophyte homeless man with might be Avery’s Mephistopheles’ Stout.  For years I’ve considered Avery as a good but nothing special brewery.  I’m not sure why that is, because I had no reason to feel that way, no proof whatsoever.  And, considering the last few beers I’ve had from Avery have been their splendid Collaboration with Russian River, their top-of-the-line DIPA, and now this stout masterpiece, I must admit my visceral regard toward them was unequivocally wrong.  Mephistopheles is simply one of the best stouts I have ever had.  I tippled it in the same sitting that I had the A+ Dark Horizon 2.0 and Dogfish Head’s Worldwide Stout and it outshone them both.  Probably the regular release beer I’ve found to be the closest in deliciousness to Surly’s phenomenal Darkness.  A very sweet stout, but not cloying in the least.  Lacks that overpowering dark chocolate/roasted coffee flavor most big boy stouts have which makes it quite unique.  Its prominent tastes are molasses, dark cherries, sweeter chocolate, and boozy, stinging, delicious rummy alcohol.  Even though it ain’t cheap–we’re talking a couple of sawbacks for just 12 ounces–you absolutely have to try it.

A single bottle of this and a malnourished, scurvy-riddled bum would be in lala land, having the most pleasent of dreams.  And the benefits of well-drunk homeless people would be immense to us beer geeks.  No longer would one have to waste a few minutes on Beer Advocate or RateBeer researching upcoming brew purchases.  Naw, you could just walk down you block and “Hey, Smitty, had any good saisons lately?”  The streets would be literally lined with beer recommendations.

You might think me callous, “Bums can’t be getting shit-faced on expensive, super alcoholic beer!  Have a heart!”

But ask yourself this:  who is callous?  Me, who wants to give the dregs of society a little pleasure in their lives, or the sanctimonous leftist city that won’t even sell cheap booze in the parts of town where their homeless congregate?  Move to New York, homeless folks, CBB will get you well snockered.

If you agree with my cause, please PAYPAL me your donations.*

A+

*Please don’t.  I don’t want to go to jail for running a false charity.  But feel free to send me some money or beer to satiate mine own dipsomania.

Middle Ages Druid Fluid

February 21st, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 13 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Middle Ages, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Style: Barley wine

9.5% ABV from a bomber

For the first thirty seconds after you eat a habanero chili nothing happens.  You’re confused.  You’re like, “This is it?!”  Instead of being quizzical though, you should savor the moment.  Because the next six to twenty-four hours of your life are going to be one giant ball of misery.

It was Sunday afternoon wrapping up a weekend in Syracuse.  That Friday I had taken the Cave Creek Chili Beer Challenge and lived to tell about.  My friend Dean–who actually enjoyed the vile brew–and I had spent all weekend relishing in our love of spicy foods, wherever we went trying to indulge in spicier and spicier foods both as acts of machismo and to impress and repulse our tamer tongued friends.

I had recently seen a television special on the habanero, purportedly the hottest pepper in the world, chalking in at some forty times the heat of a standard jalapeno.  Both Dean and I were determined to find one and try it.  Our dream finally became reality at the end of the weekend as we stopped at Wegman’s for a bite before heading home*.

I’m a fast eater so I finished my sandwich before my friends and excused myself from the table to check out the store’s newly revamped beer selection.  I was quite impressed, especially from a Central New York point of view and grabbed a few things, including a bomber of Druid Fluid from Syracuse’s own fairly regarded Middle Ages Brewery.  I continue to be stupefied that I lived in the ‘Cuse for four years without even realizing a brewery resided there**.  Unfortunately, I found the Druid Fluid a tad sub-par.  Barley wine is probably my favorite style of beer so I expect greatness and when you’re comparing Druid Fluid to say, a Stone Old Guardian, a J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, even a Lagunitas GnarlyWine, it simply doesn’t stack up.  Too weak and sissy for a barley wine. Like they’re trying to make one normal folks will like.  Lacks complexity, lacks sweetness, lacks flavor.  Although, I will admit, the more I drank it the more I enjoyed it.  (Perhaps I was just getting drunk and my tastebuds were loosening.)

Heading to the register to pay for my beers, I stumbled upon the chilis aisle and, wouldn’t you know it, I found a bag of dried habaneros.  Giggling like a little girl, I returned to my friends and handed the package to Dean.  We had to try them.  He concurred.  We were excited.

You might ask, “Aaron, why do you do these things?  Why do you put your body and health on the line for these dumb enterprises?”  It is because I am a man that loves novelty.  A man that loves to be able to say, “I have done that.”  It’s not about enjoyment necessarily, it’s about climbing that mountain and slaying that dragon.  I also like to see what unexpected things will happen.  It’s why I drank Chelada, why I drank the chili beer, why I was about to eat a habanero.

Dean was ready to bite into the habanero right in the middle of the food court, but I stopped him.  I explained that we had no idea what would happen to us and the last thing we needed is to be projectile vomiting amidst families enjoying some buffet bar sneeze-guarded General Tso’s chicken after a pleasant church service.  He agreed we best head out to the parking lot.

I noted we should have some cold fluid ready too, mentioning how I’d heard that, surprisingly enough, milk was the best savve for a hot tongue and throat wound.  Both Dean and I had no interest in milk–as Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “Milk is for babies.  When you grow up you have to drink beer!”–so we decided to go with something similar.  Dean bought a sack full of those milky frothy Starbucks bottled frappuccinos.

We headed to the parking lot and stood in the frigid cold mentally preparing ourselves.  Dean laid the numerous bottles of frappucino on our car’s hood, loosening the caps for quite access.  Meanwhile, I studied the habanero packaging where there was literally this warning: “Do not directly touch with hands, may burn.  Do not get anywhere near eyes.”

Christ.

We were finally ready to eat the hottest spice on the planet.

Holding only the stem of a habanero, Dean and I each took a full bite of our respective pepper.  Nothing.  Dean and I looked at each other, confused.  This was it?  We are both incredibly arrogant about our ability to handle heat so we weren’t surprised.  Heck, I was about to pop a second habanero when–

Fire!  My whole head was on fire!  I was like one of those cartoon characters who has fire shooting from his ears.  I couldn’t control any function on my face.  It was like I was a stroke victim.  My eyes were watering, it felt like my ears were bleeding, snot was rushing like Niagara Falls from my nose, and phlegmy froth was coming from my mouth.  I grabbed a frappucino and chugged it.  I tried to speak to my friends but my tongue was anesthetized.  I couldn’t even feel it.  Correction, it felt like my tongue had become a giant airy inner tube hovering inside my mouth.  Words were not coming out of me, just slurs and babbling as my non-habanero eating friends cracked up and took pictures of me.

