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Archive for the ‘Brewer: Boston Beer Company’ Category

Samuel Adams Imperial Series

April 6th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B plus, Grade: B regular, Style: Belgian White, Style: Bock, Style: Stout

Within the last month, Sam Adams released a new series of imperial brews in order to “offer beer lovers’ an intense version of some of their favorite traditional beer styles by boosting the ingredients and testing the limits of each traditional style” said the press release robot employed by the brewery.*

I was excited to try all of these as I can’t help but love Sam.  Sure, they aren’t the most adventurous beermakers in the world–save the brilliant Utopias–but they always make quality stuff and you have to admire the heights they’ve attained in the world of beer while not making watery swill.

Double Bock

9.5% ABV

I don’t particularly love most bocks, but this was a pretty good effort.  Incredibly malty, the bottle actually claims you could make a loaf of bread with it.  I believe that!  So rich, I honestly struggled to finish the bottle and liked it less and less the more I drank it I was so overwhelmed.  Though the initial flavor is admittedly pretty solid.  Robust and syrupy tastes of malts, caramel, and spices.  Worth trying, though I’d recommend splitting a bottle.


Imperial Stout

9.5% ABV

Inexplicably, Sam had never had a major release stout before this.  Odd for one of the most common and desired style.  Thus, I was excited to see what they could accomplish with this release.  I found it very boozy and harsh tasting for the not-to-so-high(-for-an-impy-stout-at-least) ABV.  Still, not bad.  High level of roasted coffee notes and malted chocolate but not much else going on.  It actually reminded me of a less polished version of Founders Breakfast Stout with a mouthfeel and a drinkability like a Guinness Extra Stout.  This would be a splendid “starter” imperial stout to give to a friend you are trying to get into craft beer. A worthy effort fo’ sho’.


Imperial White

10.3% ABV

What a shocker!  I was least interested in trying this one of the three.  I mean, what do you think of when you hear American white beer?  You probably think nothing.  Flavorlessness.  The bland faux-micro macro Blue Moon.  Again, nothingness.  No flavor, just nothing.  Imperializing a white seems like an oxymoron.  How can something so bland be made “bigger” and “bolder”?!   Ultimately, what I’m saying is that I hate whites and much like two times zero still equal zero, I figured two “times” white would still equal shit.  It’s like imperializing tap water.  I saw no way this would be good.   Boy was I wrong.  This was incredibly flavorful, complex, interesting, and potent.  Tons of orange with strong coriander notes.  A hyooooge mouthfeel and body.  And the ABV!  Wow.  I will definitely get this again, and, actually, I kinda want one now. Truly one of the bigger beer surprises of the year.  I don’t even feel foolish saying this is one of a kind.  Beer Advocate actually may now have to create an “imperial white” style category.


*He cost $2.5M to design but his brilliant and totally human-sounding statements meant to inspire customer loyalty and create a new fan base has paid off ten-fold!

Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner

January 5th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 13 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Pilsner

8.8% ABV bottled

Wrinkly Facebook

At first it was kinda cute, like dogs that wear sweaters or people that let their annoying little children record their voicemail message. But now the madness has got to end. I’m talking about old people on Facebook.

A few Saturdays ago, I was lounging around my friend’s house, looking at semi-scandalous party pictures of girls I think I knew at one time in my life, when what should appear in my News Feed but:

[Aaron's Mom] added you as a friend on Facebook.

I nearly spat my beer onto my laptop. Fortunately, Sam’s Imperial Pilsner was a brew I could not afford to waste even an ounce of. Part of their “Extreme Beer” line–along with Utopias and Chocolate Bock to name two–this one totally fits their claim to be “an intense hop experience.” Smooth and creamy, with only the most mild of bitterness, this beer packs a wallop, and was impressively able to go (somewhat) toe-to-toe with the legendarily overpowering J.W. Lees Harvest. It reminded me a bit of Stone’s Ruination DIPA, and is definitely a can’t miss if you’re luckily enough to score some.

Predictably, I ignored my mother’s friend request. She probably hears enough bad shit about me through the old-fashioned rumor mill, no need for her to have high-speed technological access to the tragicomedy that is my besotted life. I quickly perused her profile. She’s a teacher, a 56-year-old AP Calculus high school teacher from suburban Oklahoma City to be exact, and I really can’t think of a person that Facebook is less meant for.

