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Port Wipeout IPA & 3rd Anniversary

August 10th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Port, Country: America, Grade: A-/B+, Grade: B plus, Style: IPA

Carl and I arrived by car late.  Around 7 or so on that particular Friday evening.  The huge cabin was already packed with every single other person we would be sharing it with that weekend.  Most had arrived early in the morning and immediately launched into the festivities, which were still underway.  And by “festivities,” I mean near-suicidal drinking of keg beer and cheap rum.

We were at a cabin in the middle of nowhere, the kind of place so removed from the rest of society that you don’t even quite know where you are on the map.  You find yourself continually asking those around you, “So where exactly are we?  What state are we in?”  New York?  Pennsylvania?  West Virginia perhaps?  Eh, it doesn’t matter, could be any one of them.  The nearest major city hours away.  The nearest town some twenty dirt road miles away and all that’s there is a gas station with pumps that still have analog numbering like a 1960s alarm clock and a single diner whose hours are 7 AM til noon, Monday through Thursday.

Upon entering, Carl and I were immediately handed a Solo cup of beer and urged to accept the two empty slots for an upcoming game of Flip Cup.  Which I thought was a little gay–not a word I use often–being that the game consisted of all men.  In fact, the cabin visitors were all men save one, who I will discuss just one paragraph from now.  Flip Cup is a coed drinking game for reasons twofold:  1.  men play drinking games of actual skill (beer pong, quarters, uh, I guess that’s it…) because they have actual skills.  2.  men play drinking games of no skill such as Flip Cup because it gets women drunk, and quickly, and thus turns them libidinous.  At least we think it does.  When we’re younger.

But the one woman at the cabin for the weekend was not playing Flip Cup.  Nor did she appear particularly drunk as she slowly sipped on a rum and generic diet cola in the corner, staring at the window.  Kathy was really attractive in a bit of a bohemian manner.  Long curly hair and a knit mosaic shirt but with Nikes on her feet.

Back then, in the first few years of this century, I really didn’t know how to attract a woman.  How to seduce her.  My gamplan was pretty much:  be around her, and near her, more than any other competing man was around her.  Or near her.  I think that’s the same strategy bonobos employ and those chimps gets laid a fuck ton.  Well I didn’t back then, but, surprisingly, that passive strategy worked on occasion.  Especially if alcohol was involved.

So we’d grill up some burgers and hot dogs on the patio.  And I’d stand beside her.

We’d hike through the woods.  I’d hike next to her.  Our arms or bare legs occasionally, accidentally, brushing each other.

We’d canoe and I’d be in the oar position behind her.

Beer pong in the cabin, I’d be her teammate.  Give her overenthusiastic, a little too long, high fives when she sank a shot.  “Yay, we won!” lift her off the ground hugs in victory.

And when we roasted s’mores around midnight, I sat on the very same log with her.  Chivalrously helped her thread her marshmallow onto a twig.

My strategy was not without opposition though as seemingly every other man on our trip was pursuing Kathy.  And I couldn’t guard her at all times!  I’d go to piss in the woods and come back to find Steve playing horseshoes with her.  I’d take a quick shower and return to find Tony teaching her how to shotgun a can of beer.  Help start the campfire and now Mikey was side-by-side her in a game of Flip Cup.

To be fair, only one of us men was not pursuing, more like not harassing surely from her eyes, the great Kathy.  Only one man seemingly had no interest in her.  Carl.  No, Carl was too busy getting wasted.  He was polishing off a beer seemingly every ten minutes and was well lit up as darkness rolled in.  Bumbling and stumbling in the cabin and around the cabin.  Talking nonsense.  Singing to himself.  Laughing and joking solo.  He was wasted but active.  Bursting with energy like he was hopped up on something.  By now we were pretty much ignoring him.  He wasn’t annoying us by any means, but he had just become a ubiquitous camp jester, always in sight.

Did I think I had a shot with Kathy?  Eh.  Who knows?  Back then I truly got “lucky.”  Nowadays, assuming I’m not too drunk and too out of sorts, I can quickly and easily assess a situation.  Whether a girl is disinterested in me, just toying with me for an ego boost, whether she wants to take me home, chastely make out with me in the corner, fuck me all night long, bear my child, etc.  Sure, there’s the occasional surprise, erratic behavior, sexual Black Swan Omega 3 event, but I pretty much always know.

