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Archive for the ‘Country: United Kingdom’ Category

Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 30 Reserve

January 21st, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 61 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Harviestoun, Country: United Kingdom, Grade: A-, Style: Old Ale

8% ABV handsomely bottled

She was so hot.  And I was on my game.  I’d make a joke, she’d laugh.  Uproariously.  I’d make a witty observation.  She’d nod in agreement.  “So true.”  She was impressed with me!  Both my present lot in life and my dreams for the future.  I was instantly in love with her.  We made plans to have our first date on Friday.  Sex was inferred.  Lots of it.  She went to the bar’s bathroom.

“Why are you talking to that disgusting pig?”

Sal butted in.   My other friends were mocking me.

“What are you talking about?  That girl’s way attractive.”

“Not at all. She’s like a 4 out of 10.”

BULLSHIT.

I thought my friends were getting my goat.  Fucking with me.  And who says that they have good taste?  They drink shitty macro beers and are disgusted by anything that actually has hops in it.  Why should their thoughts on women be any more than unsophisticated? I was certain the new love of my laugh was gorgeous.

A girl she was with started to dry heave in the bathroom so they had to split.  I spent all the next day fantasizing about her, even though I couldn’t picture her and didn’t even recall her name.

She finally Facebook friended me Thursday night.  And my friends were indeed wrong.  She wasn’t a 4 out of 10. 

She was like a 2.

“And those are good pictures of her,” my asshole of a friend chipped in, without me even asking.

Oh, did I mention I was like twenty beers deep on Wednesday?

I had started drinking at 5:00 PM with some quite hefty brews, uncorking a bottle of the Ola Dubh Special 30 year. We all know my thoughts on beers that are corked, foil-wrapped, boxed, and/or barrel-aged (in this case in Scotch) so this was certain to be a winner. And indeed it was. Scotchy, boozy, though still quite drinkable with a smooth creaminess and nice mouthfeel. A very good brew.

Obviously, I had to make up a lie and back out of our scheduled date.

I told this story to another friend on Saturday and he gave me an incredible pearl of wisdom:

If you are incredibly drunk and a girl is still seemingly into you, then she is probably disgusting.

I thought back to my interactions with the girl on the night in question and I began to have some flashbacks.

I remembered some of the jokes I was making. Cringe-worthingly unfunny. I recalled some of the antics I pulled. Just really fucking annoying. I harkened back to the topics I discussed with her. Embarrassingly self-indulgent and dumb.

Now I understood why my friends did not want to deal with me that night! And, I also understood why the girl did. She wasn’t amused by me. Nor was she impressed. And she certainly didn’t find me funny. She was simply sucking it up and letting me act like a drunk asshole for the plain and simple fact that I was…a man. A man actually talking to her, hitting on her, for once. No attractive woman–fuck, no average-looking woman–would have put up with my garbage. This girl was forced to.

Unfortunately for her, I actually have standards–quite brutal standards–when I’m sober, so obviously she had no chance with me by the next day. Women, if you really want me and you’re ugly, you better find me on a wasted night and seize the day then lest you never get another shot.

Though my friend’s nugget of insight really changed my drunken seduction mindset, it also upset me.

“So does this mean that I can never get an attractive women when I’m absolutely shitfaced?” I asked him.

He smiled knowingly.

“Nope. She can be even drunker than you and wake up the next day looking at you sleeping beside her and think, ‘God, what have I done?’”

A-

J.W. Lees Harvest Barley Wine

December 22nd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: J.W. Lees, Country: United Kingdom, Grade: A plus, Grade: A regular, Style: Barley wine

ALL 11.5% bottled

My friend DW called me last week. He’d just acquired a bunch of rare and highly-touted beers. He thought I should come down to Washington, DC to visit him. That’s how I plan vacations, that’s how I’m lured out of town, by the offer of quality brews. Not much else matters.