A few hours later, while out at the bar, I checked my e-mail on my phone and saw one come up from her:

“Did you get my friend request?”

I ignored it.

The next morning, a text from her regarding the same topic. This was getting ridiculous. I filled my younger sister in on the happenings. I was amused but my sister, a much brassier person than even me, wanted to dike this dam before truly bad things started happening. She immediately e-mailed our mom:

“Facebook is not for adults. No one wants their mom at the party.”

She also noted that a friend’s mother–a women cringingly notorious for trying to be a “cool” mom–was on Facebook, hoping to shame our mother into realizing the kind of fiftysomething that would use social networking.

I thought the matter would be over by now, my mom realizing her folly. We all sometimes get involved in ventures not fully realizing the implications. Heck, I accidentally, and briefly, found myself in a dance club over the weekend. Perhaps my mother had made a mistake like all of us are prone to do. She saw a piece on Facebook on “20/20,” she read an article about it in Time, she overheard a few of her pupils discussing it, and thought, “Cool, I should join, everyone’s doing it!”

On Sunday, I was out at the bar watching some football. I got a call. It was mom. I rarely answer my phone no matter who calls and most people have learned to text me, but since I was drunk and feeling good, I decided to pick up. Immediately she launched into me.

“Why aren’t you accepting my friend request?”

I explained to her that Facebook is not for adults.

“Aren’t you an ‘adult?’” she patronizingly wondered.

I explained that, yes, according to the semantics of “anyone-older-than-18-years-of-age” is an adult, than I am most assuredly one, eleven years over, in fact. But, though I may be an adult, I’m not exactly a “grown up.” Most people in New York City aren’t. That’s one of the reasons we live here.

New York City is all about arrested development. Although, I don’t exactly like that condescending term. The development of adults in New York isn’t “arrested,” we simply wish to develop in a more fun, less responsible way, let us say. We care about the hedonistic pleasures in life. Our only responsibilities are to make money and have fun, life is but a dream.

Whereas, I frequently find myself hanging out in the city with people as young as eighteen and as old as their mid-fifties, and despite the vast age difference, these people are just like me. They want entertainment, excitement, booze, perhaps drugs, women, men, sex, and fun. Not kids and houses and mortgages and chain restaurant dining. I’m far more similar to an eighteen-year-old or a fifty-five-year-old from New York than I am to 99% of my high school class, most now living in the Oklahoma suburbs, married and raising kids. That life is alien to me, and my existence is surely foreign to them. They are grown ups, and I am a twenty-nine-year-old child.

An “old” person from New York City is not technically an old person and there’s nothing weird about them being on Facebook. Meanwhile, most of the people I went to high school with seem just as out of place on Facebook as my mom as they simply use the service as a conduit to proudly display to the world countless pictures of their ugly kids.

I explained this to my mom and she continued trying to break me down:

“You don’t have anything bad on your page, do you?”

Not really.

“So what’s the big deal? I don’t even care what’s on there. I just want to see pictures of you, be a part of your life.”


“Then accept my friendship, am I not your friend?”

“Sure you’re my friend, but I don’t want you tagging along on dates with me either. Maybe you want to sit in the corner of the room watching next time I take a girl to bed?”

Finally, perhaps because I wanted to get back to the football game and buffalo wings, perhaps because I was in a fairly jovial mood, my mother sweet-talked me into accepting her friend request. I guess I can be easily manipulated when I’m drunk.

Before accepting though, my more computer-savvy sister showed me how to make my profile “limited” so, in theory, my mother would only be able to see the most bare minimum of information on my page.

By the next day, my News Feed was getting pelted with an enfilade of Facebook tomfoolery from my mother.

[Aaron's Mom] has given [One of her old lady friends] a Bumper Sticker!

[Aaron's Mom] has thrown a snowball at you!

[Aaron's Mom] has sent you a Ninja Request!

What is it about Facebook that seems to infantilize everyone?!

Now look, I’m not gonna be all supercilious and act like I only use Facebook for mature, productive purposes. I don’t. That’s inately impossible. I use it for checking out girls I first met while drunk before deciding whether to e-mail them, for making fun of fat former classmates and the ugly boyfriends of my exes, and for making myself feel good as my friend numbers get higher. (Yes, I’m am a little, little man).

