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Archive for the ‘Country: Germany’ Category

Cantillon St. Lamvinus

August 13th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie Cantillon, Brewer: Brauerei Weihenstephan, Country: Belgium, Country: Germany, Grade: A plus, Grade: A-, Style: Lambic, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

The Indiscreet Charm of Brooklyn

Cat ears.  Across from me sat a man wearing cat ears.  Like those furry headband numbers chicks wear on Halloween when they want a slutty costume.  Aside from that, he looked fairly normal.  A little bit of a early-1990s “Reality Bites” grunge thing going on with a flannel unbuttoned shirt and some combat boots, but otherwise, fairly normal.  Except for those cat ears.  All the man was lacking was a makeupped on black nose and whiskers.  Cat man called for the check and his wee little “hee hee” Asian girlfriend picked up the tab courtesy of a Hello Kitty credit card.  I was the only one in the entire place rolling my eyes at the ludicrous behavior around me.

I sat in Radegast, a German beer hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  I had finally decided to make the scary plunge.  Manhattan may be a great beer town, but Brooklyn is often considered one of America’s beer utopias.  And me, being absolutely awful with direction, scared to go to any place without numbered streets, certain I will get lost if I ever travel below Houston, especially while lit up, had never been drinking in Brooklyn.  For shame.

I needed to pop my Brooklyn beer cherry sometime, and chaperoned by new friend KD, there was no time like the present.  Radegast wasn’t on my list of “must try” Brooklyn places, but KD insisted.  So glad she did.  Radegast is a beer garden that is surprisingly intimate, not a word often associated with beer gardens.  It has both a nice indoor and outdoor area and your standard Americanized beer gardeny things:  hilariously large glasses, picnic table seating, ___wursts of every kind (which I unfortunately forgot to sample), condom machines in the bathroom, and men in cat ears.  It’s also very dark in Radegast, again, mood lighting not something one usually associates with German beer halls, but a Brooklyn quirk that a squinty eyed drunk like me greatly appreciates.

There, I had a glass of Weihenstephaner Vitus, an absolutely lovely weizenbock that can deservedly be mentioned in the same breath as the legendary Aventinus.  Full of rich banana and bubble gum tastes, yeasty and boozy, this one goes down so, so nice.  A-

Foreground: the finished Vitus/Background:  man in cat ears

Foreground: the finished Vitus/Background: man in cat ears

From there, KD and I hoofed it to dba Brooklyn, using a trusty Google map she had printed out since we are apparently the only two people in the world without GPS-enabled iphones, which is something we could each greatly use.  dba Manhattan, in the East Village, was one of my major stomping grounds back in the mid-2000s with their stellar beer, bourbon, and Scotch lists, but I eventually grew sick of the jam-packed poseur crowds, surly bar staff, and hard to read libations chalkboards.

Well, I can proudly say that dba Brooklyn eliminates all the problems I have with their East Village location.  At this new dba location, similar in look and layout, one will have no issue with reading the massive chalkboard beer and spirits listings because the bar is as florescently bright as a Porsche showroom.  And there’s no poseurs to worry about rubbing ironic suede elbow patches with because…there’s no one in the fucking bar.  KD and I were the only drinkers there at 9 PM on a Thursday, and thus, it was downright impossible for the bar staff to be surly.  They were just psyched to see us and to have more than some spare change as their night’s gratuity haul.

We took our drinks to this backyard patio where a few other people were throwing back a few.  Including a man who, unceremoniously removed his t-shirt right in the middle of a date, reached into his man bag for a fresh one to put on, all the time not breaking conversation, nor having his drinking companion go, “W the F?!”

Ill at ease, we cut our dba visit abrupt and walked aways, under the roaring BQE overpass, to perhaps New York’s, maybe even the entire East Coast’s, most famous beer bar, Spuyten Duyvil.  I’d long heard about this beer mecca and I have to say…it met absolutely zero of my expectations.  Which is not a bad thing and which is not to say I didn’t like it.

I was surprised by how conspicuous of facade the bar had, the name barely noticeable.  A creaky swinging front door more akin to the screen door on some cracker’s porch, the interior of the place is shockingly small and fairly indescript.  Decorated like a hipster’s beat-up rec room, packed with thin weirdo grumps in drainpipe jeans, half of whom look like David Cross, the other half of whom look like a Flight of the Concords member.  At a robust 5′11, 175, I was a fucking leviathin amongst these little Brooklyn pixies.

Spuyten Duyvil is known for their remarkable–ahem “remarkable”–beer selection, but I quickly learned that they should be more known for their remarkable ability to list beers, which are all greatly overpriced, even by Manhattan standards.  Indeed, I was at first impressed by the massive amount of rare bottles they claimed, though greatly unimpressed that they only have six taps and one cask offering.  (Seriously?!)  I found myself greatly flummoxed when I tried to order from their bottle list.  I was a little tipsy and feeling jovial, so I tried to buy a rare $46 bottle from Cantillon.  “Sorry, we’re out,” said the hirsute hipster behind the bar.  I tried to buy a $26 bottle of Fantome Saison.  “Out of that too, but that beer sucks.  Have the Fantome Chocolate, it’s much better, dude.”