But back then, I had no fucking clue.  Was Kathy grinning at me because I was staying stupid drunk shit?  Or because she was imagining me naked?  Was she patting my back because she thought I was choking?  Or because she wanted my dick in her mouth?

I had no idea.  Nor did I have any idea how to transition from me, her, and half a dozen other drunken dudes sitting around a campfire at 2 AM, to just me and her being in my small bedroom-for-the-weekend on the third floor of the cabin.

If it was just us two, surely I wouldn’t bungle it, I could do a mild gamble, make somewhat of a move, feel out the sexual situation, but in this situation, I had no idea how to separate her wheat from the chaff of my friends.

So I would just have to wait them out.  Stay up later than them and hope she did too.  Unfortunately, my friends were as inept as I, and had the same terrible plan as me.  Like those “Hands on a Hardbody” competitions at hick county fairs, our incompetent attempts to get laid by a most-likely unwilling and unwitting participant continued.  Whereas at the fair, a half-dozen men in cut-off jorts, sleeveless shirts, and Dale, Jr. hats tried to see how long they could keep their hand on a cheap pick-up truck in order to win it, we all tried to outlast each other to hopefully, before day break, get to have our hands finally on Kathy’s hardbody.

First Mikey broke.  Then Gerry.  The end was nigh.  I was getting a second wind.  My ability to not get too sleepy from alcohol has always been a great attribute and now it was a God send.  And Kathy was going strong too.  Sitting under an Afghan with me to stay warm.  “Stay warm.”

Steve dozed off where he sat.  Tony went to piss and never returned.  Gary, a defeated look in his eyes, called it a night.

And finally, sometime around 4 AM, it was just me, Kathy, and Carl.  Victory was mine!  Just as soon as Carl had the dignity to pass out.  But this motherfucker simply wouldn’t!  Like a rhino with five tranquilizers darts in its ass that inexplicably keeps charging, Carl with thirty beers in his system kept dancing around, acting all silly, chatting our ears off.

I simply could not outlast this motherfucker.  My friend was agitating me.  He would surely go all night.  I know his marathon drinking abilities.  Finally, I had to make a closing salvo to claim my prize.  A histrionic yawn.  An overdramatic stretch.

“Oh boy am I tired.”

“Me too,” she said.

I looked Kathy in the eye.  Trying to accentuate just the right words.  “I think I’m going to bed NOW.”

I stood.  Expecting, naw, hoping, Kathy would catch my drift, would be into my drift, and would follow.

“OK, goodnight.  I’m gonna go in a sec but you know, it’s already 5 AM.  Might as well watch the sun rise.”

From somewhere off in the darkness, I heard a drunk Carl calls out, “Yah!  Great idea, count me in!”

I walked slowly to my room, looking back at Kathy several times.  Angry at Carl for ruining a sure thing.  I lay in bed, having already gone all in and failed I couldn’t change my mind and watch the sun rise.  Now that would be humiliating.  But I could still hope Kathy would come into my room after she did.  However, I was out like a log before the sun ever popped up.

The next morning, that very morning I suppose, just a few hours later, I awoke, tired as hell.  Groggy and grumpy.  Entered the kitchen to find Kathy making some coffee.  We could barely grunt at each other in good morning.

I was too tired to make any effort toward Kathy and just went about our day of “fun,” coffee instead of beer now always in my hungover hands.  The rest of the group was tired too.  Kathy had turned us into sexual zombies in our attempts to land her.  At least we weren’t in Carl’s boat, vomiting and rolling around in agony all day, we barely saw him.

Hungover, unproductive days pass by amazingly quickly and all of the sudden, “Oh shit, it’s 7 PM?!  We’ve done nothing today!”  And by midnight, everyone was asleep and I was finally feeling well again.  I love how tiredness and hangovers always dissipate in time to drink and get hungover again.  That is the truly beautiful version of circadian timekeeping.

Again, I found myself with Kathy, in a hammock, passing a bottle of wine back and worth.  Finally alone.  This time, it was so easy.  Drinking, hugging, rubbing, kissing, “I never do things like this,” in bed, whoa!  It was great.

She must have snuck out of my bed sometime in the middle of the night.  Perhaps to again watch the sun rise.

In the morning, we all said our goodbyes, shook hands, each man gave Kathy a kiss of defeat on the cheek and we got into our separate vehicles.

