Avery Ale to the Chief

March 31, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Avery, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: IPA.

The French Fry Rankings

I got into a never resolved drunken argument with a buddy last week, and since I have a public forum and he doesn’t, I’ll now get the final, definitive word (in your face, GW!)

My picks for the best french fries by style.

1.  The Curly Fry (seasoned or not)–Clearly the king of french fried pertaters (mmmhhh) the coiled shape produces splendid crevices for oil collection–much like the ruffled potato chip–creating a thicker, crisper, and more flavorful fry.  Coated with a flawless blend of hot spicy seasonings only makes these more sublime.  Throw in a cheese or mayonnaise based dipping sauce, and the seasoned curly becomes a work of art, though I will admit that the curly is not the sturdiest for the actual act of dipping.

2.  The Fresh Cut Fry–A much underrated fry that people rarely ask for by name yet are always excited to see on their plate, these are the most often served fry variant at finer pubs and burger joints or places that actually have chefs.  The smoky potato skin still remaining on the fry itself, for some reason these just seem fresher, even healthier, perhaps even fancy foreign (Belgian pomme frites).

3.  The Waffle Fry (seasoned or not), aka the Criss Cut Fry–The most varying in quality of any fry mentioned on this list, this style can be absolutely sublime or disgustingly terrible.  It all depends on how hot they are and how correctly fried they are.  Whereas most fries remain similar in taste as they cool, the waffle fry becomes less and less edible in a ridiculously quick pace.  These demand going straight from the hot deep fryer into your face within minutes, ignore your burger as there’s no time to spare.  Likewise, sometimes the waffle design’s countless crevices, if not monitored properly, collect so much oil and seasonings that it becomes a misshapen hockey puck of breaded yuckiness.  Another great fry for dipping what with its very sturdy design, the only problem arises when the idiotic restaurant presents you with ketchup or sauce in a tub with too small of radius to actually cram a fry into.

4.  The Shoe String Fry–The style of fry served by basically all fast food restaurants, these are rarely not good.  Simple, abundantly greasy and salty, what’s not to love?  They won’t blow you away, but never will they disappoint either.

5.  The Potato Wedge–A rarely utilized fry variant, this often seasoned style is always crispy on the outside and full of flavor.  Problems arise when undercooked, though this style rarely is.

6.  The Sweet Potato Fry–Another hit or miss fry style, at its best this variant is a nice, delicious change of pace.  At its worst, it’s still a french fry packed with fucking vitamins.  Seriously.  B6, C, and beta-carotene.  The biggest issue with this style is that it absolutely demands a dipping sauce while seeming to cool much quicker than normal potato fries.

7.  The Crinkle Cut Fry–The retarded cousin to the curly fry, I’m not sure if these accordion shaped monstrosities are actually served at a single restaurant in the world.  They seem to be solely owned by the frozen food conglomerates of the world.  In theory, these fries should work due to my aforementioned mention of the creviced collection areas as brilliantly employed by curly fries, waffle fries, and ruffled potato chips, but in this instance it simply doesn’t come together.  Perhaps because they are always prepared by your drunk uncle at a family BBQ and, of course, without the usage of a deep fryer.  Perpetually soggy, undercooked, and under-salted, these suck fries evoke memories of elementary school cafeteria meals.

8. The Steak Fry–BY FAR the worst fry variant, if I see this as a “comes-with-a-side-of” on a menu, I always ask for a swap to onion rings, tater tots, hell, even fruit salad.  Never cooked properly, steak fries are like tiny, skinless baked potatoes.  Each bite yields far too much chalky, flavorless potato interior and far too little fried grease.  You know why we eat baked potatoes slathered with butter and sour cream and shredded cheese and bacon bits?  Because a potato by itself kinda fucking sucks.  And so do steak fries, arguably the only french fry that no one is excited to get, the only french fry left standing on a plate at the end of a meal as none of your friends will even “help” you finish your order.

So that’s my list.  What’s your order of styles?  Did I miss any variants?

The funniest thing is, I think I kinda prefer fresh, greasy onion rings over all of the above.

Ale to the Chief

8.75% from a bomber

My friend Derek hooked me up with this special release from the Colorado brewer commemorating the recent Presidential election (Did I miss that one?  Who won?).  Citrusy with an abundance of cascade hops and honey malt which gave it a nice creamy sweetness which truly make this beer exemplary.  I tell you, just a half year ago I would have told you that Avery is nothing more than a mid-level brewery based on what I had imbibed from them, but lately–what with Maharaja, their Russian River collaberation, and especially Mephistopheles’ Stout–they have absolutely been knocking it out of the fucking park.  What a sublime beermaker.


Here’s what the beer’s faux-parchment label read:

“Ale to the Chief! We the Brewers of Avery Brewing Company, in order to form a more perfect ale, require new leadership that can liberate us from our quagmires in foreign lands; embrace environmentally sound energy alternatives to imported oil; heal our ailing healthcare system; free us from tyrannical debt and resurrect the collapsing dollar. We hereby pledge to provide him with an ample amount of our Presidential Pale Ale to support in the struggle for the aforementioned goals! Hail to the New Chief!”