Dean was in worst shape.  His habanero kicked in a few seconds after mine and he jetted out of the area, now finding himself pacing madly some fifteen yards from where we stood.  After about ten minutes of misery, we both had somewhat calmed down.  We were in massive pain but finally able to somewhat talk, somewhat able to get in the car and head back to New York City.  I could barely recall what had occurred in the several minutes after eating the habanero.  It was as if I had entered a blackout fugue of spiciness.  They saw traumatic events are often repressed and this one was instantaneously.

The Audi was packed with five adults of varying girth and shoehorned into the back, Dean and I again found ourselves in a new sort of pain.  Like an hourglass, the habanero pain had left the northern extreme of our bodies and was now slowly creepy down.  Our esophagi felt like a tunnel of flames, each exhale, each burp god forbid, coming out like a fireball, as if we were dragons.  The floor of our stomachs feeling as if some Boy Scouts had kindled logs in our belly.  We were in too much pain to read the newspaper, too much pain to even listen to music.  And we had four hours of driving to go.

After thirty minutes of driving I could take it no longer.  “Pull over, pull over!”  Like a cosmic joke, at the instant, we passed a sign:  “Next Rest Stop:  22 Miles.”  We had no choice and the car was pulled over to the edge of the highway where I began projectile vomiting the entire insides of my stomach–eighteen inches of sub, several bottled frappuccinos, a whole Saturdays worth of pitchered beer and gin & tonics–for the next ten to fifteen minutes.  Eventually, my insides were ravished, the pepper poison rejected from me, only bile now left inside of me, and I was able to get back in the car.

Yeah, I felt good.  I smiled.  The pain was over.  I started laughing at my foolishness.  Only problem now was–having just upchucked lunch–I was starving.

Hubris be damned, thirty minutes later more pain would come.

Now, some hour and a half after the habanero indulgence, I’d finally cleared my head of heat, finally cleared my torso, but the pesky heat had one final southern stop.  I won’t get into details, but you guessed it.  We were forced to stop at the next rest area where I did something more foul in the public bathroom than anything Larry Craig has ever even considered.

However, that was luckily the final step.  And though I was a sweaty, stinky mess, like I’d just been in a record-breaking gang bang, I was finally free of pain.  Poor Dean, though, poor Dean who had yet to vomit or defecate, was pale as Casper and would remain that way the rest of the day.

Any time I do something stupid, no matter how much pain or indignity it gives me, I usually still admit that it was worth it.  It gave me a good story.  It allowed me to look back fondly for the rest of time and say, “I did that!”

Uhn uh.

Not this time.

Not this time at all.

I will never eat a habanero again.  I don’t care if you offered me $5000.  Not worth it.

Likewise, I would never even play a “prank” on someone–even my most mortal enemy–and secretly Mickey them with the vile pepper.  That’s just too cruel, bordering on felonious.  It really is some of the most pain I’ve experienced in my life and, considering that a newborn will never slide out of me, I think it will remain the worst pain of my life.

B

*You say, “Why would one stop at a supermarket to eat lunch?”  Well let me tell you, friend, that Wegman’s has some incredibly fine food of all cuisines which they serve up in a nice food court setting off to the side of the grocery area.  I prefer their Danny’s Favorite foot-long sub which is actually more like eighteen inches in length and near impossible to finish in one sitting.

**Then again, the 7 & 7 was my drink back then.  Yeesh!

Leinenkugel’s Red Lager

February 18th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 31 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Jacob Leinenkugel, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Lager

4.9% ABV

“Leave!  LEAVE!!!  Get the fuck outta here!  Yo, get the fuck out of here, motherfuckers!”

Guess who said the above:

A five-star restaurant’s maitre-d yelling at a bum for entering the fine dining establishment to panhandle?  A beleaguered female exploding at her ex-boyfriend who she has a restraining order on but who nevertheless keeps coming into her office?  Perhaps a furious shotgun wielding homeowner barking at a cat burglary he caught rifling through the family valuables?

Nope, not even close.  I’m talking about bouncers kicking people out of the bar at night’s end.

And I’m fucking sick of it.

I live in New York City so you got to drink really motherfucking late to get actually kicked out of a bar at closing time.  Something that I can recall happening to me less than a handful of times.  I’m sure Manhattan has “last call” laws but in a town full of scofflaws they certainly aren’t followed.  And the rare times they are heeded at least the bar’s employees have the decency to casually infer you should leave, to kindly back pat and “See ya’ later, bud” out of the bar.  At like 5:00 AM.

But this doesn’t happen in podunk towns.  Like Syracuse, where I was last weekend to see my beloved alma mater whip up on the most despicable university in America.  In a place like Syracuse or Kansas City or Tulsa here’s how things go:

First of all, you’re not drunk because you’ve only been in the bar for an hour or two and they, of course, don’t have high ABV beer and pour really watered down whiskeys.  At 1:15 or so, some bartender will shout out, “Last call coming!” before slowly filling those orders.  1:30 will mark the “official” last call.  At 1:40 the harsh overhead lights will come on, blinding you before your dilated eyes adjust enough to see that the girl you’re talking to is pockmarked worse than Edward James Olmos.  At 1:41 some cheesy closing time song like…uh, fucking “Closing Time” by that shitty one-hit wonder band will start playing, the drunken local rubes swaying and singing it.

Then, at 1:45 or so, a mere fifteen minutes after you got your last call cocktail, some pituitary case bouncer will shove you in the back, herding you to the door like cattle while rudely shouting the lines that opened this post.

Let me get this straight.  My friends and I just spent several hundred dollars on drinks at your place and you treat us like this?  We chose your crummy bar over all others in town and you treat us like this?!  Even in a small town like Syracuse we didn’t have to choose your bar, it offers nothing sui generis, but we still chose it.  It has the same subpar tap selections, the same shitty iPod mixes, surly bartenders, mediocre women and annoying men, overpriced drinks, filthy bathrooms.  I’m fine with that all, it’s a party of the nightlife lifestyle.  But treat me with some fucking respect around the time the Semisonic starts playing.  (In fact, I would say playing Semisonic is enough of a push to get me out the door.  Good lord that song sucks.)

Can you imagine another industry where you’d be treated this poorly?

You’ve just enjoyed a nice meal with some friends and just as you put the last bite of dessert in your mouth, several waiters lift you from your chairs and start strong-arming you to the door.  “Finish up the chocolate mousse and get the fuck out of my restaurant!”

You’ve just enjoyed a nice movie when seconds before the credits roll the lights go up and the ushers sprint into the dark room.  “Get the fuck out of this theater you shitheads!”

You’ve just enjoyed a nice, sensual massage and are still quivering when the masseuse upturns the table, spilling you onto the floor, and “Get the fuck out of my illegal massage parlour, you asshole!!!!!!”

