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Archive for the ‘Brewer: Allagash’ Category

Allagash Curieux (2008)

January 30th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Allagash, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Tripel

11% ABV (March 2008 release)

BBW

The night had begun so innocuously.  Freddie, Maz, and I sat around Maz’s Gramercy apartment having a few quality beers and catching up before heading to the Bowery area for some Thai food.  After dinner we walked the neighborhood looking for any interesting place to drink at, finding none.  Then, I recalled a nearby bar I had recently read about, the semi-iconic Remote Lounge.

Here’s the lounge’s concept:  every single table at Remote has a television monitor plus buttons that give the table’s drinkers the ability to personally control one of the sixty surveillance cameras set up throughout the space, panning and scanning them, zooming in and zooming out, and thus “spying” on other patrons in the bar.  See someone you like and you can buzz them, alert them, even try to get them to pick up the phone at their table and speak to you for some childish flirting.

We paid the $10 cover and entered to find a pretty dead bar.  Didn’t matter as we had a blast for about a half hour as we futzed around with the cameras and flirted with the only other group of people in the bar, some girls actually sitting at the table across from us–girls we could easily just talk to as opposed to using the overly complex camera and phone system.

By 11:00 we were getting a little irked.  We’d paid the cover and shit wasn’t happening.  Then, slowly but surely, women starting funneling in.  Lots of them.  Hot women, skanky women, semi-clad women.  What the hell was going on?  Soon, the entire upstairs of Remote was packed, several hundred women getting wasted and dancing lasciviously with each other, and us three perverts using the camera controls to zoom in on their sexiness.

“Sorry fellas, you can’t stay up here.”

Huh?

The beefy bouncer informed us we had to go downstairs.  This was a private party.

“We can’t stay?”

“Not unless you guys are lesbians.  This is a lesbian singles mixer.  Downstairs, boys.”

And thus we were shuffled to the downstairs bar where we again found ourselves alone with our drinks.  But at least we had the camera controls to monitor the upstairs lesbian party which was getting quite randy, many of the girls going topless if not more, climbing on tables and the bar, bumping and grinding, pouring water all over themselves and the others.  It was a wild party and all we could do was watch it via grainy surveillance cameras.

Nevertheless, we tried our damnedest to flirt with the lesbians upstairs.  We zoomed in on them, encouraged them to use their cameras to look at us.  We scribbled notes on cocktail napkins and held them up to the downstair’s surveillance cameras, trying to communicate with the lesbians in any way possible.  Rude, drunken notes:

“We’re lesbians too.”

“Surely some of you guys are bi???”

“I can scissor-kiss just as well as any of you.”

Eventually, we’d angered the lesbians and they banded together, gathering like a mob posing for a picture, standing in front of the most prominent camera and giving the three of us the finger, before turning around and mooning us, before all the upstairs cameras went to static.  They had clearly told the manager to not let three heterosexual idiots ruin their fun.

“Now what?”

Again, we were alone and bored.

Maz, never much of a night-owl, wanted to leave.

I insisted he stay til at least midnight.  Why?  Because the downstair’s bar had huge sign plastered everywhere:

“TONIGHT!!!!  MIDNIGHT!!!!  BBW PARTY!!!!”

“What the fuck is a BBW party?”

“I have no clue, but we might as well find out.”

We continued tippling beers and soon enough some others started filtering into the downstairs bar.

I was drunk so my Sherlockian skills weren’t exactly at their strongest, but after a while I started noticing something:  “Say, am I crazy or is everyone but us black?”

Indeed, the entire downstairs bar had become African-American.  Sophisticated New York buppies.

Then, midnight struck, and a Lil John-looking pimp took the stage:

“Are you niggas ready for some BBW?!”

Cheers.

“I said, are you ready for some BBW stylee?!”

Louder.

And then, a half dozen of the most obese, gigantic black women took the stage and began droppin’ it like it’s hot.  The women, clad in thongs and lingerie had moves, putting their palms on the floor and shaking their giant Jell-O asses in the air and toward the crowd.  The men were going absolutely apeshit.

I looked around the bar.  BBW.  BBW.   BBW.

“OH MY GOD!”

I turned to Freddie and Maz.

“BBW?  Big.  Black.  Women!!!”

And the skinny men that fucking love them.

Lesbians upstairs, Big Black Women downstairs, buppies bumping around us, and three nerdy white guys sipping their beers.  Truly a night to remember.  We stayed and got steadily drunker as the surreal scene continued around us.

