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Victory WildDevil

June 29th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Victory, Country: America, Grade: B-, Style: IPA

The Long Walk

Riding the elevator down alone, I stared at myself in the blurry reflection of the doors.  Tried to make my spiky bed head flatten with a lick of my fingers and a matting down stroke.  Brushed the lint off my shirt.  Wiped the crud out of my eye.

Exiting through the lobby I nodded at her doorman, gave him a giant smile that implied “I know you’re wondering and, yes, yes I did.”  Which meant that the next time he saw her he’d give her an equally giant smile that implied, “Oh I know, you dirty, dirty slut.”

I got outside and tried to find my bearings.  Where the fuck was I?  I should really get a compass.  An urban compass, now that’s not a bad idea.  Is this the…Gramercy?!  How in the hell did we get back to here?  Was it a cab?  Surely we didn’t walk.  Totally don’t remember that.  Luckily I do remember more of the night.  Bits and pieces, like a highlights package, “The Plays of the Day,” running through my head.

I headed north.  I headed what I thought was north, uptown.  I was in that euphoric state after a night of solid, but not super heavy drinking where it’s early enough that you’re still at the tail end of being drunk but you’re not one iota hungover yet.  You’re lucid but you’re still walking on air.  Other things had added to my euphoria as well.  You know it won’t last long before the hangover begins and drunkenness subsides, dehydration and starvation, and pain and misery, but for now:  this is as good as it gets.

How was I gonna get back to Hell’s Kitchen?  Cab it?  Naw, I probably blew $100 last night as is, no need to blow more.  And it’s nice out.  Look at all the folks dining at sidewalk cafes.  I’ve always admired those New Yorkers that have the gumption to get up early on a weekend, shower, get dressed, and then go and eat a meal.  At a restaurant.  Certainly never been my M.O.

“Aaron!  Aaron!”

My ears heard my name being called but my mind knew that I was not in a neighborhood, not in a time or place where there would be any one who could possibly know me.

“Aaron!!!”

I finally turned.  My god, it was my friend Justin, drinking Bloody Marys with a guy and a gal I didn’t recognize.  I walked over to their table.

“What are you doing over here, Justin?”  Justin lived in Park Slope.

“You know, the whole tourist thing.  These are my two friends from back home, Krissy and Moore.”

I politely nodded at them, wondering how exactly one could do the ‘whole tourist thing’ in Gramercy.  What exactly was there to look at?  Trust fund bitches in giant glasses?

“A better question…” Justin smiled at me knowingly, looking me up and down, “…is what are you doing in this neighborhood?  Why, you live in Hell’s Kitchen don’t you?”  Justin was one of those people that was able to mock you with every single thing he said no matter how seemingly innocuous.

I politely nodded and Justin started cracking up.

Krissy was confused.  “What?  What?  I don’t get it.”

“Well won’t you join us for some Bloodys?  They’re unlimited til noon.”

“You know, I can’t, look at me.  I’m disheveled.”

“What, you look fine.”

“But I’m not really a Bloody Mary kinda guy.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to be a Bloody Mary kind of guy, but I’m just not.”

Krissy laughed.  I wasn’t trying to be funny.  My mouth just saying words my mind produced.

“They have unlimited Mimosas and Bellinis too if those are more your speed, partner.”

Justin wasn’t going to let me get me off the hook that easily so I figured I might as well join them.

“Eh, what the heck.  I could use a little hair of the dog, turn the ol’ engine over, huh?”

Justin nodded, “That’s more like it.”

As I sat next to Krissy, my jeans bunched up like an accordion, ejecting the potent smell of my had-sex-last-night dick from my lap right up into my nostrils.

The waitress came over.  “Wouldja like a menu?”

“Naw, that’s fine.  Assure me your Hollaindaise sauce won’t kill me and I’ll have some Eggs Benedict.  And as long as the Mimosas are unlimited, bring me two.”

“Eggs Benedict and some Mimosas.  How frou-frou,” mocked Justin.

The daft Krissy was still perplexed.  “I still don’t get what’s going on…”

The waitress quickly fetched me two flutes of Mimosa and I tipped one back straight down my throat, I’m not sure if the liquid even hit my tongue.  And, still feeling euphoric from my past night in that way where you feel like you can do anything, say anything, your actions have no consequences, I turned to Krissy…

“Krissy, I don’t know where you’re from but I assume they have the same vernacular as we have here.  You guys have stopped me on what is known as a ‘walk of shame.’  That is why I’m in a neighborhood I don’t belong to.  Why my hair is a mess, my clothes disheveled, lint all of them, sleep crust still in my eye, why I smell…odd.  A mix of sweat, perfume, water-based lubricant, and bodily secretions.  It is why I should head home to shower and sleep, and not be seen for the next several hours.”

