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Archive for the ‘Brewer: Goose Island’ Category

Goose Island Bourbon Country Brand Coffee Stout

May 13th, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 12 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Goose Island, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Grade: A-, Grade: B plus

13% ABV from a bomber

I always get asked by non-beer geeks what my favorite beer is.  It would be easy to be a snob and name some hard to find curio that they’ll never get to try, that I may never get to try again, but that’s just annoying.  So I usually name Goose Island’s Bourbon Country Brand Stout, a masterpiece of a beer that can be easily found just about anywhere and which, despite the lack of rarity, stacks up with anything and everything.  I never get tired of it.

You can imagine my excitement when news came that 2010 would see the release of several new iterations of the beer.  It was like hearing a half-dozen new sequels would be made of your favorite movie!*  Last year saw the release of Nightstalker, essentially just Bourbon County before being bourbon-barrelized–I think it’s apt that while most breweries are bourbon-barrelizing ever solid beer they make, Goose Island, arguably the creator of the modern bourbon barreled stout decides to reverse engineer it back to its base–and that was a swell little brew with a breathtaking complexity.

The first release of this new series was Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout and, while I of course expected it to be rarer than its godfather, I never expected it to fly off shelves as quick as it has and become one of the rarest and hottest beers on the market today.  Luckily, luckily, luckily–because I would have cried if I’d missed out–my man Sam surprised me with a bottle and I am eternally grateful.  Simply put, this beer stacks up to its predecessor if not most of the bad boy stouts on the market.  I had it alongside, just off the top of my head, Black Tuesday, Canadian Breakfast Stout, Darkness, and several Dark Lord vintages and it was definately able to mix it up with those bullies.

Regular Bourbon County seems to have been specifically created for me.  Deliciously hot and boozy, packed with chocolate and vanilla and about as un-subtle as a beer can get, the Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso added to this Bourbon County Coffee makes it a little smoother, a little more palatable, a little more “user-friendly.”  I can completely understand why this effort has meteorically shot up to, as we speak, #3 on the BA Top 100 list while the regular Bourbon County languors a little lower at #45.  Bourbon County Coffee simply has less things to dislike about it.  Personally, I think I like the initial effort just a tad better–I like the harshness of it–but let’s say that maybe two out of seven days of the week I might like Coffee Brand better.  It may even be the best coffee beer ever made.  Not to be missed.

A+

Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

13% on tap

I thought I could relax in my whale-hunting for a bit as the 2nd release in the Bourbon County series wasn’t slated until October but while procrastinating yesterday afternoon I happened to notice online that The Pony Bar was having a Goose Island event which would have this little gem on tap.  Not sure if I’d ever luck into a bottle of this, I had to hightail it over to Hell’s Kitchen for what I’d long expected to be my favorite of the Bourbon County series.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Bourbon County Vanilla is good, amazing even, but just a little lacking and certainly not in the class of regular, Coffee, or even Nightstalker.  It’s incredibly hot and boozy right now which is saying something when it’s coming from a guy like me who likes hot and boozy (and not just in my women.)  It’s also extraordinary sweet right now.  Bourbon-barreled beers are already quite vanilla-y due to the bourbon and oak presence and adding even more vanilla on top of that makes it almost superfluous.  A “Death by Vanilla” your favorite Times Square chain restaurant might call it on the dessert menu.  The eight ounce glass I had was more than enough.  This is a quite interesting beer but it could surely use some age, which makes me wonder if the bottled release in October might be significantly better.  Let’s hope.  Until then, though, I’m gonna give it an…

A-

To my knowledge there’s quite a few more iterations coming, though I’m not sure that all will be bottled.  A raspberry one, a “rare” one aged in 23-year old Pappy Van Winkle barrels (one of my favorite bourbons ever), and a blueberry one that, oddly enough, several “people in the know” keep insisting is the best.  Excited to try all of them.  Hopefully.