DW was most interested in me trying a new discovery of his, the J.W. Lees collection of barley wines. I had never heard of them and actually thought he had misspoke and was talking about the horrific J.W. Dundees, makers of the terrible Honey Brown gas station lager. He wasn’t. He was talking about a brewery in England that comes out with a highly-notable and limited barley wine which they release every year on December 1 to celebrate the newest harvest of barley and hops. According to J.W. Lees, only the first delivery of the year’s classic barley malt ‘Maris Otter’ and the classic hop variety ‘Goldings’ from East Kent is used. Sounded exciting.

Meant to be laid down for years, DW was able to score vintage bottles from 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2004, all of which I tried.

In ascending order of quality, my thoughts on each.

2000

Though I found this vis-a-vis the others to be the “weakest” vintage, it was the first one I tried coincidentally, and I was still absolutely floored.  There’s really nothing like this, save one other beer I will mention in a bit.  Pretentious and annoying beer nerds might denigrate this with a favorite buzzword of their’s:  “cloying.”  To some beer dorks, any beer with even the slightest bit of sweetest they consider to be bad.  Now sometimes sweetness is a bad thing–those candy flavored malt beverages chicks dig par exemplar–but when it’s such a pure, fruity sweetness as here, it couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Like all the Harvests, it pours dark like a port or sherry.  Goes down so smooth, it is absolutely shocking that it has such an high ABV.  A near-flawless brew, but better ones were yet to come.

A

2004

Whenever the Vice Blogger leaves town, upon his return his local friends e-mail him and text him, “Heh heh, bet you got some great bloggable stories from the weekend, eh?”  And, you know, that’s not always the case.  I had an absolute fucking blast this weekend, punishing my body with booze and tons of greasy foods that were dipped into tons of mayonnaise-based sauces, but my weekend really didn’t produce any “blog-worthy” stories.  I hooked up with no women, I got in no trouble, very little hijinks occurred.

Well…maybe one story.  Wasted on Friday night, my friends and I weren’t let into a “speakeasy” in Alexandria, Virginia.  No big deal, I don’t like the kind of place that in the year 2008 thinks I’m going to be impressed by a faux-exclusive faux-hot spot.  Though we had heard that the bar harbored lots of sexy and willing cougars typically competed for by effete local men.

Later in the night, at a smoky dump filled with women with bad bangs and the men that tolerate them, DW stumbled upon a Pulaski County, MO sheriff’s badge that some visiting man of the law had apparently drunkenly left behind.  I’ve lost countless things behind at bars whilst drunk, but never a badge.  Me and my friends are not the best people in the world and quite turpitudinous, but even we looked to return the badge.  Casually.  Unable to find a drunken Andy Griffith tumbling off a bar stool, we left the dive and headed back to the speakeasy.

We located the secret blue light denoting the hidden front door, rang the bell, and when the hostess slid open the tiny eye slot to speak with us–”Sorry, we’re full.”–DW slapped his badge in her face, asking her:  “You don’t have a soft spot for law enforcement do you?”

Shockingly, she didn’t.  And three phony police officers weren’t let in.  I have a feeling the same thing didn’t happen to Elliot Ness way back when.

The 2004 vintage I thought to be a hair better than the 2000.  Dark fruits like a dubbel, but smooth and sweet like a barley wine.  Like all the Harvests, a nose of maple syrup.

A

1999

Now we were getting to the big boy vintages.  1999 was damn near perfect, huge with barely any carbonation.  DW and I drank them room temperature, splitting 12 ounce bottles, which was more than enough for both of us.  Though not that boozy or punishing, this is one helluva sipper.  And, actually, while this is not punishing in a biting alcohol way, it is sure punishing to the palate.  Stone calls their double IPA “Ruination” because they jokingly believe that it will absolutely destroy your palate from possibly enjoying any other beers in the future.  Well, Harvests are the real ruination.  The syrupy brews absolutely coating the insides of your cheek, your tongue, and your throat.  We tried to drink a very well-regarded beer after this bottle and it tasted like a fat man’s bathwater.