But I never waste my time using all these bullshit apps that I wouldn’t have thought cool even back when I was nine years old! The internet wasn’t even around then and I still wouldn’t have found this garbage cool!

[Aaron's Dad] added you as a friend on Facebook.

Moments later.

[Aaron's Dad] is now friends with [Aaron's friend].

[Aaron's Dad] is now friends with [another of Aaron's friend].

[Aaron's Dad] is now friends with [yet another of Aaron's friend].

I had had enough. Befriending my friends! This was getting ridiculous. Maybe I should call up my dad’s sixty-year-old co-worker friends and see if they want to go drinking with me. Turn about is fair play, eh?

I started punching out an e-mail cc’ing my mother, father, and sister. Before I could even hit send though, a status update came up on my News Feed.

[Aaron's Mom] is Facebook chatting with [Aaron's Dad] even though they’re sitting in the same room together. Pretty funny, right???


I told my parent they were embarrassing themselves and the family. By friend requesting my friends they were putting them between a rock and a hard place. Either accept the old fart’s request and now have fifty-seven-year-olds lurking on their page, or be a dick and turn them down. Something they surely wished to do but didn’t since my friends are nicer than me.

My mother began crying. She said I was crazy. Yeah, I was the crazy one. Not the old lady getting caught up in the Facebook world like some junior high pop tart. She wailed about how much fun she had had in the twenty-four hours she had been on Facebook, locating some old boring friends, giving her teacher cohorts bumper stickers, seeing the lives my old babysitters had crafted, catching up with some distant relatives.

I let sleeping dogs lie. Briefly.

Then, over Christmas, my sister went back to Oklahoma while I stayed in New York. Quickly, my sister called me, it was worse than we had even suspected. Apparently my dad, a consummate snoop worse than a stereotypical yenta, had his laptop open all day long goofing around on Facebook and looking at people. Meanwhile, my mother had somehow, despite the limited profile setting, downloaded all the pictures from profile onto her computer, and was even displaying them as a screen saver. She was also still furious at my sister for refusing to be her Facebook friend.

Finally, things came to a head and my sister broke my mother down in a huge yelling fight. My mother locked herself in her room and sent a lengthy mass e-mail to me and my sisters:

“I realize now that you really never wanted me to be one of your friends…So to make you happier, I should probably remove you from my friend list. I don’t want to be accused of stalking my kids, just because I want to be in their lives. So confirm that you wish me to do that, and I will. I don’t plan to be a friend of someone who wants me blocked and doesn’t trust me.”


So now my parents are no longer my “friends” but countless other adults I’ve known over the years keep sending me requests. Many of my friends have professed that their parents too have joined Facebook in the past few weeks and are now bothering them in a similar fashion.

I think Facebook has reached a tipping point of annoyance. I don’t know, I guess we really need a Wrinkly Facebook for true adults to spend their time and not annoy me. I liked it better when I could just post drunken pictures of myself and status update concerning my sobriety without immediate comment from my 2nd grade teacher and my great-aunt.


Samuel Adams Winter Lager

December 3rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 7 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Winter Warmer

5.8% ABV from a six-pack

My Porno Hook-Up

You won’t believe this story, so you might as well just pretend I made it up.

I have a lot of friends and I get invited to a lot of parties, especially as the holiday season heats up. And just like Kim Kardashian won’t turn down an invite to a lame awards show, I will pretty much show up at any shindig. Which is odd since I often have a terrible time. As an eternal optimist though, I always think I am going to have a blast, regaling the men with great stories, beguiling a multitude of sexy women, ending the night drinking champagne out of a stiletto as the sun comes up, and waking up on the host’s sofa with a lampshade on my head.

However, as we get older and older, the problem becomes that the parties become more and more boring. For one simple fact: everyone is a couple. And couples are inately boring. Our early twenties big beer blasts full of 90% single people become quiet couples’ dinner parties with a lot of hummus and toasted pita points. Not that I’m complaining about hummus, that stuff’s delicious.

