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Archive for the ‘Grade: C plus’ Category

Leinenkugel’s Red Lager

February 18th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 31 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Jacob Leinenkugel, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Lager

4.9% ABV

“Leave!  LEAVE!!!  Get the fuck outta here!  Yo, get the fuck out of here, motherfuckers!”

Guess who said the above:

A five-star restaurant’s maitre-d yelling at a bum for entering the fine dining establishment to panhandle?  A beleaguered female exploding at her ex-boyfriend who she has a restraining order on but who nevertheless keeps coming into her office?  Perhaps a furious shotgun wielding homeowner barking at a cat burglary he caught rifling through the family valuables?

Nope, not even close.  I’m talking about bouncers kicking people out of the bar at night’s end.

And I’m fucking sick of it.

I live in New York City so you got to drink really motherfucking late to get actually kicked out of a bar at closing time.  Something that I can recall happening to me less than a handful of times.  I’m sure Manhattan has “last call” laws but in a town full of scofflaws they certainly aren’t followed.  And the rare times they are heeded at least the bar’s employees have the decency to casually infer you should leave, to kindly back pat and “See ya’ later, bud” out of the bar.  At like 5:00 AM.

But this doesn’t happen in podunk towns.  Like Syracuse, where I was last weekend to see my beloved alma mater whip up on the most despicable university in America.  In a place like Syracuse or Kansas City or Tulsa here’s how things go:

First of all, you’re not drunk because you’ve only been in the bar for an hour or two and they, of course, don’t have high ABV beer and pour really watered down whiskeys.  At 1:15 or so, some bartender will shout out, “Last call coming!” before slowly filling those orders.  1:30 will mark the “official” last call.  At 1:40 the harsh overhead lights will come on, blinding you before your dilated eyes adjust enough to see that the girl you’re talking to is pockmarked worse than Edward James Olmos.  At 1:41 some cheesy closing time song like…uh, fucking “Closing Time” by that shitty one-hit wonder band will start playing, the drunken local rubes swaying and singing it.

Then, at 1:45 or so, a mere fifteen minutes after you got your last call cocktail, some pituitary case bouncer will shove you in the back, herding you to the door like cattle while rudely shouting the lines that opened this post.

Let me get this straight.  My friends and I just spent several hundred dollars on drinks at your place and you treat us like this?  We chose your crummy bar over all others in town and you treat us like this?!  Even in a small town like Syracuse we didn’t have to choose your bar, it offers nothing sui generis, but we still chose it.  It has the same subpar tap selections, the same shitty iPod mixes, surly bartenders, mediocre women and annoying men, overpriced drinks, filthy bathrooms.  I’m fine with that all, it’s a party of the nightlife lifestyle.  But treat me with some fucking respect around the time the Semisonic starts playing.  (In fact, I would say playing Semisonic is enough of a push to get me out the door.  Good lord that song sucks.)

Can you imagine another industry where you’d be treated this poorly?

You’ve just enjoyed a nice meal with some friends and just as you put the last bite of dessert in your mouth, several waiters lift you from your chairs and start strong-arming you to the door.  “Finish up the chocolate mousse and get the fuck out of my restaurant!”

You’ve just enjoyed a nice movie when seconds before the credits roll the lights go up and the ushers sprint into the dark room.  “Get the fuck out of this theater you shitheads!”

You’ve just enjoyed a nice, sensual massage and are still quivering when the masseuse upturns the table, spilling you onto the floor, and “Get the fuck out of my illegal massage parlour, you asshole!!!!!!”

Look, I know all the excuses, most of which are quite phony.  Shit like your bar will get fined if you don’t have everyone out of it and the place locked up by 1:59:59 EST.  Like you got to get the place cleaned and closed post-haste.  You just want to get home to your girlfriend.  Fine, I sympathize with you.  I’m sure bouncing can be a shitty job some nights.  But many jobs, both blue and white collar, suck.  And if you don’t like dealing with people, especially drunk people, maybe you shouldn’t work in the service industry.