She looked at me, embarrassed.  Embarrassed for my condition, for what I’ve said, for what she had to hear me frankly say, I am not sure.  She finally spoke.

“Well I like how your hair looks right now.”

And I liked how my morning had already been kicked off.

The unlimited morning cocktails were drank all the way down to 0.01 seconds left on the shot clock.  Hey, if you’re gonna set a time limit on unlimited alcohol, you better be ready to fetch a ton of them as the deal winds down.  At least when you’re dealing with me and my dipsomaniacal friends.  Our now drunken odyssey led us to a Murray Hill dive with $6 pitchers of cheap beer and 10 cent wings which led to Sutton Place and $3 32-ounce frozen margaritas and soon it was midnight and the four of us were shitfaced and in an UES bar drinking overpriced gin and tonics and struggling to stand up.

Long had I forgot how disheveled I was.  Some 30plus hours without a shower, my facial scruff darkening in like a kid’s makeupped on beard line for his Halloween hobo costume, my body odor abhorrent as it tried to eject alcohol and junk food through its pores which mixed with sweat and other gross fluids already on the surface level.  Shit, I hadn’t even brushed my teeth since like 8:00 PM yesterday come to think of it.  Should I go grab some gum at a corner bodega?  Order a shot of Creme de Menthe and gargle?  Naw, I was long pass the point of caring about the avatar I presented to the world.  To the drunken youths surrounding me.

I just wanted to go home.  I could barely keep my eyes open, I was teetering on my bar stool.  Slurring words.  Had I even slept last night?  I felt like I was in a sleep deprivation experiment.  Yet, Justin refused to let me leave.  “You gonna be a baby and go home before closing time?”  Peer pressure always works on me.  I’m such a sucker when my drinking manhood is called into question.

Fine, then if that’s the case, I’ll pursue your friend.  And indeed the pursuit seemed reciprocal.  As the day had progressed Krissy was seemingly getting more and more into me for whatever reason.  It’s almost counterintuitive how women like a man they know has just been with another women.  The more recent the better, though, they usually like a shower in there somewhere.  Feeding frenzies exist for a reason and the stink of the alpha male in the jungle just makes the other primate chicks more in estrus.  By golly, I was going to do this.

I was going to do this!

________

The sun came through the Venetian blinds scalding every other inch of my body in long horizontal stripes like I was behind jail bars made only of heat.  I looked at the clock on the cable box.  6:05 as in ante-meridian.  I turned over to the girl beside me.  She was a brunette.  Unless we’d visited a middle-of-the-night hair salon for a quick dye job, she was not Krissy.  I didn’t recall meeting her.  I didn’t recall talking to her, commuting to this home with her, undressing with her.  I quietly slipped on my clothes which by now were nothing more than dirty, stinky laundry.  I slipped out of her bedroom.

I exited her apartment but she didn’t have an elevator.  I walked five stories down and she didn’t have a doorman.  I got outside.  There was not another single soul in the street.  Where the fuck was I?  Avenue C?!  Good lord, how did I get in Alphabet City?  I should really shower.  I should really sleep.  Man this is going to be a long walk.  I hope I don’t run into any more brunchers I know.

WildDevil

6.7% ABV from a 750 (bottled April 22, 2009)

Victory’s WildDevil was one of my most anticipated releases of the early part of 2009, and despite the fairly high price compared to most Victory products, I was pumped to try this one.  I let it sit for a few months, wanting it to get funky, but last week I could wait no longer.  Unfortunately, WildDevil is now one of my bigger disappointments of 2009.

To my understanding, WildDevil is simply Victory’s semi-glorious Hop Devil IPA with Brett added.  I love Hop Devil, I love Brett in beer, this should be a no-brainer masterpiece, right?  Not quite.  A medium smell of Brett, hops and more pine, much less funkier than I expected.  A sizzling carbonation, with a tartness on the mouth, taking away a lot of the fresh hops goodness.  I liked this beer less and less the more and more I drank it.  And I had a whole big corked-and-caged bottle to get through.  This beer just made me mad.  Every sip of it made me want either a fully committed IPA (Hop Devil) or a fully committed Brett explosion wild ale. Commit goddammit!  This beer teaches an important life lesson:  don’t hedge your bets.  Make up your mind, pick your path, and go for it.  Waffling in the middle accomplishes nothing.