Look, I know all the excuses, most of which are quite phony.  Shit like your bar will get fined if you don’t have everyone out of it and the place locked up by 1:59:59 EST.  Like you got to get the place cleaned and closed post-haste.  You just want to get home to your girlfriend.  Fine, I sympathize with you.  I’m sure bouncing can be a shitty job some nights.  But many jobs, both blue and white collar, suck.  And if you don’t like dealing with people, especially drunk people, maybe you shouldn’t work in the service industry.

Why would I ever want to go to your bar again if you are going to treat me like a huge fucking asshole come closing time?  The answer is, I wouldn’t.  And I won’t.

So go fuck yourselves Mulrooney’s (”Mully’s”) on West Fayette Street*.  You’re lucky I didn’t throw my fucking pint glass through your bar mirror like I was playing a carnival game to win a giant plush toy for my favorite steady girl.

I think, from now on, I need to restrict my drinking to New York City.  Where we may all be fucking assholes, but at least us assholes treat people with respect.

Likewise, why do I continue to let the Jacob Leinenkugel Co. rape my taste buds?  You might first recall their Sunset Wheat which nearly gave me fluoride poisoning. Then there was their Honey Weisse that caused a sleepless week as I waited for my STD test to come back**. Oh, and who can forget their Summer Shandy which tastes like an Arnold Palmer that’s been used as a colostomy bag.  Finally, there was their Craptoberfest which tasted like that of a public swimming pool on a hot, late-August day.

You’re probably thinking, these beers surely aren’t that bad, you’re just being a funny man.  I can assure you I am not.  If I was truly overstating Leinenkugel’s awfulness, accusing them of poisoning me and giving me venereal disease, do you not think Jacob would sue me for libel?  Or slander?!***  But they never have, which is ipso facto proof that they know the horrificness of their own product.  (Though it doesn’t prevent a Minnesota message board from getting all up in a tizzy about the Vice Blogger.)

Since we all know I’m such a self sadomasochist that I make the Marquis de Sade seem like Mother Teresa, I have an odd desire to keep trying all the Leinenkugels I have yet to.  Luckily, my friend Derek keeps finding ones for me.  Like their Red Lager which I expected to be utterly horrific.  So much so that I drank it in the bathroom.****  I especially expected it to be garbage being that I tippled it, perhaps unfairly, after having just shared three asskicking stouts which I scored an A+, an A+, and an A-.

Sadly friends, I am disappointed to report that this beer ain’t bad.  In fact, it’s a fairly competent macro beer, better than most lagers available.  I can even say I kinda enjoyed it, drinking the whole thing down fairly easily and even kinda wanting another.

Oh well, there will be more Leinenkugels in my future that will surely lead to my ultimate demise.

C+

*Two further things, Mully’s:

1.  Your website is comically terrible.

2.  And, you, the grey-haired guy that owns the bar, girls are only hitting on you–correction, letting you creepily flirt with them and touch their backs–because you were comping them all night.  Did you happen to notice at the end of the night that none of those women even kissed you on the cheek goodbye?

**Fun fact: apparently you can’t get chlamydia–or gonorrhea! or any other STDs!!–from a beer, no matter how heinous it tastes. They didn’t teach me that in public school sex ed, we only looked at a carousel of slides of inflamed genitalia. And I don’t mean the genitalia was inflamed as in hopping mad at someone or something. The genitalia was, like, inflamed as in burning and shit.

***Can never recall which one is for the written word as opposed to speaking.  I went to public school, son.

****I’ve been doing far too much beer tasting in bathrooms lately.  I have a problem.

Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer

February 16th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 40 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Chili Beer Co., Country: America, Grade: F regular, Style: Chile beer, Video Reviews

4.2% ABV bottled

My second career video review, yet again from my Ten Least Wanted List. And I don’t believe anything else needs to be written…

Introduction:

The Taste:

The Aftermath:

F

Finally, as mentioned, I got a fuck ton of this shitty beer. Who wants to try some? If you’re interested shoot me an e-mail at theviceblog [at] gmail.com and I’ll send you a bottle, on me. I only have one stipulation: you must record yourself drinking the brew and then put it online for us all to see!

Trappistes Rochefort 10

February 11th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie de Rochefort, Cigars, Country: Belgium, Grade: A plus, Style: Quadrupel

11.3% ABV along with a Casa Magna Colorado Gran Toro cigar

I’d already celebrated my 30th birthday with a party at Blind Tiger, a decadent last weekend in Philadelphia, and with further plans this upcoming weekend in Syracuse, so I decided to spend my actual birth date in solitude, completely enjoying a deluge of some of my favorite vices all by my lonesome.  Kinda like Chris Farley’s final day but with no drugs, no hookers, and/or no chance of death.  OK, minimal chance of death.  And hookers.

In the early morning and afternoon, I overloaded with good coffee and some of my favorite movies (”Hoop Dreams,” “2001:  A Space Odyssey,” “Aguirre, the Wrath of God”) before switching to beer and cigars in the early afternoon.  The cigar of the day was Casa Magna’s Gran Toro, the same cigar that in the Robusto size was rated 2008’s #1 cigar of the year by Cigar Aficionado.  A stupendously economical stogey for around $5-$6 a stick, I’d had my first the previous weekend at the legendary Holt’s.   I was on an empty stomach then and found the cigar incredibly spicy and a bit of an asskicker and, thus, somewhat not deserving of its lofty status.  This time around though, with my innards settled and some stout to nicely pair with the smoke, I found it more smooth and palatable.  Quite good.  PASS

Interlude rant that proves I’m a dickhead: As communication becomes more and more ubiquitous and all people achieve more and more relationships (or, er, “relationships”) in their lives, birthdays start to, well…kinda suck.  No, they don’t suck, per se, I’m being overly dramatic, but lately, on my actual birthdays, I’ve started to feel like a motherfucking secretary.  For a guy who hates phone calls, looooooooathes phone calls, one’s birthday becomes a never-ending string of my cell vibrating more than a sexual toy owned by a lonely fat girl.  It was kinda impossible yesterday for me to completely relax and fall into a slumber of my vices when I was answering my phone like a switchboard operator every few minutes to have awkward don’t-know-what-to-say conversations with relatives, friends, and exes I never even think about on the other 364 days of the year.

Even worse, is when you miss a phone call on your birthday, and you of course know why the person just called you, but not wanting to be rude and ignore correspondence, you call the person back to essentially say, “Hi, it’s Aaron–uh, you wanted to wish me a happy birthday?”

Finally, my birthday taught me one very interesting thing.  I have a TON of Facebook friends who I not only don’t remember being “friends” with, not only don’t even know, but don’t even recognize their names!  And, oddly enough, my Facebook friends that I don’t really know were many of the first to wish me a Happy Birthday on my Wall.  I guess the kind of person that would Facebook friend a human being they absolutely don’t know are also the kind of lonely persons that would e-wish that same human being they don’t a Happy Birthday as fast as humanly possible.  Yeah, I should probably unfriend some people and thin out the waste.  Seriously, stop clogging my News Feed with lame status updates, John Rathmuller.