Why would I ever want to go to your bar again if you are going to treat me like a huge fucking asshole come closing time?  The answer is, I wouldn’t.  And I won’t.

So go fuck yourselves Mulrooney’s (”Mully’s”) on West Fayette Street*.  You’re lucky I didn’t throw my fucking pint glass through your bar mirror like I was playing a carnival game to win a giant plush toy for my favorite steady girl.

I think, from now on, I need to restrict my drinking to New York City.  Where we may all be fucking assholes, but at least us assholes treat people with respect.

Likewise, why do I continue to let the Jacob Leinenkugel Co. rape my taste buds?  You might first recall their Sunset Wheat which nearly gave me fluoride poisoning. Then there was their Honey Weisse that caused a sleepless week as I waited for my STD test to come back**. Oh, and who can forget their Summer Shandy which tastes like an Arnold Palmer that’s been used as a colostomy bag.  Finally, there was their Craptoberfest which tasted like that of a public swimming pool on a hot, late-August day.

You’re probably thinking, these beers surely aren’t that bad, you’re just being a funny man.  I can assure you I am not.  If I was truly overstating Leinenkugel’s awfulness, accusing them of poisoning me and giving me venereal disease, do you not think Jacob would sue me for libel?  Or slander?!***  But they never have, which is ipso facto proof that they know the horrificness of their own product.  (Though it doesn’t prevent a Minnesota message board from getting all up in a tizzy about the Vice Blogger.)

Since we all know I’m such a self sadomasochist that I make the Marquis de Sade seem like Mother Teresa, I have an odd desire to keep trying all the Leinenkugels I have yet to.  Luckily, my friend Derek keeps finding ones for me.  Like their Red Lager which I expected to be utterly horrific.  So much so that I drank it in the bathroom.****  I especially expected it to be garbage being that I tippled it, perhaps unfairly, after having just shared three asskicking stouts which I scored an A+, an A+, and an A-.

Sadly friends, I am disappointed to report that this beer ain’t bad.  In fact, it’s a fairly competent macro beer, better than most lagers available.  I can even say I kinda enjoyed it, drinking the whole thing down fairly easily and even kinda wanting another.

Oh well, there will be more Leinenkugels in my future that will surely lead to my ultimate demise.

C+

*Two further things, Mully’s:

1.  Your website is comically terrible.

2.  And, you, the grey-haired guy that owns the bar, girls are only hitting on you–correction, letting you creepily flirt with them and touch their backs–because you were comping them all night.  Did you happen to notice at the end of the night that none of those women even kissed you on the cheek goodbye?

**Fun fact: apparently you can’t get chlamydia–or gonorrhea! or any other STDs!!–from a beer, no matter how heinous it tastes. They didn’t teach me that in public school sex ed, we only looked at a carousel of slides of inflamed genitalia. And I don’t mean the genitalia was inflamed as in hopping mad at someone or something. The genitalia was, like, inflamed as in burning and shit.

***Can never recall which one is for the written word as opposed to speaking.  I went to public school, son.

****I’ve been doing far too much beer tasting in bathrooms lately.  I have a problem.

A Cornucopia of Christmas Beers

December 15th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Abita, Brewer: Blue Point, Brewer: Coors, Brewer: Sierra Nevada, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B-, Grade: C plus, Grade: C-, Style: Belgian Pale Ale, Style: Brown Ale, Style: IPA, Style: Winter Warmer

Feeling a little bit frisky on Saturday afternoon, I decided to buy every single Christmas/winter seasonal beer I had yet to have from the local supermarket and prebar with a cornucopia of the typically-spiced brews.

