Schafly Reserve Barleywine (2007)

March 9, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Saint Louis/Schlafly, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Barley wine.

10.2% ABV from a handsomely boxed 750 mL bottle

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”  -HST

It was 3:15 AM as I drunkenly approached the bartender.

“‘scuse me, you guys got a pair of scissors I can borrow?”

Not even regarding my question the least bit oddly, the bartender thought to herself–“Hmmm…yeah, I think we do.”–before opening a drawer near the register and retrieving the clippers for me.

How boring must others’ lives be?  There’s no way to say that without sounding like a supercilious dick.  Yet it seems every time I go out with my friends for what I, what we, consider to be a “normal” evening, some stranger who has found him or herself inexplicably drafted into our events blurts out “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!”  Or, “This is the most insane night I’ve ever had!”


The craziest?  The most insane?  Sadly, I don’t think these people speak in hyperbole.  They just live really fucking boring lives.  The same thing happened again Saturday night.

Graig, Sal, and I had begun drinking early with a 2:00 Syracuse/Marquette tip-off and by 8:00 were all worn out.  I suggested hitting the Village Pourhouse for one final drink before parting ways which soon led to us drinking rum and Cokes to stay awake which lead to us drinking full pint glasses of rum and Cokes to stay even more awake which lead to us getting absolutely loaded and over-caffeinated and having a hefty $400 tab.  (“The Village Poor House,” Sal joked.)

Throughout the whole day, I couldn’t help noticing Sal’s new hair cut.  Whoever had snipped it had gravely fucked up in the front as several wisps of stray hair were skirting over his forehead like miniature bangs, making him look quite foolish, and irking an obsessive compulsive like myself.

For hour after hour and round after round I continued imploring Sal that we had to cut his hair and he kept turning me down.  By 3:15 AM I’d had enough.  I told him I was getting scissors by any means necessary and snipping his errant coiffure myself*.  That is when I marched to the bar to retrieve my school supply which was so easily obtained.

Mind you, it’s the end of a Saturday night with a room full of wasted people–yours truly included–in a bar that isn’t exactly the Ritz Carlton’s piano lounge but one more akin to a underage college joint with a laissez-faire carding policy, a floor covered in sloppy suds, the jukebox full of songs that everyone knows every word to and has an uncontrollable urge to prove that fact**, women too shit-faced to be anything more chaste than a slut (though most are pushing the threshold of “skank”), and vomitus and buffalo wing detritus scattered in any place a person isn’t sitting, standing, or dry-humping.

You may think the bartender gave me some scissors at 3:15 AM because I have an “honest” face.  I don’t.  I always look like I’m up to mischief.  I do have one thing going for, though, and that is a remarkable ability to compose myself, even for just a few seconds, when I’m drunk and need to not sound that way when speaking to a figure of any level of authority.  Likewise, I’m a pretty confident confidence man.  I knew she’d give me the scissors if she had some.  But why?

Why in the world would a bartender give a drunken person scissors?  What if I had stabbed someone?  Or just cut…well anything?  Or anyone?  Hell, I’m having a hard time right now thinking of a single legitimate thing to do with scissors at 3:15 in the morning while drunk.  Make some fucking paper dolls?!

Well, I guess I can actually think of one thing, the thing we did, cut Sal’s hair to make him look less like an asshole.  As I toed the line above his bar seat and put his sloppy wisps between my forefinger and middle to line it up like a moyel about to snip off the foreskin, Sal chickened out.  “No, you can’t.  I don’t trust you!”

I won’t lie, I was going to give him a perfect cut, but I can still understand his reticence as I am a prankster par excellence.

Luckily, a girl Sal was flirting with stepped up and agreed to do the snipping.  Sal liked that idea much better, and though she did a far worse job than I would have, I believe Sal was pleased with the new cut, especially as he scored a date with the besotted impromptu barberess as a bonus.

Our general area of other bar patrons was buzzing after the events.  Personally, the events, the haircut, didn’t seem that odd to me.  Just necessary.

One guy, a stupefied look on his face, finally spoke up: “A haircut in a bar?!  That’s the most insane thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”

“Crazy” and “insane” from an outsiders’ perspective just seems par for the course in my life.  As does giving a man sorely in need of a haircut one at 3:15 AM in the middle of a packed bar.

I don’t know.  Maybe my friends and I are jaded.  Have been doing such “crazy” and “insane” things for so long that the weird now seems normal.  But, you know,  I don’t think that’s so.  I just think we “live.”

As a returned the scissors to the bartender I looked her deep in the eyes, shaking my head in disapproval:

“Why in the world would you give a drunk man some scissors?”

She just shrugged.

Schafly Reserve Barleywine

After the rousing success of Schafly’s Reserve Imperial Stout, I was stoked to try their barleywine.  Big badass imperial stouts are probably my second favorite style of beer, but barleywines still reign supreme in my eyes.  Their stout I had was a 2008 bottling while this barleywine was a year earlier.  I sampled it the same night I had Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine (2001) and I found the younger and less “famous” beer to be the better offering.  Nice and sweet yet still hoppy, the oak barreling shines through in this tremendous beer.  Incredibly drinkable for the ABV.


*I’d previously given two drunken haircuts in my life.  One great, one terrible.  The great one netted my friend hearty compliments for a week straight.  The terrible one got another friend laughed out of a family wedding.  So, yes, there is apparently something that goes over worse in church than a fart.

**”Santaria,” “Free Fallin,'” “Sweet Caroline,” etc.

10 Responses to “Schafly Reserve Barleywine (2007)”

  1. anton says:

    **You forgot Jon Bon Karaoke.

  2. I live in Manhattan now, not Hoboken.

    “Don’t Stop Believin'” is the asshole singalong song of choice in Manhattan.

  3. anton says:

    God damn David Chase. Ruined a perfectly great song by opening it up to the wannabe masses. Used to mean something, even just a little, to know the first verse of that one.

  4. When a song is used perfectly in either a movie or TV show it is always going to be “ruined” forever in a certain sense. Can you hear “The End” without thinking of “Apocalypse Now”? “Also Sprach Zarathustra” without thinking of “2001”? They’re no longer songs after they’re used that effectively, they’re simply parts of soundtracks, to people’s lives or otherwise.

  5. anton says:

    And there lies the question, was the song iconic because of the movie, or because the movie used it? Trainspotting is notorious for the former.

  6. “Lust For Life” was a decent song elevated in greatness by “Trainspotting.” Ironically, it was them vastly downgraded when Royal Caribbean cruise lines inexplicably used it ad nauseum in their commercials.

    Coppola and Kubrick elevated those songs. QT is obviously the current master of bringing the best out of songs.

  7. anton says:

    Perfect Day was a top 10 all time perfectly used songs in film. I still play the entire scene thru my mind every time I hear it.

  8. “Perfect Day” has always been a great song and yes it was used perfectly and correctly.

    (And Lou Reed is a proud Cuse alum which makes the song even more awesome)

  9. KingOttoIII says:

    Very random day. There were maybe a dozen things that you coulda written about but yes that was the topper. When you drink for 13 hours strange things happen. Normal people stop at 3 hours and that is why they never get to the real show.

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