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Archive for the ‘Brewer: Brasserie d'Achouffe’ Category

The Bruery 2 Turtle Doves

December 16th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie d'Achouffe, Brewer: High Point, Brewer: Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Brewer: The Bruery, Country: America, Country: Belgium, Grade: A-, Grade: A-/B+, Grade: B plus, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

12% ABV on tap

“You’re not sthupposed to review that.”

I turned to see some weaselly-looking pot-bellied virgin in a Blue Point pullover addressing me.  He had a slight lisp which is always more annoying than a full lisp for some reason*.

“’scuse me?”  Usually when I go to beer bars to geek out I go by myself and at off-hours so no one will see me nor bother me, the same strategy most XXX theater fanatics employ.

“You’re not sthupposed to officially review sthuch a small serving size.”

The pot-bellied weasel aimed his unkempt pointer finger at the flight of four beers I’d just ordered.  Rattle ‘n’ Hum was hosting a winter beer blowout and with dozens of brews I wanted to try and only an hour or two to spare on a Tuesday afternoon, I had no time for full pours.

The pot-bellied weasel had apparently seen me making a few reviewing notes on my iphone and, wanting to show off the sort of annoying pedagogy that would assure a lonely life for him, had pounced on me.

“You’re sthupposed to at least have an eight ounce pour to officially review something.  You’re not sthupposed to review so many beers in one sitting either.”  He started into a stuttering chuckle.  “You’re what, what, what we call a ‘ticker.’  Someone who tries to quickly review as many beers as possible just to say they drank them.”

I smiled knowingly and calmly, sipped one of the four beers in front of me.  I like being berated by asocial nerds with slight lisps.  It’s like getting dressed down by Don Rickles except totally the opposite.  I said nothing.

“I’m just telling you for your own good, man.”

The pot-bellied weasel had finished his rant and looked down, ashamed of his standing in life.

“What are you, on Beer Advocate?” I finally spoke.

“BA?  Yes I am.”

“What’s your user name?  I bet it’s something like stoutslurper69 or something.”

“I’m totallyhopsome.”

“And your avatar?  Which ‘Star Trek: The New Generation’ character did you pick?  Data or Geordi La Forge?”

He didn’t respond as I quickly looked up his profile on my iphone.

“Ah…Number Six.  Sexy.”

I held up one of my tiny glasses of beer.

“Let me tell you something.  It’s just beer.  Repeat after me:  it’s just beer.  Just a liquid.  You see, cool people like me use this liquid to enhance our lives.  We use it to make us feel good, to help us celebrate life, to aid in our understanding of the universe.  I’m already interesting enough as it is but this beer is going to make me even more interesting and in a few hours I’ll use that turbo-boost of charisma to perhaps pick up a woman, take her home, and then Greco-Roman wrestle with her.  So yeah, I suppose my beer reviews could be lacking, but at least I like myself.”

I may not go back to a bar for the rest of the month as over-flowing NYC bars seem to be currently divided between these people that don’t like themselves at all and people that like themselves a little too much.  Rattle ‘n’ Hum last night was a Sharks and Jets battle between these two incredibly annoying populations.  On one side we had a bunch of drunken yahoos who had just come from their official work Christmas parties.  Idiots in cheap suits and tacky skirts, flirting with that fat HR girl, the guido idiot in the mailroom.  Ripping on their a-hole bosses.  Slobbering, slurring, trying to dance.  What happens at the Christmas party stays at the Christmas party and I unfortunately had to witness it.

On the other side we had the self-loathing beer geeks, pedantic in their pseudo-scientific non-enjoyment of beer, embarrassing in the nerdy browbeating way they ordered from the bartenders (”Uh…could I have a tulip glass please!”), pitiable in the “big dick contest” way they bragged about what saught-after beers they’d tried recently, aloof in how they presented their disgusting visages to the world.  You’d think the kind of person that cares so much about the look, smell, and craftsmanship of a silly liquid would care as equally much about the look, smell, and craftsmanship of their own person.  Naw, better to just rip on beers with bad carbonation than to worry about getting the orange wax out of your ears and do a few deep-knee bends.