I smiled and said no thanks, I wasn’t in the mood for that particularly beer, which angered the wee bartender who booked it away from me.  Then, I noticed a Cigar City bomber on the back counter.  Cigar City is a new brewery from out of Tampa that has quickly garnered great acclaim despite their miniscule distribution reach.  I’d been trying for most of the year to score any of their product and this was the first time I’d ever seen it in person.  Excited, I flagged down another bartender.  “Excuse me, what is that Cigar City beer back there?”  Like I had just interrupted him while he was watching an Apes and Androids show, he turned around with a scowl.  “I DON’T KNOW!” he yelled at me and scurried away.  I asked another bartender if I could buy the Cigar City beer and he looked as if I was quizzing him with some Mensa level stuff:  “Look, I don’t know, I’m not sure, I don’t think so, no!” he exhale moaned and stormed away.

I continued staring at the menu, trying to figure out anything to drink.  The first bartender returned, pissed off.  “Look!  Are you EVER going to order something?”

I menacingly looked him straight in the eye, restraining myself from grabbing him by the collar of his vintage snap button cowboy shirt:

“Motherfucker, I just tried to buy a $46 and $26 bottle of beer, both that you were out of.  Gimme a fucking break.”  He smirked but his demeanor quickly changed.

From that point on the scuzzy drinkslinger gave me the respect I so desired.  I finally ordered what I should have in the first place, Cantillon’s most famous offering perhaps, St. Lamvinus…on tap!  Score.  I found it a lot less fruity that I expected.  A subtle red wine grape taste but with an effervescent carbonation.  Mild funk and sourness, a true treat.  I also had Ithaca’s delicious Brute on tap for the first time, and though that still remains a great one in my mind, St. Lamvinus just blew it away.  A true granddaddy of a lambic.  Not to be missed.

I also found a $20 bill on the floor and a pregnant women drinking in Spuyten Duyvil’s back room so I ain’t sweating things much.  Look, I won’t lie, Spuyten Duyvil certainly deserves much acclaim and I will certainly go back there again, but with its paucity of taps, high prices, lack of bottles of which it claims to have, and absolute fuckheads working there, I see absolutely no way we can consider this a better NYC beer bar than, say, Rattle ‘N’ Hum or Blind Tiger, both which have superior tap lists, perfectly respectable bottle lists, clientele that doesn’t smell like clove cigarettes, and bartenders that treat you like human beings.  I’ll probably only return to Spuyten Duyvil in the future when they have a particularly rare and limited offering.

Well lit up at this point and it now 2 AM, KD and I decided to press on to one more stop, nearby Barcade.  Again, my expectations were completely different, but, this time, this was a very good thing.  I was absolutely shocked at the size of the bar.  A huge warehouse type industrial space with every single wall tightly packed with vintage arcade games, several dozen in fact, surrounding a bar in the middle.  A solid tap list, I grabbed a delicious Avery Hog Heaven and a stack of quarters and KD and I went to work.  I must say, shit like “Tetris,” “Ms. Pac-Man,” and “Q-Bert” are exceedingly hard when you are wasted yet still guzzling high ABV barley wines.

My last memories are Q-Bert falling off the side of his staired pyramid, KD and I trying to find a gypsie cab back to her place…

I shall return to Brooklyn again.

A+

Cannabis the Beer (Red Power)

May 28th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 16 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Eurobrau, Country: Germany, Grade: D-, Style: Spiced Beer, Video Reviews

8% bottled

OK sportsfans, here’s my THIRD in the unrelentless video series in which I review some of the, purportedly, worst beers on Allah’s green earth in the hopes that I may…I don’t know:  throw up, gag, ruin my weekend, die? Make you laugh?

Previously, I drank Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer and Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer.

Introduction:

The Taste:

Alright, so the beer was truly terrible but it didn’t make me…throw up, gag, die, or probably even make you laugh. Mea culpa. However, match this list to the same list at the top of this review and you will notice one item lacking.

“Ruined my weekend.”

Ruined my extended holiday weekend.

Oh, if only my camera crew had followed me for the next ten hours after I drank Cannabis the Beer, perhaps then I would know what happened, the progression of events that happened which led to a ruined weekend.  I would know how the liquid THC seeped into my brain and how next thing I know I’m playing darts in a bar at 2 AM, and then the next thing I know I come out of a drunken fugue to find myself in some sort of a supply closet at some pseudo-club in Jersey City, surrounded by cleaning products and mops, laying on a dingy sleeping bag atop a concrete floor, hooking up with the third and fourth ugliest women I’ve ever hooked up with in my life.  How I got to this point, how I came to be there at 8:50 AM, I do not know.  But I can only blame the Cannabis for causing me to time-travel.  Perhaps, in retrospect, in light of these post-video-review facts, I should give the beer an F.  But I won’t, because at least Ms. Fourth Ugliest gave me a car ride back to Manhattan.

I hate myself.

