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Archive for June, 2009

The Brooklyn Brewery Beers of Citi Field

June 30th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Grade: B regular, Style: Pale Ale, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

I’m a Yankees fan, but sometimes my friends can talk me into joining them for a nice and relaxing minor league baseball game.  Such was the case when I made my first visit to the Mets’ new Citi Field last week.  A visit that I eagerly anticipated–not for the baseball, but rather upon learning that Garrett Oliver had crafted some special brews for the ballpark’s Danny Meyer-owned concession stands.  This was especially exciting considering new Yankee Stadium’s lackluster beer and food selections.

Shackmeister Ale  (The Shake Shack)

ABV unknown

The most “famous” of Citi’s beer and food selections, this pale ale is also available at Manhattan’s two Shake Shack locations.  Just like its out-in-the-real-world counterparts, The Shake Shack concession is known for its overwhelmingly long lines, up to two or three innings waits I have been told.  Thus, I had no plans to stand single file with the hoi polloi, especially considering I find the highly-regarded Shack burger to be just a tad overrated (Lucky’s in Hell’s Kitchen has a burgerstand burger just as good and the wait will be like a hour less for you).  However, that all changed when a light rain delay sent the crowds home early and I was able to unzip the nylon ropes, slap the stanchions out of my way, and march straight to the front of the line where Dat (pictured above) gave me a foamy pint of the Shackmeister as well as some acupuncture advice (thanks, Dat, my lumbar region has never felt better).  The Shackmeister is a solid enough beer, quite tasty with nicely balanced English malts and Glacier hops, and an unexpected lemony zest and summery spiciness.

B

Blanche de Queens (Box Frites)

4.5% ABV

I’m a sucker for common foods pronounced in their fancy European way–just makes them taste better–and such is the case with Belgian frites.  Most unfortunately, it’s a crime against Jean-Claude Van Damme to call these anything more than frozen bagged American french fries dropped into a ballpark frialator.  Available with countless dipping sauces, I was excited when the girl gave me an extra tub of their bacon mayo “just for bein’ cute,” but a few minutes later I would realize she had probably been hired for a contract hit against me by some angry Leinenkugel enthusiasts.  The bacon mayo is surely one of the most ghastly things to enter my mouth in a while.  Luckily, it’s “paired” witbier, the only-available-in-Citi(-at-least-under-this-name) Blanche de Queens  is a helluva of swell ballpark brew.  Very yeasty and full-bodied, at first I thought this might be a saison with it’s spiciness and smooth drinkability.  I grew bored of it after my first pint, but it’s still a terrific hot weather beer, a perfect example of what a Blue Moon could taste like under a master craftsman’s hands.  I think your macro-loving friends will enjoy this one.

B

Sabrosa Ale (El Verano Taqueria)

ABV unknown

The shortest line in the centerfield foodcourt is for the taco stand, but it shouldn’t be, as the food got rave reviews from my crew.  And its paired Citi-only beer was the evening’s clear winner as well.  The taste I could only describe as being that of a very flavorful and spicy lager*, like Brooklyn Lager mixed with a packet of taco seasonings.  A perfect complement to Mexican food but delicious on its own as well.  This is a beer I would gladly drink at normal bars and even buy bottled.  Very nice.  It’s great to have such desirable offerings at a ballpark.

B+

A few notes:

I never got around to having the Blue Smoke BBQ stand’s special blended beer, but that’s easily had at its Manhattan restaurant.

All the Brooklyn beers at Citi are a reasonable $7.50 while the cruddy Buds and what-have-yous are $6.

The concession workers are really happy and nice, and don’t even mind some a-hole holding up the lengthy lines to take pictures of taps.

*For the record, the one review of Sabrosa on Beer Advocate calls it an American Pale Ale, but I’m somewhat dubious of that style listing for the time being.

Victory WildDevil

June 29th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Victory, Country: America, Grade: B-, Style: IPA

The Long Walk

Riding the elevator down alone, I stared at myself in the blurry reflection of the doors.  Tried to make my spiky bed head flatten with a lick of my fingers and a matting down stroke.  Brushed the lint off my shirt.  Wiped the crud out of my eye.

Exiting through the lobby I nodded at her doorman, gave him a giant smile that implied “I know you’re wondering and, yes, yes I did.”  Which meant that the next time he saw her he’d give her an equally giant smile that implied, “Oh I know, you dirty, dirty slut.”

I got outside and tried to find my bearings.  Where the fuck was I?  I should really get a compass.  An urban compass, now that’s not a bad idea.  Is this the…Gramercy?!  How in the hell did we get back to here?  Was it a cab?  Surely we didn’t walk.  Totally don’t remember that.  Luckily I do remember more of the night.  Bits and pieces, like a highlights package, “The Plays of the Day,” running through my head.

I headed north.  I headed what I thought was north, uptown.  I was in that euphoric state after a night of solid, but not super heavy drinking where it’s early enough that you’re still at the tail end of being drunk but you’re not one iota hungover yet.  You’re lucid but you’re still walking on air.  Other things had added to my euphoria as well.  You know it won’t last long before the hangover begins and drunkenness subsides, dehydration and starvation, and pain and misery, but for now:  this is as good as it gets.

How was I gonna get back to Hell’s Kitchen?  Cab it?  Naw, I probably blew $100 last night as is, no need to blow more.  And it’s nice out.  Look at all the folks dining at sidewalk cafes.  I’ve always admired those New Yorkers that have the gumption to get up early on a weekend, shower, get dressed, and then go and eat a meal.  At a restaurant.  Certainly never been my M.O.

“Aaron!  Aaron!”

My ears heard my name being called but my mind knew that I was not in a neighborhood, not in a time or place where there would be any one who could possibly know me.

“Aaron!!!”

I finally turned.  My god, it was my friend Justin, drinking Bloody Marys with a guy and a gal I didn’t recognize.  I walked over to their table.

“What are you doing over here, Justin?”  Justin lived in Park Slope.

“You know, the whole tourist thing.  These are my two friends from back home, Krissy and Moore.”

I politely nodded at them, wondering how exactly one could do the ‘whole tourist thing’ in Gramercy.  What exactly was there to look at?  Trust fund bitches in giant glasses?