B-

Victory Variety

November 22nd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 11 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Victory, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B plus, Grade: C plus, Grade: C regular, Style: IPA, Style: Lager, Style: Pilsner, Style: Tripel

I don’t sleep well after a night of boozing which is fine because I like to get up fairly early on Saturdays and/or Sundays and hit the movies.  I’m a huge film buff and see several back-to-back-to-back every single weekend, starting early so I’m done with my double or triple feature in time to get home for sports.  I typically go alone because I both see oddball movies that no one else wants to see and because I like the solitude.  Sitting in the dark gorging on soda and candy, feeling my hangover dissipate as I drift away into a hopefully good film.  I also go to very early shows because I hate today’s cinema crowds.  Loud boobs that seem to enjoy spending $12 so that they can have a dark room to text in and gab with their friends.

I always sit in the same seat, the absolute back row, right underneath the projector.  I hate having any people behind me and I like hearing the whirl of the film reels, the flickering of light catching the dust in the air.  Today I went to see a double feature and upon getting to my theater I found a women sitting in “my” seat.  Though this doesn’t happen often as most people reject sitting in the back row it was still unusual for another reason:  it was another solo film goer, and one who appeared to be a smoking hot women too.  Flowing Playboy blonde locks and nicely dressed in a turtleneck sweater, a bubble skirt, and with black tights.   An undoubtedly fetching yet classy look.  Though I was surprised that she was never joined by a boyfriend or husband fetching the popcorn, I paid her no mind.

After the first film I headed across the hall to see my second movie of the day “Slumdog Millionaire.”  This time, I was first in the theater and got my coveted back row seat.  Then, not two minutes later, who should enter the theater and head straight for the backrow but the fetching blonde!  With me in “her” seat she was forced to sit two seats over.  With such kismet I wanted to talk to her and the gods quickly conspired in my favor.  With “Slumdog” being one of the hottest flicks in town right now the theater quickly filled and after several “Is that seat taken?” and “Could you scoot over?” negotiations, the blonde was forced to hop one over and was soon sitting right beside.

I made light of the rudeness of people, arriving seconds before the film and then expecting us early-arrivers to move for their every whim.  She agreed that it was indeed rude.  I goofed on all the old people at the screening, loudly chomping on food and talking about their bone density depletion.  We began chatting.  It was quite dark so I could barely see her, just the glamor lighting corona of light surrounding her mass of blonde hair.  She was so sweet and had a tender accent.

I wondered if she was a tourist.

“Not exactly.  But I just moved here last year.”

“Yet you already hate tourists, correct?” I remarked.

She embarrassingly admitted that she did.  Once you’re a Manhattanite it’s impossible not to.

And where was she originally from I wondered.

Kentucky.

My heart melted.  I love blonde Kentucky women with an ever-so-slight accent.  Neil Diamond was surely right and I made her know this fact.

She explained that she had gotten her undergrad degree at the University of Kentucky and her doctorate at Northwestern.  She was a child psychologist and helped orphans with coping.  On weekends, always alone, she liked to spend either the whole day watching movies or at Barnes & Noble reading historical biographies.

I was fucking smitten.

As the lights dimmed, I had no choice but to go for it:

“My name is Aaron Goldfarb.  After this movie, would you like to join me for coffee?  Or, if you’re in the mood, perhaps something stronger.”

She smiled at me.  “We’ll see.”

You would think it would be hard to focus for the next two hours, wondering about my future, but “Slumdog Millionaire” was so goddamn good that I was instantly drawn in.  You know how blurb whores–lackluster film critics that LOVE ever movie just so they can get their name on the advertising–will sometimes say, “People were cheering in the aisles!” in order to note how great a movie was?  Well, I certainly had never seen that literally happen until today.  “Slumdog” is so life-affirming, so touching, that, yes, I saw several people actually pump their fists, actually stand up and celebrate in the aisles.

Once the credits began to roll she turned toward me.

“I loved it!”

I remarked that I did too.  Perhaps the best film I’d seen in ‘08 in fact.

“I think I will take you up on that drink offer.  Let’s go have some bourbon,” she said as she anxiously grabbed my forearm.

We headed across the dark aisle and down the dark stairs to exit the theater.  Once we got into the light we turned to each other and our giddy smiles instantly became shock.  She was tons older than I thought she was and I was tons younger than she thought I was.  Damn the darkness!

“What are you?!  Like 30?”

“Close.  29.  You?!”

“Remember those ‘old people’ you were making fun of earlier?  I’m one of them.  Just turned 50 last week!”

I have to say, she was twenty to twenty-five years older than I thought she was in the dark, but she was a fantastic-looking 50-year-old.  Glowing and lustrous blonde hair, minimal wrinkles, a damn good-looking gal.  Why…she could easily convince people she was…43.

“You still want that drink?,” she chuckled, clearly expecting me to say no.

