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Archive for the ‘Brewer: Portsmouth’ Category

Portsmouth Belgian Dubbel

March 24th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Portsmouth, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Dubbel

8% ABV bottled

I don’t claim to be an expert at anything, save disappointing my parents, but my rampant autodidacticism has allowed me to become somewhat knowledgeable in quite a few fields.   Beer is one of them.  So is film.  Talking to women is yet another thing I seem to be fairly decent at.  And, you know, after something that happened to me a few weeks ago, I’m starting to think I’m actually falling better than “fairly decent” on the talking to women bell curve.  Though that has less to do with me and more to do with the rest of the populous.

Scooter, a good friend I rarely see, invited me out to a happy hour for his company over in the Turtle Bay part of town*.  I’d never met any of his work chums being that they are [blank] fund guys and rarely get out of the office.  Which also meant that they are still kinda fresh-faced when it comes to normal New York bar culture.  Not nerds by any means, certainly not by their mere appearance.  Not asocial either, just a little…out of place and wide-eyed if you got talking to them.

Nevertheless, we were all having a good time, especially the miserly Vice Blogger since these well-to-dos were putting his glasses of Jameson 18 neat on the company card.  Any how, after a few drinks everyone becomes virtually the same.  The sharp and cool become more bumbling and thus less cool, the stuffy and nerdy become looser and thus cooler, and pretty soon every one is pretty close to each other in a besotted middle of sophomoric behavior.  Alcohol is the one true equalizer in this world, especially the more it is drunk.

At one point, Scooter headed to the bathroom leaving me alone for the first time all night in a circle with his chums.  Conversation died down for a bit as we watched a first round Horizon League Tournament game on the big screen.  I’d been admiring a girl at the bar for the previous few minutes.  Actually, I hadn’t been capable of admiring the girl as her back had been to me the whole time as she swigged a vodka martini, but I had been admiring her eye-popping boots on her legs hanging and dangling from the bar stool.

Finally, she turned to mindlessly look around the bar and I stepped in.

“Hey, I like your boots.”

She smiled wide and pulled me to her.  Fifteen minutes later, after our pleasant conversation had run its course, I returned to my new friends who were absolutely busting at the seams, greeting my voyage back to the group circle with a raucous round of high-fives as if I had just hit a game winning shot in Bruce Bowen’s face.

“Holy shit, how did you do that?!”

“Scooter, is your friend for real?”

“That was caaaaaa-razy!”

What in the world were they talking about?

“And that ‘boots’ line you started with!  Amazing!”

Oh, I see.  They were actually impressed I had talked to an attractive girl.  Even more impressed I had just cold opened with her using a “line.”  But you see, that wasn’t a line.  I did actually like her boots.  Bright, shiny, red cowboy boots.  Not ostentatious or anything, but with the rest of her conservative outfit they really popped.  Made her seem interesting, quirky, unique, or, at least, manufactured sui generis.

Even more amusing, I hadn’t hooked up with her, made plans with her, hell, even gotten her phone number or e-mail address.  Or caressed those lovely cowboy boots.  I had simply had a nice, little conversation with her.  Yet the [blank] fund guys were impressed with me.  Which raises the point of how sad it is how most men interact with women.  How most men think one has to interact with women.

Listen up:


How silly does that line read in print?  Incredibly silly.  Yet I meet so many men that are absolutely frozen and lock-jawed at the idea of simply talking to a woman they may or may not have an interest in.  They think they need strategies and “games” and lines, but it’s not that hard.  Conversation is incredibly basic.  Does one struggle to speak to an elderly woman or a dude or the guy at the deli counter?  Well, maybe the last one, his accent is very thick.

But you do talk to all those people without nerves and sometimes the conversations are great and sometimes they are terrible but you never “fail” in them.  Because you pretty much can’t fail in a conversation.  I’ve talked to thousands of strange women in my life–as have you–and what’s the worst thing that has every happened?  The worst?  Maybe the girl was a slight bitch to you?  Maybe she walked away?  Maybe she snickered at you with her friend once you left the scene?  Wow.  Big deal.

If that’s the worst that happens that ain’t so bad.  You can’t fail in a conversation.  You simply can’t.  You can only succeed if you want to, but you can’t fail.  So don’t worry about coming up with a perfect line, don’t worry about strategies, and for God’s sake don’t pay attention to what nerdy and creepy pick-up artists on VH-1 or the internet say.  Don’t be scared and just start conversations with women the same way you do with men, taxi cab drivers, and the guy slicing you some roast beef.  Next thing you know you’ll have a whole website full of stories.

And if you ever see a girl wearing some boots you like, go up to her and say, “Hey, nice boots.”