“A better question…” Justin smiled at me knowingly, looking me up and down, “…is what are you doing in this neighborhood?  Why, you live in Hell’s Kitchen don’t you?”  Justin was one of those people that was able to mock you with every single thing he said no matter how seemingly innocuous.

I politely nodded and Justin started cracking up.

Krissy was confused.  “What?  What?  I don’t get it.”

“Well won’t you join us for some Bloodys?  They’re unlimited til noon.”

“You know, I can’t, look at me.  I’m disheveled.”

“What, you look fine.”

“But I’m not really a Bloody Mary kinda guy.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to be a Bloody Mary kind of guy, but I’m just not.”

Krissy laughed.  I wasn’t trying to be funny.  My mouth just saying words my mind produced.

“They have unlimited Mimosas and Bellinis too if those are more your speed, partner.”

Justin wasn’t going to let me get me off the hook that easily so I figured I might as well join them.

“Eh, what the heck.  I could use a little hair of the dog, turn the ol’ engine over, huh?”

Justin nodded, “That’s more like it.”

As I sat next to Krissy, my jeans bunched up like an accordion, ejecting the potent smell of my had-sex-last-night dick from my lap right up into my nostrils.

The waitress came over.  “Wouldja like a menu?”

“Naw, that’s fine.  Assure me your Hollaindaise sauce won’t kill me and I’ll have some Eggs Benedict.  And as long as the Mimosas are unlimited, bring me two.”

“Eggs Benedict and some Mimosas.  How frou-frou,” mocked Justin.

The daft Krissy was still perplexed.  “I still don’t get what’s going on…”

The waitress quickly fetched me two flutes of Mimosa and I tipped one back straight down my throat, I’m not sure if the liquid even hit my tongue.  And, still feeling euphoric from my past night in that way where you feel like you can do anything, say anything, your actions have no consequences, I turned to Krissy…

“Krissy, I don’t know where you’re from but I assume they have the same vernacular as we have here.  You guys have stopped me on what is known as a ‘walk of shame.’  That is why I’m in a neighborhood I don’t belong to.  Why my hair is a mess, my clothes disheveled, lint all of them, sleep crust still in my eye, why I smell…odd.  A mix of sweat, perfume, water-based lubricant, and bodily secretions.  It is why I should head home to shower and sleep, and not be seen for the next several hours.”

She looked at me, embarrassed.  Embarrassed for my condition, for what I’ve said, for what she had to hear me frankly say, I am not sure.  She finally spoke.

“Well I like how your hair looks right now.”

And I liked how my morning had already been kicked off.

The unlimited morning cocktails were drank all the way down to 0.01 seconds left on the shot clock.  Hey, if you’re gonna set a time limit on unlimited alcohol, you better be ready to fetch a ton of them as the deal winds down.  At least when you’re dealing with me and my dipsomaniacal friends.  Our now drunken odyssey led us to a Murray Hill dive with $6 pitchers of cheap beer and 10 cent wings which led to Sutton Place and $3 32-ounce frozen margaritas and soon it was midnight and the four of us were shitfaced and in an UES bar drinking overpriced gin and tonics and struggling to stand up.

Long had I forgot how disheveled I was.  Some 30plus hours without a shower, my facial scruff darkening in like a kid’s makeupped on beard line for his Halloween hobo costume, my body odor abhorrent as it tried to eject alcohol and junk food through its pores which mixed with sweat and other gross fluids already on the surface level.  Shit, I hadn’t even brushed my teeth since like 8:00 PM yesterday come to think of it.  Should I go grab some gum at a corner bodega?  Order a shot of Creme de Menthe and gargle?  Naw, I was long pass the point of caring about the avatar I presented to the world.  To the drunken youths surrounding me.

I just wanted to go home.  I could barely keep my eyes open, I was teetering on my bar stool.  Slurring words.  Had I even slept last night?  I felt like I was in a sleep deprivation experiment.  Yet, Justin refused to let me leave.  “You gonna be a baby and go home before closing time?”  Peer pressure always works on me.  I’m such a sucker when my drinking manhood is called into question.

Fine, then if that’s the case, I’ll pursue your friend.  And indeed the pursuit seemed reciprocal.  As the day had progressed Krissy was seemingly getting more and more into me for whatever reason.  It’s almost counterintuitive how women like a man they know has just been with another women.  The more recent the better, though, they usually like a shower in there somewhere.  Feeding frenzies exist for a reason and the stink of the alpha male in the jungle just makes the other primate chicks more in estrus.  By golly, I was going to do this.

I was going to do this!

________

The sun came through the Venetian blinds scalding every other inch of my body in long horizontal stripes like I was behind jail bars made only of heat.  I looked at the clock on the cable box.  6:05 as in ante-meridian.  I turned over to the girl beside me.  She was a brunette.  Unless we’d visited a middle-of-the-night hair salon for a quick dye job, she was not Krissy.  I didn’t recall meeting her.  I didn’t recall talking to her, commuting to this home with her, undressing with her.  I quietly slipped on my clothes which by now were nothing more than dirty, stinky laundry.  I slipped out of her bedroom.

I exited her apartment but she didn’t have an elevator.  I walked five stories down and she didn’t have a doorman.  I got outside.  There was not another single soul in the street.  Where the fuck was I?  Avenue C?!  Good lord, how did I get in Alphabet City?  I should really shower.  I should really sleep.  Man this is going to be a long walk.  I hope I don’t run into any more brunchers I know.

WildDevil

6.7% ABV from a 750 (bottled April 22, 2009)

Victory’s WildDevil was one of my most anticipated releases of the early part of 2009, and despite the fairly high price compared to most Victory products, I was pumped to try this one.  I let it sit for a few months, wanting it to get funky, but last week I could wait no longer.  Unfortunately, WildDevil is now one of my bigger disappointments of 2009.

To my understanding, WildDevil is simply Victory’s semi-glorious Hop Devil IPA with Brett added.  I love Hop Devil, I love Brett in beer, this should be a no-brainer masterpiece, right?  Not quite.  A medium smell of Brett, hops and more pine, much less funkier than I expected.  A sizzling carbonation, with a tartness on the mouth, taking away a lot of the fresh hops goodness.  I liked this beer less and less the more and more I drank it.  And I had a whole big corked-and-caged bottle to get through.  This beer just made me mad.  Every sip of it made me want either a fully committed IPA (Hop Devil) or a fully committed Brett explosion wild ale. Commit goddammit!  This beer teaches an important life lesson:  don’t hedge your bets.  Make up your mind, pick your path, and go for it.  Waffling in the middle accomplishes nothing.