On the car ride home I felt like a legend.  I had defied the odds.  In a demolitan derby of male-female pairing I had outlasted all of them.  But I kept it to myself.  For awhile.

But I was young, braggadocios.  If no one else knew something happened, then it didn’t!  In my mind.  And I couldn’t let Carl not know.  I was still mad at him for having stupidly wasted my Friday night and postponing it to Saturday.  I kinda wanted to rub it in.

But subtly.

“That was weird, huh?”

“What?” wondered Carl.

“All of us dudes and only one girl.”

“Yeah, I guess that was kinda strange.  She was cool though.”

“She was.  Lotta odds to defy, you might say.”

“Odds?”

“You know, to the one victor goes the spoils.”

Carl looked at me and smiled.  “Not bad, huh?”

“Yep.  It was not bad at all.”

“How did you find out?”

“How did I find out?  How wouldn’t I have?!”

“You know what happened?”

“No.  Wait, do you know what happened?”

“What are you talking about, man?”

“What the fuck are you talking about, Carl?”

“That I hooked up with Kathy.”

“No, I hooked up with Kathy.”

We stared at each other confused.

“You did?”  “You did?”

“I did.”

I groaned.  “I did too.  But when?”

“Friday night after everyone went to bed.  You?”

“Saturday night.”

That was the last words of our drive.  We stared straight ahead the rest of the ride home.

Wipeout IPA

7% ABV from a bomber

Picked this up at the great Monk’s in Philadelphia for a reasonable $9.  Its smell is a wonderful blend of citrus and fresh pine but the taste just doesn’t quite stack up.  Nevertheless, still pretty good.  Five different hop varietys create a nice little bitterness with a smooth malt backbone.  Easily drinkable and solid, but certainly not world class.

A-/B+

3rd Anniversary Double IPA

10% ABV from a bomber

Yet another DIPA from Port, this I received in trade from San Diego’s finest Jesse the Hutt.  Just like the Wipeout I found the smell wonderful.  Very fragrant and fruity but, again, somewhat dead and bland in taste. Very bitter and boozy. Could use some malt sweetness to round it out.  Nevertheless, another solid effort, though if only these two DIPAs from Port tasted as good as they smelt, we’d have some major, major winners on our hands.

B+

Port Hop 15

December 12th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Port, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: IPA

10% ABV from a bomber

Like John Lennon I’m a dreamer, which means I come up with lotsa terrible ideas.  Though most of mine don’t involve helping poor people or creating communist societies.

I had neglected to shave for the previous two weeks and had become quite scraggly.  It was itching me which was exacerbated by some in-home drinking I was doing last night at a gal’s apartment as we watched “The Office” and “30 Rock.”  Drinking heightens most of my senses like I’m the Incredible Hulk.  Sounds become louder, foods becomes tastier, beards become itchier.  Thus, as we later got ready for bed (her removing five-hundred superfluous pillows from the mattress, me going to the bathroom to piss and flex in the mirror) I had a good idea.  I would shave before bed.  I drunkenly thought, all girls like a freshly shaved guy, this will be a nice surprise.  (Girl will claim to like scruffy guys but they really only like ones like Ryan Gosling or Sawyer from “Lost,” not regular guys like us.)

So, without asking permission, I took from the bathtub ledge some Skintimate “Flirty Mango” shaving cream and her Venus Breeze razor.  I figured, despite the fact these products are intended for a woman’s legs, surely it will shave like a man’s razor.  Aren’t all female products strong enough for a man but made for a woman?  Most products are bogus too, the exact same thing just with different packaging to redefine it for a different market.  I figured the Venus would be just like a man’s razor only…like purple and pink I guess. 

Whoa boy was I wrong.  And I realized it instantly.  Ladies’ leg razor are so different from men’s razors.  The blades–of which the woman’s has less–are incredibly thin and placed much closer together than on a man’s razor.  The Venus was also far more flexible, like a violin bow.  I had trouble controlling it.  It was very hard to shave with and almost instantly my coarse black Jewy hair got stuck in the blades.  And I couldn’t clean them out no matter how much water I used and how many backshaving swabs I did on a hand towel. 

Each time I swiped my face, like literally only five follicles would be plucked out.  I kept hot-watering down my skin and adding more and more foam for lubrication, but it didn’t matter.  It was taking forever and I had like 25% of my beard removed.  Poorly.  It was patchy and I looked like a fool.  Eventually, I couldn’t get the blades clean enough to even use and I had no choice but to exit the bathroom and admit my folly to my bedmate. 