Flying solo I had just four beers, all in smallish serving vessels the geek was right, but you’d have to be a dunce not to “understand” these beers after only 4 or 5 ounces:

I love the concept of The Bruery’s 12 Days of Christmas vertical and I too one day, when I open my own brewery, hope to have my own holiday themed vertical:  The 10 Plagues of Passover series.  (”Trade you two Death of the First Born quads for a Locusts barley wine?”)  2 Turtle Doves is, no duh, the second in the series set to conclude on Jesus’s bday 2019 when I’ll be 40 years old, still unmarried and without kids, but with 12 dusty bottles of beer to drink.  Yay for having dreams!  2 Turtle Doves is another boozy winner from The Bruery, maybe the most buzz worthy beermakers around at this second in time.  Chocolaty, nutty, caramely and roasted with perhaps some dark fruit flavors, slightly sour, a cordial finish, it gets better with each sip.  Glad I have several bottles of this.  A-

N’ice Chouffe is an odd little bird.  Like a Christmasy Belgian strong pale.  Which is as exotic and weird as it sounds.  Spicy and yeasty, a true Belgian take on a winter warmer.  A-/B+

I’d been searching for Ramstein Winter Wheat for awhile as I’d heard this New Jersey–New Jersey?!–offering was in the Aventinus ballpark.  Ha, not quite.  Aventinus is an utter masterpiece and a paradigm of the weizenbock style.  Ramstein Winter Wheat is dark and boozy hot, especially for a mere 9.5% beer, packed with banana esters and cloves, a little lacking in complexity, flavor, and expected silkiness.  Still enjoyable though.  B+

Pretty Things Babayaga is a rich and roasty 7% stout with a nice thick but not too viscous of mouthfeel.  It apparently has rosemary in it which I love in concept–it’s a favored addition to naan for me–but don’t taste in execution.  A solid effort but not sui generis or extraordinary.  Like the best crafted Guinness Extra Stout you’ve ever had.  B+

*I greatly admire the genius that decided to name the condition for people that can’t speak correctly a word that they could never pronounce correctly.  Listhp.  Maybe that’s the true test.  As soon as you can pronounce lisp correctly, son, then we’ll know you don’t have one no more.

Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

January 26th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie d'Achouffe, Country: Belgium, Grade: A regular, Style: IPA

9% ABV from a bomber

That Guy

“A co-worker of mine is coming out to meet us.”

“Oh, that’s cool.”

“No.  It isn’t.  He’s a huge tool.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“I guarantee it won’t.  Just you wait.”

“Then why’d you invite him?”

“I didn’t.  Jimmy invited himself.”

Stanton and I were splitting a bomber of the glorious Houblon Chouffe before we headed out on the town.  A Belgian IPA somewhat similar to the best of the style our country has to offer.  Very hoppy with a nice bite, and a frothiness like an Orange Julius.  Smooth, creamy, and delicious.

Afterward, we headed to a no-frills midtown pub to further wet our whistles.  When it’s just us two, Stanton and I are pretty low-key bar flies, quietly tippling pint after pint while discussing the bullshit of the world.  Our peace was about to be destroyed by a force of nature the likes of which I had never seen before.

“Why don’t you pussies have a real drink?”

I turned to see a giant mouth of smiling horse teeth.  Jimmy’s.  His chompers looked like they may have been wooden or, at the least, synthetic.  Shiny, streamlined like the chrome of a ‘64 Olds, an almost ultraviolet tint like those cool lamps some bars have to see a hidden stamp on your hand.  He arrived dressed to the…well what’s the opposite of “the nines?”  A silk dress shirt adorned with a lot of purples and forest greens swirling together in a vomitous array.   The top rakishly unbuttoned down to his sternum displaying a ghostly pale bird chest paradoxically with flappy man boobs and curlicues of chest hair more befitting the pubis.  The shirt was tautly tucked into navy blue chinos from either Dockers or Haggar.  They were clearly “wrinkle-free” and “stain-free” if those advertisements are to be believed.  A braided belt, natch.  Cheap DSW shoe warehouse wingtips so scuffed they looked like he had played a full rugby season in them.  And his hair do, oh his hair do.  Coarse black wires “butt-parted” down the middle and Aquanetted firmly to his skull, the around-the-ears and neck area shaved to the follicle, making Jimmy look like a moron wearing a retard hair helmet.

“Hey Jimmy, this is Aaron.”

“Nice to meet you dude, man there are no bitches in this place at all!  Total sausage fest!  Total sausage, huh dude?”

As Jimmy hopped and bopped like a coked-out “Roxbury Guy,” checking out the scene, I askanced my eyes toward Stanton.  He was rolling his.

“Where’s the fucking bartender?  I need to get my drink on.”

