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Archive for the ‘Brewer: Anheuser-Busch’ Category

Michelob Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale

January 18th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: F regular, Style: Winter Warmer

6% ABV on tap (not cask!)

I’d seen the interesting snowman tap popping up in a lot of bars in the city.  And “normal” bars too, bars whose “best” beer is shit like Stella, so I was kinda intrigued.  It was labeled simply “Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale,” no brewery mentioned, piquing my interest even more.  It seemed Wallace Shawn inconceivable to me that all these bars were now serving a jen-you-wine bourbon barrel-aged beer.  I did some further research.  It’s a Michelob product.  Ah…makes more sense.  Nevertheless, I had to admire their gumption in actually attempting such a seemingly interesting beer.

The other night I yet again saw this beer on tap and finally got a chance to try it.  The beer poured quite dark, could this be a legitimate boozy stout?  My friend took the first sip while I paid.

“Tastes like a Heath bar.”

He nailed it.  It tasted exactly like liquidized Heath bar.  The funny thing is, I love Heath bar.  It’s arguably the best candy bar around and it is certainly the best candy bar to be used in McFlurry/Blizzard-type candy ice cream treats.  But, as the most prominent taste of a beer, it was heinous.

This beer also had very medicinal, dental, flouride-type flavors in it.  Disgusting.  So artificial tasting, so terrible.  Absolutely zero tastes of bourbon, zero tastes of any sort of complex aging, and this is clearly not a “cask” beer no matter how you want to define cask, even by its most loose definitions.

The gall of Michelob to claim they are making something so ambitious when this is just more assembly line bullshit shrouded by a well-conceived marketing campaign.  Have some courage to actually make what you are claiming or don’t attempt to make it at all.  I really think beer companies should be fined for such blatant duplicity*.  I would really like Michelob to prove to me that this beer was casked for even a single fucking day.  I’m guessing the only bourbon involved in the creation of this beer was in the glass of the Anheuser-Busch CEO as he drank and laughed his ass off at yet another semi-successful attempt at duping the public.

If I wasn’t paying Manhattan pint prices I would have walked into the bathroom and dumped this down the urinal after just a few sips.  Oddly enough, my friend loved this beer and drank pints of it all night.  He did make a valid point in noting how one never sees a macro beer with such a high ABV.  Having said that, my friend also wasn’t able to go out Saturday night because he had one of the most wicked hangovers of his life.  Being that he didn’t even drink that heavily, all there is to blame is this terrible artificial brew and all the sugar in it which quite clearly infected his brain.

Avoid at all costs.  Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale will almost certainly make my worst beers of 2009 list.

F

*I’m as laissez-faire as they come when it comes to government intervention.  Nothing chaps my hide more than grandstanding, sanctimonious, hypocritical congressmen trying to nose their “voice” into all parts of American life (to wit:  steroids in baseball, the BCS, etc.)  But I would completely support them in bringing the major macro brewers in for a hearing to bust them for their egregious taste crimes against humanity.

Natural Light

November 3rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: F regular, Style: Macro!

4.2% ABV canned

“You know what today is the one-year anniversary of, right?”

Derek and I were shoe-horned into a packed bar on Second Avenue. It was 11:30 AM on Sunday. Outside, runners trotted by at mile 18 of the New York City Marathon. Inside, childish just-out-of-college Upper East Siders oozed into the empty space around us, stinking of B.O. and B-O-O-Z-E, most of them probably not having showered since Saturday night’s partying which may very well have ended just hours previous. We were quite possibly getting too old for this shit.

“Halloween? The Marathon? What?!” I had no idea what Derek was talking about.

“One year ago, Julie got hit by a car.”

I laughed heartily. Ah…yes. One of the craziest and ultimately most hilarious incidents I’ve ever been a part of. And Derek loved the story even more than me. He was there too.

That night one year ago had begun so innocuously. Two couples having a nice Saturday meal up at our beloved Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem. The men had drank beer, the women had gone for a bar specialty cocktail amusingly called the Donkey Punch. An ostensibly “girly” concoction made with three different types of rum, including 151, it packed quite a wallop but went down like a slutty Shirley Temple. After her second pint glass, I had warned Julie that she probably shouldn’t have another. But I’m no one’s mother so I didn’t bat an eyelash when she ordered a third. It wouldn’t be my hangover to deal with.

After dinner and drinks, the time nearing midnight, we headed back to 125th Street to snag a cab to get us back down the Upper West Side for some more partying. Derek, Shannon, and I walked west looking for a yellow ride, when a drunk-on-Donkey-Punches Julie called out that she thought she spotted one across the street. I paid no mind as she apparently darted across the four lanes of two-way traffic trying to make a tricky hail when…

*BOOM!!!!!!*

I turned seconds too late, my mind having to process an incredible amount of information all at once. The girl I loved lay in the middle of the street, not moving. Shit strewn on the pavement around her, like a pinata had just been exploded by a fat Mexican kid with a broom handle. Up the block some hundred feet, the car that had seemingly hit her screeched to a halt. And mere yards from running over my beloved girlfriend was the MTA’s M101 bus. I rushed into the middle of the street, wondering if I was about to retrieve a corpse, stopping the bus from progressing.