B-

Brooklyn Cuvee de Cardoz

June 21st, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: A-/B+, Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

8.5% ABV on draught

I’m always excited when the Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver releases yet another of his wonderful, and unfortunately limited and tap-only, Brewmaster Reserve beers and I always hightail it to whatever bar has them available.  Such was the case last weekend when I was “forced” to make my first visit to a now new favorite bar of the Vice Blog, Rattle ‘n’ Hum, to try this most unique brew on tap.

I had thought it was going to be a saison, Brooklyn Brewery calls it a spiced wheat ale, and Rate Beer and Beer Advocate a Belgian Strong Ale.  Whatever the case, the inspiration for this beer is quite interesting, take it away stuff I didn’t write:

Our brewmaster is fond of pointing out that his closest peers, after other brewers, are chefs rather than winemakers. Brewers, like chefs, start with an idea and then build that idea into a reality through the use of ingredients and technique. A few years ago, Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver, an avid home cook, attended a class on spicing conducted by Floyd Cardoz, the Executive Chef of the justly famed Indian-inflected New York City restaurant Tabla. And a few new beer ideas started to form…

Raised in Bombay and Goa, Chef Cardoz trained in India and Switzerland before moving to New York City. After a five-year stint at the venerable restaurant Lespinasse, he opened Tabla with restauranteur Danny Meyer in 1998. Since then he’s earned a boatload of accolades (including three stars from The New York Times), not only for his Indian cooking but also for his ability to infuse Western cuisine with Indian spices and soul. In 2006, Chef Cardoz published his first cookbook, One Spice, Two Spice.

Now chef and brewmaster have combined their inspirations to bring you Brooklyn Cuvée de Cardoz. This golden wheat beer starts with a base of malted barley and unmalted wheat and then builds upon it a delicate balance of exotic spices selected by Chef Cardoz and then toasted and ground in the kitchens at Tabla. Ginger, tamarind, mace, black pepper, coriander, fennel, fenugreek, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and chilies are added in the kettle, and then the beer is infused with toasted coconut after the fermentation. Combined with our yeast and light hopping, these spices give the beer a gentle, complex perfume, a full fruity palate, and long, drying finish with a very faint prickle of heat.

Nicely written.  Now back to some words from the hack…

I love Mr. Oliver’s obsession with making beer a part of the entire culinary experience (watch this great video!) and while I drank this without a pairing of Indian food, I could tell it would be a swell match.  Hell, it was swell just by itself.  Spicy, yeasty, and a favorite description of mine:  dangerously drinkable.  I don’t even know what exactly most of the above spices in the beer even are, but the corriander, cloves, and especially chilies shine through nicely.  I’m not going to advise you to sprint out to get this one, it’s certainly not as great as Garrett’s previous effort, the Intensified Coffee Stout, but this is still another stellar, inventive effort from one of my beer idols.  A great, refreshing, yet still potent beer for summer.

A-/B+

Note:  I’d also like to say how cool it is that Garrett Oliver makes a special beer for several Danny Meyer restaurants.  The Cuvee de Cardoz for Tabla, the Blue Smoke Blend for the BBQ joint of the same name, and the Shackmeister for the vaunted Shake Shack to name a few.

Leinenkugel’s 1888 Bock

June 17th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 12 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Jacob Leinenkugel, Country: America, Grade: D plus, Style: Bock

5.1% ABV bottled

“Why don’t you just go drink some more of your…sugary poison!”

She slung a throw pillow at my head, perhaps taking the name a little too literally, and stormed into her bedroom.

Sugary poison?  How dare she besmirch my precious beer like that?  What a low blow.

She wasn’t mad at my love of beer because I was an alcoholic or anything, no, she’d have had no problem if I was just a passive and aloof macro-swilling drunkard; she was pissed at me  simply because I had a passion for beer.

Why does it seem that so many women hate it when a man has passions?  I’ve had fights started with me for being a foodie, a sports superfan, a cinephile, a cigar enthusiast, a golf nut, a book worm, a TV devotee, and, of course, a beer geek.  Why is it that hobbies, passions, arouse so much anger in women?

I’ll tell you why–and this won’t be that popular of sentiment, and might even be considered misogynistic:

Because women have none themselves.

I’m not saying that’s a good or a bad thing, I’m just making an observation.  Sporting events, nerdy collecting conventions, beer tastings, vintage record shops, golf courses, tiny art cinemas…they are always jam packed with men, and the sparse women in attendance were usually dragged there by their freak of a boyfriend or husband.

It seems women want to have passions like us men do–why else would they get so angry at ours?–but they just can’t manufacture any interest in the frivolous.  Nick Hornby brilliantly understood this in his great paean to sports fandom “Fever Pitch” and his even better paean to music love “High Fidelity.”  Women are just seemingly more interested in the important stuff in life:  careers, family, relationships, “John & Kate Plus Eight.”  And that’s fine, but that’s also kinda boring.

So drink my sugar poison…why yes, yes I will.  In fact, “sugary poison” has now been co-opted as my preferred thing to call beer.  I love when some girl I won’t ever deal with for the rest of time presents me with a catch phrase that I can now use for the rest of time.  Even if it is a bit of a misnomer, being that Googleable study after Googleable study has found that the nectar of the Gods can reduce risk of stroke, heart and vascular disease, dementia, and that it even hydrates better than water.  No wonder some monks literally live off the stuff.

Health benefits or not, I prefer my sugary poison to be incredibly tasty so at least I can wreck myself gloriously.  Having said that, with all the great beers I’ve been drinking and A pluses I’ve been awarding lately, you begin to lose sight of what differentiates the great from the good from the bad.

No problem.  Every few months I need to reset my perceptions, and I do that by drinking a new beer from my least favorite brewery, the brewery I fully expect to sue me one day, the brewery whose negative Vice Blog reviews always manages to drum a bunch of Great Lakes area people out of the woodwork to flood my comments area calling me such poetic names as “douche nozzle”:  yes, I’m talking about the  Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company.