Yeah, I know I’m a dickhead.  I’m lucky to have any friends.  And how sad would I be if I truly got no calls, e-mails, texts, or Facebookings yesterday?!  OK, so ignore my rant I guess.

In the early evening I switched to more higher octane beers to couple with some rare steak.  The beer highlight of the entire day was my first foray into Rochefort 10, the #12 beer in the world according to Beer Advocate and the #1 widely distributed beer in the world according to Rate Beer.  In fact, it’s that very piece of cake accessibility that has led to me ignoring it for so long, but I’m so glad I finally grabbed it.  You should grab it too and, assuming you don’t live in the kind of city that gets excited when a new Olive Garden or Cheesecake Factory opens in town, I’m certain your local beermonger will stock the Rochefort line, one of the seven trappist monasteries making frat sodas.  This quad has a very boozy smell.   The taste is rich and silky almost like a wine or port.  Banana, toffee maltiness, and a little spice.  This beer came with high expectations and met them as it is probably the best quad I’ve ever had–admittedly a style category with not a lot of contenders–a bit ahead of La Trappe’s and St. Bernardus 12.   One further note, I had this beer right off the shelf and thus not much aged at all.  I would love to try it not so young when the hot booziness would probably be a little smoother.

Finally, I saw another human nearing midnight and bday + 1 when a girl brought me several cakes she had made for me–coconut cream, carrot cake, and straight up yellow birthday cake.  I don’t much like cake in normal circumstances, but drunk I dove my hands in sans utensils and ate like a wolfboy.  I found crusty icing in bed this morning.  At least that’s what I think it was.  Gross.

A terrific 30th.  I may start spending them all alone until I die of a heart attack at age 35.

A+

RE-REVIEW: Masala Mama India Pale Ale

February 10th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: Minneapolis Town Hall, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: IPA

5.9% ABV from a grrrrrrrrrrowler

Google:  the geek squad sucks

Results 1 - 10 of about 120,000 for the geek squad sucks. (0.23 seconds)

Google:  fuck the geek squad

Results 1 - 10 of about 58,900 for fuck the geek squad. (0.19 seconds)

Google:  the geek squad can fellate my giant circumcised jew-cock

Information No results found for “the geek squad can fellate my giant circumcised jew-cock”.

Well then let me be the first to add that phrase to the internet and get it search engine filed.  Should help my SEO among angry Jews with computer problems.

They are the Geek Squad and, yes, they are admittedly, clearly, geeks, but I’m not sure that is even the most apropos name for these miscreants:

The Wispy Upper Lip Hair Squad?

The Foul Body Odor Squad?

The Asocial Pedant Squad?

The Virgins Til I Angrily Bugger Them Squad???

Am I being hyperbolically harsh?  No, I don’t think.  Because I would go so far as to say that–ignoring public employees such as those that work at the USPS, the DMV, for the MTA, and in the House of Representatives–Geek Squad employees are the worst workers the American private sector has to offer above such other anti-luminaries as Time Warner customer services reps, Poughkeepsie Dunkin Donut employees, and New York Knickerbockers.

My computer has the most minor of problems right now as the back plug-in has been jostled a bit through everyday wear and tear and now I can no longer keep my power supply in and, in fact, the battery has completely drained, rendering my computer a $1000 piece of cheap plastic and metal that can’t be used.  Now I’m no expert, but I figured fixing this would be quick, cheap, and easy.  No, sir.  Not when the fucking Geek Squad is involved.

Firstly, I do all my errands in the middle of weekdays so I don’t have to deal with buffoons.  It’s interesting, for such a committed Manhattanite, I absolutely detest dealing with other human beings that aren’t bartenders and avoid them all costs, ordering everything I buy off the internet and only dealing with real folks in the most dire of circumstance.  Well, as I predicted, Best Buy was dead as disco at 2 in the afternoon on a Tuesday and I found only one other person in front of me in the Geek Squad line.

45 minutes later I was still behind this hipster doofus who was in an Earl Weaver/umpire shouting match, a typical scene at Geek Squad HQ.  Meanwhile, I could count at least a dozen employees in visual sight, at least half of them other Geek Squad workers, sitting in the back, lounging, reading Wizard magazine, having some homoerotic grab ass.  With several other registers and countless counter space available to help me you’d think one might hop to, but nope, not how the Geek Squad works.  To much WoW strategy to discuss.  And seemingly no upper management to yell at the lower-level staff.

I finally get to the front of the line and am greeted by a stereotypical Squad member.  Doughy enough to sell biscuits in a tube, short sleeved dress shirt with visible underarm yellowing, black tie covered in Quizno’s mystery sauce, greasy hair matted to his head, and some beady eyes staring at me in contempt behind giant Harry Carey goggles.

At this point, no matter what the problem with your computer, no matter how large or small, you will enter a standard operating procedure between you and the Geek Squader in which he will behave in the follow steps.

Step One:  Truculently greet you

No “Hello, sir”–no “sir” or “ma’am” at all for that matter–no “How can I help you?,” “What seems to be the problem?,” or “How are you?”  No, you will be greeted with an eye roll and perhaps a grunt.  Or, even worse, you will have to clear your throat, bang on the counter, or simply say, “Can I get some fucking help?!” to get the Geek to even look up at you.

Step Two:  Dismiss your problems

I briefly explained my problem and he quickly dismissed me, acting as if I clearly broke my laptop.

“Do you ever carry your laptop around?”

Yes, of course, it’s a laptop.  That’s like asking me if I drive my car.

“Do you every type on it on your lap?  Or in a coffee shop or something?”

Again, yes, of course, it’s a motherfucking laptop.

“Well then, the cord probably got banged up due to your aggressiveness with it while moving it around.”

“Aggressiveness?!”  Ha.  The only way I could have been less aggressive with my computer in question would have been to never take it out of the box.

Step three:  Act like you’re a fool that knows far less about computer than them.  Offer expensive fix.

This step involves the Geek doing a lot of scoffing, a lot of supercilious smirking, and a lot of upturned palms “Whadaya want me to do about it?”s.  Then, they suggest you pay approx. $500 to have it fixed.

Step four:  Don’t even test out their theories on what is wrong.  Offer expensive fix.

My Geek looked at my laptop for about a millisecond before saying, yeah, it’s the plug-in that’s broken.  That’ll cost you an absurd amount.

But how could he know all this in a millisecond?!