I got to Julie and she seemed fine.  Shook up but fine. I was stunned.  It made no sense.  I lifted her and Derek moved Julie to the sidewalk as I cleaned up the mess, grabbing her purse, the all-important Dinosaur doggy bags, and something else. I am a studied stoic and I rarely lose control of my mind and my senses despite adversity. No matter the pressure, I am usually able to think clearly. But for a minute or so my mind had betrayed me and my body was running on autopilot.

Finally, as I returned to Julie, Derek, and Shannon on the sidewalk, Julie crying, her nice coat tattered, but seemingly alright, I realized what the foreign object was in my hand–it was the sideview mirror of the car that had hit Julie. The mirror being fortunately the only part of the car that had grazed her.

And now, up the street, that car was gunning it backward in reverse. I saw bad things happening in our immediate future so I tried to usher us all out of there. I put my arm around Julie to support her, to console her, and more importantly lead us away from the scene and the still-reversing car.

The vehicle finally got parallel to us and as we continued to walk forward he reversed at the same pace. The driver was an early-60s African American male, his passenger, a slightly younger white woman, seemingly his wife. We refused to acknowledge them and soon she burst from the car.

“What the fuck were you thinking?!” she immediately started yelling at Julie, who was a rag doll in my arms, still too dazed to even look up and process things.

We didn’t acknowledge the woman and kept walking.

“You just ran into the middle of the lane!” she harumphed. “You could have killed both of us!”

I knew Julie was technically in the wrong, but she had indeed nearly been killed, and she was indeed completely shook up. Now was not the time to be yelled at. And after a moment, the woman realized her yelling was futile. She finally softened. “Well, is your girlfriend at least OK?”

“Yeah, she’ll be fine. Have a good night.” I handed her the mirror which I still held in my hands, having forgotten to discard it.

The women returned to her car. I thought this odd episode was finally over. Nope. Upon his wife returning with no good news and a dislodged sideview, the black driver of the vehicle fat waddled his way to us.

“You will pay me!”

“For what?!” I started ushering us faster toward the busier Twelfth Avenue to hopefully a cab and our escape.

“My mirror!!! I just got it repaired this week. It cost me $300! That’s the third time this month it’s been broken off!”

I truly felt bad for the guy, but let’s be honest, even if it was Julie’s fault, we weren’t going to cut him a check or give him some cash right then and there. He refused to leave us alone as we kept walking, trying to ignore him. He was yelling at us, pushing us, trying to stop us, demanding that we pay him.

Picture the scene: a middle class, distinguished-looking black gentleman in the heart of Harlem yelling at four white twenty-somethings as the witching hour approached and the freaks were about to come out. Things were definitely in his favor, an escape was becoming more and more difficult. I knew I had no choice but to completely flip the tables on him, something I am a master of.

I turned to the man. “Sir, you got a lot of nerve. Drunk-driving. Nearly killing my girlfriend when you swerved onto the sidewalk. And now you have the gall to come and ask us to pay for your criminal idiocy?! That’s insane!”

I pulled my cell phone out.

“I am calling my lawyer. After that I am calling the police. I’ll have you arrested, put in jail.”

As we kept walking, Derek trying his damnedest to find us a taxi, I put the phone to my ear and feigned a phone call to my “lawyer.” “Scott, it’s Aaron. Yeah, sorry if I woke you. I got this drunk fool up in Harlem who nearly plowed over Julie. Yeah. Yeah. Right.  Sure.  OK, you’ll have your buddy in the 25th head over? Great. Sounds good.”

I hung up and gave the man a cocky look like “Now what?” He totally bought my phony phone call and I saw a slight fear in his eyes, despite the fact that he had almost certainly not been drinking that evening. He now knew he had to up the ante himself.

“PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE! Just pay me! I am a sick man! I have a pacemaker! I can’t handle the stress! Just pay MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!”

He put his hands to his heart, hammily acting out a case of angina headed toward a heart attack. He wailed.

“Just pay me the $300! If I die because of this it will be on you! My blood is on your hands!!!”

We finally reached the intersection of 125th and Twelfth, shrouded by the above-ground 1 train, where stood a small gaggle of cute college-aged black girls shooting the shit, enjoying the warm evening. They stopped their gabbing, taking in the current scene. Four white twentysomethings seemingly trying to flee from a older black man grabbing his heart and crying out. We just looked guilty of…something.

I turned toward the black girls to explain myself, using my smoothest politician rhetoric.

“That man is drunk and he just hit my girlfriend with his car!”

They looked at the man spasming around like a maniac, they looked at kind-faced me, they looked at the sobbing and disheveled Julie.

“You should be ashamed of yourself!!!” they all screamed at the black man. “I’m calling the police,” another one of the girls said. “I’m sick of misbehaving black folks!” yet another one lamented. They looked furious like they wanted to rip the old man to shreds. I assured them that it was alright, no harm, no foul.

Just then Derek luckily hailed a cab and we piled in. As we pulled away, the black man was forced to accelerate things to his coup de grace. He fell to the sidewalk, supine, grabbing his chest and rolling around as if he was having a heart attack, one of the most histrionic acting jobs I’d ever seen in my life. The young black girls gathered in a circle around him, continuing to castigate him for his “drunk” driving, for nearly killing a beautiful young girl. A few feet away, still parked in the intersection, the black man’s wife read the newspaper, not even paying attention to the scene. I had a feeling her husband pulled this shit all the time and it was nothing new to her.

