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Archive for May, 2009

Real Ale Brewing Company

May 29th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Real Ale, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Grade: B-, Style: Pale Ale, Style: Rye Beer

Nothing better than a surprise, and I answered the door a few weeks ago to find a nice little unexpected package from out of Houston.  My good friend Mike had packaged up a few of Blanco, Texas’s Real Ale beers and sent them my way.  Now, I’d heard of the brewery, but didn’t really know anything about them which–me being unfortunately intellectually hubristic and thinking I know all there is to know in the world–made me think these brews would be nothing more than mediocre.  Boy was I wrong.

(Besides the two below, Mike also sent me their Brewhouse Brown Ale which unfortunately was decimated in shipping)

Full Moon Pale Rye Ale

5.6% ABV bottled

Thinking I wasn’t about to pop anything special when I opened this one, I was floored by its great hoppy smell and its even better flavor.  A smooth rye malt sweetness makes this one tasty brew.  Quite unique actually and one of the best rye beers I’ve ever had.  Honestly.  I must admit I did not expect Full Moon to be this good, but it was simply delicious.  I could drink these all night, and was saddened to only have a single bottle.  If I lived in Texas, this brew would be in my fridge at all time.  Then again, if I lived in Texas, I’d probably do all my drinking in the back of a pick-up while armadillo hunting or somethin’.  Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good life actually.

B+

Rio Blanco Pale Ale

5.2% ABV bottled

After I sucked down every last drop of the Full Moon and stuck my tongue into the bottle to try to get even more delicious flavors, I was stoked to try their Pale offering.  Unfortunately, it was not quite as good as the rye beer, though still solid.  A tad too much unbalanced bitterness in its spicy hoppiness, I actually enjoyed this more as it warmed which, as you probably know, is fairly odd for an pale ale.  Another nice session beer from the folks in Blanco, wherever the hell that is.

B-

Aesop had his morals and, after enjoying Real Ale, I can have mine too:

There’s plenty of non-”famous” beermakers out there crafting really delicous shit.  Us beer geeks don’t have to be disappointed when we’re not drinking some, say, Dogfish Head, Stone, Three Floyds, etc.  Texas folks don’t know how lucky they are.  Or maybe they do.  I’ll need to get try some more Real Ale.

Cannabis the Beer (Red Power)

May 28th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 16 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Eurobrau, Country: Germany, Grade: D-, Style: Spiced Beer, Video Reviews

8% bottled

OK sportsfans, here’s my THIRD in the unrelentless video series in which I review some of the, purportedly, worst beers on Allah’s green earth in the hopes that I may…I don’t know:  throw up, gag, ruin my weekend, die? Make you laugh?

Previously, I drank Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer and Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer.

Introduction:

The Taste:

Alright, so the beer was truly terrible but it didn’t make me…throw up, gag, die, or probably even make you laugh. Mea culpa. However, match this list to the same list at the top of this review and you will notice one item lacking.

“Ruined my weekend.”

Ruined my extended holiday weekend.

Oh, if only my camera crew had followed me for the next ten hours after I drank Cannabis the Beer, perhaps then I would know what happened, the progression of events that happened which led to a ruined weekend.  I would know how the liquid THC seeped into my brain and how next thing I know I’m playing darts in a bar at 2 AM, and then the next thing I know I come out of a drunken fugue to find myself in some sort of a supply closet at some pseudo-club in Jersey City, surrounded by cleaning products and mops, laying on a dingy sleeping bag atop a concrete floor, hooking up with the third and fourth ugliest women I’ve ever hooked up with in my life.  How I got to this point, how I came to be there at 8:50 AM, I do not know.  But I can only blame the Cannabis for causing me to time-travel.  Perhaps, in retrospect, in light of these post-video-review facts, I should give the beer an F.  But I won’t, because at least Ms. Fourth Ugliest gave me a car ride back to Manhattan.

I hate myself.

(Though, as always, I’m still looking for more terrible beers to video review.  Hit me up at theviceblog [at] gmail.com)

Dark Horse Brewing Co.

May 20th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Dark Horse, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Grade: B regular, Style: IPA, Style: Smoked Porter, Style: Stout

My good buddy Aaron over at The Captain’s Chair thought I’d do well to try some brews from Marshall, Michigan’s acclaimed Dark Horse Brewing Company, and being that we don’t get any in NYC, he kindly sent me a nice little passel of them.

(My usual caveat to those readers that skim over the beer review parts and simply read this blog for the humor, insight, and perversion:  skip this post*)

Plead the Fifth Imperial Stout

12% ABV bottled

From their limited Holiday Stout Series, I unfortunately did not love this much-adored beer.  But I still liked it quite a bit.  I found it a solid but unspectacular Russian Imperial Stout with a predominantly roasted malt flavor accented by a slight chocolate sweetness and a smidge of hops bitterness.  I did love its smooth booziness and I gots to tip my hat to any 12 ouncer of beer that can put me down for an evening.  Hope to give this brew another try in the future to hopefully find out if I’m missing anything.

B+

Fore Smoked Stout

ABV unknown and Dark Horse ain’t telling…

Another from the Holiday Stout Series, I solidly enjoyed this one.  Smoked porters and stouts are often a tricky exercise in brewing and all too often I find them poorly balanced in one way or the other.  Either far too smokey or far too sweet.  This one wasn’t.  It was very smokey, obviously, like a piece of BBQed meat, but well balanced with sweet tastes of licorice and chocolate malt.  A nice mouthfeel and quite drinkable, but I must admit, the smoked beer I drank immediately after this one I enjoyed a bit more…The Captain’s homebrewed smoked porter.**

B+

Crooked Tree IPA

6% ABV bottled

I’d had a worldclass IPA to-be-named-later previous to this one, so maybe that distorted my palate, but I still suspect that this is just a good, but not great IPA.  It smells fresh and fragrant but the taste is just too bitter and unbalanced.  Salty even with next to no citrus profile like you’d expect.  Nevertheless, it’s a nice drinking single IPA and I could polish off a tub of these in a night.  Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

B

All in all, none of this troika of Dark Horses floored me, but I dug them all and could tell this is a brewery with some chops and inventiveness.  I hope to try more of their intriguing brews in the future.

*And come back tomorrow.  I’ll have a tale.