Jimmy was one of those guys that can’t even be caricatured.  Their core, their mere existence, is one of satire.  Ever see a movie that has a douchebag tool stock character?  And you go, “Yeah, true, that character was funny, but he wasn’t real!  People like that don’t really exist.”  Oh yes they do, friend-o.  They are Jimmy, a one man cottage industry of “Did he really say that?” catch phrases you will be repeating the rest of your life.

The attractive and busty female bartender came over to serve Jimmy.  He did a histrionic eye-pop ogle at her cleavage before holding out his hand, taking her’s, and doing a cringe-worthy kiss on the back of it.

“Hey sweetheart, I’m Jimmy, good to meetcha.  My pussy friends are done drinking beer for the night.  We want some ‘real’ drinks.  Three rum and Cokes.  Easy on the Coke, ha ha, catch my drift?”

The bartender scooted away biting her tongue to try and not laugh. This was getting borderline embarrassing as you are nothing if not the company you keep, but Jimmy had barely scratched the surface.  As she returned with the $18 round Jimmy snapped a twenty on the bar, firmly looking her in the eyes as if he had given her a hyoooooge tip.

“And keep ‘em coming, toots.”

Jimmy turned to us.

“Let’s shoot some stick.”

“Stick?”

Jimmy rolled his eyes like “Who are these fucking hayseeds that don’t know this popular 21st century argot?”

“Pool?  Billiards?”

“Oh, I guess.  I don’t really like pool that much but whatev–”

“Great.”

Jimmy was already at the table furiously chalking his cue as if he knew what he was doing.  He obviously didn’t as upon finishing the chalking he “blew out” the point as if he was the Sundance Kid cooling down his six-shooter, a sure sign of an amateur pool shark.

“What should we play boys?  Eight ball?  Nine ball?  Straight?  One pocket?  Bank?  Three-rail?”

“I think eight ball will be fine.”

“Ha.  Amateurs.  OK, that’s cool.  I usually play straight but this table looks a little…”

Jimmy put his stick on the table and rolled it, keeping his eye at table level like a jeweler examining a diamond.

“Yeah, this table’s a little crooked and certainly not tournament size, but, hey, play with what you got.  So, wanna make it interesting?”

“Sure.”‘

Stanton pulled out his wallet, “Dollar a ball, Five a game?”

Jimmy started uproariously laughing.  “I said ‘interesting.’  I was thinking more like…”

He did a Dr. Evil smirk.

“Five thousand dollars.”

Stanton and I started cracking up.

“Oh, you guys can’t afford that?  Pathetic.”

Stanton glared at Jimmy, “And you can?  You have the exact same job as me.  And actually, I know you make even less than me.”

“I invest well and I’m a good gambler, what can I say?  Shit, I just lost $100,000 last weekend playing darts with Bon Jovi in AC.  No big deal.  You win some you lose some.  I’m up like…”

He stared at the ceiling, “counting” in his head.

“…half a mill for the year.”

Stanton and I burst into even heartier laughter.  Jimmy didn’t know he was being mocked.  The game got under way at the dollar-a-ball bet and I won.  I’m not good at pool but Jimmy was terrible.  Buffoonishly bad.  After losing, Jimmy started acting like John McEnroe after a bad line call, throwing shit and raising a ruckus.  He even took his cue and snapped it over his knee, splitting it in two which I must admit was actually kinda impressive.  At the time though I was pissed because I like the bar we were in and if any one had saw it we were clearly going to get 86ed for life.

Jimmy wasn’t concerned though as he cavalierly opened the back door and threw the two cue pieces into the alley.  We headed back to the bar where amazingly no one had noticed the scene at the pool table.

“Let’s have some music.”

Jimmy fumbled in his pocket, coming up empty.

“Any one got some quarters?”

We were now openly mocking Jimmy.  “The man with ‘half a mil’ in the bank doesn’t have a measly quarter?”

“First of all, I don’t have ‘half a mil’ in net worth, it’s actually a ton more than that.  Most of my money is tied up in various investments.  What’s your guy’s portfolios look like?  I bet you don’t own any stock at all, do you?  Time to grow up, fellas.”

I handed Jimmy a few quarters and he headed to the juke box giving Stanton and I time to collude.

“Is that guy for fucking real?”

Stanton could only shake his head, so humiliated.

“Imagine working ten hours a day with him.”

“MMMMMMMMMMMMMYYY name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid Rock!”