We found that one either needs to drink several shit beers to cleanse their palate after Harvest or use some equally extreme beer to do the trick.  The delicious and overhopped-in-a-great-way Sam Adams Imperial Pilsener worked wonders for us in the latter regard.

A

1998

We expected this to be the creme de le creme of the Harvests and we were not disappointed in the least.  I believe this is the absolute oldest vintage of Harvest still able to be found on the market, but I could be wrong.  And it’s certainly the oldest beer I’ve ever had, excluding the thousands and thousands of Milwaukee’s Best cans I drank back during my sophomore year of college in 1998.

DW got turned onto Harvests when he was talking with a local beermonger and mentioned that Utopias is one of his favorite beers in the world.  The guy noted that if he liked Utopias that Harvest 1998 was similar…and better.  I refused to believe that, but, you know, the guy was 100% right.

A similar nose and taste to Utopias, it’s slightly less ABV and slightly more sweetness makes it more a bit more palatable.  Quite a bit cheaper per ounce too.  Boisterous and fruity, this one is hard to classify as any sort of alcohol.  As much like a port as a barley wine, I can safely say that you have never tried something quite like this.

One of the best beers I’ve ever had, world-class.  Seek out at all costs.

A+

Bass Pale Ale

September 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Bass, Country: United Kingdom, Grade: C plus, Style: English Pale Ale

5% ABV on draught

They say New York isn’t a college football town, but that isn’t exactly true. It’s not a college football town in the sense that the increasingly-less-and-less-relevant mainstream media gives a shit. And in NYC, if the clueless mainstream media doesn’t care about something then we are supposed to believe that no one cares. Also, except for the shameful few that root for the worst college football program in history, there are no local favorites in our town.

Having said all that, I think it could be argued that NYC is the absolute best college football town in America being that we literally have rabid fans–and plenty of them–from every single college and university in this country. Fans that wake up every single Saturday morning anxious to throw on their logoed gear and then meet up with their fellow supporters to get drunk and root on their schools. Try to find a Syracuse bar in Lawrence. Or a Boise State bar in Ames. A Michigan bar in Lubbock. Or a Florida State bar in Morgantown. I’m guessing you won’t. But you will find bars for all those teams in New York plus viewing locations for pretty much every single other team.

Since my once-proud college football program is in a downward spiral, I now have to take pleasure in attending the game watch parties for my friends’ teams. Cool with me. When my team is playing–and actually good–I am sub-human. A man only capable of using his left hand to slug beer, his right hand to slug the bar in anger or ecstasy, his mouth to yell out “Fuck!,” “Shit!,” or “Jesus Christ!” (again in agony or ecstasy), and his dick to eliminate all the toxic macrobeer from my system almost as fast as it enters it.

During my team’s games, I am oblivious to my surroundings. Unaware whether the bar is full of the hottest pieces of ass on the planet or the scummiest fans of a rival school. I only am cognizant of what is on the flatscreen on the wall and what my core group of doppelganger friends–all with the same biases as me, both positive and negative, both against or for our team–have to say. If Scarlett Johanson were to offer me fellatio during tense game action, I would turn her down briskly and with no prejudice. The only time I ever interact with someone beside my core of knowledgeable pals is when my team scores and then I’m going around in drunken revelry, hugging and kissing anyone and everyone whether they are of the opposite sex or not and whether they wish to accept my cheering affection or not. They usually do. And maybe if it’s a big enough score, now I‘m the one offering the knob slob. God I love my team, unfortunately, they’re the only ones sucking dick right now*, ruining my Saturdays and robbing me of a little slice of weekly pleasure.