**Suck up alert!  Send me more!

The Lost Abbey Carnevale Ale

May 19th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: The Lost Abbey, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

6.5% ABV from a 750 mLer

You know you’re a New Yorker when you sing and dance to your ipod while walking the streets.  I’m not talking a slight, unwitting head bob, a silent mouthing of the lyrics to a favorite song in particular.  I’m talking straight up, belting out the lyrics with a 90% accuracy aided by impromptu dance moves and shit like you’re home alone on a Saturday night, drunk on wine, with nothing better to do.  Or better yet, like you’re Tony Manero in that famous opening scene.  You’ve finally reached full uninhibition.  You don’t care that you’re on a packed Broadway sidewalk.  You don’t care that the M&M Store bag-toting tourists are gawking at you.  (It’s a story they’ll certainly share with friends when they get back to Tulsa.  Golly!  Get a picture, Suzie!)  All you care about is enjoying your music.  The way you want to enjoy it.  Everyone else around you be damned.

With minimal private living space in the city you have to live publicly.  Uninhibited.

Restaurants become your dining room.  Eating at home in NYC would involve cooking in a kitchen the size of a closet, chopping and dicing things on a precariously-balanced cutting board teetering on the edge of the sink, boiling water a few inches from a sauce sloshing around, having to actually back out of the kitchen to fully open the oven door, and if by some miracle you can actually prepare something edible this process is finished off by pulling up to the closest thing you have to a dining room table, the coffee table, where you knock a few magazines and Netflix out of the way to free up a plate-sized space to chow down.  Nah, not worth it.  But are restaurants really better?  You’re not doing the cooking but you’re jam-packed into a minuscule dining space.  You’re nearly sitting on someone’s lap.  You can’t remember if you’re on a single date or a double because another couples’ table is one inch away from yours.  Your business is everyone’s.  So you might as well make it that way.  You’re going to overhear what other diners are saying and they’re going to likewise overhear you.  All the lovey dovey shit you might say.  All the embarrassing “job interview” questions you exchange on a first date.*  Everyone knows the couples on first dates.  The lack of rapport is palpable.  However, this close proximity dining can be most embarrassing when you’re spatting with a longtime romantic partner, hilarious when other diners are doing the spatting.  There’s a million stories in this city and you can’t help but hear every single fucking one of them.

The bar becomes your living room.  I have countless friends in New York.  And in how many of those people’s living rooms have I stood?  Maybe two.  That’s just not how it works here.  My friends could be homeless for all I know.  No one wants to go to another person’s part of town.  And few have living rooms big enough to accommodate more people than the one or two that actually live in the pad.  Thus, you make bars your living rooms.  You go there to celebrate, to mourn, to watch sports and big events, play games, shoot the shit, catch up on old times, create new times, and just like Tim Riggins, to make some memories.  The drawback of this, of course, is that there’s gonna be a lot of people in “your” living room that you don’t necessarily want there.  Ugly people, loud people, smelly people, and dumb people.  You have to find the bar with the patrons, the ambiance, the culinary output, the TV setup, and the drink most simpatico with your desires.  And you will.

The subway becomes your car.  Instead of sitting in a car in bumper to bumper traffic, you’re standing crotch to ass, face to crotch, hand to crotch…goddammit, how come someone’s smelly crotch is everywhere I turn?!  Instead of perfectly modulated air or heat in a sealed environment, you’re…well you’re always sweating your ass off.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a dog day of summer or the middle of winter, you will be sweltering.  Instead of peaceful music on your ipod dock DJ’ed by you, you’re listening to white noise, and squealing teenagers, panhandling ragamuffins, and that Mariachi band that goes from car-to-car on weekends.  Damn, they’re good.  I always toss them whatever loose change I have.

The park becomes your backyard.  Instead of sitting peacefully on your porch smoking a cigar, laying in your hammock drinking a lemonade, grilling a big tenderloin on your massive propane grill, and playing catch with your Weimaraner, you’re mentally figuring out how big a chalk outline of your dead body would be and finding that requisite amount of hopefully dry grass space throughout Sheep Meadow, hopefully the Great Lawn, or maybe a Westside or Eastside pier, or some other place you know, and plunking down amongst all the other sweaty bodies.  Trying to read or do a crossword, but it’s too sunny.  Trying to wet your whistle, ah, but the closest vendor is one-hundred yards away and charges $4 for a Gatorade.  Trying to enjoy a bee-you-tee-full Padron but, “Hey guy!  Could you put dat fuckin’ see-gar out, before I snap it in two.”  And, grilling a nice steak, ha.  Yeah, right.  Get a reservation and have a good credit limit.  At least your teeny tiny dog found a rock to shit on.  Now does any one have a plastic baggy I can borrow?

A back alley becomes your love den.  A nice five-bedroom house with a massive bedroom, a canopy bed worthy of a sheik with nice silk sheets and fluffy pillows?  Yeah, right.  Neither of you have a car of course and she lives in Park Slope and you live near Columbus Circle.  Your place?  She’s not that kind of girl.  Her place?  Eh, I’m not interested.  And cabs are pricey!  The back alley seems perfectly fine for a quickie.  Ooh, and so romantic.  I guess it wasn’t garbage day today.  And did that cardboard box just rustle?  Why, it must be some poor fella’s house.  Just shut up and hurry up.  OK, I’m trying.  I’m sorry the brick wall is scraping up your palms and I’m sorry you’re tired of having that skirt above your head.  Yeah, I do agree, it does stink back here.  Whoops, just grafittied the wall.

I sit writing this in my detestable Starbucks.  For it is my office.  I have the absolute worst seat in the house, the one right next to what would be called the “Fixin’s” Bar if we were at a Jersey Turnpike Roy Rogers.  My back touches this counter, my laptop screen visible to every one that visits it after receiving their order.  You wouldn’t believe how long people spend there preparing their coffees.  What exactly are they doing?  I drink my coffee black so adding stuff to your coffee seems somewhat foreign to me.  Having said that, I drink my iced coffee with Sweet’N Low and a splash of skim milk so I know how long it takes to accomplish that menial task.  Like fifteen seconds.  Yet all these Upper West Side mommies, real-life Gossips Girls, wannabe artistic scenesters but really Central Park West trust funders, and lingering Columbia U students take upwards of two minutes to add all the ingredients they want to add to their coffees.  Cinnamon and vanilla and nutmeg and, well, I guess that’s just the cheapskates’ way of making their Joe more fancy.