Step five:  Begrudgingly test when you yell at them because you are far bigger than them and could give them a wedgie

I was furious at how quickly he examined my laptop, how he tried to throw around computer jargon and argot that he thought I might not know in order to make me cower and completely allow my fate to be settled by him.  I mean, look, I spent my youth playing sports and being popular, but I’m not a retard, I know a thing or two about computers.  “Could you at least test a few things out and confirm for me what is probably wrong with it?”

With a huff and a puff…

Step 5b.  Pull out universal power adapter.

This is the Geek squads’ one go-to move.  In fact, it’s the only fucking move they have.  You know why?!  Cause they don’t know how to fucking do anything related to computer aside from wasting your goddamn time.  So they’ll reach under the counter, pull out a giant bag of widgets, look for the one that matches your device’s plug-in, then hook it up to the universal adapter and plug you in.

And, you know what…?

Step six:  Are now somewhat confused about what is wrong.  Problem is ambiguous.  Offer expensive fix.

Their earlier dismissiveness is now proven wrong because they are fucking wrong.  In fact, they are now as confused about your computer’s problem(s) as you are.  In fact, they won’t be able to fix it in the actual Best Buy you currently stand in.  But they never act like they are so inferior that they can’t fix a simple computer, oh no, they continue to act rude and superior to you.

Step seven:  Send in to shop.

What is the point of the fucking Geek Squad if they can’t fix shit?!??!  I’ve constantly gone to the Geek Squad with some of the most minor computer problems ever–some of which I later went home, Googled the problem myself, and then with nothing more than a pair of needle-nose pliers, perhaps another tool, fixed the computer myself–and never once has the employee said, “Sure, we’ll have this fixed in an hour.  Go look through some DVDs and video games and we’ll page you when we’re finished.”

Nope.  Getting a computer “fixed” by the Geek squad always involves them charging you money so that they can mail it to the manufacturer so that the manufacturer can spend several weeks fixing it themselves before mailing it back to the Geek Squad.  Fuck the Geek Squad.  Save yourself some time, cut out the middle man, assume the Geek Squad can’t fix shit, and just mail it to the manufacturer yourself.

Step eight:  Go back to reading Wizard magazine

The Geek Squad exists as nothing more than gatekeepers to misery.  Timewasters of the highest order.  There is no point in using them unless you need your ire greatly raised.

Well, now I know.

I was so fucking heated after my futile foray with the Geek Squad that I needed beer, post-haste.  Luckily, The Captain had literally shipped me a fresh and full sealed growler of Masala Mama, to make up for the less-than-fresh attempt we propagated last time.  Beautiful.  Fragrant.  Flawless hops bitterness.  One of the best single IPAs I’ve ever had just below DFH 60 Minute and one of the great session beers of all time.  Not sure it deserves its lofty place on the Best of BA list–I reserve best beer in the world status for bigger asskickers–but it is truly a great beer.

So here I am, computerless, forced to type my hilarious Vice Blog entries using t9 on my mobile phone–seriously–or during the rare chances I can borrow my fuck buddy’s computer when she isn’t playing Scramble on Facebook.*  Alas, it is not the easiest way to write.

Oh well, I got a new laptop being shipped to me right now.  I ordered it online.  I’m never dealing with humans again.   Any one want to buy another laptop that can’t be turned on?

A

*I’ve always hated the word “fuck buddy.”  So childish, so lame, so crass, so unnecessarily profane.  Can’t we come up with something better, people?  Fornicating friends, bangin’ buddies, intercourse pals, coitus companions, copulation cronies, screwing sidekicks, intimate intimates…?  I like the elegance of the lattermost, personally.

Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon 2.0 edition

February 9th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Nøgne Ø, Country: Norway, Grade: A plus, Style: Stout

17.5% ABV (bottling #11,554; November 5, 2007)

Deleted Scenes

A few brief tales, anecdotes, one-liners, and happenings that never came to complete fruition from my recent life that were not quite good enough to make the theatrical release.

*BB and I picked up two best friends at a swank bar in Philadelphia who brought us back to my girl’s apartment for a sordid slumber party.  The next morning, under the guise of needing a Starbucks, they escorted us out of the building.  Awkwardly standing on the sidewalk, no one quite sure how to wrap up the one night stands, I said to the gals:  “So how you want to end this thing?  Handshake?  Hug?  Kiss on the cheek?”

*Brunching at a college diner on a Sunday, a man arrived amidst the sweatsuit-clad completely overdressed for 11 AM in a tuxedo.  My friends and I began loudly snickering and openly mocking him, perhaps due to the intoxicants still in our systems from the night before.  One friend nicknamed him “James Bond” and I couldn’t help but humming aloud Dum da-da dum dum dum.  Finally, I came up with the swell idea to secretly send the tuxedoed dork a shaken-not-stirred martini–a splendid value at only $6.50 I might add.  Unfortunately, the man departed before our waitress returned to our table and potential hilarity was averted.

*There was the night my youthful looking friend couldn’t locate his driver’s license, something that worried him since we were going out drinking later at a bar with ball-busting bouncers.  I told my friend not to be concerned for once we got to the pub, I handed the meathead doorman my ID, matter of factly asking him:  “You let Jews in here, right?”  He put his hands up in minor dismay, pleading with me:  “Why yes!  OF COURSE we let in Jews!”  I smiled good and pulled my IDless friend toward the entrance.  “I need to see his card.”  “He lost it.”  “I’m sorry, but I can’t let him in then.”  I exploded in anger, loudly calling out for the whole block to hear:  “You’re not letting my friend in?!  Cause he’s Jewish?!  That is unacceptable!  You anti-Semitic bastard!”

*On a similar note was the drunken night I decided to expose bigots, taking the guise of an anti-Semite and confiding in the bartender:  “Just between you and me, fella, I hate fucking Jews.”  I asked him if the rumors were true and Jews were indeed poor tippers.  He confided indeed they were, those swarthy money grubbing bastards.  I played it cool, but later in the night and much drunker I began laying waste to the bar, ripping decorations of the wall and “making it rain” with cocktail napkins, swizzle sticks, and lemons.  Of course I was 86ed but I must admit the bartender was quite prescient:  this Hebe gave him a zero percent tip.

*There was this previous weekend where I was talking to my friend on the phone as he worked, making a plan to visit him in his office later in the day.  I heard schoolgirl giggling in the background and my buddy revealed that the laughter was coming from a co-worker who had discovered the Vice Blog and was a huge fan, now excited and nervous to meet a “celebrity” later in the day.  Since I’m an inveterate egomaniac, of course I’m more excited to meet a fawning fan of mine than even they are to meet me.  And I was most excited to find her an attractive girl.  I now hope to meet more unknown fans in the future.  Come on ladies, have the balls to reveal yourselves to me and take me out for drinks, something I will reward with a few autographs and by letting you touch me.