That’s why I enjoy going to watch parties that aren’t for my team. Watch parties for your own team–at least for me–aren’t even fun what with all the tension and nerves, pinning your hopes for a good Saturday on a group of nineteen-year-olds that went to the same school as you but no doubt have had a vastly different university experience than you.  What with the covered up date rapes, money paid under the table, skipped classes, oh and all the narcotics and firearms charges.  Yeah, I was certainly much worse behaved than the student-athletes I follow. Those boys going early to bed, early to rise, eating healthy, and livin’ clean. Riiiiight. And you’re hoping these nineteen-year-olds don’t ruin your Saturday?

There is no tension or nerves when you go to another team’s watch bar. Now you’re free to just get loaded, enjoy the glory of the gridiron, gamble a bit, and ogle some fine young women. And why are women so attractive when clad in a tight college tee, perhaps a baseball cap, and maybe if we’re lucky a tiny cute-as-a-button temporary tattoo on their left cheek? Also, my Saturday won’t be ruined if my friends’ teams lose. In fact, it could even be elevated if you’re into the whole schadenfreude thing. Then again, you also are deprived of any chance of the crack high glory of an unexpected victory that keeps you going for the whole next week.

Last Saturday, I joined several friends and alumni at the University of Oklahoma watch party at The Press Box on Second. Suffice to say, it was not the rip-roaring fun I expected.

The first thing that happens any time you’re at a NYC watch party for, say, an SEC or Big 12 team, but I’m not picking on those conferences or their teams, is you look at the fans at the bar and think:

“These people live here?!”

Us New Yorkers are a guilty-as-charged snobby bunch and after just a year if not a few months of living here we’ve all already become skinny-from-always-walking, jaded-from-seeing-everything, pretentious locals able to scornishly recognize an outsider with ease.

So when you see a group of fat slobs squeezed into a cheap Champion Athletic team t-shirts celebrating some conference title game from a decade-plus ago all the while shoveling food into their mouth from a smörgåsbord of fried things so elegantly known as “the sampler,” you think, that’s not a local like me, that’s no New Yorker. That must just be some hick from home who happened to be in Manhattan on vacation or for business over this weekend and was somehow smart enough to google the location of the school-he-didn’t-even-attend-but-nevertheless-roots-for watch party bar.

And then you speak to these people.

“So where are you guys from?”

And through bites of sour cream slathered ‘tato skins, they twangily respond:

“Ta-rye-beck-uh.”

Tribeca? As in…New York’s Tribeca?!”

“Uh huh.”

And you can’t believe it.

“These people live here?!”

Not only do they live here, but they are fans of the same team as you. Such was the case at The Press Box as the Sooners took on the lowly Tennessee Chattanooga Mocs. A laugher of a game and a laugher of a crowd. The Press Box sucks with a set up like an old folks bingo parlor. Tables utilitarianly placed in staid row after staid row, preventing both good sightlines for the big screens and any sort of esprit de corps amongst fans. Not that I would want to be friends with any of the OU fans that I saw out embarrassing themselves. The men, so bulbous they can barely get their TRex arms together to clap for a big gain, the women just…gross.  Too disgusting to even be considered slumpbusters.

CoCo Chanel famously said that “There are no ugly women, just lazy ones.” I think she would have changed her tune if she visited The Press Box on gameday. Or at least she would have to claim that these women were so lazy they were bordering on comatose.  Though certainly not the kind of comatose where you have to be forcefed like Terry Schiavo as these ladies were eating willingly and frequently.

But at least the drink was adequate. I sipped on Bass, an underrated but ultimately unremarkable beer that can be found on tap at just about every bar in America. Buttery malts, smooth, and with a very sippable carbonation. And maybe the bartender liked my roguish charm or maybe he was just so overwhelmed by the insatiable behemoths that he forgot to keep track of my tab, but I got out of there cheaply.