But, alas, I still prefer being here to writing at my home office, i.e. my lap on my sofa.  I can actually focus better here, enjoy myself, put myself in that special little place I need to go to get writing done.  Sadly, I can’t stop my special little place from playing bad Muzak (on sale for just $11.99 at the counter!).  You win some, you lose some.  Each person at the Fixin’s counter, oh, and there’s a new one every twenty seconds or so, stacking up like lemurs at the edge of a cliff, tries to read what’s on my laptop screen.  It’s a natural human reaction, I understand.  Luckily, I have become fully uninhibited.  The most important thing in this tiny and cramped world I live in.  So I DON’T GIVE A FUCK–can you see that over my shoulder?  Should I bold that?–I DON’T GIVE A FUCK and have no problem if they read this.  If YOU read this, fat mommy behind me in ill-fitting Capris, revealing a little too much of your prickly bobby-socked cankles, chowing down on an 800 calorie Marshmallow Twizzle and frozen limeade on your emasculated working hubby’s dime, propping your Peg Perego “Duette” stroller with your in vitro-fertilized ugly twin babes right beside my right ear, allowing them to loudly bellow in off-key synchronicity the theme song to some show I’ve certainly never heard of nor ever will because I don’t have any fucking kids.  Lady, you punish me with all the above and yet you still want to read over my shoulder?  Well go ahead, I just don’t care…

My second career The Lost Abbey brew, kindly shared with me by my pal DW from his The Lost Abbey Patron Saints Club bi-monthly shipment.  I’ve just gotten into saisons hardcore this spring and early summer and this is a nice example of the style.  Very fruity with tastes of lemon zest and orange citrus, a mild spiciness, and a potent yeastiness.  Slight hops and a minimal sour funkiness, but I would have preferred a perhaps more bold use of Brett for added complexity.  Incredibly drinkable and refreshing, it smells a heck of a lot better than it tastes, but it tastes pretty damn good too.

B+

*I would never go on a first date to a restaurant.  Dumb.

New Glarus Raspberry Tart

May 14th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 7 Comments | Filed in Brewer: New Glarus, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Fruit Beer

4% ABV from a 750 mL bottle

LOST SEASON FIVE FINALE

I’ve been unable to focus all day as my mind is still reeling after “Lost”’s fifth season finale.

One of my bigger “Lost” nerd friends–who is actually a very attractive girl, go figure–asked me my thoughts and I figured I’d post them below as “Lost” is my favorite television show and the best show on television at the moment*:

At first, I thought the season finale was decent, but not epic.  Now, after having watched it a second time, I realize its genius.  And, while it wasn’t as good as the season three finale–one of the best episodes of television ever–it was still damn fine.

Analysis bullets:

*In the opening scene, sometime in the 1800s, as Jacob speaks with his nemesis–heretofore referred to as Esau–he mentions how the Black Rock’s impending presence, even if it will create fighting and corruption, will still be “progress.”  I believe this was the key line of the finale, if not the entire series.  All this shit–Jacob believes–is leading them toward an apex of greatness.  Esau, meanwhile, like two other certain people I will discuss in a bit, believes in peace and removal from the rest of society.  It is still unclear who will ultimately be right.  Heck, it’s still unclear which of these two are “good” and which “evil,” if they can even be classified as that.  Though the fact that Jacob is clad in white and Esau in black is certainly not a coincidence, especially in the “Lost” universe.

*Even though it was the 1800s, why was Jacob and Esau’s speech completely contemporary?  Is that a key point or just what it is?  And where did these fellas spring from?  Are they men or Gods of some sort?

*My friend mentioned, half-jokingly, that she was pleased that Jacob was so “freaking hot.”  An interesting point as Jacob’s looks were something I immediately noticed too.  However, I found them quite inconsequential.  For such an important character on the show, perhaps THE most important character, why was such a bland-looking actor cast?  Look at the “Jacob”-like presence behind all the mystery in JJ Abrams’ other splendid series “Fringe” who was also revealed this week in that show’s finale.  That character, William Bell, ended up being portrayed by icon Leonard Nimoy.  Why wasn’t Jacob portrayed by an equally famous actor?  Might it be because Jacob was not significant actually?  Or maybe, that he will play such a key part in season six–assuming he wasn’t killed by Esau–that there’s no way a famous actor could inhabit the role for a year of shooting?

*I also find the relationships of Jacob/Esau vis-a-vis Ben/Widmore to be quite fascinating and wonder where comparisons can be drawn.  Both pairs seem to be arch-enemies who lack the abilities to harm each other directly, either by some force of nature or by an artificial set of rules they both have agreed on (Ben:  “I’m here, Charles, to tell you that I’m going to kill your daughter. Penelope, is it? And once she’s gone… once she’s dead… then you’ll understand how I feel. And you’ll wish you hadn’t changed the rules.”)  And this is where the so-called “loophole” come in, with Esau realizing that he would have to find someone to do his bidding in order to finally kill his hated Jacob.  And, thus, everything he has done for his whole life has been a series of machinations to get it to the point where he could portray Locke and get Ben to be his subservient who would do anything he said.  Although, would it have really taken Esau some 150 years to bring his plan to fruition and conquer this loophole?

*As mentioned above, Esau–who I believe is also the Smoke Monster– obviously inhabited Locke’s body and Locke, of course, never did come back from the dead.  I thought it was interesting how the savvy Richard was suspicious of faux-Locke the whole time, perhaps unable to fully elucidate it, but thinking something was up, even questioning the faux-Locke as to how he could possibly come back from the dead.  Richard also admitted never thinking Locke was “special” and even grilling Jack about that point in particular.  Unfortunately, the always-fucks-shit-up Jack tells Richard to not “give up on him.”  But, Richard was of course right.  Locke (seemingly) never was special.  What a pathetic man he truly was.  A weak, easily-led, believes-in-hokum man, a perfect candidate for Esau to one day inhabit.

*The flashback childhood scenes were a little overdone, if not downright boring at times, but still added an interesting layer, though it is still not clear how Jacob’s presence affected those people’s lives, save, perhaps, bringing Locke back from the dead.   Juliet’s was particularly odd though as it both did not feature Jacob and it looked like it took place in this era, not the 1970s as it should have.  And what was it about this crew of people that, even from an early age, would make Jacob want to recruit them?

*Rose and Bernard are the two I mentioned above that seem to share the same ideologies as Esau about peace and solitary living.  Which makes me wonder if they are in any way actually associated with Esau.  Did Rose and Bernard know more than they let on in their impromptu meeting with Sawyer, Juliet, and Kate?  Was it even truly Rose and Bernard?  And why did Bernard try to stop Juliet–by offering her tea–before she headed to the Swan construction site with the bomb?  Did Bernard know what she was going to do eventually?  Finally, can the long-held belief that Rose and Bernard are the “Adam and Eve” skeletons in the cave now be debunked or is that still in play?