*And the most recently disappointing “What coulda been…” an all-time legendary story was a few weeks ago as two friends and I closed down a bar when who should enter the deserted watering hole but an absolutely model stunning collection of ten friends.  I quickly made friends with the group by asking them if they thought the girl one of my friends was hitting on was a lesbian.  They took the analysis of that question with utter seriousness, mocking my friend enough that he soon skipped out on his girl and joined me with the ten hotties.  Quickly, we learned that these leggy youngsters were an entire college basketball team from a college you’ve never heard of in Pennsylvania.  These beauties loved me and my friends and were almost battling over who got to be paired with whom.  Heck, we even made plans to drive up and watch the nationally ranked team play a basketball game and then afterward sleazily party with them in their dorm rooms.  Attractive, 5′11″, leggy, college athlete, party girls.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Unfortunately, after a few Facebook communiques over the next week, we all lost touch and the most epic orgy of all time never materialized.  Oh, what could have been…

My friend Derek hooked me up with a bottle of the second edition of Dark Horizon.  The first batch currently resides in Beer Advocate top 100 and it would seem the younger bottling is just as good.  In fact, the self-proclaimed “Uncompromising Brewery” has made one of the better stouts, if not outright beers, I have ever had, pushing the threshold of punishing booziness with its 17.5% ABV.  Being that the incredibly handsome tin and tissue-wrapped packaging notes “mature til Fall 2009, best by 2020,” I imagine this beer will only get better and better and better.  Though even drinking it not quite “ripe,” I found it to be just a hair below the immortal Bourbon County Stout in my all-time stout rankings.  Full of dark chocolate, coffee, a slight sugar sweetness to even out the bitterness, and a silky wine-ness, this brew is amazingly drinkable for its potency, and a true Norwegian masterpiece.

A+

Uinta Fifteenth Anniversary Barley Wine

February 5th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Uinta, Country: America, Grade: B-, Style: Barley wine

10.4% ABV

The G-Rated Seduction

NOTE TO MY READERS:  This is an atypical story here on the Vice Blog.  It does not involve debauchery, perversion, transgression, or sordidness.  It is nothing more than a sweet story about a gal.  And a guy.  And another guy.  And, yes, another gal.  (But not like that you sicko.)  So if you come here to live vicariously through my Red Sea of sleaze, you best sit this one out fella.

“Boy, Philadelphia has a lot hotter women than I would have guessed.”

“You think?”

My friend Mookie had picked me up at the Princeton train station around noon and driven us into the city for a day of vice.

“Well look at that girl right there.”

As we sat at a crosswalk, the cutest little blue blood WASP of a girl walked by.  Flawlessly put together, perhaps even a little overdressed for a lazy Saturday of shopping.  She wore a “It’s a girl” pink-colored blazer.  She wasn’t a ten out of ten or anything but she was so damn attractive, so damn enticing.  Unforgettable.

Several hours later and several miles away, Mookie and I were enjoying a cigar in Rittenhouse Square when who should vamp by but pink blazer girl.  Our jaws dropped to the pigeon shit covered cement.

Then, another hour later, as Mookie was putting some money in the meter, who should walk by again but pink blazer girl.  This was getting ridiculous.

That evening, Mookie and I hit up the Smith & Wollensky bar for some early evening steaks and cocktails.  Conversation was completely devoted to pink blazer girl.  Damn!  It couldn’t have been coincidence.  How did we run into her in three separate places today?!  Even if it wasn’t anything more than coincidence it was still crazy.  Dammit!  Why didn’t we stop her, talk to her, make her our dual girlfriend?  Had she even noticed us?

A group of elegant old ladies dining beside us heard our story and were soon part of our circle.  I was convinced–convinced!–that the fates wanted us to be with pink blazer girl.  I was certain we’d see her again that night.  Certain that later in the evening, at some bar, at some tavern, some watering hole, our beautiful pink blazer girl would walk in and we’d dance, we’d flirt, we’d make her our dual girlfriend.

If and when we did see her again, Mookie and I swore to ourselves that we would finally stop her.

By now, more people at the bar, including the surliest bartender in the world, had become a part of our story, debating whether it was coincidence, fate, were we being stalked?  Or maybe we were just liars, complete fabricators of this tale?  Men that go into classy bars to spin yarns, test out their raconteurial skills simply to win over crowds, become the center of attention, maybe get a free drink bought for them or something?

And then…

Pink blazer girl walked into the restaurant.

Twenty feet away, the bar erupted, like Ryan Howard had just hit a walk-off.

But pink blazer girl didn’t notice as the maitre’d quickly whisked her to the upstairs dining room.  Leaving the bar in stunned silence.

“Was that her?  No!  It couldn’t be!  Is this a joke?  Are we on a hidden video show?”

The bar was buzzing.

“Mookie, what should we do?”

“What can we do?”

“We have to do something.”

The bar echoed like a Greek chorus:  “You have to do something.”

I nodded at Mookie.  “We promised ourselves.  We have to do something.”

But what?

As if we were the quarterbacks and the rest of the conveniently set up bar-in-the-round was the huddle, we discussed our options.

Walk upstairs and introduce ourselves?

Naw.  Too brash.  And who knows who she is with.  A husband, a boyfriend.  We’d start a steak house fight.

Wait for her to exit and then flag her down?

Too risky.  We could miss her.  Borderline creepy too.

Then what?

The bar sat in quiet contemplation for a half-minute.

“I got it!  Let’s send her an old fashioned junior high note.”

“I love it!”

I asked the surly bartender for some paper and he begrudgingly handed us a blank receipt, it’s back completely blank.

We quickly judged that Mookie had better handwriting so he became the stenographer as a note was dictated, the rest of the bar oohing and ahhing with each choice of words:

First we saw you at the crosswalk at __ & __.  Then, you walked by us in the park.  Later, you passed us on the sidewalk as we fed the meter.  And, now, the fates have brought us together here.  We know you are stalking us.  Come downstairs, show some courage, and introduce yourself.  Signed, the two guys you are stalking.

“What if she has no sense of humor?  She won’t get the jokes?”

“She’ll get ‘em.”

“What if she doesn’t know who we are?”

“Then, we’ll draw a map.”

And, thus, Mookie added to the bottom of our note a sketch of the bar, and two X’es marking the spots where we sat.

“But how to pass it on?”

“We’ll need a ‘grease man,’” Mookie noted, a regular Danny Ocean.

Why was everything so difficult in the game of childish seduction?  We debated how to pass it on.  None of our friends at the bar were willing to act as messengers.  A Mexican dishwalker walked by.  “How’s your Spanish, Mookie?”  He shook his head, “No.”  “He’ll bungle it.”

“Then, we’re gonna have to have the maitre’d do it.”

“He’ll laugh in our face.”

“No, go to the female hostess.  Girls like playful games.  Girls like matchmaking.”

Mookie wasn’t sure.

“Then hand her a fiver.”