Maple Bacon Stout

6.5% on tap

One of the worst things about being a beer “collector” is that if you see a beer you’ve never tried before, and may never get to try again, and you want to try it…well, regardless of your plans for the day, you’re going to have to try that beer.  It’s not like being a coin collector or something where, if you hear about a rare coin somewhere you can just sprint downtown and buy it.  No, us beer geeks actually have to affect our bodies’ chemistry to enjoy our hobby.  So while I had absolutely no plans to get drunk yesterday, to have even a sip of alcohol, the second I started seeing all these Goose Island oddball rarities on tap, I had no option but to drink them.  I mean, this could be my only chance ever!  And there was no way I was passing up something called “Maple Bacon Stout.”

Not another issue from the Bourbon County series, just a “simple” “low” (enough with the scare quotes) ABV stout, but with some seriously weird shit going on.  It smells like a meaty rauchbier (a style I just haven’t got into yet) but the maple addition adds a nice sweetness to the taste that levels it out and makes it a quite pleasant non-imperial (an endangered species!) stout.  I considered asking for a one ounce taster before purchasing a full glass but, fuck it, I’m a man.  I dove in head first.  Glad I did, cause this one was pretty good.  It’s the perfect beer for those kind of ugly fattish girls that like to pretend they enjoy stuff that men like in order to ingratiate themselves to said men.  “See, I’m not like those other girls–I like beer!  And bacon!  And football!  And giving you unrequited head in the men’s bathroom!”

B+

*Then again, I wish that single sequel had NEVER been made to “2001:  A Space Odyssey.”

Goose Island Juliet and Sofie

July 14th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Goose Island, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B plus, Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale, Style: Wild Ale

Was lucky enough to get to try the two newest releases from Goose Island’s Reserve Series, and here are your reporter’s humble findings.

Juliet

6.7% ABV on tap

It had been a real struggle to find this wild ale that’s been getting magnificent reviews, so when I learned that the very much underrated UWS beer bar George Keeley’s inexplicably had the only keg in the city, I decided to start Happy Hour at 2:00 PM and head up there.  So new, a tap doesn’t even exist for it–that’s just a computer label hastily scotch taped onto the handle–Juliet has an absolutely tantalizing description on the brewery website:  “Fermented with wild yeasts and aged in Cabernet barrels with blackberries, Juliet is a tart, fruity, complex ale. Notes of wood, tannin, dark fruit and spice make Juliet an ideal beer to suggest to Pinot Noir enthusiasts and beer drinkers who are fond of Belgian sour ales.”  Alas, I found that description a tad more erotic than the beer itself, though, don’t get me wrong, this is a very, very good beer.  Somewhat lacking in flavor upon first sip, the wild yeasts eventually came through strong, stinging my uvula with every sip for I have neglected to mention that I was nursing a sore throat.  It went down harsh but the taste was still great.  I probably should have just gargled and spat to prevent the intense throat pain.  But that wouldn’t be fair.  Oh, what I do for you guys, playing through the pain.  I truly am the Willis Reed of beer reviewing.

A-

Sofie

6.5% ABV bottled

The Captain secured this bottle for me, Goose Island’s wild yeasted and aged in wine barrels saison.  Wow is it fizzy, foamy, and effervescent.  Tingly on the mouth like champagne, a slight sourness from the wild yeast.  Tastes of citrus and pepper, this a solid enough saison though perhaps a tad boring.  Just like this review.

B+

And thus, my final overall rankings for the Goose Island Reserve Series:

1.  Matilda
2.  Juliet
3.  Pere Jaques
4.  Sofie

But they’re all quite swell.  Goose Island continues to make some pretty great to even mindblowing stuff and prove they are one of the Midwestern’s finest breweries.