Blue Moon Full Moon

5.6% ABV

It is well-known how much I really kinda detest Blue Moon–Coors’ hush-hush attempt at trying to make microbrews–thinking it everything wrong with beer. Meant to be “good,” but in reality just mass-produced stuff that chickens out and appeals to no one. Too lame for real beer geeks, too non-watered down for novice drinkers. Though a lot of girls seem to like it if plenty of orange slices are added. I don’t know why I thought Full Moon would be better. The label actually almost convinced me with its claim to be an “abbey ale brewed with a hint of dark Belgian sugar.” Boy, the gall! I realized almost immediately what a con artist this bottle was. Well, not immediately. The first thing I realized was–beer snob alert!–this has to be one of the first twist-top bottles I’ve had in months. Kinda nice actually, I can never find my bottle opener and always need the Nigerian kid next door to bite my caps off. The second thing I noticed was that Full Moon poured quite dark, like a legit dubbel or something, whatdayaknow? Surely one of the darker American macros I’ve ever seen. The taste is all wrong though. Blue Moon again acts cowardly by ostensibly starting off with good intentions but by then pulling punches to try and appeal to the masses. What this actually tastes like is a decent dubbel that has been mixed with 50% tap water. Imagine that.

C

Abita Christmas Ale 2008

Unknown ABV (seriously Abita, list your fucking ABV, it’s like the only stat we all care about!)

Abita is another brewery that really rubs me the wrong way. Oh, how many times I’ve bought one of their beers, one of their countless new releases, thinking, “Hmmmm…that sounds interesting, that sounds good.” It never is. Abita is surely one of the shittiest prominent craft breweries in America. Nice labels, but everything they make is mediocre at best to absolute dreck at worst. Don’t tell that to a Louisianan though! Yet again, Abita tricked me here with their slick hologram-esque, unphotographable label*. This beer was just garbage. Not bad-tasting or anything, just not-tasting. Called a brown ale, it did indeed look that way, but tastes of absolute water. If the World Beer Championships ever held a contest to see who could make the darkest colored beer with no flavor, I think we might have our winner here. You fooled me yet again, Abita. What’s the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for like the forty-fifth time, Abita, and…yeah, I’ll probably still take a whirl on your next shitty seasonal selection.”  Got anything in the works for Valentine’s Day?  Perhaps a beer steeped with those chalky little candy hearts?!

C-

Blue Point Winter Ale

4.5% ABV

With all these shitty Christmas beers, I was starting to be happy to be a dirty Jew. Also because I don’t have to hang out with people I hate on December 25th, I can just go to the movies, eat steak, get wasted, and hang with sexy Jewesses (no, that’s not an oxymoron you antisemite). Blue Point, unlike Blue Moon and Abita, is a brewery that I have actually found to have made some respectable stuff in the past. No masterpieces or anything, but alotta solid efforts. Here is another one. Good hops and seasonal spices, this is probably the only legit “winter warmer” out of any of these four. I liked but didn’t love this one. Needs a higher ABV quite frankly to keep you toasty during the Yuletide season. At a minimum, though, Sam Adam’s and Brooklyn’s winters are better.

B-

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

6.8% ABV

OK, nice red label with a wreath framing a pastoral picture of a snowcapped log cabin and the name “Celebration” would certainly make you think you’re getting a winter beer, full of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and other egg-noggy type things. Nope. This is pretty much just a standard double IPA. And a good one at that. What in the world is Sierra Nevada thinking in making this their special winter seasonal? Who knows. But thanks, I guess.  Delicious and overhopped in a good way, sticky and full of citrus sensations, this one is worth searching out. As a “winter” beer this is an abject failure, but just as a beer, it is probably the best Sierra Nevada I’ve ever had and a damn fine IPA.  I can’t wait for Sierra Nevada’s summer beachtime seasonal release, tentatively slated to be a 13% ABV dark chocolate and coffee stout that actually give the inside of your stomach a sunburn.

A-

Final thought:  when are they ever gonna make me some Hanukkah seasonal beers? Perhaps a nice strong ale with tastes of potato latke, chocolate gelt, and dreidels? YUM.

*Perhaps they make unphotographable labels so that one can never actually prove they drank a shitty Abita beer?

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

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+

Brau Brothers Strawberry Wheat

October 3rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brau Brothers, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Fruit Beer

4% ABV

The Captain knows I’m a sissy that likes fruity beers, a fruit that likes sissy beers on occasion, so he made sure to throw one in the Minnesota brew box.