Back in the bar, in the present, Derek and I laughed at the story, one of our favorites, one that we had literally begun retelling and laughing at the second we were in the cab that fateful night, and one that Derek assured me we would be recounting to each other for the rest of our lives. Neither of us still spoke to our dates that evening, but they’d always live on in the memories of the event. Julie had ultimately been completely fine, a bruise or two on her thigh and ass, her jacket just in need of a professional re-stitching. Quite frankly, the worst thing that happened was that the violent jostling of the doggy bag had gotten barbecue sauce everywhere, ruining some great leftovers.

As we laughed, and back-slapped, a fat college kid wearing a terrycloth headband put his arm around me. He told us that he was celebrating the marathon by doing his own marathon of drinking that afternoon: twenty-six bars and twenty-six drinks. I told him I admired his youth and ambition. But he was only at bar three and was already wobbling and slobbering. Kids today.  He bought me a can of Natty Light to go with his group’s order. I thanked him and tried to enjoy a brew I probably hadn’t drank since I was his age. It was horrendous. The taste of over-carbonated metallic pickle juice. Briny and watery.  Absolutely disgusting. I couldn’t even finish half of the tallboy. We were indeed too old for this shit. We left and headed toward Third Avenue and a quiet, classier place befitting our raconteurial skills, to have a Manhattan or ten and regale each other with further stories of funny times past.

F

Budweiser American Ale

September 21st, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: C regular, Style: Amber Ale

5.1% ABV bottled

Aside from those Domino’s oven-baked sandwich commercials and the inexplicable Dr. Pepper spots in which an aging Julius Erving plays beer pong by himself, no product has been as advertised on TV this fall as Budweiser’s new American Ale.  Yet for the past month or so I’ve been unable to find it.  The first Anheuser-Busch product I’ve wanted in my entire life and I simply could not locate it.  That changed last night as I finally stumbled upon some and greedily snapped it up.

The nicely designed bottle label sure makes it look like a respectable beer and the pour was downright craft brewery-looking.  A rich amber color, could have easily been mistaken for a beer from a skilled microbrewery rather than an assembly line suds factory.

Not too much smell and nothing more than adequate flavor.  A marginal effort I suppose, but a sour finish and a certain heft doesn’t even make it as drinkable as you’d expect this kind of swill to be.  It’s very “safely” made, Anheuser’s uninspired version of a Killian’s Irish Red I suppose.  I would probably only drink it again if the only other choices were light macrobeers.  And it’s not like I’d relish that.

Honestly, I don’t understand the point of this beer.  It’s nowhere near good enough for beer snobs to enjoy, yet is too “weird,” “dark,” and complex for macro-swilling hillbillies to tipple.  Too fancypants they’ll say.  I predict this beer finds no market and ends up as the Crystal Pepsi of the industry but, you know, without the Van Halen crap-rock soundtrack.

C

Michelob Golden Draft Light

September 15th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 7 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: F regular, Style: Macro!

4.1% ABV bottled

Friend of the Vice Blog and Minnesotan The Captain’s Chair sent me a nice package of local beer last week, wanting me try some of the finest brews his state has to offer. He sent me great stuff from Surly, Schell, and other Land of 10,000 Lakes breweries. Any Minnesota beer review you see in the next few weeks will be courtesy of him. But The Captain humorously also wanted to send me the worst his state has to offer, some pure “nastiness” as he calls it, telling me he’d like me to sample it “if (I’m) brave enough.”

It’s a “special” release that Anheuser-Busch apparently only inflicts on the great states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Captain described it thusly:

“It’s basically horse piss, but all the mullets around here drink it like it’s their job. I wouldn’t touch it with someone else’s lips. Might make for a funny review though.”

Sign me up. As much as I love great beer, I also love seeing if I’m man enough to drink liquid garbage. It’s a sickness I have.  And I should note that I was dumb enough to drink this stone-cold sober.

The clear bottle Golden Light comes in is an obvious sign of a piece of shit brew. It’s like they want the beer to be skunked to as high of level as possible before you drink it.  The label reads “…the exceptionally smooth taste you expect from Michelob.” Riiiiiiiight. Why are macrobreweries bigger stretchers of the truth than politicians? I actually expect nothing but pain, misery, and agony from Michelob.  And I would soon learn that I should sue Michelob for blatantly false advertising.  The Vice Blogger v. Michelob, the Vice Blogger contending that Golden Light is about as unsmooth as possible.  That would be the trial of the century.  But more on this in a sec.

I popped the top and I was hit with a pungent aroma. Terrible. A stench like flatulence. I had to clamp a clothespin on my nostrils like I was some cartoon character. The taste is even worse. Like a poisoned Sprite Remix. The beer injures my tongue. It was like pouring hydrogen peroxide on it. I’m not sure if Golden Light heals open cuts though. It singes and bubbles as it goes down your throat. Atrocious.  If Anheuser-Busch considers this “smooth,” good Lord!

Abominationally bad. The Captain was right. One of the worst beers I’ve ever had. It’s like the wretched Corona but far more painful going down. My mouth and gullet felt like a bum raped my pie hole.

This one should be advertised as beer for bulimics because it made me want to throw up. It’s like (marginally) alcoholic ipecac. “Beer for Bulimics.” Kinda catchy actually. Could be used in some trendy new modern-day vomitoriums.