17 Responses to “Avery Ale to the Chief”

  1. Jay says:

    Ah, you missed one type of fry, the one that’s easily at the very bottom of my list. The “Belgian-style” frite, those crunchy, oily tiny little shoestring things that are served in a giant pile next to a burger. You can’t even pick up one at a time, you have to grab a giant handful, and invariably they’re either too crunchy or wet & soppy in the middle. Just gross. I know you mentioned “The Shoe String Fry”, but I do believe the fast-food varietal is probably something else. Probably the “fast food fry” is more like it, and yeah, those are really good.

    Nothing beats a curly fry. You nailed that one.

  2. The Choker says:

    I would literally flip your list upside down. First off, nothing beats a steak fry. Secondly, I knew you were anti-steak fry but I had no idea you were so down on the crinkle cut. I very possibly may need to re-evaluate our friendship.

    By the way, best fries in the City: Zeitzeff (corner of John & Nassau)

  3. Jay, I NEARLY considered making that it’s own subset, but ultimately decided it was simply a poorly-rendered aberration of the fast food shoe string category. You’re right, though, those are terrible, almost like solid oil. Perhaps I should have made that a separate category as I like the “Fast Food Fry” term.

    The Choker, explain to me what’s good about a steak fry? Just like I mentioned above, you came nowhere close to finishing your plate of them last week. And you supposedly love them! And none of the other three persons at the table wanted to help you finish them in the least. No way an equal sized plate of curlies would have gone uneaten. In fact, the second a plate of curlies arrives, everyone at the table can’t help but try to swipe a few from their buddy.

    As for best fries in NYC, let me think about that. I’ve never been to Zeitzeff, what is the style?

  4. OK, with some careful deliberation I have come up with SOME of favorite fries in the city in no particular order.

    Pommes Frites on Houston
    Five Guys cajun fries
    Maoz Vegetarian (garlic dipping sauce a must)
    Hi-Life (pesto mayo dipping sauce)
    Lucky’s Famous (with Lucky sauce)
    RUB (BONUS! best chili cheese fries in city)
    Mandler’s (is this place now closed?!)
    Big Nick’s waffle fries (when they are actually HOT; you can’t get them delivery)

    I know I’m missing plenty. I’ll add some as I think of them.

  5. The Choker says:

    Hogwash…I absolutely finished my FIRST order of steak fries. If I recall correctly (I was a few rounds deep by that point), I had ordered a 2nd round o’ fries of which I did not finish all.

    And, not surprisingly, you failed to mention my beloved Poutine on your little french fry list (yes, I’m aware its not a type of french fry but it deserved to be mentioned anyhow).

  6. Did that first order come with your meal? Because all I recall is you specifically ordering a full order of steak fries and coming nowhere close to finishing it. I would like confirmation from KOIII.

    Again, I considered discussing poutine but ultimately decided it would open too big of can of worms and I would have to discuss chili/cheese fries and disco fries and all sort of ptjer covered fry incarnations. Not what this piece was about. (For the record, I enjoyed my two forays into poutine–even if both nearly killed me!)

  7. Taco Town Dave says:

    You mentioned that you thought no restaurant actually served “crinkle cut” fries. Remember Braum’s? They still serve’em down here. Though beyond that the only place to get them that I know of is a bag or OreIda.

  8. Yes! I recall that. Their fries suck don’t they?

  9. KingOttoIII says:

    Steak fries suck. I like waffle the best as curly can be undercooked as well. Craig did not have 2 things of fries. He shared two apps with you then got the fries.

  10. I have no issue with someone rating a waffle fry the best. You might be right.

    And thank you for corroborating my story. He DID NOT even finish one plate of his #1 favorite fry. I rest my case.

  11. Sarah says:

    Arby’s curly seasoned fries are the best! Their loaded potato bites with ranch dipping sauce are pretty good too.

  12. Taco Town Dave says:

    Yeah, the Braum’s crinkle cut fries do suck. But their burgers are damn good. IMHO, the crinkle cut should be dead last.

  13. The Choker says:

    Ok,sue me. I was swimming in alcohol at that point so the mind my have been fuzzy. But don’t test me. I could eat maybe a half dozen plates of steak fries no problemo.

  14. Someone must like steak fries because places keep serving them. I guess you are that someone. Very few other people seem to like them though.

  15. I’ve been thinking a lot–far too much–about the crinkle cut these last 24 hours. Why is it so awful? Like the ruffled potato chip, shouldn’t it be superior to a regular fry? Crispier, greasier, more flavorful? It’s baffling. I can figure out any explanation.

  16. Tom says:

    I realize I’m late to the party, but… non-curly seasoned fries? I think there’s a species of fries halfway between #1 and #4 that is not fairly represented here.

  17. Are there such a thing? I always thought curlies and waffles are the only ones ever seasoned.

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