The starts of these parties are always fun as people first dig into the food and the wine and start loosening up, introductions made by the host. “And here’s my boring friend ____ who has this boring job and there’s his boring wife ____ who has that boring job.” Quite frankly, unless you’re a stripper, astronaut, or professional football player, I really could care less in hearing about your occupation. Sorry, it is what it is.

In attending these parties stag I’m always treated like some member in a freak show, the werewolf boy or the world’s tiniest monk. My ostensible peers pelting me with questions about my lack of marriage, my lack of kids, my lack of owning anything nicer than some Ping irons. At the beginning of most parties, I always become the focus of attention. I have interesting stories, caaaaaaaa-razy stories, even transgressive stories, and the buttoned-up types want to hear them. In the same way they get a vicarious thrill out of watching an action movie or late-night softcore on Cinemax. An egomaniac, it is usually this part of the party, the only part of the party, I actually enjoy.

But after a half-hour or so, every one starts ignoring me, and the “adults” start having “adult” conversations, I forced to go stand away like a child shuffled away to another room during a dinner party. They drinking one or two glasses of boring wine while like a fratboy I brought a six pack of beer. At least it was good stuff. Sam Adam’s highly respectable version of a winter warmer. A lager but full bodied and flawlessly spiced. I really like it.

As the adults talked about the holograms used in CNN’s election coverage, and the sonograms from their recent visit to the doctors, and the “darling” monograms on the items they received as wedding gifts, I skulked to the corner to get drunk and try to figure out what girl I should text for a later-night meet-up.

There was actually one other single in attendance, Annie. A rarity for most of these boring affairs. Usually the two singles are drawn to each other like magnets, but I was less-than-interested in her. A freshly-minted doctor, she seemed boring as hell. Then again, most doctors are. Years of study, sitting in libraries, a lot of handwashin’ and scrubs-wearin’ do not lend themselves to creating social superstars. Then again, would you want a practicioner that could schmooze up a room like Dean Martin or Jackie Gleason? I doubt I would, but, then again, I never go to see health professionals.

Earlier in the evening, when it was her turn to introduce herself, the shy Annie had noted that this was her first time “out” in 40 days. We noticed she had a pager on her jeans’ belt loop and made as-would-be-expected jokes (”What are you a drug dealer in 1992?”). Trite and obvious jokes but we all laughed because they were still kinda funny and because you laugh at people’s jokes early on during dinner parties before you realize you hate them all. After the barrage of jokes fizzled out, Annie had explained it was because she was on “emergency emergency” call, assuring us that the beeper would only come into play should two others doctors fall ill that night. Which never ever never happened.

With the adults discussing whether they should move to Westchester or the Jersey suburbs to start a family, I had no choice but to approach Annie.

She stood in the corner like a classic wallflower, uncomfortable in her own skin, unsure where to put her hands, her feet, her eyes. I didn’t think I had much interest in her sexually, romantically, as a friend, a conversation partner, a golfing buddy, a tennis companion, or anything else, but she was the only single and all the well-lubricated couples had begun talking about topics that I would probably never been mature enough to waste time discussing.

I opened my foray to Annie by remarking that she wasn’t drinking, which I didn’t remark was making her even more boring.

“I’m technically not allowed to…”

She explained that, yes, though there was only like a 0.000001% chance she would have to work that night, she really couldn’t drink “on the job.”

I mocked her piousness. I’m good at peer pressuring people and soon I had whipped her up a gin and tonic, one a tad dryer than she probably expected. She was undoubtedly a novice drinker as she was clearly becoming intoxicated after just a few sips.

She was kind, but didn’t have much to say. Attractive too, but stuffier than a plush toy, more prim and proper than a Quaker. As I said, I don’t go to doctors for “check-ups.” Just seems like a bit of a scam. Something to keep up the medical industrial complex. I’ve always agreed with a friend who once told me you only need to go to the doctor if you break a leg or get AIDS. Seems about right. And in Manhattan, forget about it. I’m not spending all day sitting in a waiting room reading “Redbook” just to see if I might possibly have some problem.

So, with no other conversation topics, I asked her:

“I NEVER go to the doctor. Haven’t been to a general practitioner since I was like 19. So break it to me. Give me the real answer. I don’t want the answer you’re supposed to give in order to make perpetual money for your industry, I want the real answer: how often should a guy like me be going to the doctor?”