Afterward we headed to the nearby Overlook, to see what an all-of-the-sudden good Missouri football watch party looked like. A stark difference and the stats tell the whole story:

Avg. age of OU fan at The Press Box: 45 years
Avg. weight of OU fan at The Press Box: 225 pounds

Avg. age of Mizzou fan at Overlook: 24 years
Avg. weight of Mizzou fan at Overlook: 150 pounds

Here were people having a great time!** Standing, slugging cheap macro beers, having shots even, raucously cheering on their team, and no doubt setting things in play to have nasty, nasty intercourse with a fellow fan they’d just met that night in celebratory camaraderie. It was a great thing to see and it shamed The Press Box all the more. I even talked with a few Mizzou fans and they were as nice as can be. Maybe I’ll adopt them as my new bandwagon team, heck my sister did go there.

So tell me New York readers, what are the best college watch bars from a pure partying standard–madcapped fun, ample and cheap drinks, tasty fried food, and libidinous women–regardless of how good the team is or isn’t? My Saturdays are now free as my crummy team’s games are only shown on internet feeds coming out of Prince Edward Island and I’m willing to let other colleges adopt the Vice Blogger for a season…

C+

*Three blow job references in one paragraph. Well played, Aaron, well played.

**As it still stands, the best college sports watch party I’ve ever been to in Manhattan was when with an ex I attended a Cornell hockey playoff game at Ship of Fools. My lord! You won’t believe me but there were hundreds upon hundreds of fans, all decked out in Cornell hockey sweaters, living and dying with every single shift, unveiling traditional little cheers and slurs toward their opponent, getting wasted, and having a blast of an afternoon. Man, those second tier Ivy League nerds could party!

St. Peter’s English Ale

August 6th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: St. Peter's, Country: United Kingdom, Grade: B-, Style: English Pale Ale

4.5% ABV

The Abercrombie & Fitch store on Fifth Avenue has got to be the most deplorable retail space in the entire world. Unfortunately, I have to pass it most every single day. The first thing you notice is the stench. Depending how the wind is blowing, you can smell this store from as far north as Central Park and as far south as the NBA Store on 52nd. The odor is that of a cheap cologne factory explosion. It’s noxious, penetrating your nostrils and sticking to the fibers of your clothing, making any person you interact with for the rest of the day wonder why you smell like a Maxim Magazine cologne sample. Then, as you get closer, you notice the blue velvet-roped off line. You think, “Weird, is there a ‘hot’ new nightclub for douchebags, touristy yokels, and fanny-packed moms that now opens on Fifth Avenue at 1:00 PM on Wednesdays?” Nope, A&F literally has a queue–and usually a lengthy one at that–waiting to get into a fucking store that every mall in every shitty town in America already has. Unbelievable. I thought the lamest thing a tourist could do while sightseeing on Fifth was to stand across the street from the Trump Tower and take a picture, but nope, this trumps (actually not sure if I intended this pun or not) even that. Of course, every place with a velvet rope needs someone standing guard, and the “bouncers” for this stinky dump are shirtless concave-chested and prepubescently hairless nineteen-years old “models.” The little tourist girls seem to love to get Polaroids taken with these chaps. Firstly, I can’t believe Polaroids still exist, but secondly, I’ve now decided getting your picture taken with a shirtless A&F “hunk” is the lamest thing that can possibly be done on Fifth. These models are the kind of guys that only a fourteen-year-old from Wichita would find attractive. I see the braces-wearing gals giggling with glee as they leave the store, staring at their autographed keepsake as ambiguously dirty thoughts run through their minds. Within a year or two, the girls will stumble upon this souvenir at the bottom of their desk drawer and chuckle at themselves, embarrassed for being so silly back when. By this same time, these effete little 130 pound boy bouncers will either become like the 90-97% rest of us, start reading The Vice Blog, drinking beers, and developing nice little guts. Or, they will become like the other 3-10% rest of us and admit they are homosexuals, maintaining a lithe muscular physique. I’ve never been in the store but I bet further atrocities lurk within. Maybe I’ll visit one day, wasted, just to see what the bouncers will do if I start going apeshit, wondering why they won’t change the TV monitors to the damn Yankees game and bring me a gin. I’m guessing it would take like fifteen of them to bounce me. It would be like the Lilliputians tying down Gulliver.