Well, you’d certainly be my record, I most certainly DID NOT say.  But I did surprise her by saying, what the heck, and accepting the date.  Variety is definitely the spice of life.

We headed to a nearby hotel bar and each had a $15 Blanton’s Old-Fashioned.  I wish I had a funny, surprising, unexpected ending to this story, but when you write about true life, you sometimes don’t get those endings.  After our drinks we laughed about the weird events of the day and parted ways.

“Maybe I’ll run into you again on the back row,” she said as she sweetly kissed me on the cheek.

As I said earlier, variety is the spice of life, so I was quite excited when I arrived at my friend’s house in Philadelphia last weekend and his wife had picked up a variety case of Victory brews for me to drink.  What a sweetheart she is.  Almost enough to make me consider marriage.

Victory HopDevil Ale

6.7% ABV

In this author’s opinion one of the most underrated IPAs around.  Why does this beer get so little credit?  It’s damn good.  Nice balance of hops and malts and very drinkable.  I plowed through the six in the variety pack.

B+

Victory Golden Monkey

9.5% ABV

A very respectable American version of a Belgian tripel.  Creamy and sweet with some great yeastiness.  The spices tingle as they go down your throat.  Pretty drinkable too for the ABV.  I finished all six of these too.

A-

Victory Lager

5.2% ABV

Lagers are a most lackluster style of beer, so you can’t expect much better than a C or so.  And that’s about what this is.  More interesting than a macro lager but nothing special.  I only handled these after 2:00 AM when the Philadelphia bars closed and I was already loaded.

C+

Victory Prima Pils

5.3% ABV

One of Victory’s most highly-regarded beers which is weird because next-to-nobody regards pilseners as anything special.  They’re the dumb twin brother of the lager.  I don’t see what the fuss is about, I found this to be just a typically boring pilsener.  Far too skunky and bitter.  I certainly wasn’t dancing in the aisles drinking it.

C

Victory Storm King Stout

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Victory, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Stout

9.1% ABV bottle

Nothing worse than drinking a great beer at the wrong time. But much like golf in Scotland, sometimes imbibing has to occur under inclement conditions. If you only golfed when it was 65 degrees and calm and only drank while relaxing on your sofa then you would miss out on lots of good opportunities. Better to try a great beer under less than optimal circumstance than to just pour another Bud Light down your gullet. Thus, after an entire day of “sessioning” with Dogfish Head 60 Minutes and stuffing my belly with greasy food while I celebrated the eventual national champion Syracuse University lacrosse team’s victory, I found myself winding the night down in a classier establishment. And the best beer on that bar’s menu that I had never had before was Victory Storm King. True, I was in that state where you’re not wasted but you’ve been marathon drinking so long that sumpin’ ain’t right with ya’ and I was also so bloated from all the beer and food inside of me that I felt ready to explode, but I still needed to try this one. Victory has rarely let me down before.

So, with that in mind, my thoughts: I always claim I’m not a stout guy but maybe I need to change my tune because any time I drink a stout from a top-notch brewery I like if not love it. I always approach stouts carefully for some reason, and I always am leery of them, but then I always enjoy them. Maybe my fear lies in the fact that they are so heavy and potent that I can only drink one in a sitting, and often that is even a struggle. I never feel relaxed when drinking a stout, despite how good they are. It’s like, no matter how much you love lobster, all things being even, ceteris paribus, you rarely order it because you know that it’s gonna be a fucking workout to shell the thing and get just the tiniest bits of meat down your face. True, it’ll be outstanding, but 99% of the time I think we’d rather lay back and enjoy something more accessible. Like a cheeseburger or an IPA.

Victory King is a very stout, stout. Very smoky with potent tastes of coffee and some chocolate. It was tasty. Damn tasty. Took me forever to get this one down. What can I say, this beer kicked my ass. And like the straight-laced CPA that enjoys hitting the BDSM scene at night…I kinda liked it!

A-

Victory Hop Wallop

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Victory, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: IPA

8.5% ABV (Double IPA)

Bought this one on a semi-whim. Victory products have always done me good. This one smells fantastic. Very orangey and floral. It’s extraordinarily hoppy which of course is no surprise. Maybe too hoppy for my liking, though I do love me some hops. A lot of bite, very spicy. The burps this beer produces are phenomenal, I’m not gonna lie. Not sure I love this brew but it definitely provides for a unique drinking experience. Doesn’t seem like a 8.5percenter. I kept checking the bottle in disbelief. However, by bottle’s end, I did feel the wallop. If you love hops this is about as good as it gets. As for me, I’d probably rather have a Dogfish 60 or 90 Minute.

B+