I use dreadful Leinies to calibrate my drinking.  How else would I know what’s great if not knowing what’s meager?

Not unexpectedly, and thankfully for this experiment, the 1888 Bock is just plain gross and unpleasant.  No malt character, no taste, very watery, bordering on undrinkable.  Tastes absolutely nothing like a bock.  A waste of twelve ounces of sugary poison.  At least now I know that what I have been drinking recently is truly great.  Thank you, yet again Jake Leinenkugel!

Now I just need to find a girl who will passionately drink my sugary poison alongside me.  Until then, I’ll just be wondering why women aren’t as frivolous as us men.  Thoughts?

D+

Kluge Estates Cru

June 16th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Country: America, Grade: A plus, Wine

19% ABV

This is to be my first and perhaps last and most likely only wine review ever.

Aside from drinking wine a good deal, I really don’t know a whole lot about the stuff.  Yeah, I know that any wine bottle with an animal on it (whether fishes or penguins or yaks) is almost certainly undesirably tannic shit.  I know that the “house” wine at Italian places manages to get you drunk just as good as anything else there (and it manages to give you a wicked hangover too).  I know that I may be a classless vulgarian, but I still seem to be one of the few people around that grips wine glasses correctly while drinking (from the stem, fellas, you look like a goddamn fool when you cup the bowl like you’re giving a testicular exam to an old man).  I know that becoming highly skilled at briskly swirling your wine is a boffo party trick (though it does have drawbacks two-fold in a. making you look like a pretentious asshole and b. occasionally causing you to swirl red wine right onto your friend’s new white carpet when you don’t quite realize how drunk you already are).  I also know that only a moron orders the second cheapest wine at a restaurant.  As we all know from watching hacky sitcoms, since most men are clueless (and cheap), not wanting to look clueless (and cheap), said men pass on ordering the cheapest bottle of wine on a restaurant menu and instead confidently order the second cheapest bottle as if they know what they’re talking about.  Well guess what?  Restaurant owners know this and now often place the wine they bought the cheapest wholesale in the second-cheapest slot on the wine menu.  So now, in most cases, the second cheapest wine in any given restaurant is both the most overpriced and lowest quality wine and you’d be better off just ordering the cheapest and pretending you’re getting a real “steal” on something underrated.

My friend DW had long told me about this little known masterpiece from a favorite winery of his in Charlottesville, Virginia and on his most recent visit he snagged me a bottle with the caveat that I write a review of it.  Whoa, is this a truly unique product.  Perhaps the most singularly unique alcoholic beverage I’ve ever had in my life.  A 19% ABV wine, who has heard of such a thing?!  That’s due to the fact that this white wine aperitif is created by taking Chardonnay grapes and then blending and fortifying them with brandy which is then aged for six weeks in Jack Daniels barrels.  Wow!

Aperitif, wine, brandy, whatever the hell you want to call it–I called it “the Sunday night pass-out”–this beauty is incredibly delicious. If you can believe it, Kluge Estates actually recommends serving this chilled on ice with a slice of orange!  That sounded sacrilegious to me so I simply drank it slightly chilled, not wanting to miss out on any of its great flavors.  So bourbony and sweet and obviously boozy, boozy, boozy.  Very complex yet still refreshing.  Notes of peach and orange and pear, with darker flavors of licorice and vanilla coming from the Tennessee whiskey.

If you like wine, if you like bourbon, if you like high-ABV shit, and alcohol that challenges your palate, you absolutely have to try this one.  This is truly wine taken to the next level, a level I’m not sure many people even want wine taken to.  Heck, why don’t you order a bottle online?  You’ll thank me later, Goldfarb guarantee.

A+

Summer Beers

June 12th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Goose Island, Brewer: Surly, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Grade: B-/C+, Style: ESB, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

One of the most detestable arguments a craft beer enthusiast can have with a macro swilling moron is when it comes to warm weather tippling.  We’ve heard them all.  “You don’t want one of yer fancy beers while out there on the golf course.  Ya need a frosty Bud Light.”  “Can’t have one of those dark brews you drink on the beach, ya need a chilled Corona.”  “You really wanna sit on a patio with those expensive bombers you like, ya need an ice cold can of Coors.”

Ugh.  Just because the weather’s hot I need to drink shit?!  There’s plenty of flavorful beers out there that also manage to be “refreshing” and even lower-ABV, stuff like Three Floyds Gumballhead, countless saisons, and even some of the bigger microbreweries’ boringly labeled for the mainstream “summer” beers are quite nice, notably Sam Adams’ offering.

I’m the kind of man who has no problem drinking a snifter of 20% stout even in 100 degree heat–oh, the looks at get at the nudist beach!–but there will be times in the next three months or so that I need something a little lighter, so it was with great enthusiasm that I tried two summer, but not “summer,” offerings from two of my favorite breweries.

Surly Bitter Brewer

4% ABV canned

Oh, my beloved brewery.  The Minnesota cans-only brewery that’s instantly become one of my favorites.  I don’t get to have it often because its current distribution reach is super-limited, but every time The Captain hooks me up with a new offering I am eternally grateful…and then floored.  There’s their awesome IPA Furious (A-), gorgeous brown Bender (A-), inventive farmhouse Cynic (A-), infused Coffee Bender (A-) and of course their wax dipped and rare Darkness, perhaps the best stout on planet earth (A+).  Thus, it is always with much excitement when I hear a new release from them is on the market.  Unfortunately, Bitter Brewer is the first Surly I haven’t unequivocally loved.  It undoubtedly smells great with a nice floral and citrus aroma, but the taste just isn’t there.  It’s really watery.  Like a slightly off homebrew.  Having said that, they go down easy and I could drink a zillion of these.  It’s obviously a superior summer beer to anything in the BMC family or Corona, but it’s nothing special.  I hate to say this, but the fact that this bordering-on-”near”-beer offering gets an A- on Beer Advocate is nothing but Surly fanboyism.  I gotta think if this was a macro offering it would be absolutely skewered by the geek community.

B-/C+

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale

4.2% ABV bottled

Goose Island is yet another brewery I much adore with their glorious A pluses Bourbon County Stout and Night Stalker.  This brew is completely on the other end of the dark and kick-your-ass spectrum, but I was still excited to try it and it didn’t disappoint.  I don’t typically like American wheat beers but 312 is solid.  A lemony crispness and…well, wheat.  Wheat and lemon, that’s about it.  Nicely put together, not complex in the least, but still quite tasty.  Refreshing but boring.  Ain’t nothing wrong with that.  A mild success, a good summer offering.