*The Ajira crew of Ilana, et al, MUST have known for quite awhile that “Locke” was inhabited by Esau and about to kill Jacob.  So why didn’t they stop it?  Who exactly are they working for and what dog do they favor in the Jacob/Esau fight?  It seems that they don’t favor either dog but are simply present in order to find a “candidate” to perhaps quickly replace the dead Jacob.  And would that candidate actually be the always-confused Frank Lapidus?  Also, why do they know Latin and have an awareness of Richard, who answered their question of “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” with…”He who will protect us.”

*Who broke the ring of ash that allowed whoever was in that cabin–and I now assume it was Esau–to escape?  Perhaps from an imprisonment by Jacob, though why did Locke and Ben visit this cabin when Jacob has seemingly been living in the foot of the statue for centuries?

*I think I agree with Miles that Juliet’s detonation of the bomb was “The Incident.”

*Where’s Clay-er (Claire)?  I swore she would appear in the finale in a crucial role but it seems like the producers have either given up on her or totally forgotten about her.

*Why did fickle Juliet suddenly change her mind about everything?  And Juliet’s break-up with Sawyer was certainly harsher than any I’ve gotten from women from my past.  I’ve sort of thought it for a long time, but now I truly think Sawyer might be the only smart character around.  At least he sticks to his guns and isn’t whimsical like everyone else.

*This bring us to Ben.  Has Esau been duping him for years?  Ben thought he could control the smoke monster, but if the smoke monster is Esau, was he just allowing Ben to think he was controlling him?  And why did Jacob treat Ben with such disrespect when all he wanted to do was serve him and be his “leader”?

*As for Jacob’s note that “They’re coming” before his death, or “death,” who is coming?  I believe it has to do with the final shot of the finale.

*At first I was mad at this season finale because it did not offer a little peak toward the next season, as all past “Lost” finales have (the light in the hatch, the flash-forward reveal, etc).  But, later, I realized it actually did.  The fact that the final title card was a black “LOST” on a white background, the complete opposite of the normal white-on-black title card, leads me to believe that season six will be a reverse of everything before and thus Esau will now control the island.  Juliet’s detonation of the bomb will zap our characters in 1977 to 2007 where they will now be on Jacob’s side in a war to wrest the island back from Esau.  As to who will be alive in this alternate 2007, and who will be on either deities’ side, that is anybody’s guess.

So questions going forward:

*Is Jacob really dead?  I will say no and think he will remain a key character in season six.  At the least, I got to believe more 1800s flashbacks of his and Esau’s lives will be shown, specifically when they meet the Black Rock crew and Richard.

*Is Locke really dead?  Again, I will have to say no, if for no other reason than we are not going to have a full season without the great Terry O’Quinn on screen.  Also, I believe Locke will finally get redemption in season six and maybe prove that, golly, he was indeed special.

*If Jacob is really dead, how will the death of Jacob affect Richard?  Will he now die?  Or start aging?  What will be his role going forward?

*Is it possible that Juliet will survive and be back in the love quadrangle with Jack, Sawyer, and Kate in the year 2007?  I’m going to say no on that.  I think she’s dead for good.

*Is Sayid dead?  I will say yes here.  I think his storyline has run its course.  Sorry Sayid, we hardly knew ye.

*Will Sun finally shut the fuck up?  I say, no, never.  She’s strongly battling Kate for most annoying character on television.

*And what about Ben?  Once a diabolical genius, he seems to be nothing but utter confusion nowadays.  The man that’s always had a plan now seems to lack one.  How will his battle with Widmore continue now with Jacob perhaps dead and Esau perhaps in control of the island?

As for New Glarus’s Raspberry Tart, the first beer I’ve ever had from the famed Wisconsin brewery, I found it quite good.  Sent to me by The Captain, currently residing at the #67 position on the BA Top 100, I was stoked to try this gorgeous wax-dipped bottle.  Pretty rich, yet wonderfully smooth and tart of course, I shared the big boy with several friends.  A fairly flawlessly made fruit beer, it does lack some complexity, tasting a bit like the kind of non-alcoholic sparkling juice they give the youngsters at the Passover seder.  But does a well-made fruit beer necessarily need complexity?  Not when it’s delicious I say, and this one indeed is.

A-

*Top six best hour-longs currently**:

1.  Lost
2.  Mad Men
3.  Damages
4.  Friday Night Lights
5.  Fringe
6.  House

**Best hour-longs of all-time:

1.  The Wire
2.  The Sopranos
3.  Lost (with a bullet!)
4.  Twin Peaks
5.  Six Feet Under
6.  Mad Men (with a bullet!)

notables:  St. Elsewhere, NYPD Blue, The Shield…

The Bruery Saison De Lente

May 12th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: The Bruery, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

6.5% ABV on tap

Truths, Myths, Misconceptions, Malodor, and Consequences at New York City Civil Court Jury Duty

I’d of course forgotten to set my alarm the night before.  But, luckily, the weather was nice so the all-male Orthodox Jewish preschool housed directly underneath my bedroom window had allowed its pupils to play outside on this fine morning and several dozen giggling and shouting yarmulked and fringe-clothed little pischers woke me at 7:09, the earliest I’d been up that didn’t involve impending air travel or the tail end of a bender in at least three years.  I had to be downtown by 8:00 for my first career stint at jury duty.

111 Centre Street is quite the hike from the Vice Blogger’s fortified drinking compound, but I wasn’t concerned, I had no plans to shower, to even look presentable.  My few friends who’d had jury duty assured me it was an in-and-out procedure.  “A normal guy like you, eh, you’ll be dismissed before noon,” was the boilerplate refrain I’d oft-heard to my probing questions.  Fantastic.  My friends thought I was normal!  I already had plans to meet an unemployed pal at a super-early happy hour by 3 PM that day.

I threw on the previous night’s stinky drinking clothes and topped my bedhead off with a backwards Syracuse cap.  Gangsta.  I passed on a swipe of my pits with the Speed Stick and a brush of my pearlies with the Crest.  I was on the 2 train headed south a mere six minutes after the Jew-kids had woke me up with their four-square playing.