She impassively looked me up and down, scrutinizing me like a piece of Kosher meat.

“You can hit me with it,” I said, fully expecting bad news.

“A guy like you? Young, healthy, and robust looking…

She cutely crinkled her nose for one final study of me.

“You seriously don’t need to go more than once every five to seven years. Assuming you feel fine of course.”

“I KNEW IT! I’ve been telling everyone this for years! What a fucking scam!”

“Shhhh…” she smiled for the first time. “Don’t blow up our spot.”

And she even makes a little joke!

It’s funny I never go to the doctor because I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. I know the statistics, I know likelihoods, I know the odds, and I don’t fear death or pain, it’s just I watch “House,” and I read so many goddamn books, so many science and medical papers–yes, I consider that “fun”–that I know about all sorts of strange and terrible ailments which I then transpose onto myself.

For the last two years I’d privately thought I had testicular cancer. I found a smaller-than-a-ball-bearing bump one evening while self-abusing myself and had been certain it was the big C. But, of course, I never went to the doctor, instead just reading about diagnoses online. I must not truly be a hypochondriac.

But here was my chance. And, luckily I’d drank enough alcohol that I had the balls to ask about my balls.

I looked around to make sure no one could hear me. I looked Annie in the eyes. She could the tell I was sincere, about to confide something important to her.

“I’m sorry if I’m out of line…but…”

After I gave her the scoop, she looked around the room. Was she mad?

“Follow me.”


She marched off to the bathroom. The host’s bedroom bathroom that no guests had been using. I trepidatiously followed her.

We got into the bathroom and she locked the door. Though seemingly impossible, she instantly had become even more prim and proper and she was already like a fucking 1800’s school marm. The expression on her face was completely placid, completely focused.

“Drop your pants.”

Wow. Free medical work is even better than free drinks. And far rarer. I did as I was told.

Without looking down, without looking at me, just staring off toward the medical cabinet mirror on the wall, she reached into my boxer briefs and rolled my right testis in her hand for a minute. I too looked off into space. It was surprisingly awkward, surprisingly clinical. It didn’t even seem that inappropriate. I heard some guests laughing in the distance.

“You’re fine. That’s probably just a minor varicocele, a vein enlargement. Nothing to be concerned about. If it gets bigger or actually starts to hurt, you should see your doctor. A doctor.”

I looked at her relieved. I exhaled and smiled.

“Thank you, Annie.”

Her hand was still on my junk. I looked down, taking the scene in. I looked back into her eyes. She moved in for a kiss. WHOA! It had gone from clinical to inappropriately pornographic in seconds. One of those rare porno hookups where innocuous situations escalate to sordidness at the drop of the hat, and completely unexpectedly, as if poorly scripted by a hack.

We made out for milliseconds before she removed her hands and went to the sink to scrub up as if preparing for surgery.

“Come on, pull your pants up, we better get back to the party.”

She quickly left and went back outside, leaving me in the bathroom.

What the fuck? I quickly analyzed the previous minute or two. Unsure what had gone wrong. Unsure what had gone right.

I returned to the party a few seconds after her. I stood in the corner by the door, sweating, thinking, antsy as I slugged my beer. What was I supposed to do next?

Annie moved to the finger foods table and had some guacamole, totally ignoring me, nonchalantly talking to another party guest.


Everyone turned as Annie’s pager blew up. We all knew what it probably meant. She seemed more surprised than any one. She looked down. “Shit!” She got frantic. “Unbelievable!” She gathered her stuff–”Fucking Joe!–and began going around the party, quickly saying “I’m sorrys” and “goodbyes” to everyone.

I was the last person she encountered on her way out the door headed back to her hospital. Just as she had done to everyone else, she held out her hand professionally, coldy.

“It was GOOD to meet you, Aaron.” She stared deeply into my eyes. “I hope to SEE you AGAIN.”

I thought I got what she was hinting at, what words she was stressing and for what purpose, but I’ve been wrong before. Especially while drunk. She left, and two minutes later I snuck out the door without saying goodbye to my friends.

Once I got outside I stood in front of the UES highrise looking around. Son of bitch! I had been wrong. I had totally misread her implications, or apparent lack thereof. And it was only 10:00 PM. With no other plans for the evening, I was going to have to go back up to the party with my tail between my legs and lie about why I’d been outside. Would people believe I had just taken up smoking?