I wish this story had a splendid denouement that involved me getting on stage and tripping the lights fantastic with some 500 pound Nell Carter, but not all stories have great endings and we existed as nothing more than passive observers that night.

NOTE:  Remote Lounge is now, unfortunately, out of business for good, replaced by some rock joint.  Shame really.

Allagash Curieux

Just recently I had the newest release of Curieux, Allagash’s Jim Beam-barreled tripel.  I’d had this ages ago and since then had hailed it as one of my all-time favorite beers, though this batch wasn’t quite as great as I recalled.  A bit less bourbony and flavorful, the vanilla and coconut characteristics not shining through quite as much.  Perhaps this one is best drank a little more aged.  I think it’s slightly below Interlude in the Allagash family, but, whatever the case, it is still another outstanding brew from the boys up in Portland, Maine.

A

Allagash Interlude (2007)

December 23rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Allagash, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

9.5% from a bomber

Brewers, if you want me to buy your product, here’s a few simple and cheap things you can do to dupe me into purchasing it:

1. Cork the beer and add one of those cheap metal caps and twisty things.

2. Cover the cap and neck in that cheap Reese’s peanut butter cup-like foil.

3. Put the bottle in a cheap cardboard box.

4. Call it a limited bottling and perhaps even add numbers to the label or aforementioned box.  It doesn’t even matter if it is that truly of limited of bottling.

And one more expensive thing you can do to dupe me is to barrel your beer in something else. This week is coincidentally dedicated to beers like this, many of which coincidentally are also world-class beers.

Allagash is one of my favorite breweries but also one whose beers I rarely sample for reasons two-fold:  their bombers are prohibitively expensive and New York City seems to always be sold out of the truly good ones.  For the longest time I’ve thought the two top Allagash beers were the rarely-seen Curieux and Interlude, in that order, but this weekend, sampling one after the other, I would learn that the reverse is actually true.

Interlude is created with two yeast strains, a Belgian farmhouse yeast and a house strain of Brettanomyces wild yeast, which contributes flavors including pear, apricot, graham cracker, and bread crust.  Then, unlike the Curieux which is aged in Jim Beam bourbon barrels, Interlude is aged in French Merlot and Sirah oak barrels.

Much more of a bourbon fan than a red wine fan–though I do like it–maybe I had convinced myself ipso facto that I preferred Curieux more.  However, side by side I quickly saw Interlude as being the ultimate Allagash masterpiece.  And, I know I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but there really is not another beer on the planet like this one.  In fact, I’m struggling to think of another major beer released that is aged in red wine barrels.  Although please correct me in the comments if you know of any, and, again, I’m not talking about special limited limited dicking-around releases from breweries no one has ever heard of.

Interlude is really winey, tart and funky, with a nice bit of carbonation and booziness.  Not much else to say except that this is a classic and I hope you’re lucky enough to one day find it.

A+

Allagash Black

November 10th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Allagash, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

7.5% ABV from a bomber (BATCH 4)

My Drunken Amateur Haircut

Now I understand why smalltown hicks use crystal meth and are always impregnating each other. When you’re drunk and there’s nothing to do, bad shit happens. Friday was dreary and I wasn’t in the mood for going out. Decided to make it a chill night in with a friend. We were quickly bored. There was nothing to do and Friday night television nowadays is less than stellar. Where have you gone Jaleel White, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Thus, we began drinking. Steph went with dry Tanqueray martinis which I gladly stirred up*, while I was thrilled to pop the cork on a bottle of Allagash Black my friend Derek had procured for me. One of his all-time favorites. It poured a dark, dark nearly-black purple with the gorgeous smell of a flawless strong ale. I had thought this beer was a stout for the longest time, what with the name and all, and despite the fact that the bottle calls it a “Belgian stout,” most beer sites regard it as a strong dark and that is indeed what it is. In fact, it both smells and tastes a little like America’s most famous strong ale, perhaps, Arrogant Bastard.

I drank the first glass a little too warm, more befitting an imperial stout. It was quite boozy, just like I like ‘em. And you know what, it does actually have a bit of stout characteristics. Slight roasted coffee tastes most prominently. With a little chill added, Black became much superior, and the Belgian yeasts and hops started to shine through. Somewhat of a hybrid, this beer tastes a bit stoutish while being a thinner strong ale on the mouthfeel. I really dug it. It’s quite drinkable. With a few more sweetness characteristics, we might have had a masterpiece on our hands.