Luckily, I only had to drink one of these and afterward I cleansed my palate with the Cuban from the UWS’s Cafe Con Leche, maybe the best sandwich in all of Manhattan island.

Never again.

F

Wild Blue

July 17th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: D regular, Style: Fruit Beer

8% ABV

I had been seeing this beer on the shelf for a few weeks and was intrigued to try it. A fruit beer at 8%. Wow. We all know I have a perverted love for fruit beers and for whatever odd reason blueberry seems to work best as a beer fruit. My friend warned me that is was undrinkably terrible, but I didn’t completely trust him. I’m loyal to my friends, but I don’t always trust their opinions, arrogantly thinking AKB (Aaron Knows Best).

I popped the top and the smell was kinda magnificent. Potent and powerful, packed with blueberries. The first sip wasn’t so bad either. It was all downhill from there. This beer is indeed borderline undrinkable and I struggled to finish it. The problem is that it doesn’t even really taste like beer. Just very viscous blueberry juice. Actually, it’s almost more grape-like. I can’t believe this isn’t made by Welch’s. Or Manischewitz for Christ’s sake*. Only later did I learn who truly makes this abomination: Anheuser-Busch. How absolutely bizarre that the near highest ABV beer in their massive collection is a fucking blueberry lager. But, this is clearly not flavored with real blueberries. It’s a potent force of artificial flavors and colors (this beer appears more purple than Grimace) that totally mask the alcohol. Not a good thing in this case.

It’s also quite sleazy how AB has clearly tried to design their bottle to look “microbrew-esque” and to dupe fools like me into trying it. For shame.

D

Wow, just realized this is my fourth straight review in the Ds. Please beer Gods, send me some good beers this weekend!

*You like that clever play on religions? If Jesus had turned water into this beer/wine, no one would be happy. I mean no one.

Michelob Bavarian Style Wheat

July 16th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: D plus, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

5.2% ABV from a bottle

I’m the kind of sicko that upon visiting a friend’s house and being offered a beer, I don’t ask for a fresh bottle of some “normal” stuff just purchased the day before.  I’m more interested in digging way in the back of their fridge and finding those oddball beers bought a long time ago yet never drunk because the first beer from the six-pack was so heinous. Thus, when I was at my buddy’s house over the weekend, initially I turned down a few decent but normal beers in favor of some stray Michelobs from their “upscale” sampler. My friend warned me that they were terrible, but that only stoked my fires more. Tell me something is good and I’m intrigued. Tell me something is world-class terrible and I need to have it that second. See, I can believe something could be good or even great, but I’m always astounded by absolutely inferior products that enter the market.  How do they slip by quality testing?

First up was the oddly and literally named Bavarian Style Wheat. It’s very malty, very yeasty. Tastes like a fucking loaf of rye bread. If this beer included some corned beef, swiss, and a schmear of spicy mustard then you’d have a great sandwich.  More plainly put, this is one of the worst hefes I’ve ever had.

D+

(I had several other offerings from the Michelob sampler, most un-notably the Smoked Porter, but I found them all so forgettably mediocre that I’d just rather never have to revisit them in review.)

Bud Light Chelada

June 26th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 9 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: F regular, Style: Fruit Beer

4.2% ABV from a can

People always ask if I’ve altered my drinking habits in any way since starting my site. Succinctly and accurately stated–NO.

Until now.

First, let me state that I shudder to write this entry because it will be like revisiting a traumatic experience all over again. Is this how Alice Sebold felt?

A little history of how I came to this point in time…

One evening last summer I returned home late from a night out. I wanted a single nightcap to dust off while getting ready for bed and the only place open was my local bodega. Which doesn’t exactly have the best beer selection as I’ve previously stated. On these occasions I usually just buy a $1.50 tallboy can of Bud Light or maybe even a few bottles of Labatt, and that was indeed my plan this time. Until I spotted a new product next to the Bud Lights.

I had never seen the item before and I am a major sucker for new products. I’m the one idiot that buys the “wacky” flavored Doritos, and the “limited-time-only” Mountain Dew Code Aquamarine, and who goes to Taco Bell to get their new double-wrapped, triple-stuft, quadruple-shit-in-your-pants crunch supremes (only 79 cents!). Point is, I’ll give anything a try. Yes, even new products from crummy macrobreweries.

Something about the can’s label intrigued me. I don’t speak or read Spanish–for those outside of New York, a lot of products at your low-rent corner bodega/deli are written exclusively in Spanish–and this can was completely in the language. You might think living in Manhattan I should learn Spanish, but I simply can’t as I do not have the capacity to pick up foreign tongues (languages I’ve began to learn and not succeeeded in doing so: French, Spanish, German, Latin, Hebrew).

Thus, I had to judge this book by it’s cover.

The can was interesting, intriguing. It’s color scheme evoked freshness. Summer fun in the sun with vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds and a corona of brightness. The glassware depicted evoked thoughts of big ass 64 ounce lime margaritas rimmed in salt. Of lounging in the sand, or poolside, sipping refreshing drinks while the lazy day passed away. I had sold myself. I figured it would probably taste like a Bud Light with a hint of lime or something.

Heck, I even noted the one phrase of Spanish on the can that even a dunce like me could translate: “La combinacion perfecta!” Sounds delicious! Er, deliciouso.