(Though, as always, I’m still looking for more terrible beers to video review.  Hit me up at theviceblog [at] gmail.com)

Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock (2008)

April 28th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Schneider, Country: Germany, Grade: A plus, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

12% ABV bottled (#28600)

Last year a friend introduced me to Aventinus and I quickly fell in love with it, making the German brew one of those beers that I must have frequently.  I’m a man that gets off on novelty in all aspects of life and that is especially true of beer.  Even the beers I love I don’t drink more than a few times a year, much rather preferring to roll the dice with something new, yet I still manage to have Aventinus at least once a month.  Which shows how very much I like that beer.

Thus, I was quite intrigued when I found this semi-special bottling of Aventinus on the shelf at Whole Foods.  It looked pretty similar to the original with its iconic purple label.  The only difference seemed to be the limited edition numbering on the back.  As I’ve mentioned once before, I’m a huge sucker for gimmicks, so there was zero chance I wouldn’t pick up a specially numbered bottle, no matter what was inside.

When I got home, I did my research to discover just exactly how this bottling differed.  And, straight from the brewer’s website it’s story-tellin’ time:

Aventinus, the Wheat Doppelbock of Bavaria, has always been known to be the most intense and complex wheat beer in the world. This was the case for the past sixty years, but not anymore…

Up until the 1940’s, Aventinus was shipped all over Bavaria in containers lacking temperature control. Consequently, the precious drink partially froze during transportation. Unaware that the brew was concentrated by the separation of water from the liquid. People were baffled by this unique version of Aventinus. By chance, the first Aventinus Eisbock was created.  Well aware of this story, Hans Peter Drexler, brewmaster of the Schneider brewery, decided to recreate this classic “mistake” in a modern controlled facility. Thus, the Aventinus Eisbock is reborn sixty years later… Prost!

Certainly sounded intriguing.  And, with 8% “normal” Aventinus a top 100 beer, “supersized” Aventinus might bring me to orgasm.  Or at least make me Prost! in my pants.

My first sip of supersized Aventinus punched me in the back of the throat and I started coughing and snorting like some junior high kid taking his first hit from a bong.  After I composed myself, I greedily went back to the teet for more.  Goddamn was this good.  Packed with banana flavors, like liquized bubble gum and, oh so freaking boozy.  The smell, consistancy, and taste of a port wine, perhaps a Belgian dubbel, or we could just say a wheat barleywine, with hints of dark fruits and spices.  Phenomenal.

I am so glad an act of kismet–or marketing gimmickry–caused me to grab this beer because it is one of the best I’ve had this year.  Hell, it may be in my top ten of all time.  I’m gonna be stocking up on it while it is still around.  If you love Aventinus, you’ll be floored by this.  Hard to believe Aventinus can get even better but with this it has and it is.

A+

Aventinus

December 16th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Schneider, Country: Germany, Grade: A-, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

8% ABV bottled

A friend who I trust said this was a world class beer, and with a top 100 Beer Advocate rating to back his lofty claim up, several bottles were procured.

This beer unexpectedly taught me a lot about beer connoisseurship.  But not in the way you might expect.  The first time I sampled this weizenbock–essentially a mix between a wheat beer and a dopplebock in the murky world of style classifications–was at the tail-end of a night of heavy drinking.  I was not impressed.  I thought it was bland, flavorless, uninspired.  Another one of the many boring Reinheitsgebot purity law beers from out of Germany, I snickered to myself.  I detected nothing noteworthy as I sipped it and was barely interested enough to even take notes.  I jotted a few down in between doing whatever it is drunk people do at 2:00 AM, ultimately deciding to score this beer a C+.

Luckily, I was so backed up in beer reviews I never officially got to enter that into my blog.  Let me stop for a second to answer the real beer geeks’–the ones that are sanctimoniously aghast right now–questions.  No, I typically do not “officially” review quality beers when I am shitfaced.  It’s not fair to myself, my blog, my millions of readers, or the brewery.  I usually only review a beer if it is one of the first three or maybe four of my night.  (Or morning if I’ve decided to say, “Fuck the world” and get snockered at 8:00 AM.) But as with many things, we humans are not exactly good at judging how drunk we are.

“I ain’t tha’ drunk, I can drive us.”

“Whadaya talkin’ bout?  I’m not tipsy, I can totally work that chainsaw.”

“I’s a barely had any beers, a cours’ my dick still works.”

Likewise, I didn’t think I was that drunk at all when I first tried Aventinus.  But the fact is, I must have been, and my beer-drinking senses must have likewise been totally FUBAR, for me to think this beer shitty upon our initial introduction.

Sometime later, with nothing else to drink in the house, I begrudgingly had to drink another bottle of Aventinus still sitting around in the back of the fridge with some healthy salad dressings everyone buys but no one ever uses.  I was totally disinterested in the beer now, only drinking it to get the necessary proteins into my system.  And by proteins I mean alcohol.

With the first sip I was floored.  Whoa!  Where was that shitty beer I’d had weeks ago?!  This thing was amazing!  I was sober and I was blown away.  Smells of banana, cloves, and boozy alcohol.  In addition to those flavors, an incredibly creamy and smooth wheat and yeast taste.  Almost like a tripel with its primordial ooze of unfiltered and unfermented yeast.   A glorious beer, unquestionably.