We turned to see Jimmy furiously air-guitaring after having just ordered Kid Rock’s “Bawitdaba.”  It was such an obvious order, such a predictable music selection, Jimmy was not only meeting all my expectations but he was exceeding them.  I was in awe at the mere magnitude of his magnificent foolishness.

He air-guitar boot-scooted around the bar, using moves akin to those of Marty McFly when he played the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.  By now, the whole bar was staring at Jimmy as he tried to get women to rise from their seats and dance with him.  None obliged.

Afterward, Jimmy returned to his seat between me and Stanton, the two of us too stupefied to even speak.

“We got to kick this party up a notch, boys.  I’m gonna buy a shot for every female in the bar.  Hey!”

Jimmy started snapping his fingers at the bartender like he was Frank Sinatra summoning his minions.

I looked at Stanton, our eyes both saying, “He’s not really gonna do this is he?”

The bartender arrived.  “I’d like to buy a drink for every lady in the bar.”

The bartender laughed.  “Seriously?”

“Absolutely.  ‘Ladies choice.’  Whatever they like.  Price is not an issue.”

“Ooooooookay, but it could get expensive.”

Jimmy reached in his back pocket and like a swashbuckler unsheaths his sword, he whipped out an American Express Blue.*

“I assume you take American Express…Blue?”

The bartender eyeballed a head count of the women in the bar.  Stanton and I did too.  We counted about fifty.  Average drink six bucks, this was gonna run Jimmy a lot.

As the bartender sucked it up and walked around the bar explaining to every woman in attendance–most of whom were with men of course–what was going on, Jimmy stood self-satisfied with his hands on his hips like Superman, smiling his big smile as he bobbed his head to the music, swiveling around to examine the scene around him.

“I’m gonna have to fight off the pussy with a stick after this!”

If only we could have heard the conversation the bartender was having with each woman.  I’d imagine it went something like this:

“See over my shoulder, that ugly goofball with the big teeth?  Yeah?  Well, this may sound weird but he wants to buy you a drink.  Oh, no, he’s not hitting on you, not exactly, he’s buying a drink for every female here from that old lady in the corner to even all the betrothed.”

After each lengthy explanation you could see the look in the girls’ eyes, a look of confusion followed by a shrug and a “Well, I guess I have nothing to lose” nod of agreement.  Beers, vodka tonics, red wines, and shots started quickly being dispensed for all.

I was becoming curious.  “Jimmy, are you going to like stand on the bar and toast all the women simultaneously once they have their drinks?  Shouldn’t you at least make your presence known to all?”

Jimmy snorted at me with disdain.  “Get real.  Only a douchebag would do that.”

He gave an over the shoulder “Do you believe this guy” thumb point at me, thinking Stanton was clearly in his corner.

By now every woman had her drink and nothing had happened.  Nothing.  Jimmy was still bobbing his head, readying his stick to fight off the pussy with.  Finally after like ten minutes an average woman came over.

“Are you the guy that bought all the drinks?”

Jimmy smiled coyly and winked at her.

“Oh.  Well thanks.  That was nice.”

She left the bar with her boyfriend.

And that was it.  The only girl that even spoke to him.

The bartender tapped Jimmy on his shoulder and handed him the leatherbound bill folder.  He flapped it open:  $351.

For just a split second I saw Jimmy’s eyes bulge, his brow sweat, and his mandible fall to the floor.  But he quickly recouped and dismissively tacked on a $100 tip and celebrity scribble of an autograph.

“Big deal.  I spend that much in five minutes when I’m partying in Vegas.”

You could see that he clearly didn’t expect to spend that much money and probably didn’t even have it.

“This place fucking sucks any ways and the women are ugly bitches.  I’m calling my driver.”

He pulled out a business card for some livery service and punched some numbers into his cell.

“Takes me all the way home to Clifton for only ten bucks.”

And ten minutes later Jimmy was gone.  A hurricane of hilarity.  It had felt like only ten minutes but he had actually been in my life for about three hours.  I will never forget meeting him.  How many people can you say that about?

Stanton told me the next day that–en route to his mother’s house in Clifton where he still lives–Jimmy threw up in “his” driver’s car.  Oh, and was charged $75.

A

*No annual fee, not particularly hard to own if you are older than, say, 18 years of age.

Bachelor Tip:  Don’t be a tool, get bar stools that exude subtle confidence and simple modern design.

This helpful hint is provided by All Barstools.