But, something about the can sent off sensors in my head. It was a little too red for my liking. Red’s a color that universally means “warning” or “danger.” The words “chelada” and “clamato” on the label also scared me even though I couldn’t translate them. Creatures are evolved to know not to eat certain things. Amazing but true. So birds somehow know not to eat the poisoned berries, and Australian snakes know not to eat the poisonous cane toad, and the urbanite Jew knows to google Bud Light Chelado before he drinks it. So I did. And I immediately saw something more disgusting than “Two Girls, One Cup.”

I saw words such as tomato juice, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and worst of all, clam broth. Yeah, these were the ingredients of the beer I held in my hand. I’ve drank some incredibly vile things in my life, but this wasn’t going to be one of them. Apparently, Mexicans actually like this shit! Well of course they do. Why else would Anheuser-Busch try to cash in on something unless it wasn’t already a craze? Now you might think me a retard for not knowing what clamato is, but I would counter that you are a deviant for actually knowing. Suffice to say I was pissed I wouldn’t have my nightcap that evening as I put the beer into the back depths of my fridge, only to show off to my friends as if part of some Frigidaire freak show, like a shrunken head or the world’s tiniest pony.

Fast forward to this week, nearly a year after the previously described events. With my team of butlers and maids on summer vacation, I decided to act like a common man and do some cleaning myself. I wasn’t thrilled with my overflowing and beginning-to-reek fridge so I decided to clean it up. And lo and behold, what should I find at the back of the icebox but my can of Chelada. I could have tossed it into the industrial-sized Glad bag along with the moldy cheddar and a banana so rotten it was black and shriveled to the size of a poorly-rolled doobie, but I knew that would be irresponsible. I had a duty to my readers. I knew I had to drink this fucking beer.

Soooo…for those scoring at home, I was about to try an old-ass (or “aged” if you prefer to be a connesseur) beer that consists of tomato juice, salt, lime, Worcestershire sauce, and clam broth. UGH. I felt like Evil Knievel about to jump over the Grand Canyon.

There was no fucking chance I was drinking this thing in my bedroom, or my living room, or even around another human being. I waited til my roommate left and then headed to the bathroom with my supplies.

(If you look closely in the picture you can see I’m clearly in my bathroom with a sink, my toothbrush, and my Crew strong hold gel in the background which is what I use to make my hair look like Showtime Lakers-era Pat Riley’s.)

Remember that great scene in “Trainspotting” when the character of Renton “Rent-Boy,” played splendidly by a young Ewan McGregor, tries to get off heroin, quitting cold turkey? Here’s how he described his preparation:

“Relinquishing junk. Stage one, preparation. For this you will need one room which you will not leave. Soothing music. Tomato soup, ten tins of. Mushroom soup, eight tins of, for consumption cold. Ice cream, vanilla, one large tub of. Magnesia, milk of, one bottle. Paracetamol, mouthwash, vitamins. Mineral water, Lucozade, pornography. One mattress. One bucket for urine, one for feces and one for vomitus. One television and one bottle of Valium, which I’ve already procured from my mother, who is, in her own domestic and socially acceptable way also a drug addict. And now I’m ready. All I need is one final hit to soothe the pain while the Valium takes effect.”

I prepared myself just as thoroughly. As mentioned, I waited for my roommate to leave. I locked the bathroom door. Previously to entering the bathroom I had eaten a turkey sandwich on wheat bread. I wanted a base in my stomach of some pleasant, non-volatile food. I also drank two Bud Lights to steady my nerves. I was as anxioius as a virgin going to the prom, and needed some liquid courage if I was ever to have the balls to drink this beer. I also brought into the loo with me a bottle of Coke Zero, a large water, another can of clam-broth-free Bud Light and, of course, I also had nearby my Listerine, toothbrush, and toothpaste to assure that I could clean out my mouth quickly and efficiently if anything bad were to happen. And I was certain something bad would happen. But I didn’t want to taint my review with stinkin’ thinkin’.

Let me interrupt to note that I have a very strong stomach. A lifetime of drinking recklessly and prodigiously and I’ve probably yakked less than ten times. And, those times I’ve thrown up were less because I drank too much but rather because I drank too much of something stupid. Like Jager. Or free hotel strawberry daquiris in Cancun. Or several “fishbowls” whilst in a most unfortunate fishbowl drinking contest over Memorial Day. I thought Chelada would soon be added to the “something stupid” list.

I wanted to see the color of the Chelada but didn’t want to risk befouling any of my beloved pint glasses. Thus, I poured some of the brew out for my fallen homeys and down the sink. It looked like menstrual blood. That was an ominious sign.

I was nervous for the impending smell. I should note I made the beer as absolutely frigid as possibly because the colder a liquid, the less you can taste it. A quality barley wine or quadrupel should be served at, say, 60 degrees fahrenheit. I suspected this motherfucker should be served at absolute zero.

I closed my eyes, if I was a Catholic I would have done that cool thing where they cross their chest, and then I leaned my big Jew nose down toward the aluminum opening. And I didn’t wince. I didn’t dry heave. There was no vomitus. In fact, I was able to keep my schnoz there indefinitely if I felt like it. I’m not gonna act like the beer smelled good, but it didn’t smell heinous either. Like overcarbonated Budweiser with a hint of Tabasco. I’m actually a fan of spiciness in all cuisines, so this aroma was fine by me. This was promising.