Can’t recall ever having a strawberry beer, but I could be forgetting. Brau Brother’s Strawberry Wheat comes in a super-sharp bottle that looks like something you’d typically find a meant-to-seem-old-timey root beer in.

Pours a golden macro-pour, quite bubbly. Smell is fantastic though, rich in strawberry odor. A decent flavor too. Not half bad. A muted strawberry hint. The weak part is the wheat base. Doesn’t taste like a wheat beer at all. More like a lager. And the 4% ABV is kinda pathetic. It’s not great. I wish it had either more strawberry flavor, or more wheat flavor, or more al-kee-hawl in it. Or better yet, all three. Now there’s a good idea. If only I had a brother to open a brewery with.

And with that…I’m done.  I’ve reviewed all the Minnesota beers I got a month or so ago.  I think it was a very fruitful beer swap for the both of us, and I think there will be more in our future.

C+

Harpoon Octoberfest

September 19th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Harpoon, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Oktoberfest

5.5% ABV bottled

In my mid-twenties I was friendless.  No, that’s not as bad as it sounds.  What I mean is that I was essentially friendless in the city I lived in, New York.  Through a weird confluence of events, several of my pals moved to Hollywood for greener pastures, several moved to other East Coast cities, quite a few got engaged or married and fled for the ‘burbs, and of my two most-usual drinking buddies one got shipped to Iraq and another picked up and moved with his fiancee to middle-of-nowhere New Jersey.  In seriously like a half-year I had gone from having two dozen friends and at least a dozen regular drinking partners to having no one.  But I still wanted to drink, I still wanted to go out, I still wanted to socialize, get in trouble, have stories to tell, and meet women, so I had to go out drinking alone.

Here are my tips for drinking alone.  On a Friday night.  In a packed bar.

1.  Arrive slightly early.  Just a few minutes before the rush because you absolutely have to get a chair at the bar.  This is incredibly crucial.  I will never drink alone at a bar unless I have a chair.  Guy sitting at bar drinking alone = passably normal.  Guy leaning against a pole in the corner drinking alone = creep.  Just the way it is.

2.  Gotta go to a bar with TVs so you have something to do when you’re still sober.  Some of these faux-dive bars that would be perfect for drinking alone don’t have TVs.  You know how hard it is to find something to do while sitting alone at a bar and still sober?!  You can only study the menu for so long.  You’re forced to stare vacantly ahead, usually at your reflection in the bar’s crappy schmutz-covered mirror, at the reflection of yourself.  The guy drinking alone.

3.  You don’t have to be too friendly and start conversations.  Big mistake drinkers-alone often make.  You don’t want to act like that one guy from your freshman dorm floor who went out of his way to say hello and introduce himself to literally every single person he came across in your first week of school.  God I hated that guy and so did everyone else.  Just sit there and like Ted Williams or Barry Bonds, wait for your pitch.  It will come.  The bartender will remark on something and you can respond.  You better be interesting, funny, smart, and certainly not needy, but it should be easy to quickly befriend the bartender.  Other bar patrons will follow suit.

4.  Nor do you need to lie about why you’re drinking alone.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with drinking alone.  You’ll get asked often, “Who you’re with.”  People that ask you this aren’t trying to play a cruel game of “gotcha” and make you tell them you’re a solo-sipping loser.  You’re not.  Yet a lot of people lie.  I don’t know why people think it better to tell someone that asks that they’re just “waiting for a friend” rather than drinking alone.  So you think it’s cooler to infer that you have been stood up by a friend or a date than that you are simply having a few by your lonesome?  Believe me, drinking alone is cooler and more sexy than you think.

5.  And not having to piss is more crucial than you think.  I used to have a massive bladder as a youth and never had to break the seal, but as we get older we all have to go out to water the horse a little more than we’d like.  Nothing sucks more than having to do that move where you put a cardboard coaster on top of your pint glass and then shuffle off to the little boys’ room, returning to find a happy hour group of seven people standing around your chair, considering taking your seat as you have to “excuse me, excuse me” your way to your barstool, the group staring needles through the back of your melon.

