Surly Coffee Bender

March 19, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Surly, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Brown Ale.

5.1% ABV from a can

Today, March Madness Thursday, is probably my favorite day of each calender year, assuming July 1st doesn’t all of the sudden become National Aaron/Scarlett Johansson/Megan Fox threesome day (observed).

From the second the brackets are announced on Sunday night and Jay Bilas starts calmly, rationally, and wisely arguing with a maniacal Dickie V while Digger picks his nose with a fluorescent pink magic marker, I am in the throes of anxious anticipation.  Obsessively studying my team Syracuse’s route to the Final Four.  Speculating on the minutiae of each and every of the 63 games yet to be played.  Debating with friends about the merits of this team we never saw play and that team we never saw play.  (“What?!  You’re taking Texas A&M over BYU?  You gotta be fucking kidding me!  The Aggies will never stop…”–checks internet–“…6’7″ guard Lee Cummard and his 16.8 point per game.”)

As the week goes on, the tournament closer, the wait is maddening, the possibilities endless.  This is the best time in the world to be a college basketball fan.  Even a Binghamton supporter can probably convince themselves that somehow someway they could maybe win it all if everything falls into place.  I will scrutinize my tournament pool picks countless times, making little tweaks here and there (“Hmmm…maybe Clemson is better than Michigan.”), talking myself into and out of Final Four picks, making sure the bracket isn’t too “chalk,” nor too obscure.  Two #1 seeds in the Final Four is just a correct number to seem possible yet not ludicrous.  And not win either.  Never win ever.  Let’s be honest, it’s all a crap shoot and a moron always wins the loot.*

The week goes on and I’m watching every single highlight show, reading every single breakdown of every single game on every single website and blog.  Inhaling as much as I can about Syracuse’s chances.  Blatantly ignoring the writers and analysts that don’t pick us (“He’s always HATED us!  Asshole.”) and awarding MENSA memberships to those that do have the Orange going far (“I’ve always liked him.  So intelligent and even-handed.”)  I’m also barely eating or drinking, saving my body for the Thursday through Sunday gauntlet of gluttony and vice.  That wasn’t that hard of a task this year as I was sick as a dog all week after completing a Big East tournament bender from the previous Wednesday through Saturday:  four games, seven overtimes, all my greasy and fried meals ate in Madison Square Garden area bars, hundreds of beers consumed, and zero attractive UConn fans espied.

Now we are T-minus three hours until tip-off between LSU/Butler and the aforementioned BYU/TAMU tilt (play-by-play announced by buddy and fellow Cuse alum Carter Blackburn!)  I will gather with fellow hoops nuts** at a friend’s pad where we will toggle between the games on the DirectTV package, noting how every team sucks except for Syracuse and whoever we picked to win in our pools.  We will flip the fuck out at the ad nauseum airings of commercials promoting some new crappy CBS show that you’ve haven’t heard of this very second but will already fucking loathe by the end of the weekend (my money’s on some schlock called “Harper’s Island.”)  We will have numerous brackets spread out in front of us, laptops flapped open to garner any bits of useless info, Bacchanalian spreads of snack food and comical greasiness.  We will over-caffeinate to stay hyped up, and slug beer like we’re in a contest.  I may start early with something most apropos, Surly’s Coffee Bender.

My unofficial Surly dealer, The Captain, scored me the Coffee Bender as he has likewise got me every single other glorious Surly I’ve ever had, including the original Bender which I adored.  This version is that brew steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.  Pours dark and tastes more like a stout than a brown ale.  Actually more like a rich iced coffee sans sugar and milk.  And, with a fairly low ABV, you could probably convince someone that this is indeed one.  (Aproposly, on this can, Surly’s usual motto of “Beer for a glass, from a can,” cutely becomes “Beer for a mug, from a can.”)  Roasted, dry, and quite earthy.  Delicious, though for coffee nuts only I would advise.

I’d go so far as to say this is the second best brown I’ve ever had after DFH’s Palo Santa Marron.  I’m not sure if Surly makes quite enough total beers to be considered among the best breweries in America, but on a per capita basis they are certainly up there as I haven’t given one of their five releases I’ve tried any worse than an A-.  I can only imagine that if and when they up production in both quantity and different styles that the great Minnesota brewery will rightfully be called one of the best beermakers around.