I felt more confident now. We all know hubris is a bitch. I took a little sip. Just a nip. Again, it was not heinous. Tasted kinda like it was one part Bloody Mary mixed with three parts Budweiser. I don’t like Bloodies, but at this point I thought the beer might be drinkable. Like I might actually finish a whole can. At this point I would have called it a “C” quality beer or so. I even thought to myself, “Yeah, I get this. I understand why a person could like this.”

My bathroom has no AC or window, so it was getting sweltering in there at this point. Like a steamroom. I felt like I was about to take a shvitz. Thus, I decided to take one more big swig and if that was pleasant enough I would bring the can back to my room and finish it off.

HUGE MISTAKE.

I took my big swig and this time the clam broth hit me HARD. Like a tidal wave rushing toward the back of my throat. It tasted like a liquid rotted anchovy pizza. I was so fucking repulsed I immediately spat it back out, a frozen rope that hit my medicine cabinet mirror on the fly. I threw my head toward the toilet and began convulsing. I couldn’t throw it up but I was heaving, wanting to eject the vileness from my system. My eyes were watering, burning. I was brought to my knees as if I had been kicked in the nuts.

“La combinacion perfecta!” echoed in my spinning head as if being spoken by a cute-as-a-button Mexican girl. Uh, how do you say in Spanish, “The only combination I can think of that would be less fucking perfect is shit mixed with vomit.”

Finally able to upright myself from the floor, I immediately slammed the 20 ounces of water. Next, I gargled four fingers of mouthwash. Then, I brushed my teeth. Four more fingers of mouthwash. How did about an ounce of fluid so destroy my stomach, pollute my mouth, and soil my tongue?! And my lips now were incredibly salty. Even worse, I couldn’t quit burping, each eructation forcing me to taste the nauseous fluid yet again and again and again. I was in near tears.

Bud Light Chelada? Should be called Bud Light Chlamydia.

I went to my room where I popped a normal Bud Light to relax and write up what you have just read to this point. I was sweating and needed to lay prostrate for a half-hour or so as if I’d just had a tough workout. Eventually, I got my strength back and had to do one final and troubling task: eliminate the 9/10th full can of Chelada still remaining. If I was smart, I would have just opened my bedroom window and hurled the can into the open patio of the hipster bar five floors down below me, a payback toward the loud patrons who keep me up every night as they discuss Jim Jarmusch movies and “going green” late into the AM.

But, I didn’t do that. Instead, I began pouring it down my sink.

Big mistake. It was making a fucking bright red, stinky mess and I thought it best to not put any more of this fluid near where we put our faces several times a day every single day. Thus, I dumped the rest of the beer out near where we put our dirty assholes several times a day every single day, the toilet. A fitting burial.

The misery is now over. My sink looks like a murderer washed his hands there while my toilet smells like an unkempt woman has been sitting on it. I can’t imagine what my roommate will think I did while he was gone for the evening.

F

Bud Light

June 26th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: D regular, Style: Macro!

4.2% ABV from a can

“Brewed with the finest ingredients for a refreshingly smooth taste.”

That’s what is says verbatim on the side of a Bud Light can.

The “finest” ingredients? A “refreshingly smooth taste”?! Really?!

Why do all macro beer manufacturers lie so fucking blatantly? These places should be sued. No truly good beer promotes itself this hard. It’s only the shitty ones. It’s like the dude that walks around the bar talking about his great job, his awesome penthouse apartment in Soho (with a balcony, yo), and his big dick, while conspicuously swirling around his Porsche key chain, and telling any girl that will listen how awesome he is.

Fact of the matter is, that guy stocks Chiclet vending machines for a living, crashes at home with his moms, has a tiny dick and comes too early on the rare opportunities he gets a chance, and doesn’t truly have the car, just the $3 Porsche key chain. Oh, and could he get your phone number reeeeeal quick because the last train leaves Penn Station at 12:45 AM and he needs to get back to Clifton, NJ.

Something truly outstanding doesn’t blatantly say it is outstanding, it just IS outstanding. And, thus you notice this and remark, “Wow, this is outstanding.”

Bud Light on the other hand is decidedly not outstanding. No matter how much its cans believes this to be true. Unfortunately, I drink too much of the swill, as recounted in this entry. That has to stop.

I suppose Bud Light is mildly refreshing on a hot ass day, but that’s just because it’s usually ice cold and its pretty much water. I hardly taste flavors in it. Maybe a little corn, perhaps a little low-grade rice, some metallic sensations that have worn off from the side of the cheap can. No bite, no hops, no malt. Pretty much just piss water. Actually, tastes a little like soggy white Wonder Bread. Terrible finish. It almost instantaneously gives one beer breath and you start smelling like the old drunk guy at the pub that’s always leaning over into you, putting his arm around you, and trying to give you life advice, despite the fact that he has no teeth and is wearing a scuzzy 1988 Cincinnati Bengals AFC Champs t-shirt.

Best thing you can say about this brew is that at least it ain’t Corona.

D

Budweiser

June 22nd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: C-, Style: Macro!

5% ABV from many, many, many ice-cold tall boy cans

The Flushing Meadows public course is like a bar that you just so happen to be able to golf at. On Saturday I accompanied my friends Plerchee and Ian to this par 3 “pitch ‘n’ putt” nestled under the shadow of Shea and amidst the ruins of The World’s Fair from back in an era when we still had world’s fairs. Little did I know it would be one of the strangest–and most pleasurable–golfing experiences of my life.