6.  Girls (and guys) will love you.  It’s probably apparent that my rules are pretty much written for males.  Look, I certainly have no problem with women drinking alone, but a lot of people do.  A lot of people call a woman that drinks alone a…prostitute.  So sorry for the malecentricity within my rules, but it is what it is.

The days of rugged individuals have long since passed and people are impressed by those that can exist as an island.  I go to bars alone, restaurants alone, and movies alone.  It’s not a big deal, it really isn’t.  But our pussified culture has gotten so used to hand-holding and the buddy system in all we do that most people simply don’t have the testicular or ovarian fortitude to be independent.  I do, and women are impressed by that.  But more importantly, people aren’t intimidated by someone drinking alone, they think he’s surely so hard up for companionship that he’d love to be approached by anybody and everybody and he will certainly be ingratiating.  And thus, they do all my work for me.  I never get approached when I’m with a group but when I’m alone at a bar I get bombarded with people coming up to me as if I’m an celebrity and they are an autograph seeker.  For some reason people want to know the guy drinking alone.  Men come up and shoot the shit with me, buying me drinks and introducing me to their girlfriends, and groups of girls come up to hit on me.  It’s kinda insane. People aren’t scared of someone drinking alone and it can be used swimmingly to your advantage.

7.  Soon enough you’ll be part of a group and no one will have even remembered you came alone.  You’ll be treated as just an old friend and asked if you’d like to join them at the next bar.  Of course you would.  This has happened to me countless times. And the best part is that these are just ad hoc friends so even if you make a fool of yourself–like you usually do–by morning none of these folks have your number or email address to call you or write you and ask what the fuck you were doing, thinking.  So you have no excuse not to at least attempt to be the life of the party!  Oh, and you will be!

Luckily, my friendless state only lasted for like a half-year or so before I had re-formed a crew.  Having said that, living in NYC one is forced to drink alone for at least 30 minutes stretches quite often when friends are late in arriving.  So these tips are good for those times too.

Such was the case just last week as my friend got caught in traffic and I hate to wait him out at the bar.  I sipped on Harpoon Oktoberfest, finding it kinda boring, but decent.  No real bite or flavor but smooth.  Malty.  Doesn’t exactly taste like a true Oktoberfest, and I wouldn’t want another, but it’s not offensive or anything.  I don’t know why some of these American breweries don’t think we can handle a full-bodied Germanic Marzenbier, but for Christ’s sake, we can!

C+

Fat Tire Amber Ale

September 10th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: New Belgium, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Amber Ale

PREVIOUSLY ON MY TOP TEN MOST WANTED LIST

5.2% ABV

Sometimes you’ve yearned for something for so long that you forget why you ever wanted it in the first place. Such is the case with Fat Tire. I can’t recall why I wanted to try it initially, but I know I first had the desire sometime back in the early oughts when the best beer I’d ever had in my life at that point was probably still Arrogant Bastard.

As I moved through life on my beer-drinking journey, amassing brews like Charles Foster Kane amassed objets d’art to fill up Xanadu, I always had Fat Tire in the back of my mind as one I needed to acquire. Yeah, I knew it wasn’t that highly-regarded, I knew it wasn’t rare at all if one lived in the dozen or so states in the middle of America where it got distribution, but I still wanted the motherfucker. In fact, it was almost a dirty little joke on me that New Belgium stocks this beer in literally all six states that touch and surround Oklahoma–the state of my upbringing and where my parents and numerous friends still live–yet doesn’t distribute it actually in OK. I assume this is due to the Sooner State’s pansy-ass alcohol laws. Thus, I couldn’t even get Fat Tire on my rare trips back to God’s country.

Luckily, a Manhattan friend of mine recently got sent down to Texas for some business. And, after picking up his capo’s shipment of illegal narcotics and firearms run across from Mexico, he had plenty of time to peruse the local beer shops and bring me some Fat Tire back. I should note that I think my New York friends are starting to dread leaving town as I always hint hint tell that about all the great beers in the region they’re going to.