Getting off at the Chambers Street stop I felt like I was in a new city as this was not a part of Manhattan I find myself in more than once a year.  I mean, the bar scene stinks down there!  I was running late and somewhat lost and by the time I got to the court building, I was at the tail-end of a long snaking line of potential jurors all angrily staring at the same red and white dot matrixed card I’d received in the mail a few weeks previous.  As I waited to go through the metal detectors, my first myth of jury duty service was immediately dispelled:  people at jury duty are not the rag-tag rough-and-tumble bunch I’d expected.  I was prepared to, even in my filthy state, be one of the best-dressed, least-foreboding, and most put-together of the entire lot but that was far from the truth.  In fact, I was arguably the worst of the worst.  I was what I expected everyone else to look like.  What’s that quote from “Rounders?” “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the (poker) table, then you ARE the sucker.”  Well, if you can’t spot the scumbag while waiting in line for jury duty, then you are that scumbag.

The people around me were a sophisticated bunch of businessmen and women dressed to, at least the eights, perhaps even the nines I would dare say, praying they could quickly get out of service to actually go to work.  To actually go to work!  What a revelation.  And now it hit me, of course jury duty wasn’t going to be populated with the layabouts and idlers and profligates and bones, thugs, and harmony who I had expected to see.  Those are the exact kind of people that could never in a million years handle getting something in the mail, reading that something, remembering that something, waking up at 7-something AM, and getting their something in gear down to the court house.  Shit, I was just a few percentile points of laziness, disrespectability, and irresponsibility from being one of those aforementioned something or others.  The kind of person that would actually promptly and correctly respond to a government call for mandated service would of course be the same kind that has their shit together enough to have a job and to shower and to not drink til 3 AM on weeknights.

The line was overflowing with men in Ferragamo lace-ups and women in the whatever kinda pumps Carrie Bradshaw got clitoral erections over, all trying to figure out where that terrible smell was emitting from, all eventually honing it’s epicenter down to the brow-sweating man in beat-up jeans and Nike Shox, the only sneaker- and denim-clad person in the line, oozing booze from every pore in his body not already clogged by pizza and cheeseburger grease.

I still had a wicked hangover from the previous night.  Though I’d typical avoid Mexican St. Patty’s Day because I hate bullshit fratboyified drinking holidays, I’d had a date and started my Cinco de Mayo drinking early at the Ginger Man, excited to see The Bruery’s Saison De Lente there on tap.  I’d found their flagship Orchard White a mild disappointment but could still tell this was a creative brewery–still just in its first year of existence–to look out for.  And this motherfucking saison floored me!  Incredibly floral and citrusy with an earthy spiciness and a sourdough bready maltiness.  A mild funky Brettness, this is one of the hoppier saisons I’ve ever had but still silky smooth.  It just slides down your throat like a kid on a Slip ‘n’ Slide.  Like you’re drinking some KY jelly.  (Wait, that sounded more perverse than I wanted it to and inferred things that I have no interest in inferring.)  Saison De Lente is incredibly interesting and delicious.  Instantly becoming one of my top saisons.  Well done, The Bruery!

On a typical day the longest I go without caffeine entering my system is maybe like fifteen minutes after rising.  A hungover, miserable day like this was no time to break any records as I neared a full hour of uncaffeination.  Passing through the out-of-date metal detector, I was praying that the courthouse had a food court or something en route to my jury room.  Luckily, I stumbled upon a Middle-Eastern chap selling cardboard pastries, donuts, bagels, and coffee too, but unluckily what he had to offer was some of the hottest, most acrid coffee I’d ever had in my life.  I needed the caffeine but it was terrible tasting and I could also tell it would have remarkable laxative qualities and, what with a 2 AM styrofoam Hallal street meat still in my belly from just several hours earlier, I didn’t want to find myself on the public court house can.  I shuddered to think of that.  I shuddered more to think of sitting there as the head of the jury room called my name, “Goldfarb?  Goldfarb?  Has he skipped out?!  Contempt of court!”

I entered the massive jury room, similiar to the kind of facilities fly-by-night churches have to rent for weekly services and took my seat at the unfortunate front of the room.  The smarter kids had some how known to arrive early so they could get the cherished seats in the way back where they could goof and doze off without any repercussions*.  The head of the jury room came out to welcome us and yet another myth was dispelled–the workers here were some of the most upbeat and kind people I’d ever met in my life.  Incredibly helpful and good humored, and willing to answer the ad nauseum dumb questions asked of him by my fellow jurors.

These folks may have been better-dressed and ostensibly more respectable looking than me but goddamn were they dumb.  An infilade of daft and dopey queries exploded from these dunderheads’ pieholes like the retards in your college lecture hall classes who hectored the prof with the most asinine inanities.  “Will this be on the final?,” “Should I keep notes?,” and “Do we have to read every book on the syllabus?” were replaced by shit like “Do we get a lunch break?,” “Will we ever be sequestered?,” and “Is this just like ‘Law & Order?’”

We watched an instructional video on “how” to be a juror and though I wanted to not pay attention, it was hard to ignore this 1980s VHS tape hosted by Diane Sawyer and featuring Don Johnson in jury room dramatizations as it offered such helpful bon mots as:  “…if you get excused from duty, do not worry, it is not a judgment of your intelligence.”  Oh, don’t worry Diane, I wasn’t worried.

Afterward, we had to line up to submit our pay forms in order to be remitted $40 for our service, where yet another kind courthouse employee, a most gregarious man, cheerfully read each person’s occupation aloud as he accepted forms.

“Ah, a professor, whadaya teach?”

“Looky there, a firefighter!  Thanks for your service!”

“Cool, a lawyer!  What firm?”

I started playing a little game, guessing what each person did, anything to keep me busy.  This group of jurors was like an Ivy League class reunion.  Some serious heavyweights in the room.  But not completely…

For about every fourth person or so, the gregarious fella would look at the card and excitedly say:

“Well you’re not today!  Today, you’re making forty bucks!”

Wow, the unemployment rate was high.

And then, we sat and waited.  And waited and waited and waited.  The room had wifi and I had brought my laptop, but leaving in such a rush I had forgotten my power cord and arrived with only an hour of battery life left.  By 10:00 that was completely sapped.  I tried to read a novel, but all I’d packed was a heady Thomas Wolfe work I couldn’t focus on.  I tried to amuse myself by reading the NYC Juror Weekly newsletter–this seriously exists–but it sounds more humorous that it actually is.

So all that left me to do for the interminable hours was to observe those around me.