Arriving at the 7 train stop in Queens, you get off and take a short boardwalk headed toward Corona Park. It is at this point in which you feel you have entered another country. As I hoofed it the 10 minutes or so to the course, I’m not sure if I saw another white American. Most of the crowd were Latinos kicking around futbols, but there was also a large contingent of Asians headed to play tennis at the USTA Tennis Center. I did not hear English even spoken once. Where the fuck was I?

Plerchee told me ONLY to bring a wedge and a putter and, though I doubted him at first, I’d rather be short a club or two than have to lug my entire bag to another borough, so I listened to his advice. He was totally right. In fact, a sign on the “pro shop”–really just a tiny concession stand that you might see at a Little League ballpark–advised, if not ordered one, to only carry two clubs (humorously noting that “One club must be a putter.”) I looked out over the course. It was puny, one of the worst looking courses I’ve ever seen. But I still kept my hopes up. Golfing on a shit course is still better than spending the day at home watching a “Tila Tequila” marathon. Mark Twain was wrong.

While I waited for my friends to arrive I decided to have a little hair of the dog to stave off my dipsomania. And, as luck would have it, the “clubhouse”–really just a second “drive-thru” window next to the “pro shop”–had a special on Shock Top drafts. Only 2 bucks. My day was already starting off nicely. I typically don’t drink when I play golf. Correction: I typically don’t drink early in the round when I golf. Though I am a crummy golfer, my incredible confidence, if not delusional nature, makes me think that every time I tee it up I’m gonna card a 69 and thus I better keep my wits about me. However, by the time the turn comes and I’m already shooting a 52, it’s time for the cigars to be lit up and the beers to be shotgunned. I decided to begin my round drinking at this course because I was still quite hungover from Friday night’s activities.

My friends arrived and the golfing began. Some highlights of the course and our Saturday round:

*No tee boxes. Just mats like at the driving range. Cool by me, I hate lugging tees around. Having a pocketful of wood spears is not what I call comfort.

*You can play rounds as late as 1 AM. The last tee time go off at 11 PM. Seriously. The course actually has stadium lights. Though if I was playing this course at night I’d probably carry a sidearm with me in addition to my two clubs.

*The scorecard notes the course’s ground rules. A most amusing list culminating with the policy “High heel shoes and coolers are not allowed on course.”

We assume that rule was put in place to eliminate prostitutes from walking the grounds.

*Most holes are so short you could spit from the rubber-matted tee box all the way to the greens. Surprisingly, the greens weren’t half bad, and fairly challenging. The “fairways” were another story though. One fairway had a man hole cover in the middle of it, while another had what looked like a bottomless trench that if one fell in it would cause the person to drop all the way to the center of the earth. Luckily, this most hazardous of course hazards was surrounded by six bright orange traffic cones. The few bunkers on the course were not white sand traps, but more like quicksand marshes. Thankfully, I didn’t once find myself in them.

*The twosome in front of us was a guy dressed like a overly serious golfer playing with a girl lugging a purse around and wearing a flowing sun dress that scraped the ground. Yeah, she wasn’t exactly Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

*The group in front of them was an unwieldy fivesome featuring five fat fuck friends that though in their mid-thirties probably all still live with their mothers. These folks would come into play later during the absolute highlight of the afternoon.

*I saw another group on the course, a large Mexican family. The only person playing was the father though. However, the mother, two small children, and a baby in a fucking stroller joined the man on his round, following him like a 1800s circus caravan. Yes, though you aren’t allowed to sport stilettos you are apparently allowed to push a stroller around the course with an infant in it.

*We also spied what seemed to be some sort of Asian mystic. She looked like a 90-year-old Yoko Ono and just absentmindedly wandered the course in her bizarre dress, interacting with no one. I’m not sure if she was a bum, crazy, or simply a mirage on the horizon. Perhaps she was all three. Maybe when people talk about the “golfing gods” they’re referring to this chick. And, I gotta admit, I was snaking in long putts all day long. This loon was clearly on my side.

*The highlight of the day occurred as we were about to tee off on 6. A bum lugging around an enormous Glad bag full of aluminum “empties” walked past us and headed toward the adjacent 8th green. There, he cavalierly picked up a ball that was resting some five feet from the hole for a makeable birdie putt. The hitter of the ball was the fattest of the fivesome mentioned previously and when he saw the bum grab his ball he began sprinting down the fairway wielding his club like a mad man. Me and my buddies watched with baited breath. This had the potential to be the most exciting thing to happen on a golf course since my friend lost his virginity in a sand trap at the local country club at 3 in the morning after the prom. Can you imagine some fat Long Island guido hitting a bum over the head with his wedge? All of the sudden our day was about to become “Grand Theft Auto: Municipal Golf Course.”

Unfortunately, the fat fuck was too much of a fat fuck to run the 80 or so yards that were the length of the hole and halfway there he was winded. He had to stop to put his hands on his knees and, panting like an asthmatic, he shouted out at the bum to leave his ball lest he get a beat down. The bum feigned ignorance of the situation but ultimately left the guy’s ball. I’m not sure that there’s a deposit refund for golf balls so he probably figured he best just go retrieve more cans.