I turned. Annie stood at the corner peeking her head around the building.

I was elated.

We quickly grabbed a cab and went back to her University Hospital’s resident housing where she showed me her diplomas.


Samuel Adams Oktoberfest

August 28th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Style: Oktoberfest

5.7% ABV from a bottle

The Vice Blogger Goes Off Beer

It was August of 2002. One year out of college and all the debauchery in New York had caught up to me–I was in the worst shape of my life, tipping the scales at probably 215 or so. Going to happy hour every day–especially when that “hour” actually equals 5 PM til closing–does in even the best of us. I needed to do something about it, I was not happy. I’ve always been overly confident if not arrogant, no matter my current lot in life, thinking I deserve more women than Moulay Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty. And I was getting significantly less than that. I looked deeply at myself and had to chalk it up to the extra baggage I was lugging around. Now at 29, I realize that it doesn’t matter how fat I am, I will always land attractive women due to my rakish charm, disarming wit, and the fact that, well, I’m just plain interesting. There’s nothing more important than that. In fact, Ben Franklin, no schlub himself, called the great lover Giacomo Casanova the most interesting man who ever lived. Not cause he scored with tens of thousands of fair women but rather because he was a librarian, consort, writer, confidence man, dandy, master gambler, diplomat, spy, magician, and philosopher.  Oh, not to worry female Vice Blog fans, I also currently cut a toned and taut 178 as I type this.  I’m interesting, yes, but I’m not some slob.

But back then at 215 pounds, I was flummoxed at how I was going to cut weight. I live in the finest eating city in the world, ain’t no way I was going to eat salad and rice cakes for every meal. And back then I refused to exercise unless it was in the form of competitive sports. Nope, I knew the only thing I could cut out of my diet was beer. “You’re going to quit drinking?!” said my roommates in shock. No, I’m not going to quit drinking I snapped back. Hard alcohol was still fine. Thus, from September 1st through January 1st, all I drank was liquor

You don’t realize how often you drink beer until you no longer drink it and have to have liquor instead.  Heading to happy hour, every one else is capitalizing on a few hours of $2 beers…you’re drinking $7 whiskey sodas.  Saturday morning you’re tailgating or preparing for a whole day of watching football, everyone’s pummeling a macro keg…you’re drinking vodka tonics.  At home, pregaming before a big night out, your buddies are polishing off a few bottles of Yuengling…and you’re drinking straight from a bottle of Beefeater.

Those four months were murderous.  I was crying mercy.  I spent tons of money, was always wasted, permenantly damaged my liver and innards, lost a lot of cell phones and other possessions, frequently woke up in piles of sidewalk garbage, alienated friends, ruined relationships too…oh, and got laid even less than when I was Rubenesque as I was often slurring before heading out to the bars and barely made it past midnight without embarrassing myself or getting 86ed from many fine establishments.

But, yes, I did lose some 40 pounds and I looked fantastic.  So much so that people would come up to me in public to actually compliment me for my newfound handsomeness. Swear to god.  That shit hadn’t happened before and it certainly hasn’t happened since.

However, it wasn’t exactly worth it.

The worst thing about those four months of beerlessness was that my favorite seasonal beers in the world were out–Oktoberfests.  I don’t know what it is, but I love the beer style.  Maybe it’s because the end of summer sucks so much, as you know it’s about to be cold again, that when you see these beautiful orange-labeled beers and taps on shelves and bartops, you know there’s at least something good about the incoming chilly season.  You don’t know how much it sucked to be at bars back in 2002, staring at the recently installed Oktoberfest taps, drooling, but unable to break my personal vow.

Sam makes one of my favorites. In fact, it’s the first Oktoberfest I ever had, and one I immediately fell in love with. I guess I should be embarrassed by that, but shockingly enough, it is the best selling Oktoberfest-styled beer IN THE WORLD.  Even more than any German one.  Amazing.

Having said that, I don’t like Sam Oktoberfest as much as I once did. I used to think they had changed the recipe from the delicious early-2000s versions but now I’m thinking my palate just got more sophisticated. Nevertheless, it is still tasty. Rich, very malty, with a hint of spice. Not too complex though.  But I still love my first taste of Oktoberfest of the season, and every year it comes courtesy of Sam.  Though, what the fuck, August seems earlier for the beer’s release than normal, doesn’t it?