Perhaps I should become one of those nerds I so hate that lock themselves in a sensory deprivation chamber when sampling a new brew.  Hmmm…wonder where I can find a guy to build a sensory deprivation chamber in Manhattan?

A-

Weihenstephaner Original Premium (Malt Liquor)

November 10th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brauerei Weihenstephan, Country: Germany, Grade: C plus, Style: Lager

5.1% 500 mL bottle

Procrastination is.  Procrastination is.  Procrastination is…Oh, fuck it.

I wasted Saturday but what’s the big deal, that’s what Saturday’s for.  And is viewing movies all morning, watching college football all day, drinking all night, and canoodling into the wee hours really that big of “waste”?!  What purpose is life if not to occasionally give me mindless pleasure?  OK, then let’s not say I wasted Saturday, let’s say I was just less-than-productive Saturday.  But, today, today will not be a waste.  Today you will be productive, Aaron.

Alarm set for 8:00.  Only 4 hours of sleep, that’s fine, remember I’m getting stuff done today.  But first, I’m going to lay in bed for a bit.  It is really early.  I won’t sleep though, I’ll use this time to casually plan my day out.  What would I like to do, today?  Hmmmm…gotta write.  That’s number one.  Real writing though, not my blog, not any of my scripts, but my novel.  I figured I’d already be done with it by November.  So I’ll do that.  At least five solid pages.  No, ten, I can do ten.  Ten if I’m really cooking.  What else?  I should market my blog better.  The visitor numbers are getting way up there, but they could be stronger.  And it’s fun to do any how.  But I gotta promise myself that once I get online, I can’t dick around.  No reading sports message boards.  No reading beer reviews, favorite personal blogs, movie buzz websites, ordering shit on amazon, Facebooking, porn.  None of that.  I’ll only go online to do legit work.  And, check my e-mail.  Need to do that too.  NFL’s allowed to be on while I work, but muted, in the background, and I can’t really pay attention.  If I work real hard I’ll day, if I’m productive, my reward will be to watch the 2nd half of Eagle/Giants at night.  I’m gonna eat healthy today too.  Had a gluttonous weekend.  Better jog as well.  The rain yesterday prevented me.  Quit bullshitting.  Yes, it did prevent you, indeed, but it was more of a bail-out.  You weren’t going to run even if the weather was pristine.  You just didn’t have it in you.  The weather looks nice out today, better go for at least five solid miles.  No, ten, I can do ten.

Ah, I drifted off.  9:30 now.  Not bad.  That’s hours before I usually arise on Sunday.  Better get some coffee down my gullet to jump start me.  Turn my engine over.  Fuck, the line at Dunkin is long.  That Indian bitch is so slow on the register.  Why must she ask instead of being told?  The guy said an onion bagel and a large coffee.  How fucking simply is that?!  And she says, “Toasted?  Butter?  Cream cheese?  Cut in half?  Iced or hot?  With milk?  Cream?  Skim?  Sugar?  Equal?  Splenda?”  Such a time waster.  Just use what he directly tells you.  Just use the popular defaults.  Actually, a bagel does sound pretty good.  That’s not that unhealthy.  I’ll get lite cream cheese.  And those 99 cent mini-hash browns look pretty hot too.  Ouch, 180 calories.  I hate how calories now must be advertised.  Whatever, it’s Sunday, I’m allowed a little decadence.  My turn, that only wasted five minutes.  Here’s how you order, bitch, “Multigrain bagel, untoasted, lite cream cheese, cut in half, mini-hash browns, large coffee black, bag it, swipe my card, that.  is.  IT.”  Breathe.  “Any additional muffins or donut holes, sir?”  Fucking bitch.

I’ll multitask, drink my coffee and eat my breakfast while I check my overnight e-mails, my blog traffic, my other business.  Oh, hey, look who friended me on Facebook, haven’t thought of her in a decade at least.  Man, she used to be so attrac—YOW!  What happened?!   Good lord!  She was once so pretty and now she looks like she’s Eddie Murphy in latex playing a fat caricature of herself in a movie no one will ever watch but everyone will mock purely on the basis of its incredibly lame trailer.  So sad.  Oh, hey, she’s friends with that person too?!  Didn’t even know he was on Facebook.  Shit, he’s friends with like forty people I know that aren’t friends with me.   What the fuck?!  I’m starting to think I wasn’t as well-liked in high school as I believed.  Whatever, they all can suck my dick.  I prefer NETWORK:  NEW YORK,  RELIGION:  ATHEIST,  RELATIONSHIP STATUS:  SINGLE over…whatever the absolute opposite is of that, plus countless pictures of your ugly and fat kids in your photo section.

It’s too quiet, better put the TV on.  But just as background noise.  Find something at least halfway decent.  Boy, they really do not put anything interesting on Sunday morning.  Retarded and retired football players yelling at each other and laughing at non-jokes, retarded and worthless politicos yelling at each other and laughing at non-jokes, and…here we go, “Groundhog Day.”  But, on TNT.  Ugh, I hate watching movies with commercials.  But, goddamn is “Groundhog Day” such a classic.  I still remember going on a “date” to see it back at the mall when I was an 8th grader.  I loved it then and I still love it today.  Bill Murray’s best work.  Yep, even better than “Rushmore,” “Royal Tennenbaums,” “Lost and Translation.”  Or is it?  Ooh, I’m gonna try to figure out my rankings for all-time Bill Murray performances, that’ll be fun.  Ha, my favorite scene, the one where Bill Murray dupes Andie MacDowell by ordering the same drink as her.  I’ll never forget her drink order:  “sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist.”  How fucking weird.  Who in the world drinks sweet vermouth as the only component of a cocktail?  For a complimentary ingredient in a Manhattan, sure, of course.  But as the main ingredient, fucking weird.