As we got drunker and drunker, more and more bored, we tried to find ways to entertain ourselves. Heckling teenage nerds on the Facebook Scramble chat was pretty fun, in a childish way, but that didn’t last long as we grew bored with their abominable grammar and e-speak (lol). We ordered “Love Guru” On Demand and after about ten minutes had to turn it off, it was torture, and I say that as a Mike Myers fan. Were we really going to have to go out that night to find any sort of fun? No, it was just too rainy and we were just too lazy.

As we continued drunkenly brainstorming, I casually remarked that I was tired of my long hair. It was making my head hot and kept falling into my eyes and over my ears.

“I’ll cut it right now,” said Steph.

Really?! An interesting proposition.

“Do you have scissors?”

“Yep, right in that top drawer over there.”

I went to investigate. She had a nice pair, they looked very sharp. Professional.

“Do you know how to give a haircut?”

She gave me a you-must-be-kidding look. “How hard can it be? It’s an industry dominated by junior high dropouts.”

I couldn’t argue with that. She was right. How hard could it be? Actually I knew. I had twice given drunken amateur haircuts myself. Our first year out of college, my roommates and I were underemployed and overly cheap. Why waste a drinking money twenty on a snip when you have a perfectly willing roommate to handle it? And, handle it I did.

My first drunken amateur haircut I gave to Tim, using nothing more than a poorly charged battery-powered beard trimmer. Amazingly, I did a remarkable job. He had never looked so handsome. It was such a good cut that for literally the next ten days, everywhere we went, strangers would comment on how sublime his trim was. I even credit myself with landing him a one-night stand or two.

I was riding high after that one but my second drunken haircut would bring me back down to earth. I did my friend John, this time using slightly better tools. However, that time I was a lot more drunk, doing the trim at 1:00 AM after an evening of vodka tonic drinking. We thought I did a good job, but the next day at his sister’s wedding, the entire family roundly mocked him for the length of the day, calling it one of the worst haircuts in the history of mankind. Oh well. Suffice to say, I was never asked to do any tonsorial work again. My reputation ruined.

But this was different. Somewhat. This was a mature woman, an artistically skilled woman, who had only had a single martini. Surely she could do a stellar job. And if she didn’t, so what? Big deal. I was tired of paying $40 for haircuts at my gay and fancy midtown salon any how. And it’s not like I even care that much what I look like. True, I try to stay thin and in shape but I rarely shave and all I wear are cheap black t-shirts. My goal is simply to look fuckable enough that my quick wit can carry me the rest of the way with a lady.

It was settled then, I would let Steph cut my hair. I went to the bathroom to shampoo up while she googled “how to cut men’s hair,” leading her to a ten minute instructional video she watched carefully.

After my shampooing, I returned to the living room finding newspapers laid down to catch my hair droppings. I sat in a rolling desk chair and handed her the scissors. Later, I would learn that she had neglected to tell me that these were actually poultry scissors. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. She actually cut my hair with fucking poultry scissors! I probably got a case of salmonella through my follicles. Likewise, the next time she serves Cornish game hen it will probably be covered in festering Hebrew head lice.

As she cut my hair I tried not to pay attention, listening to the stereo and continuing to imbibe. I had longish locks for as long as I could recall. This was due to the fact that from an early age I was certain I would be prematurely bald. My father was bald at like age eighteen, a huge hole in the middle of his stylish Jewfro. Every other male in my family, whether mother or father’s side was likewise bald. Thus, I figured I had no chance and from an early age learned to appreciate my tresses, to love, cherish, and honor them. I rarely cut my hair, always wearing it long in case I one day no longer had that ability.

But now, I was nearly thirty, finally old and mature enough to realize that hair doesn’t make the man. That even if I was as bald as Larry David I would be no different of person and would still be able to attract or not attract women just the same. At least that’s what I tell myself. Then again, that’s probably what all men with hair tell themselves, while the baldies of the world know otherwise.

The worst thing about a drunken amateur haircut is that it takes forever. Usually, my beautiful Ukrainian hairdresser Nelli takes fifteen to twenty minutes tops to service me, but Steph’s drunken amateur haircut took over an hour. When she was finished, I anxiously sprinted to the mirror. It looked…pretty good. I was impressed. She’d cut a ton off, but that’s what I had wanted. I even used a two-mirror system to check the back, sides, and crown. Everything seemed to be in order and it was refreshing and nice to no longer be so shaggy. I thanked her accordingly.

The next day I arose and zombied it to the bathroom for a morning beer piss. Afterward, leaving to go back to bed I casually glanced in the mirror. Did I have bedhead or was I staring at the worst fucking haircut in the history of the world?! You can never tell with a dry head so I quickly hopped in the shower, shampooed, came out, dried, and tried to style my hair into a nice, sexy do. But I couldn’t because it was so lopsided, so mangled, so fucking ridiculous looking, that I was screwed.