Now in 2008, I drink plenty of beer. And hard liquor. And wines. And any and all other fermented or distilled beverages available.  Yet I’m in better shape than at any other time in my life and doing better with woman too.

Lesson learned: never cut any pleasures from your life.

“I am writing My Life to laugh at myself, and I am succeeding.” –Casanova


Samuel Adams Utopias (2007)

July 3rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Strong Ale

25.6% ABV

I’ve put my Patrick Ewing kneepads on, I’ve taken a few swigs of water for moisture, I’ve loosened up my cheek muscles, unhinged my jaw, and the dental dam is firmly in place…it’s time for me to fellate Samuel Adams Utopias.

This is not just the best beer ever, it is not just the best fermented drink ever, but it is perhaps the best alcoholic beverage in the history of mankind. Let’s just say, the long-dead American patriot shouldn’t just be honored to have his name on this, he should be greatly worried that history will remember Sam Adams Utopias the beer before they remember Sam Adams the man. This beer is so motherfucking good that people should learn the lost art of epic poetry simply so they can compose epic poems to it. It is a greater achievement than landing on the moon or discovering evolution. Jim Koch, the Samuel Adams brewmaster, should win Time’s Man of the Year.

Utopias comes in a bomber-sized, ceramic genie-bottle-shaped vessel that if you rub the side and unscrew the cap a spirit (luckily one NOT voiced by the insufferable Robin Williams) pops out, not granting you three wishes but instead telling you that if you have just a few ounces of this beer you will achieve nirvana.

Oh, have I mentioned…

It is the most alcoholic beer ever crafted!

Did you hear me?


And, it is to be drunk in two-ounce servings from specially-designed Utopias glassware. Yes, the Boston Beer Company does not think any other glasses in the history of the world have been created to appropriately drink their beer from. Thus, they crafted their own (see bottom picture). How awesomely arrogant is that?!

Even more interesting, due to silly Christian laws created and inspired by the Brigham Youngs, Jerry Fallwells, and Jim Joneses of the country, Utopias is not allow to be sold in fourteen U.S. states. Here is that damnable lineup:

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia.

I don’t even recognize states as being part of our union if they don’t allow this brilliant concoction to be tippled by constituents. I actually proudly fly a thirty-six star American flag over my heavily-fortified drinking compound.

I will not recognize you despicable fourteen states until you let your citizens drink Utopias!

Not that they could actually locate it as Sam Adams only releases 12,000 bottles of heaven per two years. I am lucky enough to have tried Utopias on three different occasions. Each time, loving and understanding it just a little more.

OK, so we know it’s potent, we know it’s pricey, we know it’s rare, we know it merits a blow job, but how does it taste? I thought nothing more appropriate for this beer than to actually review it like a legit beer snob (not that a legit beer snob would preface his review with a highly-graphic fellatio prologue). If any beer merits pretentiousness it is this one.

Appearance: An absolutely gorgeous amber like what that dinosaur-blood-sucking mosquito was frozen in “Jurassic Park.”

Smell: A bouquet of incredibly potent maple syrup, but this ain’t Aunt Jemima, it’s the good shit you buy at a hippie farmer’s market. The aroma goes up your nose as the Utopias’ odorants bind with olfactory neuron cell bodies. Their axons synapse in the olfactory bulb region in your brain, making you go, “God Damn! I said God Damn!” like Mrs. Mia Wallace in “Pulp Fiction.”

Taste: More full-bodied than Aretha Franklin. Maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, honey, several different types of yeast, caramel malts, and a whole lotta hops though not much bite. Earthy with some spice and hints of bourbon and sherry due to aging I believe. A creamy, chocolate and coffee-like finish. More sublime than “40 Oz. to Freedom.”