Mookie still didn’t think it would work and, “Hey, why do I have to do our dirty work?”

I explained:  “Because you’re believable.  I have a look about me, a certain look, maybe it’s my devilish eyebrows, perhaps the constant smirk on my lips, that makes people think I’m up to something.  Which, admittedly, I usually am.  Conniving, scheming, plotting.  It’s worked well for me in many facets of life, but not here, no.  But, you, you have a kind, truthful face.  And your patter is so smooth and believable as well. It’s why you’re a good salesman.”

Mookie nodded.  He knew I was 100% right.

He walked over to the female hostess and I saw him speaking to her, gesticulating, giving her his skillful patter.  She was laughing, laughing hard.  Very good.

Mookie returned.  “It’s a go.”

While the hostess was gone, we debated what was going to happen.  About half the bar thought pink blazer girl would come down, the other half thought she’d be creeped out and just slip out the back door.

Pending.

The hostess returned to us.  What had happened?  She explained that pink blazer was dining with her parents and the three of them had giggled when she got our note.  But would she come down?  The hostess was unsure.

I ordered her back to her hostess stand lest she ruin things.  She complied.

You see, I was now certain pink blazer girl would soon be downstairs.  I explained to the rest of the bar that parents get a huge kick out of seeing their children do things they don’t want to do.  Things they’re scared to do.  Trying out for school plays, speaking to adults, going to the neighbors’ house to ask for something.  My parents certainly got a kick out of watching my sisters and I squirm.  And so would her’s.  So even if she had no interest in dealing with us–which she probably did–her parents would goad her and implore her and then finally force her to go downstairs and speak to us.  Older people have learned that one must do things they don’t viscerally want to if they are to live an adventuresome life.  Or maybe they just like to order their progeny around.

I explained that it was taking so long because this “I don’t want to, mom and dad!”/”No, you have to, honey” debate was going on concurrently.  They probably told her they’d drag her to the bar themselves, embarrass her further, if she just didn’t up and do it herself.

And then, after about ten mintues, pink blazer girl came downstairs and over to Mookie and I.  We played it cool.

“What took you so long?”

She was shy, damn shy, she could barely look us in the eyes.  Younger than we reckoned too, probably a college sophomore or so.  She clearly had not dealt with many men in her life.  She thanked us for the note, said it was sweet, and, yes, she had remembered us, even noticed the coincidence too.  She coyly remarked that the note was, in fact, the cutest thing a guy had ever done for her.

It had made her day.

Oh, and before you go back to your parents, what’s your name, darling?

“Blakely.  My name is Blakely.”

“Have a good evening, Blakely.”

“See ya, Blakely.”

That’s all we wanted.

And she left, Mookie and I backslapping and high-fiving.  “Blakely!  What a perfect name!”

The hostess came over with a huge smile on her face.  It was then that I noticed that she was even better looking than Blakely.  She was the ten out of ten, a movie star perfect button nose and flowing golden locks.

“You guys are the cutest!  I wish some guys would do that for me.”

She smiled.

“Thanks for making my day.”

Batting two-for-two on that front.

“I’m Briton by the way.”

Blakely and Briton.

Briton and Blakely.

We didn’t kiss them, hug them, or certainly hook up with them.  And we didn’t exactly want to.  That would have spoiled things.  99% of the time seduction is a means to an end, but in the case of Blakely and Briton, seduction was the entire game.

We never saw Blakely and Briton again and that too is perfect as they now live on in our minds as two unflawed beacons of womanhood.  Both G-Rated seduced by two masters of the rarely practiced art form.  It felt good to make their days.

But, I won’t lie, I still would like to run into them one day in the future.  Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Uinta Fifteenth Anniversary Barley Wine

Barley wine is probably my favorite style of beer and being that it’s a fairly under-created style I’m always anxious to try new ones, pretty much picking up any I see.  Same goes for anniversary releases.  I can’t help but purchase them.  Which is weird because I haven’t heard anything about Uinta brewing for its entire fifteen years of existence and now I’m eager to celebrate with them?!  Kinda feels like a stranger coming up to you on the street:  “Hey, I just turned 25 today, buy me a present.”  I found this barley wine decent but unspectacular, far too much scalding booziness which is the problem I find with most middling barley wines.  Still, at only $2.99 it was worth a shot and, hey, my first career beer from Utah!

B-

Tyranena The Devil Made Me Do It! Coffee Imperial Oatmeal Porter (Brewers Gone Wild!)

February 3rd, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Tyranena, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Oatmeal Porter

I rolled out of bed and yawned into the living room, immediately causing my roommates to crack up laughing.  This was not something atypical to hungover Saturday and Sunday mornings back in my early-twenties, but, nevertheless, I had to ask:  “What?”

Freddie smirked.  “Have you forgot?  Check your wallet.”

I ran back to my room and retrieved my billfold off the nightstand.  It was overflowing with $20 bills.

“Holy shit, there’s like $500 here!”

I began to slowly recall the events of the previous night.  A college friend of Freddie’s, Scott, had invited him to a party at his luxury high-rise in the financial district.  Back then I still lived in Hoboken and I convinced Freddie that the best way to get to Wall Street would be via the NY Waterway ferry service.  Predominately for business commuters, by 9:00 PM Friday when we set off, Freddie and I were the lone passengers on ship.  Freddie is nothing if not a law-abiding moral man, but I had further convinced him that we should smuggle a bottle of vodka and some tonic water on deck.  As the ferry slowly moved through the dark waters, Freddie and I passed the two bottles back and forth.  Swig of vodka, swig of tonic, swallow, repeat.  By the time we arrived at Pier 11 we were pretty lit up, and thus struggled to locate the apartment on the dark and deserted brick streets.

Ultimately we arrived at Scott’s incredible pad to find the party in full swing.  Nerdy, lithe little men in $300 Gucci jeans, tucked-in pink Thomas Pink slim-fit shirts, Prada loafers sockless, drinking and dancing with women just a few pounds overweight yet still in tube top dresses, the kind of ladies that would only be good-looking if we lived in a place that didn’t have cable television yet.

Oh, did I forget to mention that Freddie went to Duke University and thus the entire party was full of Cameron Crazies?

I know what you’re saying, Duke is probably the second most detested college in America after Notre Dame, how could I possibly have a good friend that went there?  Duke is full of supercilious WASPy crackers from New Jersey and Long Island who spent their university years camping out in Krzyzewski-ville, not even drinking but studying (!!!), all to smear blue and white clown makeup on their pale, pimply faces to root for a team full of detestable floppersand court-slappers.  Yes, I agree with that and, quite frankly, so would Freddie.  That’s what makes him so great.  Freddie did then and still admits to this day that his alma mater was a major nerd school.  But, he is not a dork and Scott is not a dork, and…well…that made three of us at this particular party that were cool.  And I’m even counting the lollipop-headed Mike Dunleavy, Jr. who was there, fresh off a middling rookie season, proof that even a $3.1M first year contract doesn’t make one cool.