Summer Beers

June 12th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Goose Island, Brewer: Surly, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Grade: B-/C+, Style: ESB, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

One of the most detestable arguments a craft beer enthusiast can have with a macro swilling moron is when it comes to warm weather tippling.  We’ve heard them all.  “You don’t want one of yer fancy beers while out there on the golf course.  Ya need a frosty Bud Light.”  “Can’t have one of those dark brews you drink on the beach, ya need a chilled Corona.”  “You really wanna sit on a patio with those expensive bombers you like, ya need an ice cold can of Coors.”

Ugh.  Just because the weather’s hot I need to drink shit?!  There’s plenty of flavorful beers out there that also manage to be “refreshing” and even lower-ABV, stuff like Three Floyds Gumballhead, countless saisons, and even some of the bigger microbreweries’ boringly labeled for the mainstream “summer” beers are quite nice, notably Sam Adams’ offering.

I’m the kind of man who has no problem drinking a snifter of 20% stout even in 100 degree heat–oh, the looks at get at the nudist beach!–but there will be times in the next three months or so that I need something a little lighter, so it was with great enthusiasm that I tried two summer, but not “summer,” offerings from two of my favorite breweries.

Surly Bitter Brewer

4% ABV canned

Oh, my beloved brewery.  The Minnesota cans-only brewery that’s instantly become one of my favorites.  I don’t get to have it often because its current distribution reach is super-limited, but every time The Captain hooks me up with a new offering I am eternally grateful…and then floored.  There’s their awesome IPA Furious (A-), gorgeous brown Bender (A-), inventive farmhouse Cynic (A-), infused Coffee Bender (A-) and of course their wax dipped and rare Darkness, perhaps the best stout on planet earth (A+).  Thus, it is always with much excitement when I hear a new release from them is on the market.  Unfortunately, Bitter Brewer is the first Surly I haven’t unequivocally loved.  It undoubtedly smells great with a nice floral and citrus aroma, but the taste just isn’t there.  It’s really watery.  Like a slightly off homebrew.  Having said that, they go down easy and I could drink a zillion of these.  It’s obviously a superior summer beer to anything in the BMC family or Corona, but it’s nothing special.  I hate to say this, but the fact that this bordering-on-”near”-beer offering gets an A- on Beer Advocate is nothing but Surly fanboyism.  I gotta think if this was a macro offering it would be absolutely skewered by the geek community.

B-/C+

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale

4.2% ABV bottled

Goose Island is yet another brewery I much adore with their glorious A pluses Bourbon County Stout and Night Stalker.  This brew is completely on the other end of the dark and kick-your-ass spectrum, but I was still excited to try it and it didn’t disappoint.  I don’t typically like American wheat beers but 312 is solid.  A lemony crispness and…well, wheat.  Wheat and lemon, that’s about it.  Nicely put together, not complex in the least, but still quite tasty.  Refreshing but boring.  Ain’t nothing wrong with that.  A mild success, a good summer offering.

B

Goose Island Night Stalker

June 10th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Goose Island, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Stout

11.7% ABV on tap

No matter their ethnicity, race, intelligence, classiness, drunkenness, wealth, politics, ideals, or odor, I’m always willing to listen to an older man tell me a thing or too about love and sex.  The rare topics that advanced age always gives advanced wisdom too.  Usually.

I was drinking alone on an early evening at the Ginger Man, pre-barring at a bar if that’s possible, before meeting up with some macro-loving friends.  I had nearly fallen out of my chair the previous night when I had seen the rare Night Stalker first appear on Beer Menus and needed to score some before it got tapped.  (For the record NYC folks, I do believe Night Stalker should be around for at least a few more weeks, but I’d still advise hitting up the GM post-haste.)