B

Goose Island Night Stalker

June 10th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Goose Island, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Stout

11.7% ABV on tap

No matter their ethnicity, race, intelligence, classiness, drunkenness, wealth, politics, ideals, or odor, I’m always willing to listen to an older man tell me a thing or too about love and sex.  The rare topics that advanced age always gives advanced wisdom too.  Usually.

I was drinking alone on an early evening at the Ginger Man, pre-barring at a bar if that’s possible, before meeting up with some macro-loving friends.  I had nearly fallen out of my chair the previous night when I had seen the rare Night Stalker first appear on Beer Menus and needed to score some before it got tapped.  (For the record NYC folks, I do believe Night Stalker should be around for at least a few more weeks, but I’d still advise hitting up the GM post-haste.)

One of the most buzzed-about beers in America right now, the Goose Island offering has had a meteoric rise up to the #33 beer in the world slot on Beer Advocate’s top 100.  (Then again, we are in the era of super-hyped (and sometimes over-hyped) beers that go straight from released to the top 100 list in a matter of days it seems.)  But, being that Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is one of my absolute favorite brews around, I was fiending to try this one.  You see, Night Stalker is essentially Bourbon County sans bourbon barreling.  Jet black and rich, so chocolaty and full of bold espresso goodness, this sucker makes Brooklyn’s awesome Intensified Coffee Stout taste like motherfucking decaf.  It’s easy to just think that Bourbon County Stout minus the boozy bourbon would make it far less complex and tasty, but truth be told, eliminating that bourbon actually allows many new flavors to shine through creating a just as complex stout.  Certainly not a “lesser” one by any means.  Night Stalker is more bitter than Bourbon County, “dry hop(ped) like madmen” says Goose Island, more chewy, and more spicy.  Alas, I will not go so far to call it as legendary as Bourbon County Stout but it is fantastic nonetheless.  And it may very well now be my favorite unbarreled stout. Is that possible?!  Brooklyn Black Chocolate, Avery Mephistopheles’, Dark Horizon, Lost Abbey Serpent’s, Kate the Great…yeah, I think it is very well amongst that esteemed class.

Lost in my own world, my nose inhaling the Night Stalker like I was a Hebrew anteater, slurping it down greedily, my romance was ruined by those few denizens in my vicinity.  Behind me, two yahoos in cheap Red Wings sweaters with thick yet ambiguous and unlocateable accents swigged Bud Light bottles and shouted at the screen as Marc-Andre Fluery let another cheap goal trickle in.  They were scaring, to my right, two Asian skanks seemingly having a pow-wow about whether becoming hookers during a recession was a savvy economic strategy.  And to my left, a wasted mustachioed harlequin in a sleeveless T harangued the bartender.

“Eh cutie.  ‘ow can youse possibly be oldanuff to bah-tend?!  Youse mustbe like…I dunno, justa kid…hey, when can I kiss yer palm?  Naw, not the palm, dat’s not what I meant.  Whatevah’s on da udder side of da palm, dat’s what I want to kiss, like a real gentleman.  While yer attit, couldja gimme a’nudder rum ‘n coke?  Dubba.”

The bartender put on her best face, working for no doubt a tip that would be culled from the lint covered coins in his Dickies.  “What rum would you like, sir?”

“Eh, howzabout Cap’n Morgan?  Naw, wait.  Make’it Bacaw-dee.  Naw, naw, Cap’n’s good.  Bacaw-dee.  Eh, Cap’n'll work.”

“Is that your final answer?”

I was getting annoyed with this edition of “Scumbag Millionaire” as I made some more nasal love to my snifter of splendid stout wondering why the great Ginger Man always attracts such non-craft-beer-loving miscreants.

“It ain’t ‘er palm I’s really wantta kiss.  Heh, heh, heh.  Eh guy, ain’t dey got duh hottest liddle numbahs in here?”

A forearm with a tattoo of Popeye with a tattoo on his own forearm needled me in my tenth rib.

“Uh, I suppose.”

There was really not a women in the joint worth getting in a tizzy over.

“Ya’ think that bah-tender’d fucka guy like me?  Naw, course’not.  Dat’s whatyer thinkin’ right?  Some ugly mook like me?”

He stared right at my face, dramatically pausing as if he was about to blow my mind.

“Well youse wrong.  Lemme tell you sumpin’ bout women.  D’ere all sluts.  Every last one of dem.  Even my ma’, god rest her soul.  My old man walked in on her suckin’ off da’ plumber.  Nudder story for anudder day my friend…”

I hoped that “nudder” day would never come for me as I listened to Popeye Guy’s romance tips.

1.  Get her wasted

“Foist of all, ya gotta get da chicks loaded.  Make’em match youse drink fer drink.  Look’at me.  Been drinkin’ since nine ay-em and you’d t’ink I’d just been sippin’ cola, right?  And if a girl’s wit me, she’d be messed up big time b’now.  D’ese gals wanna be sluts but when dey’re sober dey’s just fuckin’ bitches.  Getta cocktail or two in’dem and soon you’ll have your cock in’dem too.  Heh, poetic right?  Like champagne for my real pain…sham friends…how’da fuck dat clevah line go?”

2.  Be old and wise

“D’ese girls respeck a guy with age, wiz-dum.  I’m fiddy-two.  I know, I know, shocked’ya agin.  Prolly thought I was yer age.  Naw, when I was yer age, hant-some, vig-er-rus, I didn’t even need ta’go’ta bahs to pick up chicks.  Dey was just bangin’ down my door so dey could bang down wit me.  Ha, look at dat, I was poetic again.  I’m a real…uh…name a poet or something.  I’m a real Dr. Soooze.  What ‘as I sayin’?  Oh, yeah, young girls want to be with an old guy who knows what ‘e’s doin’ like me.”