Luckily, Scott and his Duke friends were investment bankers and thus already quite rich by age 23, providing one of the most fully stocked party bars I’ve ever seen.  I started hitting the Maker’s Mark neat hard and before I knew it I was actually enjoying the party.  Soon, a pair of Villanova co-eds arrived and we were all three flirting, mocking the Dukies around us.

Meanwhile, a game of beer pong had sprung up in the corner.  Now, even today at 30 I like the game, but back then I loved the game.  I asked my favorite Villanova girl if she wanted to be my teammate, she acquiesced with authority, and we called “next.”

I like to team-up for drinking games–most specifically beer pong or flip cup–with girls I want to pick up, it being a semi-sleazy way to accelerate the seduction.  It forces both of us to get drunk at an accelerated pace, I rarely lose at things so I get to display my impressive prowess, and soon we’re winning games and high-fiving which begets hugging which begets kissing which begets sweeping the dank Miller Lite off the beer pong table for a quick public romp.  OK, that’s never happened before, but the rest is basically true.

The Duke kids were terrible at beer pong, as if they had never played it in college and were trying out this “crazy state college kid game” just for a laugh.  Like when private school kids have “white trash” parties.  It was quite clear that my ‘Nova girl and I were going to run the table for the rest of the night, something I brashly informed her of.

One of our opponents Neil was someone that you couldn’t help but viscerally hate.  A 5′4″ 110 pound pipsqueak in a ribbon belt and Robin egg blue chinos with just the most perfect Prince William tussled hair, he carried himself with an inappropriate swagger that can only be manifested by a massive familial net worth.  He immediately went after me.

“Let’s play for money, fella.”

“Naw, let’s just play our teams now.”

I looked at my girl and smiled.

“No.  You and me, one-on-one, one cup each, $20.”

“Naw, let’s just keep it fun.”

Neil got in my face.  “First we play for money.  Fill your cup up.”

I was exasperated as I turned to my girl and shrugged.  “Fine, one cup, then we go back to teams.”

We each set up our sole Solos.  I threw and missed.  Neil threw and made it.  I took the lone twenty from my wallet and walked it over to Neil.  People at the party were legitimately impressed.  $20 isn’t much money, but to gamble it on just a single one-second event is still somewhat high-stakes.  But Neil wasn’t happy.

“Double or nothing.  Let’s go again.”

“Come on man, I just want to play teams.”

“You a pussy?  I want you to try and get your money back.  Double or nothing.”

My girl was getting sick of the machismo pulsing over the beer pong table.  Educated, civilized women absolute detest needless manliness, finding it anything but sexy.  And though I hadn’t instigated and was completely trying to defray things, it didn’t matter.  She left my side to find her friend at the drinks table.  Now I was really pissed.

“Alright, double or nothing, motherfucker.”

A small crowd had begun to gather, surrounding the table like a cock fight ring.  The Duke kids backing Neil, Freddie, Scott, and the few other free agents on my side.

We set up our cups.  Neil threw and missed.  I threw, my ball hit the lip of the cup and knocked it over, unloading all the liquid onto the floor.  Victory!  Scott and Freddie high-fived me.

Neil sprinted into my face like Earl Weaver arguing with an umpire.  “No, no, no, that doesn’t count!  You didn’t make the shot!  You knocked it over.”

“That counts, pal, that’s how everyone plays.”  I looked toward Scott and Freddie and they nodded, true.

“I didn’t have enough beer in my cup!”

“Your fault.  You filled it.”

“You know that would have lipped out if it was filled!”

“Not my fault.  You filled it.  Now give me my twenty back.”

“No way.  Doesn’t count, we’re playing again.”

“You’re Welshing you fucking midget?”

“I ain’t Welshing, we’re playing again.  Double or nothing.”

“No, I already won.”

“Uh uh.  We’re playing again.  For $50!”

The crowd was buzzing.

“$50?!  Ha!”

“How bout $100 then?”

I snorted in his face.  “You think you’re a big man?  You think I’m impressed?”

I dramatically paused.  It’s funny, I’m not a gambler at all nowadays, but back then I was an impetuous wagerer.  I would bet on anything and everything.  I thought the only way to prove my points, my worth, was to throw ludicrous money at my opposition.

“Let’s play for $500!”

Neil backpedaled.  “No, $100’s fine.”

“Pussy.”  I looked at the crowd.  “Do you believe this coward instigated things and now won’t play me for a measley $500?”

People started laughing at Neil.  He was fuming, thinking things over, when finally he snapped.

“Fine.  We’ll play.”

I did not expect him to call my bluff.  As two girls filled a second cup for each of us, Neil and I went to our respective corners.

I huddled with Scott and Freddie.  “Guy’s I don’t have a nickel on me.  What the fuck do I do?”

“Don’t worry,” said Scott, “everyone hates this motherfucker.  If you lose, we’ll stake you.  But you ain’t losing.”  Freddie slapped me on the ass for good luck.

I never get nervous in competition but, despite the liters of liquor flowing through my CNS, I was trembling.  I may be a starving artist now, but back then I was borderline homeless and I could not afford to lose my friends’ money.

We flipped a coin and Neil won.  He elected to throw first.

Neil lined up and released.  SPLASH!  The Duke kids erupted.  “That’s what’s up!” spouted Neil.

Scott squeezed my shoulder.  Focus.  I exhaled, lined my elbow up, released, and…SPLASH!

I answered him. 

Overtime.

Two new cups.

Neil lined it up, tossed it, missed.

I lined it up, tossed it, center cut.  Victory.  Scott, Freddie, and a bunch of turncoat Dukies surrounded me, slapping me on the back, feting me.

With an immediate fury, Neil flapped open his Pierre Cardin eel skin wallet, pulled an inch thick stack of ATM fresh twenties, and threw them at me as if I was a worthless hooker.  Neil then stormed from the party, grabbing some Hershey’s syrup off the drinks table en route and spraying it all over Scott’s shirt in anger.

All we could do is cackle at our good fortune.

Freddie reminded me of this story just this weekend at my 30th birthday.   Earlier in the day I’d had my first ever Tyranena brew, another gift from Dirtyspeed.  It was one of the most fragrant and rich-tasty coffee beers I’ve ever had.  Silky with a thick roasted flavor, I found this quite good, despite the fact that oatmeal porters aren’t exactly my favorite style in the world.  This is one of the better ones I’ve ever had though.  It also made me quite intrigued to hopefully try more from the amusingly named Brewers Gone Wild! series, specifically the Hop Whore DIPA and the Spank Me Baby! barley wine, though the entire series seems delicious.

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