To my right, an obese gentleman slept, snoring loudly, and leaning so far back in his cheap plastic chair that I was certain it would soon snap. Behind me, a sassy Jamaican lady kept telling any one that would listen that Judge Judy wouldn’t allow no snoring in her court. She also implored the gregarious man to change the single juror room television from CNN to one of her soaps, but her wish was not granted.  To my left, a Jewish gent who conspiratorially informed me that he could not seem to access “lewd and lascivious” websites via the jury room’s wifi.   Testing him, I entered “JILF amateur porn” into Google and clicked on the first link it gave me.  One such JILF–juror I’d like to…know biblically–was sitting directly in front of me, her blonde hair cascading down over her chair and nearly tickling the tips of my knees.  The hot piece of work dressed ever so smartly, she had listed her occupation on her jury card as “archaeologist.” (Gregarious man:  “Wow, cool stuff!  Any ‘Jurassic Park’ stories you can tell me?”)  I wanted to know her in the worst way but I don’t think she had any interest in digging up my bone.

Come to think of it, there were more hot women in my jury room than in any bar I’d been in this year.  Gorgeous, statuesque, modelesque women listing their jobs as doctors and lawyers and just ambiguously as “CEO.”  Wow, what a catwalk the center aisle of the jury room was.

Lunch time in that deplorable part of town full of lawyers in cheap suits and oldass Chinese people selling crustaceans that you thought extinct but had somehow just died within the past minute, and I only had one choice for dining in my mind.  I high-tailed it up to Katz’s on Houston for a pastrami on rye, a knish, and a beer to even me out.  I think being drunk at jury duty is a class A felony but going postal and killing everyone in the room is probably worse.

After lunch I found myself surrounded by an all new crew:  two old biddies who apparently became friends in the morning session now loudly working a NY Post crossword together (”1 ACROSS: ‘Line before ‘Twist and Shout.” “Hmmmm…’Shape it on babe?!’”  “It fits, Joyce!  Perfect!”).  A Jeffrey Steingarten lookalike reading an RL Stine book.  Go figure.  A bespectacled gray-haired chap rocking nonstop in his chair ala Leo Mazzone in the dugout.  Very annoying.  A sexy school-teacher with a high hemline grading elementary schools essays and affixing gold stars to every other one.

And me, the hungover, stinky, smelly, pissed-off Jew, amusing himself by lampooning those around him.

Many people have said to me, “Ah, I’d LOVE to have jury duty once!”  What?  You think it’s some awesome “Law & Order” shit?  You think you’re gonna be Henry Fonda and heroically and correctly sway the hearts and minds of eleven other angry men with your brilliant rhetoric?  You really think you’re going to work some awesome quadruple homicide or drug-running case or something involving terrorism?  Naw.  With jury duty you are simply being sentenced to the adult version of detention.  I’m a wiseass so I of course had detention a time or two in junior high and high school and the adult version of it is much worse.  MUCH worse.  At least you kinda felt like a badass, a rebel, when you had high school detention.   Adult detention just makes you want to be a former felon so that you will never ever never be eligible for this shitty service again.

At least I got a respite for another six years.

A-

*I remember being five or six or so and first hearing the story of Rosa Parks.  “But why would she WANT to sit in the front of the bus?!  You can’t goof off in the front of the bus!  The bus driver can see you!  Didn’t she realize the best seat is in the back of that bus?!”  Hush that fuss.

Brooklyn Local 2

May 9th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale


9% ABV from a 750 mLer

I typically have a steel trap of a memory, yet for some reason I can never recall important dates.  People’s birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, noted days of celebration.  Hell, I know for a fact that Mother’s Day is tomorrow yet I’ll probably still soon forget that fact.  Luckily, I got sisters to remind me of these things just in the nick of time for making a phone call to mom.  Women are always better at that stuff than guys.  They actually seem to care about essentially meaningless yearly occurrences.

I found myself this morning fighting of a hangover from last night’s drinking which included Brooklyn’s fairly new Local 2.  I wasn’t the hugest fan of Local 1, but this is a splendid example of a Belgian dark from one of my favorite American brewers.  A very light odor.  The taste is a tad more subtle than I expected with honey, orange peel, “raw wildflower honey” from an upstate NY farm, dark fruits, caramel, and a hint of chocolate along with the expected Belgian yeastiness and dark candi sugar all thrown together in the stunning 750 mL cork-and-caged 100% refermented bottle.  Kudos to the man, Garrett Oliver, yet again.

Now as I’m trying various methods to eliminate my hangover–pots of coffee, bacon greasiness, push-ups, Facebook fucking around, and bad movies on HBO–I begin to wonder how close I am to the one-year anniversary of this here Vice Blog.  Sure enough and not surprisingly, I’m a good four days late.  It was 369 days ago when I started the first incarnation of The Vice Blog on hipster blogging platform Tumblr with this poorly written and quite boring post.  I quickly realized that Tumblr lacked everything I possibly needed in a platform, switched to Wordpress, and the rest is history.  And by “history,” I mean like five people I know seem to bookmark this site.

I thought I might as well meaninglessly celebrate the first year (and four days) of The Vice Blog with a gratuitously egomaniacal “best of” poll below.  Please, none of you computer geeks out their spend all weekend creating a bot so as to hack my poll and get your preferred choice the victory.

Best of The VB's First Year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

For a refresher course on the above options, here’s linkage to the above stories:

The Found Cell Phone (Part II) (Bangladeshi Mystery Whiskey)
Many Different Bars, Many Different Girls
(Brooklyn Intensified Coffee Stout)
Beer and Clam Broth? La combinacion perfecta!
(Bud Light Chelada)
Pitch ‘n’ Putt ‘n’ Get Yourself Drunk
(Budweiser)
Aaron Tries to Hard at “Friendly” Drinking Games
(Coors Light)
Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer Video Review
I Hate St. Patty’s Day
(Flat Earth Winter Warlock)
Aaron Visits a “North Country” New York Wal-Mart, He Will Never Be the Same
(Molson Export)
The Hooker Lottery
(PBR)
My Porno Hook-Up
(Samuel Adams Winter Lager)
Wrinkly Facebook
(Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner)
Sunrise on a Murphy Bed
(Smithwick’s)
The Vice Blogger and the Alkie
(Stone Ruination IPA)

Cheers!

Aaron

A-

B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher

May 6th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Hoppin' Frog, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Stout

9.4% ABV from a bomber

The Theater of the Mundane

Disclaimer:  The following post outright mocks people I may very well know.  Names have been kinda sorta changed to protect the lame.  It is the full opinion of the Vice Blogger.  Caveat friendster.

On Tuesday, Allie washed, dried, and folded three loads of laundry (YAY!); Linda made some Pillsbury biscuits in the oven (mmmmm…); Kathleen’s apartment inexplicably smelled like toast (LOL); and Casey took little Krista for a walk in the park :) .