Oh, and there were plenty of empty cans to retrieve! There was an elderly black gentleman driving the course who was seemingly on a mission to keep all the golfers well lubricated. I’ve never had such prompt service, even at five star restaurants! And, at $3 a tallboy Bud, we were going to get quite schnockered as we were averaging a fresh can every 2 holes or so.

Budweiser, The “King” of Beers. How fucking arrogant to call yourself that, especially when you produce such an inferior product. I tell you though, sometimes an ice cold Bud can really hit the spot. It’s not like I’d be drinking La Fin Du Monde on the course were it available.

So, what to say about Bud? It’s actually one of the more flavorful macros which is indeed faint praise. Compared to it’s Light counterpart there’s no contest. A really superior beer in comparison. Actually has a little taste and bite and doesn’t just taste like dirty water. Hints of corn and rice if any flavors can be distinguished. Goes down easy and that’s why college kids and people that don’t truly like beer drink it. A little too carbonated for my liking too, but I guess that’s what AB has to do to mask the mediocrity. And it’s very bloating, I feel like an over-inflated whoopee cushion after polishing off a few of these. Nothing special, it is what it is and we were all shit-canned by the 18th hole.

C-

As for pitch ‘n’ putt: It eliminates all I hate about golf–prohibitively expensive greens fees, six hour rounds, carrying a heavy bag, losing balls, using woods and long irons, spending most of the day lost in the trees and weeds, wearing spikes, lugging around tees, and exhibiting decorum–while maintaining everything I love about the game. Plus, it’s a great confidence booster. Even wasted, I was able to shoot an even par round on the back 9 (7 pars, 1 bird, 1 boge) and an overall round of 62. Nice! I may have to become a “member” at Flushing Meadows CC. Pitch ‘n’ putt gets an A+.

Sunday afternoon drinking at 123burgershotbeer

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Brewer: Goose Island, Brewer: House Beer, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Grade: B-/C+, Grade: C regular, Style: Belgian White, Style: Bock, Style: IPA

This bar sprung up seemingly overnight just down the street from me. Here’s their conceit:

That absolutely blew my mind and I refused to believe it. Nevertheless, I trekked back over for some day drinking. The interior of the bar is pretty damn classy. Almost like a furniture showroom. You can still smell the fresh lacquer on the floor. The waitresses are cute and inexplicably dressed in hot pants in which the bottom curvature of their butt-cheeks show. I remained focused as I pointed at the sign seen above and said something like, “Uh…that true?” Indeed it was. The waitress told us that the burgers were sliders—she proceeded to spend far too long explaining the concept of a slider to me like I was some alien from a non-burger-eating planet—and indeed were just a buck. Likewise, every single beer on tap was just $3. Wow. I was impressed. They had a marginally respectable tap too. Here are some of the beers I had. I was in a jovial mood so I probably overrated all of them. Plus the beers all came in absolutely frigid mugs. A sensation I love. I wouldn’t want to drink a high quality beer from a frozen mug, but shitty beers and root beer are phenomenal in them.

Shock Top Belgian White

5.2% ABV on draught

This beer has one of the oddest, eye-popping taps around: a transmogrified orange with sunglasses and a mohawk. For $3, I’ll take a whirl with this one. It came with an orange slice and while I typically hate fruit in beer I decided to just go with the flow. Glad I did. This beer tasted almost like a Sunkist soda. VERY orangey. I like Sunkist so I liked this beer. Not sure I could drink several but it was enjoyable. I was surprised when I got home to see that it’s an Anheuser-Busch beer. You’d think it would be in more bars. It’s better than most of that macro-brewery’s selections for sho’.

B-/C+

Goose Island IPA

5.9% ABV on draught

A nice, solid example of an IPA. Nothing more, nothing less. I could drink these all day were it actually served in more NYC bars. It has a nice little spiciness to it. And if we’re talking about taps, Goose Island has got to have the best tap in the bid’ness, a big, long goose neck coming out of the bar. Who hasn’t wanted to tug on a goose neck before?

B

123 Amber (house beer)

No clue on ABV. Draught.

“House” beers always amuse me. I used to be real impressed. “Wow, this crappy little bar actually makes their own beer?! That is so cool!” Quickly I learned differently, the dirty little secret that bars just make their own TAP and throw it overtop some other macro beer. I don’t know the legalities of this and I don’t really care, but alas, I’m no longer impressed. Every time you ask a bartender or waitress about the house beer they say something like, “Oh, it tastes a little bit like [beer you’ve heard of.]” The beer you’ve heard of is in fact the beer they’re trying to sell as their own. The waitress at 123 didn’t know what their house beer tasted like, but I’ll assume it’s the Michelob Amber Bock, which I think I’ve had sometime in my past. This is not a great beer and the frozen mug theory greatly improves it. No doubt making it go from tasting bad to not tasting at all. For such a dark color how can it be so lacking in taste? Odd. Since it doesn’t taste at all that already makes it superior to most macros. I wish they had put a little more effort into make this house beer taste good.

C

Oh, final note: if any sissy or frat boy cares, the $2 shots are the kind of silly-named shots that are like 90% mixer and 10% cheap booze. I mean really, if you’re having a shot it should be 100% liquor. I’ll expound on this at some other time. Suffice to say I only completed the 1 and 3 of the 123. The burgers were damn fine too, like upscale White Castles.