Alpine Great

February 3, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Alpine, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Barley wine.

14% ABV bottled

Overrated and Underrated Drinking Days

With Super Bowl Sunday fast approaching, I thought I’d take a quick glance at what are the worst, and secretly best, days of the year to tipple.


6.  Christmas Eve — This drinking day has gained a lot of traction in the past few years but it is still mainly just a day for single Jews to get drunk with other single Jews, which in theory isn’t the worst thing in the world, until you realize that most of this Jew mingling has been collated into specially organized “Matzo Ball” events which are essentially just lame J-Date-esque mixers.*  The alienated loneliness just permeates the latke-aromaed air, believe me.  A positive:  Jewish women are normally pretty easy, but at the Matzo Ball…every little Jewish boy feels like Sandy Koufax entering a bar in Flatbush after pitching a no-hitter.

5.  Halloween — Halloween used to be an underrated drinking day at the turn of the century, back when most adults didn’t even consider the fact that they could celebrate this holiday, but the continued infantilizing of adults and the oft-repeated meme that “all women dress like sluts” on Halloween has lead to the bars being filled with a lot of moronic yahoos on both sides of the gender aisle, bumping into you because they have no cognizance of their costume’s spatiality.  A positive:  all women dress like sluts.

4.  Valentine’s Day — A certain kind of man will tell you that Valentine’s Day is an awesome day to go drinking because the bars will be littered with sad and desperate single women.  Well, actually, that kinda is the truth.  But, what no one ever considers is that the bars will also be packed with the kind of irredeemable douchebags that go to bars on Valentine’s Day simply because they think the bars will be filled with sad and desperate single women.  A positive:  Still better than going to some crummy $500 “romantic” prix fixe with your boring S.O.

3.  Super Bowl Sunday — The Super Bowl is celebrated by all.  The young, the old, the gay, the straight, the cool, the dorky, the carnivorous, the vegetarian, the married, the single, the drinker, the teetotaler, the sports fan, the Olympics enthusiast.  And when something is celebrated by all, that means that a lot of morons will be out and about as most of the world is obviously moronic.  Like #2 on our list, Super Bowl Sunday can be majorly enjoyable when celebrated in a sealed environment amongst a select group of close friends, but if you dare to watch it in public well then caveat drinker.  A positive:  the early start time for the game means one can and should be shit-faced by 8ish and will often be passed out in bed before midnight, making Super Bowl Sunday one of the few drinking holidays that doesn’t wreck your next day.

2.  New Year’s Eve — Shockingly, the quintessential Amateur Night is only #2 on my list.  Admittedly it is an awful, awful night of over-priced food and drink, dumb plastic \ 2 0 1 0 / glasses and noisemakers, and packed bars full of the kinds of suburbanites, aging farts, and tourists that choose not to have fun on the other 364 days a year and who don’t know the actual words to “Auld Lang Syne.  But, at least these people are fairly behaved because the bars are too packed and service is too slow for any one to get enough drinks to get lit up, not that I’d dare set foot in a Manhattan bar on December 31st.  A positive:  free champagne toast at midnight!!!!!  (Just kidding!  Why do bars thinks a 50 cent plastic flute of Korbel is some great attraction?!)

1.  St. Patrick’s Day I’ve written on this topic before, but the day designated for celebrating…uh…I’m not sure has truly become a yearly celebration of daylight hours obnoxious buffoonery.  A positive:  acts as a bit of a drinking eugenics for these kind of bozos, giving them such massive hangovers and “I nevah wanna drink agains” that the bars will be pretty devoid of these fools from the late evening of March 17th til at least the 23rd or so.  Capitalize on that.


5/6.  Fat Tuesday/Cinco de Mayo — Honestly, I have no idea what these holidays celebrate, nor even when they are celebrated–though I’m guessing the 5th of Mayonnaise for the latter–but damn if I don’t always somehow accidentally find myself in a bar on these two days.  And I always have a blast!  One would think these would just be the Cajun and Mexican versions of St. Patrick’s Day, a bunch of yahoos painting themselves purple/gold/green or red/white/green instead of orange/green, Creole stomping and Mexican hat-dancing instead of “woohoo” jigging, downing Hurricanes and tequila instead of Guinnesses, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  For some reason, I’ve only encountered cool and normal people looking to have a great–and more importantly, civilized-ish–time on these two fauxish holidays.  Plus, jambalaya and etouffee and burritos and chimichangas are vastly superior to rotten wet cabbage.  A negative:  Louisiana and Mexico pretty much only make shitty beers (I’m looking at you Abita and Corona.)