One final thing that is best about this March Madness Thursday is that Syracuse doesn’t play til tomorrow.  So ain’t nothing bad that can happen to me for the next twenty-four hours!


For the record:  I have The Cuse losing in the Elite 8 to UNC though I think Ty Lawson is more injured than Roy is letting on and they are ripe for an upset.  The rest of my Final Four includes the indomitable Pitt, Slick Rick’s Louisville, and in the South I took a flyer on Mizzou.  I don’t particularly like UConn or Memphis this year–could that be cause the Orange beat both of them?!–and see some oddball team coming from this region.  Mizzou’s tempo control could conquer the South as UConn greatly misses Dyson and Memphis hasn’t played a big dog in months.  I’m taking Pitt over the Cardinals in a title game I would never ever never watch.

*Unless it’s me of course.  This is my year!  I feel it!

**I pity you if are working today.  You couldn’t call in sick?  Come on, man!

12 Responses to “Surly Coffee Bender”

  1. Anton says:

    Mizzou?! No way. No one is predicting “chalk” this year, especially after last year’s notorious run. But the aforementioned parity of CFB from all the talking heads is overrated. These top tier teams are significantly better than the next tier, but no one sees it as such because there are no sure fire top 3 NBA picks on any of them.

  2. amm002 says:

    I know they’re on somewhat of a run, but keep in mind Louisville lost to the Gophers this year (granted, it was early), who squeeked in on Tubby’s good name. I see an upset Round 2 by Sienna (yes, I think they’re knocking out Ohio State).

  3. I don’t love Mizzou but they do a great job of getting teams to play their games. And with the dud Memphis laid already in round 1 and Surly Jimmy Calhoun out for UConn, things are looking up for them.

    Pitino always has his teams peaking late. They’ve won like 20 straight and are playing incredible. They do have a few things that concern me though. So-so half court offense, jack up threes too much.

    I too have Sienna over Ohio St.

  4. Joe from Mullys says:

    Hey buddy how U doin? Long time no speak. I see you are talking NCAA Tourny and thats my thing. I made a cool 10 Gs last year cleaning up on games. I will help you out since you are so friggin pathetic. Maybe you can win some money to fix yourself up and buy some nice clothes. Even then you will still likely need to buy a whore to get some.

    Take American over Nova with the points. And if you are feeling ballsy straight up. Take UCLA in the Final Four.

    Who loves ya babe? Make sure to turn into the Mullys webcam to see me celebrate my wins with some nice young bitches. Hahahaha.

  5. I would think the Women’s NCAAs would be more your speed, Joe. I assume you didn’t go to college either.

    Who you got in your FF?

  6. Foy says:

    Im disappointed you didn’t let Pitt beat your Orange in the final four, so I could rub it in your face.

    -mike from pitt-

  7. Joe from Mullys says:

    Aar-Ron. Aar-Ron. What did I tell you? How did you do bay-bee? I won $2800 yesterday alone. Had American +14.5 and got nervous as Nova pulled away at the end. BTW you Cuse boys are ripe for the upset. Hahahahaha.

  8. Joe, what’s a party animal like you doing up so early this morning? Second job at Bruegger’s on Erie to stay afloat?

  9. Mike, you consider that the REASON I have Pitt in the Final Four is because I don’t think they’ll have any chance to lose to Cuse? I swear to God, if you guys choke early again and fuck up my bracket…

  10. Anton says:

    This Joe from Mullys is a riot.

  11. Joe from Mullys says:

    I was woken up this morning by a girl who looked like she had two basketballs in her bra. I met her last night and took her home. I told her to come sit on Daddys lap and we swapped some spits. She then asked what happened last night and I filled her in (and out and in and out) finishing by giving her a nice warm cup of Joe. Oooooh. What a life I have.

  12. Joe, I still haven’t received my Mully’s t-shirt you said you were gonnna send me. Don’t tell me your bar went under!

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