3.  Act manly

“Butcha’ also gotta act like’a real man.  Ladies wanna feel like ladies and dey want a man dat’s a man.  I see all deese little sissies walkin’ around Man’at-ten nowadays.  I dunno whether dey’re gay’re straight but dey’re all fag’its if you ax me.  That ain’t no slur, and I ain’t na’ ‘omophobic or nuttin’.  I juss calls ‘em like I sees ‘em and dey’s a buncha fag’its.  Dey don’t make guys like me no more.  Real men.  Now you look alright.  Not tough or anyt’ing but not a fuckin’ pussy or nuttin’.  But compared ta’ these udder guys your age you’re fuckin’ John Wayne.  Even wit dat fag’it fancy beer in yer hand.”

4.  Pretend your rich

“But manliness ain’t enuff.  These sluts also like a guy with a little coin if ya’ know what I’m sayin’.  I’ma classy guy, ya’ know, and I like to treat my ladies well so I’ll take’em ta nice places, chop’ouses, planning on pickin’ up da’ bill.  But da’ second a girl ack-shully axes me to buy ‘er sumpin’, I’m like, ‘Buy youse sumpin’?!, why don’tchoo suck on my cock?’  Naw, that doesn’t always work but it has before a few times.  I still had to buy dinner though.”

5.  Be great in bed

“Now dis is da most impor-ent point, my friend.  More important den any udder nugget’a wiz-dum I’s given you tonight:  Fuck’er like she ain’t done nevah been fucked before.  You make’a bitch cum and she’ll never leave ya’ side.  Believe me.  Truth be told, I can’t fuck deese bitches one-hundert percent because I’m so good that they’ll stalk me and my pecker forevah.  So I usually just fuck’em at like…say…sixty percent first few times.  Let her know I have da’ tools, but I choose to use them at my discretion.  Dat way, she’s in my control forevah.”

By now I was done with my slow-sipping Night Stalker and had to get going to meet up with my friends.  I thanked the man for his swell advice and he thanked me for listening by picking up my pint.  As I left he winked at me and nodded at the cute bartender with her back to us–it was time for the “expert” to go in for the solo kill.

Unfortunately, I didn’t follow any of Popeye Guy’s advice that night and I went to bed alone at 5 AM.

Coincidence?

I think not!

A+

Avery Demons of Ale

June 9th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Avery, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Grade: A-, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Style: English Strong Ale

With the first “Demon,” Mephistopheles’ Stout being a smashing (and I-got-smashed) A+ success for me, I thought it about time I try the other two ass-kicking and hard-to-photograph brews from the line, and luckily my friend DW hooked me up with a bottle of each last week.

The Beast Grand Cru

16.31% ABV bottled (Batch 6; 2008)

How does this beer get a B+ on Beer Advocate?  That is mind-boggling to me.  Just tells me that many BAers are ninnies that can’t handle a 16.31% asskicking.  This is very much not a subtle beer.  But, nor am I a subtle man and every day Avery gets closer and closer to being the official brewery of my life.  The Beast is so, so fragrant, you can almost smell it through the glass bottle.  Sugary and boozy, like a port or sherry.  This is one tasty brew too.  Drinking it, I had no clue what it was.  A barley wine?  Perhaps a quad?  “Technically,” it’s considered a Belgian strong dark ale and goddamn is it muscular.  Boozy, rummy, raisiny, with a syrupy mouthfeel full of yeast, bread, and pure deliciousness.  Took me a couple of hours to put this beauty down and by then I had been humiliated.  I was asleep mere seconds after finishing the bottle.  There are weaker lethal injections fluids currently on the market.  Instantly one of my new favorite beers.  To quote George Bluth, Sr., “I am having a love affair” with The Beast.

A

Samael’s Oak-Aged Ale

16.45% ABV bottled (April 2009; batch 5)

Samael’s Ale–product copy alert: “…the prince of demons, the angel of death, accuser and destroyer. Filled with enmity towards man, he planted the vine, the forbidden tree of paradise. Behold his venom and vengeance, both sweet and tempting, enticing you, his spellbound victim, within his wings…“–is easily the worst of the Demons of Ale line but that is just akin to being Playboy’s 12th hottest centerfold of the year. Pure maltiness, not a hint of hops, this sucker is bready and chewy.  Full of a caramel and vanilla oaked sweetness, this one is very woody too.  After Mephistopheles’ and The Beast this was a mild disappointment, but only compared to those lofty standards.  This is another sublime beer that’ll take you two hours to drink and will have you walking funny afterwards.

A-

Avery, bring on more Demons!!!

Ballast Point Sculpin

June 8th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 10 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Ballast Point, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: IPA

7% ABV from a bomber

Hungover

Note:  This review contains spoilers for “The Hangover,” though if you’ve seen the trailer even once I can’t imagine what there would be to spoil.

It probably went down something like this…the esteemed writing team behind such celluloid masterworks as “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” and “Four Christmases,” two blokes that look like this, had a few beers one evening–the most they’ve ever had!  Like seven bro!–and something absolutely batshit crazy happened like they got a pepperoni slice at 2 AM, or ran from a $7 cab fare, or heard the next day that they had made out with some uuuuuuuuuugly chick in the corner of the bar and tthey thought, “Ow, my head hurts this morning.  I’m never gonna drink again.”  But then they had a genius brainstorm and thought, “Hey, we’re just some pasty nerds, but what if some really cool guys got more drunk than ever before–in Vegas no less (Vegas, baby, Vegas!)–and they couldn’t even remember what happened the night before!”

I’ve been unable to get “The Hangover” off my mind since I saw it hungover just Sunday morning.  And I know I’m going to step on some toes here and be in the minority when I say what I’m about to say, considering my theater was laughing their collective asses off (I’ve dated some gals with a collective ass, zing!), rolling in the aisles, and they even applauded when it was over; my friends have called it everything from a rave of “best movie EVER!” to a pan of “sooooo funny”; it currently ranks at #168 in imdb’s top 250 movies of all fucking time; and even critics are lauding it at a rate of 77%, remarkable for a R-rated comedy–but I really had issues with this picture.

I’ve spent the last twenty-four hours trying to figure out exactly why I didn’t like “The Hangover.”  I’m not saying it’s terrible or anything.  It’s not one of those movies like “Vantage Point” or “P.S. I Love You” or the “_____ Movie” spoof franchise where you spend every second you’re watching the screen just wanting to gouge your eyes out and plug them into your ears.  Nor is it one of those ineptly executed pictures like “Jumper” or “Battlefield Earth” that are so bad even someone with no comedy chops could find things to goof on and by the midway point of the movie the entire theater has become a peanut gallery shouting out insults.