4.  Sunday nights – What kind of degenerate has all weekend to go out but waits until Sunday around 10:00 PM to do so?  What kind of subjugate goes out drinking on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and goes, “You know what?  That simply wasn’t enough” and heads out for some more?  What kind of unemployed, underemployed, or self-employed transgressive decides there’s no better way to start off his week than by waking up late Monday mid-morning with a wicked hangover?  I’ll tell you who–the kind of person we like!  A negative:  aside from the aforementioned, Sunday night bars can also be full of sloppy fat guys in tight football jerseys who have been drinking and eating wings since the 1:00 o’clock games and have just forgotten to go home.

3.  Christmas Night —  Christmas Eve may be a shitty Hebrewic drinking night but Christmas Night is incredible with bars full of true drunks of all religions and bar staff so upset they have to work they’ve decided to get sloshed, not give a damn, and over-pour your drinks and under-charge your bar tabs.  A negative:  most bars are usually not open or have limited hours.

2.  4th of July — While all the nimrods are standing outside slack-jawed and staring up into the dark sky, you’re inside avoiding the lame fireworks you’ve seen for the last 30 years–has there been a single technological innovation in fireworks in the last million years?!–getting loaded with the kind of people that realize drinking a good American beer and hitting on a bar floozy is patriotism to its core.  A negative:  you just end up watching the fireworks on the bar’s TV.  Which is actually kinda lamer.

1.  Thanksgiving Night — Now most everyone is “allowed” to go drinking on Thanksgiving night, but only a certain kind of person chooses to and these are the kind of people I really like spending time with.  The kinds of people that spent all day getting loaded to stave off the pain of having to deal with their annoying relatives and who now want to spend the evening getting even more loaded while commiserating with strangers about how annoying their respective relatives were that day.  A negative:  so bloated with Thanksgiving food you can’t find any more room to cram beer into your body.  Another positive:  not needing to pick up a drunken pizza slice at 3 AM but instead being able to go home to raid the fridge for leftovers which you of course eat straight from the Ziploc bags using your bare hands.

And maybe the most underrated time to drink is simply by yourself and at home, where I do most of my tippling.  I mean, it’s not like bars are going to be selling the delicious Alpine Great, generously provided for me by my main man in San Diego, Jesse the Hutt.

The smell of Great is right in my wheelhouse, powerfully intoxicating like J.W. Lee’s Harvest Ale, you can smell this one from across the room.  Awesomely boozy with a dark fruity richness, burnt molasses, toffee, and syrupy caramel.  It finishes with a bourbon vanilla scorch (though it’s actually Jack Daniels barreled which of course isn’t a bourbon but a Tennessee whiskey if we’re being pedantic).  A perfect dessert beer this one is just crazy complex, surprisingly smooth and drinkable for the thickness and ABV.  Minor bite on the finish but other than that no real complaints.  This one would surely be flawless with a little age to smooth out the slightly rough edges, but even youthful it’s one of the best barley wines I’ve ever had.  Sure wish I had another bottle!


*Remind me to tell you my best Matzo Ball story some time soon.

5 Responses to “Alpine Great”

  1. NFP says:

    I really hate that decent bars don’t open Xmas night. Over a span of 48 – nearly straight – hours, Christians spend entirely too much family time talking about pointless things and fake-smiling for pointless reasons. I love my family, but… jesus*.

    *pun half-heartedly intended.

  2. Damon says:

    Now that you mention it, I always think Sunday’s are going to be lame but I’m usually surprised. I think it’s high time for me to embrace Sunday-sousing, gosh-darn-it-to-heck! See you at the well (but not this Sunday)!

  3. Tom says:

    I’d say the hometown Thanksgiving eve thing has a spot on the overrated list, but I guess it’s more of an “outgrown-since-college” kind of thing.

  4. Derek says:

    I agree with Tom, the Thanksgiving Eve class reunion thing is lame. The Captain and I were just talking about this Saturday.

    Nice lists Aaron, a good read, had me rolling as usual.

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