One of the most buzzed-about beers in America right now, the Goose Island offering has had a meteoric rise up to the #33 beer in the world slot on Beer Advocate’s top 100.  (Then again, we are in the era of super-hyped (and sometimes over-hyped) beers that go straight from released to the top 100 list in a matter of days it seems.)  But, being that Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is one of my absolute favorite brews around, I was fiending to try this one.  You see, Night Stalker is essentially Bourbon County sans bourbon barreling.  Jet black and rich, so chocolaty and full of bold espresso goodness, this sucker makes Brooklyn’s awesome Intensified Coffee Stout taste like motherfucking decaf.  It’s easy to just think that Bourbon County Stout minus the boozy bourbon would make it far less complex and tasty, but truth be told, eliminating that bourbon actually allows many new flavors to shine through creating a just as complex stout.  Certainly not a “lesser” one by any means.  Night Stalker is more bitter than Bourbon County, “dry hop(ped) like madmen” says Goose Island, more chewy, and more spicy.  Alas, I will not go so far to call it as legendary as Bourbon County Stout but it is fantastic nonetheless.  And it may very well now be my favorite unbarreled stout. Is that possible?!  Brooklyn Black Chocolate, Avery Mephistopheles’, Dark Horizon, Lost Abbey Serpent’s, Kate the Great…yeah, I think it is very well amongst that esteemed class.

Lost in my own world, my nose inhaling the Night Stalker like I was a Hebrew anteater, slurping it down greedily, my romance was ruined by those few denizens in my vicinity.  Behind me, two yahoos in cheap Red Wings sweaters with thick yet ambiguous and unlocateable accents swigged Bud Light bottles and shouted at the screen as Marc-Andre Fluery let another cheap goal trickle in.  They were scaring, to my right, two Asian skanks seemingly having a pow-wow about whether becoming hookers during a recession was a savvy economic strategy.  And to my left, a wasted mustachioed harlequin in a sleeveless T harangued the bartender.

“Eh cutie.  ‘ow can youse possibly be oldanuff to bah-tend?!  Youse mustbe like…I dunno, justa kid…hey, when can I kiss yer palm?  Naw, not the palm, dat’s not what I meant.  Whatevah’s on da udder side of da palm, dat’s what I want to kiss, like a real gentleman.  While yer attit, couldja gimme a’nudder rum ‘n coke?  Dubba.”

The bartender put on her best face, working for no doubt a tip that would be culled from the lint covered coins in his Dickies.  “What rum would you like, sir?”

“Eh, howzabout Cap’n Morgan?  Naw, wait.  Make’it Bacaw-dee.  Naw, naw, Cap’n’s good.  Bacaw-dee.  Eh, Cap’n'll work.”

“Is that your final answer?”

I was getting annoyed with this edition of “Scumbag Millionaire” as I made some more nasal love to my snifter of splendid stout wondering why the great Ginger Man always attracts such non-craft-beer-loving miscreants.

“It ain’t ‘er palm I’s really wantta kiss.  Heh, heh, heh.  Eh guy, ain’t dey got duh hottest liddle numbahs in here?”

A forearm with a tattoo of Popeye with a tattoo on his own forearm needled me in my tenth rib.

“Uh, I suppose.”

There was really not a women in the joint worth getting in a tizzy over.

“Ya’ think that bah-tender’d fucka guy like me?  Naw, course’not.  Dat’s whatyer thinkin’ right?  Some ugly mook like me?”

He stared right at my face, dramatically pausing as if he was about to blow my mind.

“Well youse wrong.  Lemme tell you sumpin’ bout women.  D’ere all sluts.  Every last one of dem.  Even my ma’, god rest her soul.  My old man walked in on her suckin’ off da’ plumber.  Nudder story for anudder day my friend…”

I hoped that “nudder” day would never come for me as I listened to Popeye Guy’s romance tips.

1.  Get her wasted

“Foist of all, ya gotta get da chicks loaded.  Make’em match youse drink fer drink.  Look’at me.  Been drinkin’ since nine ay-em and you’d t’ink I’d just been sippin’ cola, right?  And if a girl’s wit me, she’d be messed up big time b’now.  D’ese gals wanna be sluts but when dey’re sober dey’s just fuckin’ bitches.  Getta cocktail or two in’dem and soon you’ll have your cock in’dem too.  Heh, poetic right?  Like champagne for my real pain…sham friends…how’da fuck dat clevah line go?”