No, “The Hangover” is simply not funny. I didn’t LOL even once. (Which, I guess if it’s a comedy and it’s not funny then maybe that means it IS “terrible,” but I digress). If you’ve seen the trailer, you literally know everything about the movie. Good comedy should be shocking and surprising and yet there’s not a single shock or surprise in this entire movie. Compare that to the great “Up” which surprised me every few minutes with its wonderful ideas and hilarious scenes.

I think the concept of three dudes trying to piece together a crazy hungover night is a pretty good one. We’ve ALL been there.  But their lost night–and the movie doesn’t even have the balls to allow them to attain that lost night via actual legitimate means, ya know, hardcore drinking; the characters are accidentally roofied–is nothing but a lame, paint-by-numbers pastiche of non sequitur bullshit that uber-hack director Todd Phillips must have thought would play well in trailers*.  Ohmigod, badass Mike Tyson singing a lame Phil Collins song! A tiger in the bathroom! And a baby in the closet.  Hey, how’d a chicken get in the room?! (Actually, come to think of it, I’m not sure we ever learned that. We never learned why the room was completely trashed either for that matter.)

Seriously, what is funny about any of those things?  To step on even more toes, it’s the same brand of over-the-top, out-of-left-field, nonsensical “humor” that made Seth McFarlane rich enough to own his own jet (A taser in the face!  A nude effete Asian gangster!  A stolen cop car!).  And I’m not exactly Mr. PC Morality but mining a lost and neglected baby for comedy? Perhaps I wouldn’t be offended if that was actually a funny gag.  But of course it isn’t.  It’s just as trite as having a hooker with a heart of gold played by Heather Graham who of course shows an aging tit.  Look, if you read my blog you know I’m about as far from having a stiff upper lip as they come.  I thrive on puerile, sophomoric, scatological comedy as much as the next guy and even at age 30 a well-crafted dick or fart joke can still have me in hysterics.  (For instance, the “Bruno” trailer would be the funniest thing I saw on Sunday as the great Sacha Baron Cohen continues to amaze us with the new and clever ways he can incorporate dildos, masturbation, and bare ass into a storyline.)

Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms and even Bradley Cooper are winning and likable and I hope those three continue to headline movies, but there’s not much they can accomplish when they’re reading words written by such trite scripters and stuck in such a lame plot.  Casted with less-skilled and innately humorous actors and I think “The Hangover” would have been a straight bomb and the general population would have noticed all the flaws and the shear boringness of the movie.  Galifianakis’s character of Alan especially deserved to be in a better movie where his character–one of the most creepy/funny since Christopher Walken in “Annie Hall”–could have been iconic.  And Ed Helm’s skills are incredibly neutered, the only time he gets to shine when he out-of-nowhere sits down at the piano to sing a plot-discussing song, one of the few inspired parts in the flick, and a part I assume was either written or straight improvised by the musically gifted funnyman.

As I was watching the movie it wasn’t like it was cringe worthy or anything, nor was I begging for it to be over. And it’s not a deplorable “dumb” pratfalls comedy like Adam Sandler garbage or anything, it’s just flaccid and predictable and easily watchable.  Which, unfortunately, still will allow it to probably go down as the best mainstream Hollywood comedy of the year.  (Yeesh!  Think about that for a second.) I would have much rather just gone to You Tube and entered “Zach Galifianakis” and watched any of his criminally underrated stand-up bits for an hour and a half.  Hell, I would have rather watched Galifianakis, et al actually get wasted and then actually go do caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-razy things in Vegas.

And that brings me to why guess I most disliked “The Hangover”:  it’s insulting to drinkers.  Insulting to people like you and I that actually have had a lost night or two in our lives and had a crazy story to tell.  I could have called up any of my besotted friends on Sunday morning and I guarantee at least one of them would have told me a story about the decadence and depravity they got into on Saturday night that would have been ten times as funny as “The Hangover.”  I don’t see how any one that actually drinks, and actually parties, can think “The Hangover” anything more than an unfunny non-verisimilitudinous imagining of the circumstances.

But perhaps I’m wrong.  If you saw it, I’d love to hear why you loved it–cause I know you did–in specific scenes and moments and lines.  Truly curious.  Do share.

Sculpin

Another IPA sent to me from the left coast from Jesse the Hutt.  And it’s just like all those other “famous” California IPAs…fantastic.  It truly is India Pale Ale Elysian out there, perhaps I’ll have witness protection place me in San Diego next.  Smell is out of this world, an intense fragrance of grapefruitiness.  The taste is a mild letdown considering the smell, but it is still wonderful.  So fresh and piney.  Like drinking a goddamn Christmas tree.  Straight from the West Coast, no question, with additional tastes of grapefruit, apricots, mangoes, and sour citrus, minimal maltiness.  A nice stinging bitterness–just like the sculpin fish itself, says Ballast Point!–but incredibly drinkable.  Top-notch my friends, this deserve it’s top 20 BA ranking.

A

*If you’ve seen Todd Phillips in his wonderful documentary “Frat House” then you know he’s not exactly a cool guy either.

Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA

June 5th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 10 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Three Floyds, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: IPA

9.5% from a bomber

The Groupie Slums It

I don’t mean to offend when I explicitly state that attractive yet unmarried and never-married heterosexual women in their thirties who actually want to be married are either one of two things:

1.  Overly picky

2.  Fucking crazy

Becky was incredibly attractive and she didn’t seem crazy.  Sparkling eyes that were neither too dead nor fidgety, a nice amount of looking into my peepers and nervously looking down.  A kind smile that always spread just the correct amount between the ears and showed an exactly sufficient number of teeth depending on the circumstance*.  A confident voice full of charm and charisma.

And she was on a date with always-undressed me at a Village bar frequented by underage NYU undergrads and most famous for winning New York Magazine’s “Most Vomitiest Bar” the last three years running.  So how picky could Becky possibly be?

I spent the first half hour of our first date investigating her, scrutinizing her intensely like Sherlock Holmes.  That’s not exactly a fun way to behave and doesn’t exactly lead to a love connection, but I had to figure out what was up.  Soon, I realized it must be nothing, she was just one who had slipped through the cracks.  Had a little misfortune in love.  Perhaps I had very much lucked out in finding her.