God I never get sick of “Groundhog Day.”  I think that’s like the fiftieth time I’ve seen it.  I should just admit it’s one of my favorite movies of all-time.  What’s the big deal if it’s directed by Harold Ramis?  What’s the big deal if it was a big budget studio movie?  Sometimes they get it right.  And this time they made a fucking unadulterated classic that will live on forever.  That’s it, I’ll quit being a snobby cineaste.  I’m changing the favorite movie section on my Facebook page, moving “Groundhog Day” into my Top 25 All-Time list.  Hmmm…where should I slot it?  Let’s think real hard about this.  Yes.  22nd, between Woody’s “Manhattan” and Ingmar’s “Cries and Whispers” seems perfect.  Nice.  I see a few other changes I should make too.  Why do I have “Clockwork Orange” so low?  Better move that into my top 10.  There, that works.  In fact, that works vidi well, little brothers.

Shit, how’d it already become 1:00?  The first games are about to start.  I’m hungry too, that bagel wasn’t enough.  Need some energy.  Better order in.   Save some time.  I’ll relax, enjoy my food, watch the first half of the games, when they start boring me as NFL games are want to do, I’ll begin work on my novel.  And, after the first game I’ll go jogging.  First food.  Seamless Web.  Let’s see…I’d really like a club sandwich.  Really got a hankering.  Every since I saw Don get one last weekend at that “classy” sports bar, damn it looked tasty.  One of those big motherfuckers.  Triple decker they call it.  Finger-sized white toast, lettuce, tomato, crisp bacon, turkey, slather of mayo, bread, repeat the aforementioned, bread, and a toothpick with a cellophane flag on it.

Seriously?!  What the fuck?  Not a single place in midtown has one of these to deliver to me?!!  Unreal.  When did I start living in Tulsa?!  I could just order a turkey sandwich on toast, add bacon, and ask them to throw some toothpicks into the bag.  Make it myself.  Nope, it won’t be the same.  I’ll just get a cheeseburger and some fries instead.  Better make it a turkey burger, that’s healthier.  Or, at least every one tells me it is, never really confirmed that.

Jesus, did that delivery guy take long enough.  And he didn’t have a pen either.  Goddamn idiot.  The way I see it, a New York City deliveryman needs three things:  a pen, an arm or hook to carry my food bag with, and something to locomote with.  Sadly, they usually only have two of those three.  Plus, an inability to figure out how to use a buzzer system correctly while also being bereft of the most basic ESL skills.

Food is soggy and gross.   Totally unsatisfying and totally overpriced.  And the 1:00 PM games suck too.  That’s a good thing, though, I can start writing.  But, I’m so tired, I’ve been up forever.  I can’t stop yawning, I’m sluggish.  Do some push-ups, get the blood flowing.  One, two…OW.  My shoulder is still sore from last night.  Did I injure myself somehow?  Drinking injury?  I really can’t recall. I think I was doing too much hugging.  Constantly putting your arm above some other man’s shoulder can give you muscle problems.  Why do I get so huggy when I’m drunk?

I’ll chug some Diet Mountain Dew.  That’ll give me energy to write.  It worked!  Feel like I just took a bump.  Open my novel file on my laptop and here we…phone just vibrated.  Don’t answer.  You finally got energy to write, no need to get derailed.  Oh, it’s a text.  Can’t hurt to check:

“why is andy not playing?”

FUCK.  I forgot Syracuse has an exhibition game today.  Shit, get the game on.  Phew, didn’t miss opening tip.  It’s only an exhibition, I should try to do work during the game.  Alas, I can’t.  I’m too transfixed, even by sloppy, exhibition basketball.

Game over, it’s 4:00.  Feels like 9:00 PM but it’s only 4:00.  Shit that’s early.  Still some daylight.  Now, I’ll go running.  And afterward, a quick shower, then time to write.  Where the fuck are my running shoes?  Dammit, I left them at Elisabeth’s place the other day.  That’s fine, I’ll wear my back-ups, no excuses.  Ipod isn’t charged, either.  Again, no excuses.  Ten miles.  Ten fucking miles.  I feel good, I feel good, I feel good, good lord!, it’s freezing out.  It looks so nice from inside, sky blue and clear, but motherfuck is it chilly!  I’ll just warm up for a second in the foyer, check my mail, forgot to check it yesterday.  Nice!  New Netflix.  Can’t recall what was on my queue.  Yes!  I’ve been waiting for that one.  You know, fuck running.  It’s too cold.  I’ll go watch this movie.  But I’ll do sit-ups and push-ups while watching.  Two hours straight of sit-ups and push-ups, now that’s a workout.