2.  Be old and wise

“D’ese girls respeck a guy with age, wiz-dum.  I’m fiddy-two.  I know, I know, shocked’ya agin.  Prolly thought I was yer age.  Naw, when I was yer age, hant-some, vig-er-rus, I didn’t even need ta’go’ta bahs to pick up chicks.  Dey was just bangin’ down my door so dey could bang down wit me.  Ha, look at dat, I was poetic again.  I’m a real…uh…name a poet or something.  I’m a real Dr. Soooze.  What ‘as I sayin’?  Oh, yeah, young girls want to be with an old guy who knows what ‘e’s doin’ like me.”

3.  Act manly

“Butcha’ also gotta act like’a real man.  Ladies wanna feel like ladies and dey want a man dat’s a man.  I see all deese little sissies walkin’ around Man’at-ten nowadays.  I dunno whether dey’re gay’re straight but dey’re all fag’its if you ax me.  That ain’t no slur, and I ain’t na’ ‘omophobic or nuttin’.  I juss calls ‘em like I sees ‘em and dey’s a buncha fag’its.  Dey don’t make guys like me no more.  Real men.  Now you look alright.  Not tough or anyt’ing but not a fuckin’ pussy or nuttin’.  But compared ta’ these udder guys your age you’re fuckin’ John Wayne.  Even wit dat fag’it fancy beer in yer hand.”

4.  Pretend your rich

“But manliness ain’t enuff.  These sluts also like a guy with a little coin if ya’ know what I’m sayin’.  I’ma classy guy, ya’ know, and I like to treat my ladies well so I’ll take’em ta nice places, chop’ouses, planning on pickin’ up da’ bill.  But da’ second a girl ack-shully axes me to buy ‘er sumpin’, I’m like, ‘Buy youse sumpin’?!, why don’tchoo suck on my cock?’  Naw, that doesn’t always work but it has before a few times.  I still had to buy dinner though.”

5.  Be great in bed

“Now dis is da most impor-ent point, my friend.  More important den any udder nugget’a wiz-dum I’s given you tonight:  Fuck’er like she ain’t done nevah been fucked before.  You make’a bitch cum and she’ll never leave ya’ side.  Believe me.  Truth be told, I can’t fuck deese bitches one-hundert percent because I’m so good that they’ll stalk me and my pecker forevah.  So I usually just fuck’em at like…say…sixty percent first few times.  Let her know I have da’ tools, but I choose to use them at my discretion.  Dat way, she’s in my control forevah.”

By now I was done with my slow-sipping Night Stalker and had to get going to meet up with my friends.  I thanked the man for his swell advice and he thanked me for listening by picking up my pint.  As I left he winked at me and nodded at the cute bartender with her back to us–it was time for the “expert” to go in for the solo kill.

Unfortunately, I didn’t follow any of Popeye Guy’s advice that night and I went to bed alone at 5 AM.

Coincidence?

I think not!

A+

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout

December 24th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Goose Island, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Stout

13% ABV bottled (2008 BATCH)

Beer connoisseurship is kind of like drug addiction.  I just realized this.  Every “lower” beer a gateway to something higher.  Once you’ve had a 6% stout it becomes hard to ever enjoy a 5% one.  And once you’ve had a 10% beer it becomes hard to enjoy that 6% one you so used to love.  Bourbon or whiskey barrel that 10% brew and now a “normal” 10% tastes like a Coors Light!  It’s a slippery fucking slope.  Us beer geeks are always looking for the higher buzz and it makes us jaded men and women.  It’s not a good thing to be at the point where throwing back pale ales is like drinking a root beer.