I usually have a slick little segue to advance from my opening anecdote into my beer review, but not this time. I just fucking hate this Abercrombie & Fitch store so much, it is currently my biggest bane in the goddamn city, and I really felt like blasting it*. Ah, now I feel better. Onto the beer…

I thought I’d read something, somewhere, that some British magazine or newspaper or website had called St. Peter’s Ale the best beer in the world. So you can imagine I was pretty excited when someone gave me a bottle. The bottle is cool fo’ sho’. Looks like some sort of apothecary’s magic elixir. And, after I’d poured the bottle into my pint glass, I noticed that, now empty, some odd, latticy, crystalline bubble formation had remained.

Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but it was very cool. Very odd. I’d never seen a beer bottle do that before. It was hypnotic. Is that a sign of a good beer, or just a weird fucking one-time quirk? Who knows.

Immediately, upon consuming this so-called highly regarded beer, I was kinda confused. It has a skunky, semi-woodsy smell. Taste is much more muted however. Very thin, very light. Really nothing special. Kinda just tasted to me like the sort of beer British people have been going to pubs to polish off fifteen straight pints of for the last several hundred years. And, with such a low ABV, that is definitely doable. Don’t get me wrong, though, this is a vastly superior beer to the kinds of beer Americans polish off fifteen straights pints of.

Having said that, the brew is decidedly not spectacular, and it’s certainly not the best beer in the world. Afterwards, I searched out that article I thought I’d read. Aha! It was The Independent and they had actually claimed that St. Peter’s IPA was the best beer around. That make a little more sense.

B-

*Amusing footnote: Headed to a wedding this weekend where it stands a good chance I will find myself at the hotel pool taking a dip at some point. I will ironically be outfitted in an A&F swimsuit, a faded pair of trunks I think I purchased back in 1998 or so for a college spring break trip. What can I say, I don’t go swimming a lot and I’m pretty lazy in updating my wardrobe.

Belhaven Scottish Ale

July 23rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Belhaven, Country: United Kingdom, Grade: B plus, Style: Scottish Ale

5.2% ABV from a nitrocan

I have a bit of a feud with nitrocans. Years ago, during my Guinness phase, I was invited to a party thrown by some older, classier folks, and I decided to bring two four-packs of Guinness nitrocans (this being a “classy” party I didn’t think a 30 rack of Milwaukee’s Best would be appropriate). Setting them down I suppose a bit too rough on the host’s kitchen counter, the (I say defective) widgets somehow managed to combust and the highly pressurized cans exploded. It was like when Vincent Vega accidentally shot Marvin in the head while he sat in the back of the 1974 Chevrolet Nova, blood and bone fragments flying everywhere, even landing in Jules Winnfield’s jheri curl. However, in my case, the exploding cans shot viscous brown stout beer in every direction, hitting party guests and landing in every single nook and cranny of the small kitchen. I didn’t need a Winston Wolf in my life to know what I had to do next. I thus spent the first hour of the party on my hands and knees scrubbing and standing on a small step ladder trying to sponge the Guinness from the ceiling. It was absolutely humiliating. I wrote Guinness a letter hoping to score some free shit, and, in fairness, their quality control guy did call me, but it was too much of a rigamarole to fill out all the paperwork and mail in the defective cans for laboratory analysis. Not worth it.

Now you see why I try to avoid nitrocans. However, my friend cites Belhaven as his absolute favorite beer and so I had to give it a whirl. Glad I did. Nutty, malty, smooth and creamy. Like a more flavorful Guinness. Goes down like Yoo-Hoo. I would definitely have this again.