Sure, she was a little obsessed with relationships, with finding “the one,” even with marriage, but most women are.  Nothing wrong with that.  She wasn’t one of those insufferable single gals, staying home at night with a stack of bridal magazines cutting out pictures of her favorite dresses, floral displays, bridesmaids’ gowns, and making a collage of her hypothetical wedding.  She didn’t say stuff like, “I’m going to make my future husband buy me an 18 karet yellow gold eternity band emerald cut. I’ve already picked it out.”  She didn’t have at all times on her person a list of one-hundred things her future mate had to meet, to which she’d say, “Do you have over $300,000 in the bank?” and then check off the corresponding box, hoping to fill them all out like she was participating in a concomitant scavenger hunt.

No, she was such a sweetheart.  She just wanted to find someone near perfect for her because you can never find someone completely perfect for you, right?  Some one she could grow old with.  Who could take care of her for the next fifty years.

Hell, she realized she was getting older, we all are.  And it ain’t easy, especially for a female.  Quoth Robert Herrick:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

Could I be the man for her?  She’d ask me questions, bordering on interview queries but I accepted them because they were said with such earnestness.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

“Do you date a lot?”  “Why haven’t you found someone?”  “It’s tough here in New York, isn’t it?”  “Have you ever thought about JDate?”

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

She talked about her successes, moreso her failures.  The guy that did this wrong.  The guy that did that bad.  The guy that wasted that half-year of her life.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

After a few cocktails, I finally figured it out.  She actually did all the work for me.  I was getting bored with sitting and I asked her if she wanted to go revisit our youth and challenge some sophomores to a game of beer pong.

“Ha, that reminds me of the time Vince Carter** picked me up at the Soho Grand and all but forced me to go back to his apartment to play pool with him at 3 AM.”

“Vince Carter?!  The uber-talented, uber-lazy NBA 8-time all-star?!  Really?  That’s so cool.”

Casually.  “Yeah.  Nice guy but a little boring.  Unbeatable in pool though.  You wouldn’t believe how good he is off the bumpers.”

We lost our first game of beer pong to two kids that have never known life with rotary phones and returned to our seats.  A warbling John Mayer song I’ve never heard of because I know nothing about music since the tail-end of the grunge/gangster rap era came on the jukebox.

“Yuck.  I always hated this song.  I was actually there when John wrote this one.”

You know John Mayer too?

And there were more.  Seemingly every single thing that came on the flatscreen, or the jukebox, or on an imbibing hipster’s ironic t-shirt, or even in an anecdote I told reminded her of a celebrity encounter she’d had in the past decade.  And I say “encounter” because she was never saying that she dated these men, certainly never saying that she had intimate relations with them, she was just casually, and somewhat angrily, mentioning them in the same matter of fact way I could go:

“You know that dumb bitch Megan sure liked rum and cokes.”

“That terrible skank Tracy sure thought she was good at darts too.”

“Whoa boy, did that miserable Annette always act like she knew a lot about baseball.”

Then, the Yankees won and Michael Kay came on the YES post-game show on the bar TV.

“Ugh…I hate Michael Kay.”

“Yeah, me too.  I’m a Yankees fan but he’s insufferable.”

“No, not that.  He’s a major stalker.  I go on one date with him a few months ago and now he won’t leave me alone!”

Michael Kay?!  Now that’s disgusting.

And it all made sense.  She’d gone from dating (or fucking on the sly) an A-list hoopster in her knockout early-20s to a B-list rocker in her still-smoking mid-20s to a sleezy Z-list local television baseball announcer just earlier this year as her looks were starting to fade.  Perhaps not for a “nobody” like me, but certainly for a big shot, rich celebrity.

Then another thing hit me.  Her twenties’ goal of gathering ye rosebuds, gathering a rich celebrity mate, had all but passed her by and now she was onto a new stratagem:  prospecting.  The night I had picked her up it had been so easy for me.  I wasn’t actually even talking to her at first.  One of my friends was, casually in conversation mentioning that I was a writer.  To that, she sprinted over to me and proceeded to yak my ear off, shoving her number, e-mail, fax, address, Facebook page, Twitter account, and every other possible contact info she could into my palm before leaving.  Telling me I had to promise to contact her.  I’m not sure if I’d even said more than a dozen words that first encounter.

She was prospecting.  And she thought this might be her final shot at glory, Dan Jansen in the 1994 Winter Olympics.  She’d heard I was a writer, and daftly thought I might soon be a famous one.  Or at least a rich one.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  If she only knew.

Well, I certainly wasn’t going to let on.  I went back to her apartment and hooked up with her anyways, unfortunate visions of Michael Kay dancing in my head (”Ssssssssssee ya!!!”)

I’ve always said that, were I a celebrity, I wouldn’t mind women throwing themselves at me for no other reason than my fame and I certainly don’t mind a slumming groupie faux-throwing herself at me hoping that her vagina is that magic key to getting me on the cover of “Entertainment Weekly.”

At least I won’t stalk her like Michael Kay.

Dreadnaught

Big ups to my friend Elizabeth who I made go to about fifteen different Chicagoland beer stores when she was there on business in order to find this coveted, highly regarded, DIPA for me.  Another winner from Three Floyds who, apropos of barely something, I think may make my favorite labels in the biz.  Taste-tested this openly against one of my favorites, Avery Maharaja, and I felt it took it down in a 10th round TKO.  So fresh and fragrant.  A fruit cocktail of tropical tastes in peach, mango, and citrus, with subdued hops bitterness balanced my a nice caramel malt backbone.  Incredibly drinkable, deserves the acclaim it gets.

A

*Beware the women that smiles either too much or too little.  The women that are ear-to-fucking-ear when you simply make a lame pun.  Who show every teeth like a horse with peanut butter in its mouth when you crack a mild joke.  And who spit take with hearty laughter when you so much as comment on the bartender’s bad hair cut.  Also beware the ones that wouldn’t even crack a half-grin watching Eddie Murphy “Raw.”  They’re either depressed or dumb.

**Celebrity names have been changed to protect…uh, I guess me from being sued for slander.  Or is it libel?