“Oh, you’re going to (city/state/country/area)? You don’t say. Wow, guess you’ll get to try all those great _____ brews. Yum. Wish they distributed those in New York. Guess I’ll never get to try them. But you be sure to have some and report back.”

“Aaron, are you saying you want me to bring some of those home for you?”

“If you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind. I’ll just be sure not to pack any extra socks, shoes, underwear, toiletries, or reading materials so I have space in my luggage for all your bottles.”

So I finally got to try Fat Tire.

And it bored the heck out of me.

The bottle design is as beautiful as can be and the pour is indeed gorgeous.  Everything was going to plan at least initially.  But the first smells and tastes were kinda weak.  Almost like an apple cider.  A kid’s drink.  Minimal flavor.  It wasn’t bad, just nothing special.  A decent session beer I suppose and if I’m ever in a place that distributes it I want to give it a second shot as I also think my friend’s refrigerator might have chilled this one a tad too much (and I was too dipsomaniacal to wait for it to cool a few degrees).  I’d especially like to give it a whirl on tap.  But, as for now, I really didn’t love my first experience with Fat Tire at all.

Oh well, don’t hate me Colorado…

C+

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!

Brooklyn Oktoberfest

August 28th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Oktoberfest

5.5% ABV bottled

I like to compare Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest to Brooklyn’s every single year. And since they’re usually the absolute first two on the shelves in Manhattan, this is easy. I must admit, every single year I root for Brooklyn to win my little side-by-side taste test–treating it as a battle between my beloved New York and the despised Boston–however, every single year Sam wins, usually in a landslide. Same goes this year.

I drank this one within minutes of my season’s first Sam Oktoberfest. That was unfortunate.

Brooklyn Oktoberfest has a bland, poor smell.

Tastes very much like a cheap cracker. Perhaps a Ritz. Can barely taste any malt at all. No sweetness, not very flavorful. Maybe a little hint of raisin? Hard to say. If that’s not enough, it has a very harsh, carbonated finish. Stings the tongue on the mouthfeel.

Ultimately, doesn’t really taste like an Oktoberfest at all. More like a very good macro lager (assuming such a beer exist).

You know Brooklyn, you’re one of my favorite breweries, I consider you and Captain Lawrence my “home team” breweries, so it pains me when you let me down with one of your brews. Luckily, that rarely occurs. As the Brooklyn Dodgers might say, I’ll wait until next year…

C+

Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat

August 13th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boulevard, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

4.6% ABV on draught

Being arrogant New Yorkers and Yankees and Mets fans, we figured we could show up at a lackluster Royals game a few minutes before first pitch, hand over a sawbuck, and be sitting behind the plate within minutes. I am still surprised at how wrong we were. The drive from Arthur Bryant’s to the stadium was brisk, I’ve never seen such non-traffic for a professional sporting event. Kaufmann Stadium looks like America’s biggest minor league ballpark, it’s really unimpressive. What was impressive was how many fans the Royals actually have, or at least had on this night. I figured we’d be two out of maybe 18,000 in attendance, so few asses in the seats that on foul balls we would have this conversation:

FRIEND: Wanna go get that ball?

AARON: Eh…leave it.

And watch as a baseball just rested on a concrete third baseline aisle for several innings until some kid with a little gumption finally walked a few sections over to unenthusiastically retrieve it, yet another one for the collection.

But this scenario was nowhere close to what we encountered as we weren’t even able to get tickets and get into the park until the top of the third. Furthermore, I’ve seen very few sporting events in which a team’s fans were so completely covered in team apparel. And it did indeed take a lot of material to fully apparel these fatsos and their annoying children. It quickly became clear that everyone in Kansas City is fat from ages zero to 14, at which point the girls become stunningly hot (am I allowed to say that?) and the boys become ripped high school football players. Then everyone gets fat again from ages 19 to heart attack. We chuckled at the behomeths returning from the rare but overflowing concession stands lines with pyramids of countless foiled wrapped hot dogs and anything and everything covered in liquid nacho cheese. Still stuffed from the BBQ we didn’t eat anything or have a beer, but I did cool down with a very tasty sno-cone.