Musta dozed off.  That movie was a lot more boring that I expected.  Actually, no, I did expect it to suck.  That’s why I didn’t see it in theaters.  How come movies I avoid in theaters due to bad reviews I excitely order on Netflix and then–surprise, surprise–come to find out they suck just like I knew they did months previous?  I’m such a sucker.  Whatever the case, now it’s 6:00.  And, I’m hungry again.  What’s my problem?  Why do I need to eat so much today?  I’m not even burning calories that need to be replaced.  I’ve barely sat erect today!  I’m a glutton.  A sloth.  But I can’t deny I’m starving.  I can’t order delivery two meals in a row, that’s pathetic.  That’s just a few more delivery orders away from Lifetime doing a special on me, the fat guy that hasn’t left his house in a decade and needs a fire team and a crane to remove him from the premises.  It’s times like these I wish I kept food in the house.  Unfortunately, I don’t.  Just beer.

I don’t really feel like putting on clothes but I’m starving. I smell bad too.  I should probably shower.  Fuck it, no gumption to even do that.  At this late hour I’d even count that as having done something productive.  I’ll just put out sweats.  I look like such an asshole.  Then again, everyone in my neighborhood looks like an asshole.  I’m hungry but what do I want?  Whatever’s closest, doesn’t matter, too cold to walk far.  Thus, that would lead me to the prepared food counter at the D’Agostino’s across the street.  And…it looks as if, by 7:30 on Sunday night, all they have left is one half rotisserie chicken.  Good enough.  It’s just sustenance.  I’ll get some Golden Oreos too.  Cannot stop eating those motherfuckers.  I don’t even like cookies.  Especially lard-ass Oreos.  But the Golden boys are unbelievable.  Why did it take a century for Nabisco to realize that simply reversing the chocolate and vanilla component of the iconic cookie would make it vastly superior?  It was right under all of our noses, quite frankly.  Genius.

Giants game’s about to start.  I’ll only watch til my beloved GMen start to blow the Eagles out.  Sure to happen.  I hate to see my man, my former classmate, Donovan get whipped, but the Giants need to keep rolling.  Motherfuck, three point game at half.  Alright, a lot closer than I expected.  NFC East bouts always are.  I’ll just watch the game til it’s over.  Actually, now I feel like a beer.  Football and brews go hand in hand.  What’s in my fridge?

Weihenstephaner Original Premium?  Don’t even recall buying this one.  Absolutely adored their hefeweizen, did I screw up and buy their lager?   It should be good, still, I’d imagine.  Yuck.  Putrid stench.  Smells like a Heiny.  Skunky and macro.  Tastes somewhat better though.  Gotta say, it’s pretty solid for a boring lager, pretty solid compared to an American macro lager, but as a beer it’s pretty lackluster.  I can only think the overwhelmingly good reviews online have to do with the famed country of origin and esteemed brewery of creation cause this one is nuttin’ special.  Shit, even my beer was a waste today.  Fuck.  Am I gonna get anything out of my Sunday?  Should I start going to church?!

Well, at least the Giants won.  Another nice victory.  But that doesn’t really benefit me.  Doesn’t really make my day any more “productive.”  And now it’s midnight.  Sports take too long to watch.  DVR hasn’t figured out a way to speed up our sports watching capabilities.

I guess I should just admit that after sixteen hours of anxiety, sixteen hours of determination, sixteen hours of goals, dreams, and wishes, I really didn’t do shit.  Where did the time go?  Unbelievable.  Don’t beat yourself up.  So, you didn’t seize the day.  Big deal.  I’ll get more work done tomorrow.  I know it.  Mondays have less distractions.  Now I’m kinda buzzed.  I want another beer, a nightcap, and then I’m gonna watch the abominable “Entourage” on HBO On-Demand.

It is absolutely breathtaking how you wasted an entire day, Aaron.  At least you managed to write this.

C+

Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier

August 5th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brauerei Weihenstephan, Country: Germany, Grade: A regular, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

5.4% ABV

A long lost high school friend John found my blog the other day. He’s a Germanophile who’s lived in the country numerous times over the last decade and even has his own–far more successful than my own, damn him!–blog in which he pokes fun at the culture there. It’s a good read, I highly recommend it. Thus, John–who was actually in German class with me in school come to think of–was a bit aggrieved to see I only had reviewed three German beers.

He’s right to feel that way as Germany is maybe the most significant beer country in the world, producing and drinking both the 2nd most beer in the world. Having said that, and I hope the beer gods don’t hit me with a lightening bolt, but I find German beer kinda…well, kinda boring. I’d almost always rather explore Belgian and American beers.

Don’t get me wrong, any time I have a top shelf German beer, it is always without question good. It’s just, as a whole, German beers are kinda bland to my palate. I think it has to do with their whole Reinheitsgebot beer purity laws which state that beers can literally only be made with water, hops, barley, and yeast. I admire them for sticking with these recipes for so long, but I’m an adventurer and I like novelty in all aspects of my life. I like beers made with figs and bananas and oak-barreled and all sorts of other weird shit. Sometimes these beers are failures, often their successes. With German beers I know what I’m getting–usually a doppelbock or a hefeweizen, not exactly my two favorite styles–but with American beers, I feel like there’s so many things to explore. And, that excites me. Imagine only being allowed to use steak and potatoes to make a meal. Sure it could be great, but it gets boring after awhile.