Meanwhile, Aaron not only wondered why he had a Facebook and Twitter account, but why he continued to read status updates near hourly and, moreso, how he ended up with such boring fucking people in his life.

I suppose any communications tool has become fully mainstream once it is used for predominantly mundane purposes.  Where once man would only employ Alexander Graham Bell’s watershed invention to send pertinent audible information quickly over unfathomable distances, soon enough little teenyboppers were spending all night on the horn discussing boys.  Where once cell phones were used only for post-haste assistance in catastrophic emergencies, quickly they became a device for efficiently getting drunk chicks to meet up with you at a bar.  Emails went from high speed disseminators of information to simply an easier way for my mother to alert all eleven of her contacts to be very wary of the dangerous flatulence005 computer worm.

And now social networking.  Facebook was once a great gadget for doing legitimate stuff like spying on girls you drunkenly met the night before to assure yourself that they were actually attractive.  Now it has become a repository for stay-at-home moms to post mundane pictures from even the most meager events in their childs’ lives (”Krista’s First Arbor Day!”) and uninteresting “real-time” status updates every time their little rugrat does so much as rip a pea-sized fart.  And where ever-so-briefly Twitter was a brilliant bazaar for a rapid micro-exchange of ideas and content, now it has become nothing more than digital diarrhea for some of the most mundane people on planet #Earth.

Based on the fact that all these mundane status updates gets tons of thumbs-up “likes” from equally mundane people, all these mundane Facebook photo albums get countless “How cute!” comments, and all these mundane tweets are followed by a bevy of @mundane_person so kewl!!! replies, I am certain this theater of the mundane is only gonna get worse.

I suppose I’m not completely exonerated myself.  I’ve certainly been known to post an inane thing or two while lit up.  (Hey, if everyone else gets to be really fucking boring, why can’t I?)  But, at least I try to be interesting the majority of the time, giving you a microblogging bouillabaisse that roughly breaks down like this:

40% — Interesting links I thought should be passed on

10% — Hopefully humorous and pointed musings

5% — Info on what bars I’m drinking at if perchance I have a hot female fan that wants to stalk me*

4% — TwitPics of ugly New Yorkers

1% — Drunken chatter

40% — Reviews and thoughts on a variety of topics spanning the spectrum from food to sports to pop culture to beer.

Such as a review of B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher which was too great to waste on a micro-post.  I’d always wanted to try this Ohio brew but to my knowledge, NYC doesn’t not get any Hoppin’ Frog stuff.  Odd then that I should be just 6.1 miles away in Hoboken, NJ this past weekend where I found a glorious beer store (Sparrow, uptown location) that was stocked with this stuff as well as beer from countless other breweries us Empire Staters don’t get.  State-by-state beer distribution is so fucking odd.  I found B.O.R.I.S. silky smooth and amazingly flavorful.  Dark fruits, a surprising little hoppiness, and a nice sweetness reminded me of a poor man’s Surly Darkness. Maybe a middle-class man’s Darkness.  Even on a hot Saturday afternoon it was not too thick or potent, and its amazing drinkability made it a quite scary way to kick off a day which would eventually see about a dozen mint juleps and countless beers consumed over the next twelve hours.

Far be it for me to be the arbiter of what is interesting (in 140 words or less!), but people, come on, before using Facebook or Twitter, would it be that hard to ask yourselves these few things before you hit “post”?

A.  Will my friends/followers be entertained by this?

B.  Will they learn something by this?

C.  Will they find this truly interesting?

D.  Were I around these people in person would I actually say this thing aloud?

“Hey Stacy, how goes it?”

“Mowed lawn today, now craving lemonade.”

Ugh.

But I am just one man on the warpath and the mundanity continues, like sands through the hourglass, these are the boring updates of our lives:

Suzanne who can’t decide whether to take the dog out to pee; Meghan who wonders if she should gas up the tank 2nite or 2morrow; Alex who is eating Pringles and watching “Idol”; and Joseph who just vacuumed.

For God’s sakes people, either get more interesting lives or digitally fucking pretend that you already have them!

I look forward to countless unfriendings and unfollows.

Aaron says…BRING IT.

A

*Nope, still never happened.  Yet.

Tyranena Bitter Woman IPA

May 5th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Tyranena, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: IPA

5.75% ABV bottled

On First Dates

I’m an egotist, so unlike most people, I actually like first dates.  Hell, I downright love them.  On a first date I’m like an excited filmmaker unveiling his new movie to a test audience that’s never seen it before.  Like a comic who has been traversing the continent for the last decade, thousands upon thousands of jokes over the years in his repertoire now honed-down to a taut and flawless ten minute club act.  And now he gets to perform in a city he’s never played before!  Not that I go into any dates with scripted material or put on an act.  I’m like Popeye and I yam who I yam.  (Though it’s beer not spinach which gives me my bravado.)  I’m more like a besotted improvist able to carefully take my thirty years of material, stories, jokes, anecdotes, thoughts, feelings, ideas, and ideals and insert them whenever a conversation needs them, to weave them into the fabric of the night, wherever it may be headed.

It’s exciting to be with someone who knows nothing about you.  Your friends know all your material, stories, jokes, anecdotes, thoughts, feelings, ideas, and ideals several times over and quite frankly they’re kinda bored with them.  That’s why most longtime male friends simply go drinking together in loud and dark bars, sitting side-by-side and bending elbows but rarely talking, only occasionally injecting thoughts on women in the bar via head nods and guttural grunts, oohs and aahs toward sporting happenings on the big screen, and mumbled “igottagotakealeaksavemyseat.”  Many of my very best friends don’t even read The Vice Blog.  They don’t have to.  They’ve heard all this shit before.  Plus, several are illiterate.

In a few hours I’m going on a first date.  I don’t know what the girl looks like, nor anything about her.  I was at a party over the weekend and a friend of a friend–not even a friend, mind you–asked me if I would go out this week with a friend of her’s.  Thus a friend of a friend of a friend.  If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, what is the friend of the friend of my friend?  Alas, I agreed to go on the date.  Hey, I always need material and I like adventures.  Also, Tuesday night TV kinda sucks.  Any ways what’s the worst that can happen?  (Actually I know.  Maybe I should write about that someday.)  I don’t usually like writing about events in my life in real time because I don’t want to affect the events or shape them in any way by intellectualizing them.  You know, like Heisenberg’s observer effect?