Mouthfeel: Nearly indescribable. As complex as beer, if not any alcohol, can possibly get. God did not create a human with enough writing prowess to adequately discuss the Utopias’s feel. It is absolutely unlike beer, lacking in carbonation and with no need for refrigeration. It would best be described as nearer to being a potent barley wine, a sherry, an aged port, maybe a bourbon, or most likely fine cognac as composed to a measly brew. The difference between the “beers” of Utopias and, say, Bud Light is more pronounced than the the slugging difference between George Herman Ruth and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Drinkability: Eminently drinkable though one will probably never consume more than an ounce or two in a sitting as it is like drinking money. Figuratively of course.

Consuming this beer will ruin you for the rest of the day (if not your entire existence on planet earth). Not cause it’s that potent–remember, you’re only savoring a few ounces of it max–but, rather, because everything afterward will taste so goddamn sub-par. After my most recent drinking of Utopias I followed it up with some Allagash Odyssey, a world-class beer in itself, that I was barely able to enjoy at first. My tongue was still tingling from the Utopias and my memory so seared by its brilliance that I had to eat damn near a loaf of bread to get the greatness out of my mouth and mind. I had to not just cleanse my palate, but cleanse everything I’d known about the world previous, just to appropriately review the Odyssey.

Let it be said, Utopias will change your thoughts about beer and imbibing for the rest of time. If you are ever lucky enough to find this beer, pay whatever is asked for it (or do the “Hey, look over there!” trick and filch it).

I don’t believe in a higher power but I still love Ben Franklin’s famous saying, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” He could have easily been referring to Utopias.

My absolutely highest recommendation. A masterpiece.


Samuel Adams Boston Lager

June 7th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Style: Lager

4.75% ABV from a bomber

The flagship Sam is maybe America’s most underrated beer. I think your average beer guzzling yahoo sees it as nothing more than a macro (not that he would know that condescending term), and an overpriced and snobby one at that. “No twist off cap?!” “I’ll need a bottle opener for this beer?” “That soooo European.” “I thought this beer was named after some American president.” Meanwhile, I think your average stuffy beer snob doesn’t like Sam either–but it has nothing to do with taste. Most beer snobs have probably never drunk a Boston Lager. “It’s advertised on television for gosh sakes!” “It’s soooo cheap!” “You can find it in pubs.” *shiver*

It’s nothing if not a victim of its own success. On both extremes. Heck, I’m not sure if I’ve EVER met any one that calls Sam their favorite beer. And that’s weird, especially since there are people that probably call stuff like O’Doul’s and Mike’s Hard Lemonade (Strawberry flavor) their favorite “beer.” I must admit that even I forget to drink Sam as I’m a much bigger fan of the brewery’s terrific seasonals and, of course, their Utopia is an all-time legend. We take this beer for granted. But it’s a damn fine brew. And just about the cheapest and most readily available craft beer you can buy in this country.

Good smell, nice and light. Nothing too complex, but tasty. You could drink these all night and you could definitely do worse. One small gripe is that it could probably use about 0.5% more ABV kick in it.

A good, solid beer and that’s hard for a New York-born and living die hard to admit. I’m supposed to hate all things Beantown. Typically I do. This is the rare case where I don’t. But don’t tell that to my Boston friends.


Samuel Adams Summer Ale

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: "Summer" beer, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

5.2% ABV on draught

I’ve made clear my disdain for “summer” beers several times in the past, continually claiming I will never drink one again. Alas, I found myself out of town and at a Philadelphia Phillies game last weekend, shocked to see the nice, new stadium had the most meager of beer selection. In fact, Sam Adams Summer was the only craft beer on tap in the entire joint as far as I could tell. Alas, I decided to give summer beers one more whirl. I’m glad I did. I’m certain I’ve had Sam Summer in the past, but I don’t recall it being this good. While most summer beers seem to be brewed for little sissies that don’t like the taste of beer and want the lowest of ABVs in order to not risk getting any alcohol poisoning, Sam still packs a bit of a punch. In fact, I kept asking my buddy, “Are we sure this is Sam Summer? Is it possible the tap was screwed up?!” It’s darker than most all pisswater yellow summer beers and actually has a nice, complex taste. Summer beer usually equals pussy beer (wouldn’t that be a great bottling, “Sam Adams Pussy”?) but not in this case. I don’t know if this is “how” you make a summer beer, but it’s how you make a tasty beer. Thus, based on a exceedingly small sample size and one single plastic cup draught at a ballgame, I will declare Sam Summer the best summer beer in the bid’ness.