At first she laughed at me, foam skidding down my neck and onto my chest.  Then she realized that I had obviously used her razor.  Suffice to say she was not happy.  However, being a sweet girl–or perhaps not wanting to share a bed with a man that looked like the wolfboy attacked by topiary shears–she hustled down to Duane Reade and got me a Mach3 Turbo and some new safety razors for herself. 

Finally clean-shaven and smelling like delicious mangos, as we went to bed I promised never to use her products again…though I secretly knew I would use her Neutrogena Rainbath bodywash in the morning.  That shit is fantastic, a fresh scent and no lingering residue!

Another bad idea was having the highly-regarded Hop 15–currently a top 100 beer in the world–immediately after imbibing the monumental Surly Darkness.  A masterpiece like Darkness can make even a great beer seem like pisswater by comparison.  Luckily, Hop 15 more than held its own.  An incredibly bold double IPA bordering on a strong ale, action-packed with hops (fifteen different ones added every fifteen minutes!) and major maltage.  I actually felt the malts overshadowed the typical citrus and piney flavors you would expect in an IPA, but that didn’t matter to me.  This was a damn fine beer, something I’d put in the same class as the noted Dogfish Head 90 Minute.  Very boozy, a somewhat heavy mouthfeel, and it packed a major whallop.  A nice end to one of the better single drinking days of my life.

A

NOTE:  No companies paid for product mentions in the preceding piece.  I could only fucking dream.  I’m more than willing to be a shill!

Port Old Viscosity

September 24th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Port, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Strong Ale

10.5% ABV from a bomber

Much like Da Vinci had the Medicis and Samuel Johnson had Lord Chesterfield, I too have patrons that provide me with the necessary supplies to carry out my artistry. Recently, a few of my patrons–a married couple–were up in Seattle for a brief vacation and to catch the Oklahoma/Washington football tilt.

I was elated when they returned home with numerous Port and Lost Abbey offerings and quickly asked if they had plans for the weekend. Seeing that they didn’t I all but forced them to invite me over for some hifalutin beer samplings. And I use the term “samplings” in the same loose way that a chain restaurant calls a four feet in diameter plate covered in greasy foods a “sampler.”

Arriving over at their place* I was overwhelmed by all the goods they had brought back to New York. I had to contemplate long and hard the batting order for the night’s drinking. I was most intrigued by the Old Viscosity, a bourbon-barrel aged supposed-strong ale. My friends were most frightened by this brew so we all had to warm up with a few batting practice beers first (final baseball metaphor I swear!). Two of which were the new Budweiser American Ale which I had picked up for a combined $6.29 across the street. I chuckled to see the pricing label from the Pike Place Market store still on the Old Viscosity: $5.99. And why do people continue to drink macro shit?!

The Port beer poured a ton darker and (no shit) viscous than I had expected, more like a stout than a strong ale, even a Herculean-in-strength strong ale. And the taste was stylistically perplexing as well. No wonder, even Port admits they’re trying to trick us! From their grammatically-fucked-up website:

“Not your Dad’s Wimpy 30 Weight” is how our original label used to describe this massive chewy and thick beer. Code named by our brewers-”The Big Black Nasty,” this is monstrous dark ale is brewed to no particular style. Thick and sludgy like oil from the crankcase of a wheat threshing combine, Old Viscosity blurs the boundaries of Porter, Stout, Old Ale and Barleywines.

At first I mostly tasted coffee, wood, and a bit of chocolate, much like a good Russian imperial stout. Being such a bourbon freak I was a bit miffed that it wasn’t as initially prominent as I had hoped for. This beer is very alcoholic in taste which is something I love but which I’m afraid many won’t. As the Old Viscosity warmed due to my drinking partners’ fear and neglect, the bourbon started to shine through quite a bit and I began to really love this one. It’s an asskicker for sure, and polishing off a bomber by yourself might be considered an act of personal euthanasia in some cities (please check your local municipality’s ordinances), but goddamn is this a fine beer. Highly recommended–a home run (OK, I lied).

A

*For you many Vice Blogger stalkers out there that blow up pictures of the beers, trying to see what is behind them in order to create an idea of the apartment I live in to aid in your perverted slash fiction fantasies about you and me, know that I was not in my home for this drink-a-thon. Believe me, my home has nothing nice in it.