Also, German beers have such long, cumbersome, vowel-laden names that you can never remember your favorites to reference later. “I think I like that one with nine e’s that ends with ‘er.’” There’s a reason the dreadful Beck’s is the best selling German beer in America. It’s the only one we can remember. Also, German beers have boring labels that all look the same. Again, making it difficult to recall which is your favorite for later purchase. It’s easier to just stick with American or Belgium beers that have cool names (Arrogant Bastard, Delirium Tremens, etc) and awesome labels.

I asked John to tell me his favorite German beers and I’d review them in his honor, but before he had a chance to email me back a response I went across the street to my supermarket for dinner and happened to notice that they had only one German beer–and I mean “real” German beer, I’m not counting St. Pauli Girl–stocked. Fittingly, it was from Weihenstephaner, the oldest brewery in the world dating back to 1040. That’s amazing.

This is one of the most fragrant hefes I’ve ever grabbed, very yeasty smelling. The lacing just sticks to the sides of the glass, it’s very impressive. Very tasteful too, creamy, buttery, taste of bananas. Of course, tons of wheat and malt too. A bit more carbonation than I’m used to in more American style hefes but this is a classic no doubt. A standard bearer for hefes. I typically enjoy stronger, more potent and more complex beers, but its hard to find much to complain about regarding this one. Maybe I should drink German brews more often.

A

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

July 21st, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei, Country: Germany, Grade: A regular, Style: Bock

6.7% ABV from a bottle

At 21 it was Darwin’s in Syracuse and extremely cheap happy hour pitchers of Miller Light. It was hitting on 18-year-old freshmen that had snuck into the bar with their fakes IDs. Girls that were still taut and yet to become doughy in the stomach and triceps from a good three years of collegiate drinking. It was still not knowing how to drink for shit yet.

At 22 it was Faegan’s and full pint glasses of knock-you-on-your ass Long Island Iced Teas. Three was the norm, four might kill you. At the start of the night you only needed to remove a single twenty from the ATM. That would be enough to get you absolutely plastered with a few bucks left over for a slice or two of crappy, greasy, mop-up-the-cheap-booze pizza inexplicably served by a Greek family.

At 23 and just out of college it was Rogo’s in Hoboken. $5 cover charge but once inside it was like a store in the ghetto: everything was a dollar. And I mean everything, cheap beer, cheap liquor, cheap shots, and cheap wine were all a buck. Sadly enough that was still a little steep for us as we were all underemployed to say the least. The deal started at 7 PM and we’d be seated at the bar by 6:59. Drink orders and dollar bills would cascade over our heads for the next five hours and by night’s end–I’m only a little ashamed to admit this–we had usually made money as we began discreetly integrating the strip-club-stage pile of bills into our personal funds. At least we tipped the drink-slingers well with the ill-gotten gains. Throwing up was inevitable.

At 24 it was the now-shuttered Village Idiot in the Meatpacking District. $6 MGD pitchers were the draw to this absolute pig sty of a bar with sawdust-covered vomit-covered floors and skanky bartenders that you didn’t even need a medical degree to recognize the strains of STD riddling their bodies. Surprisingly, hot, but equally cheapskate, women frequented this joint too and of course they were always easy to lure home for some forgotten-by-the-morning adventures.

At 25 it was Doc Holliday’s in the East Village for the hipster special, $2 tallboy cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. One guy would go up, drop a few twenties, and buy enough cans to cover an entire booth table with PBR. It would last well into the night before the empties began tumbling onto the floor making noises like a “Just Married!” car was pulling away, the Jameson shots began to get purchased in order to toast our besotted lives, and the drunken flirtations began as all the while fat chicks danced on the beat-up bar. A quintessential faux-dive.

By 26 many of my friends had gotten engaged or married and moved to the suburbs or outer boroughs. One friend had been shipped out to Iraq, another had pursued Hollywood dreams in LA, and another had moved home to New England. Thus, a formerly huge crew’s halycon days of wine and roses had come to an abrupt halt. But that was fine, I still had one single friend JT and his two favorite pursuits coincided neatly with mine: stiff drinks and promiscuous women. We became a two-man wrecking crew throughout his part of town, the less-dead-than-you-think Flatiron District, and mine, the as-touristy-as-you-think Hell’s Kitchen. We’d hit crapholes like No Idea or Scruffy’s Duffys for gin-and-tonic after gin-and-tonic and to demonstrate our sloppy drunken rakishness to “adventurous” Midwestern tourists and laid-over flight attendants that were admittedly impressed that we had 100__ zip codes and roof “decks” to take them back to. They never questioned the unfinished and tar quality of our roofs, the need to jimmy a fire lock to gain access, and just enjoyed the romantic jaunt for what it was. And they went back to Abilene or Omaha and said, “By gosh, I hooked up with a real life New Yorker! (sotto voce) And he might even a been Jewy.”