I’d been anxious to try Bourbon County for several years now.  It’s not exactly a rare beer, but it never seems to make it to the East Coast.  Though it seems now that its distribution has been kicked up a notch throughout all of America.  The 29th ranked beer in the world, my friend had lucked into a bottle the day before Thanksgiving.  On Thanksgiving day, when he went to grab the bottle, it placed atop the fridge, he slammed the Kenmore a little too strongly and the bottle rocked, rocked, rocked and then in slow motion tumbled the five feet, shattering with a glorious and potent explosion.

In shock and holding back tears, we fell to the floor, using our fingers like a cat uses his paws in a milk dish in order to taste a little of the wasted brew.  Yes, despicable but true.  We had no choice.  We thought we might never get to try it again.  Fortunately, I again found a bottle of it this week and snatched the sucker up.

Aged in sixteen-year-old charred oak bourbon barrels for 10 months this is one massive brew.  One Beer Advocate commentator described it as a “beer-aged bourbon.”  That about sums it up.  This one kicked my ass and I spent well over two hours indulging in the 12 ounce bottle.

Packed with hints of vanilla, caramel, smoke, chocolate, and a prominent and scalding bourbon booziness which I totally dig, this is right up there with Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and the likewise bourbon-barreled Schlafly Reserve.  In fact, I will go so far as to say that this is the second best stout I’ve had in my life after Darkness.

A+

Goose Island Matilda

June 17th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Goose Island, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Strong Ale

7% ABV on draught

Remember that beer I passed on and thus missed out on back in this entry? I never named the beer but it was indeed Goose Island Matilda. I thought I might not get to ever try this brew until one of my beer spies tipped me off that the great Valhalla had it on tap. Being that the bar is only a kicked aluminum can in distance from the discarded refrigerator box I call home in Hell’s Kitchen, I was soon headed there. Upon arriving though, the bartender claimed that all they currently had available from Goose Island was their IPA. This confused me.

If there’s one quibble I have with Valhalla it’s how fucking dark they keep the place (which explains my obscenely dark photos). You’d need fucking infrared goggles to see the taps on the wall. Shouldn’t a bar that prides itself on its diversity and plethora of beer want it so people can actually see what they goddamn offer?! And, the beer menus they have for perusal are not much help either as they never seem to update them. In fact, the menu I was reading still listed Dogfish Head Aprihop on it — a beer that hasn’t been in release since at least March or April. Furthermore, I counted some 48 taps on their wall, yet only 31 beers on the menu. What the fuck? Finally, while finishing my first quaff, a Nostradamus Brown Ale, I noticed that there were in fact two of the iconic Goose Island taps on the wall.

I called the surly bartender over to me, he was already annoyed with my multitude of questions. “What’s that tap?” I pointed to one gooseneck. “It’s the IPA.” “OK, then what’s that one?” I pointed to the other gooseneck all the way on the other side of the wall near the slutty female bartender’s “station.” He curiously walked over. “It says Matilda, but we’re not supposed to have that one.” He poured himself a tiny sample, sipped it. Indeed it was Matilda. At last!

Good things come to little boys that wait. I sipped the beer they weren’t supposed to have. And it was niiiiiiiiiiiice. Served in a gargantuan balloon glass, more befitting some five-scoop banana split buttfuck sundae from Serendipity or some other girly place where you ask for your ice cream with two spoons to share with your amore. Or, more likely your other fat and ugly girlfriends.

Matilda is so alcoholic, so tasty. Right in my wheelhouse. Without looking I had no idea on the style but I would have guessed a strong, strong ale which indeed it is, though not as potent as it actually tastes. It does have a near perfect mix of alcohol, hops, maltiness, and sweetness. Also a touch of juniper which gives it hints of gin flavoring which is fairly unique for a beer. I must admit, though, the Matilda just didn’t quite blow my mind (or any other body part!) enough to give it a full A. Nor does it seem to truly offer anything better than my most favorite strong ales (Arrogant Bastard for one). A damn solid brew though and I look forward to drinking it again, if I ever find it again. I could see myself growing to like this one more than I did on my first sampling.

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.