Portsmouth Belgian Dubbel

The same friend that scored me some Kate the Great also grabbed a bottle of the brewery’s dubbel when he was up in New Hampshire.  As much as I love a artistic label, I kinda dig how Portsmouth humbly uses the same label for every single beer they produce and then simply Sharpies in the style of beer.  (Notice how it only says “imperial stout” on the Kate the Great with ‘09 penned in.  Most breweries would celebrate such an iconic beer with a flashy label and a wax dipping and all sorts of other bells and whistles, but not Portsmouth.)  I was slightly disappointed with this brew as I’m a huge fan of dubbels.  A splendid smell but a little thin on the mouth. Still a nice taste of fruity banana esters, dark fruits, and candi sugar.  Thought it lacked a certain richness and boldness though, but still a worthwhile effort.


*Have you ever heard ANY ONE call it Turtle Bay in conversation?!

Kate the Great

March 16th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 10 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Portsmouth, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Style: Stout

9.5% ABV

HIQ:  Hungover Intelligence Quotient

I was slurring my words, unable to form complete sentences, a screwed up syntax, barely able to even move my mouth and tongue in the correct way to ejaculate words.  I had the most mild form of brain damage:  a massage hangover.

Thursday was one of the more epic days of my year.  Kicked it off around 4:00 PM splitting a bottle of Portsmouth Brewery’s legendary Kate the Great with my friend Derek who had actually trucked up to New Hampshire to secure it earlier in the year during KTG Day.  Currently BA’s 5th ranked beer in the world, I too was blown away by it.  Coca Cola dark with a beautiful smell of booziness.  Tastes of sweet molasses, rich chocolate, and a little spiciness to go along with a slight fizzy carbonation and some alcoholic heat.  Imminently drinkable, this masterpiece still doesn’t quite touch Surly Darkness in my all-time stout rankings, but it definitely battles for the #2 slot along with luminaries Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Brooklyn Black Ops, and Avery Mephistopheles’.

After catching our collective breath from our Kate the Great orgasms, we headed to 33rd Street for several hours of manly drinking before entering the World’s Most Famous Arena where, getting further lubricated on The Garden’s $8 Labatt Blue pints, we watched perhaps the Greatest College Basketball Game of All Time.  Euphoric in joy, somewhat sobered up being that MSG’s last call for brews was some TWO hours before the game actually ended, we headed back to Stout for some aggressive tippling and victory celebrating in that special hooliganistic way unique to upstate New Yorkers.

By 6 AM I somehow found myself in a luxury hotel room with three adorable Pitt fans I’d met earlier in the day, polishing off overpriced mini-bar M&Ms and impromptu vodka and Ocean Spray cran-whatevers.  I awoke the next day in the Park Avenue establishment feeling like I’d taken a shotgun blast to the head.  Still reveling after watching the greatest event ever in the history of tattooed pituitary cases placing round objects in peach baskets, I triumphantly walked up 42nd street, a slight limp in my gait from a groin pull which I’m still not certain whether I acquired during or after the game.  Still wearing my beer and sweat soaked team logo hat and T-shirt from the previous night and receiving countless compliments from spectators for picking such a grand school to matriculate at, numerous high fives were released.  But I didn’t have much time to relax and recover back home on the couch, a sack of ice on my crotch, watching back-to-back replays of the game on ESPN Classic, for I had to head back to the Mecca that evening for the Cuse/West Virginia semi-finals tilt.

To say my Friday was a tough one would be putting it mild.  My brain was absolute mush.  My vocabulary had to be at best at a fourth grade level, we’re talking maybe two syllables max per word.  Comprehending a dinner menu was tough, remembering how to take the subway tricky, understanding the rules of basketball an impossibility.  My trademark wit was sapped from me and I had become a retarded dullard on par with Charly Gordon with a jaw full of Novocaine.  I couldn’t even get my brain to execute the hand-eye coordination needed to simply claps my hands together after a made basket.

This got me thinking.  How dumb exactly had one of my all-time massive hungovers made me?  Minus 10 IQ points?  20?  I’d dare say it was more like a loss of 30 to 40.  I’ve never had such empathy for the dolts in this world if they have to walk around 24 hours a day like I was feeling on Thursday, their neural synapses misfiring more often than Leno during his monologue.

The stat nut that I am, I now want an actual quantitative measurement of my hangover induced dumbkopfism.  I know my approximate resting, sober IQ–something I just confirmed via an online test–so from now on dear readers, any time I am moronically hungover, I will take a similar online test and see how I fare, posting the results.  This should be a fun experiment.

Wow, taking IQ tests with a pulsating booze-created headache, what a way to spend a Saturday!  Much more exiting than ordering in some greasy diner food and watching a “Tool Academy” marathon.