It’s not even exactly a real date, not like I ever go on “real” dates.  You won’t find your venerable Vice Blogger ever nervously pulling out a girl’s chair at Olive Garden and making inane small talk.  For this “date,” I am simply supposed to meet up with the girl at a Happy Hour her former college’s alumni club is hosting.*  Fine with me, alcohol is a must on a first date, if not all dates.  I have nothing to do right now but wait, so I’ll start early.  I don’t really get nerves, but lowering the inhibitions is never a bad thing in most anything you do in life.  As I write this I sip a Bitter Woman sent to me by the smartly-named Aaron over at The Captain’s Chair.  Silky, almost creamy, bitter almost sour.  A very good sessionable IPA, though I’ll only have one.  Eh, maybe two.

But I’ve spoken about myself too much at this point, something I would never do on a first date.  As much as I like controlling and dominating conversation, I also like learning about new people.  Everyone, even incredibly boring people, should have a few interesting things to say the first time you meet them.  And I want to hear these things.  I’m not interested in typical “getting-to-know-you” job interview type questions like most nervous blokes launch into after having pulled the girl’s chair out so she can sit at their reserved Olive Garden table.  “What do you do?”  “Where do you work?”  “Where do you live?”  “Where were you born?”  Boring.  I want to know my counterpart’s material, stories, jokes, anecdotes, thoughts, feelings, ideas, and ideals built up over a period of eighteen to, eh, let’s say thirty-five years.  By golly, entertain me woman!  I’m entertaining you, let’s have a little quid pro quo here.

Luckily, I’m usually so relaxed (read: drunk) that my dates instantly become relaxed (read: drunk) and things flow swimmingly.  Yes, my dates usually seem to go “well,” however you want to define that, because I’m interesting, excitable, “different,” a little weird, slightly transgressive, and hopefully not too drunk.

Eventually, after my date has spoken about herself for awhile, she’ll wonder what I “do,” and my hubris will of course lead to me telling her about The Vice Blog.  Then, later tonight, or perhaps tomorrow morning in her office–assuming she works in an office setting, recall I know nothing about her as of this second– she’ll pull this entry up on her desk computer and read it and hopefully still be reading it as we reach the end here at which point she may scroll down to the comment section below and write:

“Aaron you were such a(n)…”

?

B+

*OK, I guess I do know one thing about my date:  she went to a much better college than me.

Peche Mortel

May 1st, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel, Country: Canada, Grade: A plus, Style: Stout

9.5% ABV bottled

They–meaning “good” people–always say to truculent assholes like me that, yeah, you’re right, the world will obviously still be up and running on all cylinders when me and you die, no matter how poorly we treat it, but we still have a responsibility to leave this world nice for our children and for our childrens’ children.  Recycling and maintaining itty bitty carbon footprints and not exploiting the land or our fellow man.

Well, I don’t plan on having any children*, so I guess I can continue to be an anti-environmental asshole, right?  Maybe.  But maybe not, if being a nice, sweet “green” dude means it will now be a part of my ethos to drink fair trade coffee.

Allow me to explain…

A few weeks ago I was bored, dicking around on Beer Advocate when I started studying their Top 100 list a bit trying to tip myself off to some great brews I had perhaps never heard of.  Those are sadly becoming fewer and farther between as my beer studies advance.**  However, this time I noticed a pop residing at the #15 position.  One I’d never heard of.  One with an odd “foreign”-soundin’ name.  Peche Mortel.  Interesting.  I didn’t do much further research at that moment and simply filed my newly-culled fact away in the ol’ Goldfarb memory bank.

Luckily, my research would serve me well as just a few days later I found myself at Whole Foods and came across a lone bottle of Peche Mortel residing on a high shelf.  My memory jogged like Chuck Bartowski’s Intersect-affected mind on “Chuck”–does any one in the entire world watch that show because that is one killer analogy I just made–and I quickly snatched the 12 ouncer off the shelf.  I examined the bottle.  Hmmm…an imperial stout from Montreal.  Odd, for some reason I thought it was gonna be a fruit beer from Belgium.  Maybe because I dumbly translated “peche” to mean “peach” and thought the funny language looked Belgian-y.  For the record, your honor, Peche Mortel actually stands for “Mortal Sin” if you’re as ineptly monolingual as I am.

That very weekend, while watching the sublime new “Thrilla in Manilla” doc on HBO, I popped the bottle with much anticipation and was floored by the intense coffee smell as the hot booze punched me in the snotbox the second I began to transfer the liquid from bottle to glass.  Whoa Nelly and Holy Cow, this is one great beer.  It tingles the tongue with a roasted coffee taste and pronounced bitterness, a smooth and creamy espresso body, and finishes with a subtle hint of sweetness.  I’ve had several great coffee beers lately, most notably Brooklyn’s Intensified Coffee Stout and Surly’s Coffee Bender, but this trumps them both.**  This is an incredibly complex stout and, personally, I think it’s even better than the much ballyhooed Kona-coffee-infused Founders Breakfast Stout.  That fair trade stuff is the real deal, brother.  And no, I still don’t really know what fair trade coffee is and am far too lazy to read the Wikipedia entry on it.

I honestly have no clue how rare this beer is as I just stumbled upon it through pure happenstance, but I am glad to learn that America, Jr. up north actually has another great beermaker aside from Unibroue.  Although, I’m not even sure if Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel makes anything else worthwhile as I know nothing about their other beers other than that they have some cool looking labels and their Aphrodisiaque sounds most exsquisite.  I’d love to get my hands on some if any one knows where to score ‘em.

Hey, it’s the era of grade inflation and I can’t help if I keep having masterpieces so…

A+

…I’ll try to drink something shitty this weekend, I promise.  Those are the most fun reviews.

Speaking of which, if any one has any tips for something abominable I can tipple for my next video review, please let me know:  theviceblog [at] gmail.com.

*On purpose that is, and probably not on accident either as I sit with a laptop on my balls for ten-plus hours a day, every day, and were my scrotum to be vivisected it would probably show a bed of long-perished spermatozoa floating atop a pool of neon green seminal fluid like dead fish at the end of a stream which has a tributary coming out of a nuclear power plant.

**If any one ever calls me an alcoholic, I’ll just start saying my beer studies are quite advanced.

**Quoth the brewers:

If you love really good coffee and really good beer equally, you will be thrilled with Péché Mortel. If coffee isn’t your cup of tea, and caffeine makes you bounce off the ceiling, then just put the bottle down and find something else to drink. This beer is all about coffee. Indeed, you may have seen ‘coffee stouts’ before, but no brewer has ever married coffee and beer so naturally and seamlessly.