12% ABV on tap
“You’re not sthupposed to review that.”
I turned to see some weaselly-looking pot-bellied virgin in a Blue Point pullover addressing me. He had a slight lisp which is always more annoying than a full lisp for some reason*.
“‘scuse me?” Usually when I go to beer bars to geek out I go by myself and at off-hours so no one will see me nor bother me, the same strategy most XXX theater fanatics employ.
“You’re not sthupposed to officially review sthuch a small serving size.”
The pot-bellied weasel aimed his unkempt pointer finger at the flight of four beers I’d just ordered. Rattle ‘n’ Hum was hosting a winter beer blowout and with dozens of brews I wanted to try and only an hour or two to spare on a Tuesday afternoon, I had no time for full pours.
The pot-bellied weasel had apparently seen me making a few reviewing notes on my iphone and, wanting to show off the sort of annoying pedagogy that would assure a lonely life for him, had pounced on me.
“You’re sthupposed to at least have an eight ounce pour to officially review something. You’re not sthupposed to review so many beers in one sitting either.” He started into a stuttering chuckle. “You’re what, what, what we call a ‘ticker.’ Someone who tries to quickly review as many beers as possible just to say they drank them.”
I smiled knowingly and calmly, sipped one of the four beers in front of me. I like being berated by asocial nerds with slight lisps. It’s like getting dressed down by Don Rickles except totally the opposite. I said nothing.
“I’m just telling you for your own good, man.”
The pot-bellied weasel had finished his rant and looked down, ashamed of his standing in life.
“What are you, on Beer Advocate?” I finally spoke.
“BA? Yes I am.”
“What’s your user name? I bet it’s something like stoutslurper69 or something.”
“And your avatar? Which ‘Star Trek: The New Generation’ character did you pick? Data or Geordi La Forge?”
He didn’t respond as I quickly looked up his profile on my iphone.
“Ah…Number Six. Sexy.”
I held up one of my tiny glasses of beer.
“Let me tell you something. It’s just beer. Repeat after me: it’s just beer. Just a liquid. You see, cool people like me use this liquid to enhance our lives. We use it to make us feel good, to help us celebrate life, to aid in our understanding of the universe. I’m already interesting enough as it is but this beer is going to make me even more interesting and in a few hours I’ll use that turbo-boost of charisma to perhaps pick up a woman, take her home, and then Greco-Roman wrestle with her. So yeah, I suppose my beer reviews could be lacking, but at least I like myself.”
I may not go back to a bar for the rest of the month as over-flowing NYC bars seem to be currently divided between these people that don’t like themselves at all and people that like themselves a little too much. Rattle ‘n’ Hum last night was a Sharks and Jets battle between these two incredibly annoying populations. On one side we had a bunch of drunken yahoos who had just come from their official work Christmas parties. Idiots in cheap suits and tacky skirts, flirting with that fat HR girl, the guido idiot in the mailroom. Ripping on their a-hole bosses. Slobbering, slurring, trying to dance. What happens at the Christmas party stays at the Christmas party and I unfortunately had to witness it.
On the other side we had the self-loathing beer geeks, pedantic in their pseudo-scientific non-enjoyment of beer, embarrassing in the nerdy browbeating way they ordered from the bartenders (“Uh…could I have a tulip glass please!”), pitiable in the “big dick contest” way they bragged about what saught-after beers they’d tried recently, aloof in how they presented their disgusting visages to the world. You’d think the kind of person that cares so much about the look, smell, and craftsmanship of a silly liquid would care as equally much about the look, smell, and craftsmanship of their own person. Naw, better to just rip on beers with bad carbonation than to worry about getting the orange wax out of your ears and do a few deep-knee bends.
Flying solo I had just four beers, all in smallish serving vessels the geek was right, but you’d have to be a dunce not to “understand” these beers after only 4 or 5 ounces:
I love the concept of The Bruery’s 12 Days of Christmas vertical and I too one day, when I open my own brewery, hope to have my own holiday themed vertical: The 10 Plagues of Passover series. (“Trade you two Death of the First Born quads for a Locusts barley wine?”) 2 Turtle Doves is, no duh, the second in the series set to conclude on Jesus’s bday 2019 when I’ll be 40 years old, still unmarried and without kids, but with 12 dusty bottles of beer to drink. Yay for having dreams! 2 Turtle Doves is another boozy winner from The Bruery, maybe the most buzz worthy beermakers around at this second in time. Chocolaty, nutty, caramely and roasted with perhaps some dark fruit flavors, slightly sour, a cordial finish, it gets better with each sip. Glad I have several bottles of this. A-
N’ice Chouffe is an odd little bird. Like a Christmasy Belgian strong pale. Which is as exotic and weird as it sounds. Spicy and yeasty, a true Belgian take on a winter warmer. A-/B+
I’d been searching for Ramstein Winter Wheat for awhile as I’d heard this New Jersey–New Jersey?!–offering was in the Aventinus ballpark. Ha, not quite. Aventinus is an utter masterpiece and a paradigm of the weizenbock style. Ramstein Winter Wheat is dark and boozy hot, especially for a mere 9.5% beer, packed with banana esters and cloves, a little lacking in complexity, flavor, and expected silkiness. Still enjoyable though. B+
Pretty Things Babayaga is a rich and roasty 7% stout with a nice thick but not too viscous of mouthfeel. It apparently has rosemary in it which I love in concept–it’s a favored addition to naan for me–but don’t taste in execution. A solid effort but not sui generis or extraordinary. Like the best crafted Guinness Extra Stout you’ve ever had. B+
*I greatly admire the genius that decided to name the condition for people that can’t speak correctly a word that they could never pronounce correctly. Listhp. Maybe that’s the true test. As soon as you can pronounce lisp correctly, son, then we’ll know you don’t have one no more.