B+

Timothy Taylor’s Landlord Strong Pale Ale

June 11th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Timothy Taylor & Co., Country: United Kingdom, Grade: B-, Style: English Pale Ale

4.1% ABV

The same friends that just returned from England and introduced me to Strongbow also lugged back a bottle of this for sampling. They had popped into a Whole Foods while in London and the chap working in the beer section had told them that this was his favorite beer*. Thus they bought a bottle and threw it in their suitcase, smuggling this contraband all the way back to “The States.” I love when foreigners refer to America as “The States.” I’m not sure why. I just love how it sounds in a foreign accent. Conversely, I hate when an American starts calling this country “The States.” It’s clear they affect that eccentricity because they think of themselves as very European and cosmopolitan and probably use terms such as “imperialistic” and “jingoistic” when referring to our great land and it’s people. They are also probably the kind of panty wastes that pretend they’re from Canada when backpacking through Europe. I hate those people.

I was excited upon seeing this beer’s label classifying it as a strong ale. But then I saw it was only 4.1% ABV. What gives? In America, our strong ales will kick your ass around ten different ways. Even the “weaker” strong ales are usually in the 7% range while most push well toward the double-digit plateau. Yet, this “strong” ale is almost weaker than a Shirley Temple. What exactly is considered a weak ale by these same standards? Filtered water with a lime twist?

Any how, the beer has a nice little bitter taste and some decent hops. Somewhat complex the more you drink it. Decent, but nothing special. Not sure I would drink it again.

B-

*Though they later suspected that maybe he was simply recommending a weak beer to some pussy Americans due to their already stated proclivity for cider.

Strongbow Dry Cider

June 10th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Bulmers, Country: United Kingdom, Grade: B-/C+, Style: Cider

5% ABV from a can

Some friends of mine went to Europe and came back raving about this cider, having had drank it on tap at most bars throughout the continent. I’m not sure if I’ve ever even had an alcoholic cider. Maybe one when I was so hard up for alcohol that I had to steal my little sister’s Woodchuck or something. Heck, I’m not even that big of an apple juice fan.

This does taste almost exactly like apple juice. In fact, I wish it tasted a little stronger. It’s fairly light and refreshing but still has a decent amount of alcohol in it. I feel like I could drink these all night as it goes down smooth and isn’t bloating at all. But no one wants to be the known as the guy that gets wasted on 25 cans of apple cider.

Hopefully this is the one and only cider I’ll ever review.

B-/C+

Charles Wells Banana Bread Beer

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Charles Wells, Country: United Kingdom, Grade: B-, Style: Fruit Beer

5.2% ABV from a bomber

Without doubt, my most whimsical beer purchase ever. I’m usually incredibly methodical with the beers I purchase for “snobby” drinking. I spend hours researching brews to drink, I compile lists and bring them to the store, I flat out nerd it up when making beer purchases. Even when I see intriguing beers at the store, I rarely make an impulse purchase. Preferring first to jot the beer name down to then go home and look it up on Beer Advocate where I can read countless reviews as if it is an issue of Consumer Reports. Most people do this when buying $50K cars, I do it when buying $3 cans of beer. So, I don’t know what got over me when I spied this on the shelf at Whole Foods. I already had a jam-packed shopping cart full of beer—you get a lot of weird looks when you’re using a shopping cart to only lug around beer purchases (Check out clerk: “Oooh, throwing party?” Me: “Nope, just hate myself”)—and had never heard of this beer nor even sampled a single offering from Wells. But, I mean, come the fuck on—BANANA BREAD BEER! That sounds amazing. I love banana bread. I love beer. Sold! (Note to breweries, please do not start making oddball concoctions like cupcake beer or buffalo wing lager or Skittle Brau cause I am a big time sucker and will buy them all).

So, what to say about this brew? After a busy Saturday which included a little bit of drinking, I came home to enjoy this alone over some winding-down-the-night TV. It wasn’t as good as I had hoped for though I suppose what I was hoping for was something along the lines of a beer that tasted exactly like banana bread while being potent and tasty like a beer. Eh, maybe I should of just bought some actual banana bread and a six-pack to pair with it. This one tastes more like a Yuengling that’s had a Laffy Taffy soaking in the bottom of the bottle for a while. And, you know what, that ain’t half bad.

B-