By 27 JT had somehow quickly gotten hitched and moved to Jersey and, shit, even I had a steady girl in my life. We’d party around her pad on the Upper West Side, hitting bars that we were probably just a little too old to be partying at, but we still weren’t rich so we liked the cheap pitchers and stiff whiskey drinks. We liked kicking just-out-of-college kids’ asses in mixed doubles beer pong and foosball. In drunkenly hooking up in the photo booth before ordering jalapeno poppers. Ah, a young drunkard couple in love.

By 28 we’d become more comfortable and refined (read: lazy). We spent more nights in where I enjoyed quality craft beers and bourbons. When we went out, we’d hang with another couple at quiet and bland “Irish” pubs where we played bar trivia and drank buckets of crappy macro beers because they were the only things available.

And now, here at age 29, I am again, as the great Neil Diamond said, a solitary man, sitting alone in my dark living room watching TV. Sounds like my life has gone downhill, huh? As if my tale has ended on a lachrymose note. As if I am at the worst year in my 20s. Nope, not in the fucking least. Not when I’m surrounded by three bottles of Beer Advocate-rated A plus brews about to watch the only movie I haven’t seen from my all-time favorite director Woody Allen’s oeuvre.

The first beer on my evening’s agenda is the legendary Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, a brew I’d been meaning to try for years. It excitedly came with a little trinket on a string attached to the bottle’s neck. Nice. More breweries should employ this Cracker Jack a-prize-in-every-box strategy in order to lure me into buying their product.

Celebrator also has a very slick label.

Beautiful dark chocolate pour with little hints of purple and a tan head. I never talk about a beer’s lacing cause I typically don’t give a shit but Celebrator has maybe the best I have ever seen. It was hypnotic to look at. Tastes of chocolate and espresso and it’s incredibly smoky, like Worcester sauce or something. Very malty of course too and no sweetness at all. Slightly more sour finish than I expected. Very warming. Incredibly drinkable too as this beer is smoother than a eunuch’s crotch.

If you have not had many doppelbocks in your life I think you would find this beer very odd and perhaps undrinkable. Even having loved many doppels in my life it took me a little bit to get acclimated to this one. I’m not sure if this is a beer you completely figure out until you’re halfway through the bottle. The beer is much better the warmer it is served as well, as I began drinking it at too cold of temperature.

Celebrator is pretty much the dictionary definition doppelbock. It is the most known and arguably the best as well. However, I wouldn’t advise an amateur beer-drinker to try this as they’d probably be in for a bit of a surprise and not enjoy it. As for me, though I found it brilliant, it lacked a few things I would have liked to consider it a masterpiece. First of all, it’s a bit dull, a bit bland. I also think it could have used a sweet component or two. I also think the alcohol content should be amped up. But then again, I always think that.

But these are minor quibbles and this an amazing beer that rightfully deserves all the accolades it receives.

A

Also, “Cassandra’s Dream” was nowhere close to as bad as most people reviewed it. Not classic Woody by any means, but still an interesting picture.

Schneider Weiss Hopfen Weiss (Schneider & Brooklyner)

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Brewer: Schneider, Country: America, Country: Germany, Grade: A-, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

8.2% ABV from a bomber

This brew is the result of the long friendship of Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver and Schneider brewmaster Hans-Peter Drexler. Garrett had always admired the delicate balance of flavors in Schneider Weisse, while Hans-Peter had long enjoyed the effusive hop character of Brooklyn East India Pale Ale and BLAST! Garrett’s concept for the collaboration was that each brewmaster would brew essentially the same pale, hoppy weissbock in the other’s brewery, but with different hopping to reflect the local hop flavor.

Was excited to see this one on the shelf. Had loved the Brooklyn version of this bottling a few months back and this was the first time I’d seen the German version on the shelf. The Brooklyn version was a near masterpiece but I don’t recall it having this high of ABV. Looking through my notes though, I see that indeed it did.

This beer pours a huge head. Or maybe I’m just a drunk asshole who doesn’t know how to transfer from bottle to pint glass. Smells about as good as a beer can smell to me. Very malty.

I feel like I might like this one a tad less than I enjoyed the Brooklyn version, but mind you I’m not doing a side-by-side test and only recall my thoughts from months ago. I will admit that I like the smell of hefes often better than I like the taste. Although this is a great beer, no bones about it. I think from now on I will exclusively drink wheat beers during the hot weather instead of those thin, lemony crap beers most brewery releases under their “summer” line. This brew has a nice amount of hops, especially for a wheat.

This is how you do a hefe, other beermakers take note.

A-

Franziskaner Weissbeir

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau, Country: Germany, Grade: B regular, Style: Kristalweizen

5% ABV

I’d seen this beer on the shelves and at bars a zillion times but something about it just bored me. A pure case of judging a book by it’s ho-hum cover. My gut instinct proved right as I liked this beer fine but didn’t love it, and will probably have forgotten about it soon enough. I had this immediately after drinking the Leffe Blonde. It smells similar but is obviously more wheaty. It has a nice solid taste, but then again, I like most wheat beers. It goes down smooth too. It’s average, unexciting, but kind of tasty. I actually enjoyed it more the more I drank it.

B