I wore a hat the rest of the weekend and today marched down to my gay and fancy midtown salon. I explained my situation to Nelli who, though she only typically seems to understand 10% of what I say to her, this time understood every single word. She laughed uproariously and soon the entire staff–the big fat gay shampoo boy who gives scalp massages that make me question my sexuality, the Dominican desk girl who always screws up my debit card billing, the fellow Latvian, Vietnamese, and Jersey hair stylists–were laughing at me, recounting the story to each new customer that entered the salon.

It wasn’t that difficult of fix for Nelli and within minutes I had a normal haircut again. The shortest I’ve had it in over a decade, but it looked normal, professionally done, sheared with something other than poultry scissors. I didn’t like its length, but I made my bed and would have to sleep in it for a few weeks until it grew back out.

Afterward, still embarrassed, I reached for my wallet to pay Nelli. She refused.

“Thissa one is a free. So-a long as you promise to only let professionals cut your hair in the future.”

Deal.

A

*I never understood why Bond wanted his martinis shaken. Only an asshole who doesn’t understand mixology would ask for that. Shaking bruises the gin and allows too many ice particles to water down the cocktail. But I won’t insult 007.

THE FOUR STAGES OF A BAD HAIRCUT (Shock, Grief, Anguish, Acceptance):

Allagash Odyssey

July 6th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Allagash, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

10.4% ABV from a bomber

This is the beer that had the great misfortune of being drunk after my most previous Utopias imbibing.

That’s a shame, as this is a classic and it took me a while to realize it. The Utopias is so penetrating that my tongue was still in shock. I literally had to eat half a loaf of bread just to cleanse my palate. I’m still not sure that both my mouth and my mind were in the best state for enjoying this beer.

Odyssey is the second of Allagash’s Barrel Aged series, this one aged in oak barrels and then bottle-conditioned. It would be perfect for cellaring, but this one I drank pretty fresh. Tastes of chocolate, caramel, and some dark fruits. As with all of the potent Allagashes it is incredibly drinkable and refreshing. It’s a very, very, very good beer, no doubt, but I wasn’t in awe of it as much as I expected to be.

At the least I would rank it behind Allagash’s Jim-Beam-barrreled Curieux (definitely an A+), and maybe their Interlude (probably an A+) as well, but it’s probably better than the Victor and Victoria which are both also brilliant. In all honesty, Allagash doesn’t make a bad beer and I’ve never had an Allagash aside from their White and maybe the Dubbel that I would even rank below an A-.

I may not sound that enthused about Odyssey, but I am. It’s terrific, I just drank under most unfair circumstances. It is yet another winner from the amazing Allagash Brewery and I hope to have it again soon under more favorable conditions. For now I’m giving it an A, but I’ll always wonder if it’s only an A compared to Utopias.

A

Allagash FOUR

July 3rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Allagash, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Quadrupel

10% ABV from a bomber

The late, great George Carlin famously once joked, referring to picking up women: “I’ve never had a ten, but one night, I had five twos,” thinking his was the greater accomplishment. Well, I’m the kinda guy that would rather have one 10% beer than two 5%. And this beer is right on the money. Sadly, most guys are the opposite. What can I say, I like my big, bold, potent beers: barley wines, strong ales, and the sexiest of all, the quadrupel. It just sounds insanely powerful. That’s why I was so excited to one day try Allagash FOUR*. Heck, I even had it in the “honorable mention” category on my Top 10 Most Wanted Beer list.

I’m shocked that it’s taken me some 80 posts to review my first Allagash as it is maybe my favorite America brewery, a brewery notable for pretty much ONLY making potent and expensive beers that come in a bomber. No wussy six-packs filled with “Lite” brews. The FOUR is so called because besides being a quadrupel it consists of four malts, four hops, and is fermented four times. Sounds brilliant, huh? Sadly, it wasn’t as good as I had hoped. And, by that, I mean it wasn’t an A+. I adore Allagash so much that, just like Stone, I expect every one of their beers to be masterpieces.

FOUR is dark and rich, almost like a Russian Imperial Stout but not quite.  Dried fruits like raisins, cherries, and brown sugar with next-to-no carbonation.  Nice taste and goes down pretty easy.  Not as rich, potent, and complex as I’d expect from a Belgian quad though.

It’s very good, just not extraordinary.

A-

*The FOUR is seemingly always capitalized when in print. That’s kinda awesome.