The most impressive–in fact the only impressive thing–about Kauffman is the “Crown Vision” scoreboard, a 105 by 84 foot monster that can surely be seen from space. We ourselves confirmed that it can be seen, and easily read, from several miles up the road on George Brett Superhighway*. It is said to be the largest scoreboard in the world and it is by far the most crisp, high-definition screen of any kind I have ever encountered. I’d rather watch that than the game. Unfortunately, neither the Royals, nor any other American or, as far as I know, international sports team has employed my greatest idea ever, one I will use the second I buy a team using all my Vice Blog royalties. You know the “Kiss Cam,” that lame but semi-compelling thing not-making-the-playoffs teams use during timeouts and between half-innings in order to drum up some crowd excitement, turning the camera on unsuspecting couples–and some non-couples–until they finally smooch? Well I am the copyrighted inventor of the “Second Base Cam,” aka the “Grope Cam.” I don’t think I need to explain it in detail or the excitement it will quite clearly generate.

After six innings we were bored with minor league baseball, the countless rubes that actually yelled “CHARGE!!!” at the end of the organ’s “duh, duh, duh, DUT, duh, DUH,” and the huge ignominy over the fact that there was no tribute to Bo Jackson anywhere on the premises. I mean seriously, you guys pay homage to the late Dan Quisenberry but not Vincent Edward Jackson?!

As we left the ballpark we learned two things that were special about this particular Royals game:

1. It was $1 hot dog night.

2. There was to be a fireworks display at the end of the evening.

Like “The Usual Suspects” or “The Sixth Sense,” everything I had seen in the previous two hours had to be immediately reevaluated as I now understand why so many Royals “fans” had shown up for the event. Hicks love fireworks and cheap dogs.

With it now 10:00 PM we planned to head back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep as we had to get up bright and early to head to Manhattan, KS. En route though, while pondering what Jeter and Giambi do for post-game entertainment on three-game road swings here, we saw a most tantalizing site, The Isle of Capri, a riverboat casino. We swerved over a highway median, parking the rental car in a spare patch of grass to avoid the valet fee before heading in.

There’s no greater example of the retarded, hypocritical laws that govern America than the fact that you can gamble in some cities, and not gamble in others. That we placate the Indians by giving them crappy casinos on worthless acreage. Or that in certain places you can’t gamble on dry land but can gamble on what is ostensibly a boat floating “off-shore” on a body of water, but what is really just a boat-shaped object cemented to the riverbank via stilts and connected to the shore via countless walkways. Yeah, that makes sense. You’re really making the world a better place politicians.

The isle of Capri looks pretty decent from the outside, like something Mark Twain may have worked on and Maverick may have gambled on. However, the inside told a different story as a plume of dense smoke instantly bitchslapped me upon spinning through the revolving doors and entering. I assume using vacuumed sealed revolving doors in a place so rife with tobacco smoke and BO has something to do with a massive eugenics project at a local university.

Upon entering we had to actually apply for a special gambler’s card before hitting the floor. I hate nothing worse than when I have to go through a rigmarole before doing something I don’t have much interest in in the first place. It’s like look, I barely want to be in this dump, now you’re gonna make me present 15 forms of ID and fill out a long SAT form with a number 2 before I can enter? Get real. Nevertheless we did, watching in amazement as the desk clerk scrutinized our NYS driver’s licenses, even calling over an assistant, we no doubt the wealthiest patrons to ever enter this place. Guess they don’t want any Union money. Nevertheless, we put up with this bullshit, mainly because we saw no other place to get a “late night” (10:00 PM recall) drink in the greater Kansas City area.

Upon taking the escalator down to the floor, we were quickly returned to two billion years ago, coming face to face with a much lower form of humanity. For all you creationists out there–and I’m sure Kansas City has plenty–please go to the Isle of Capri and tell me that you are not a higher evolved species than what you see there. No God would create what we saw. Richard Dawkins need only point to this casino’s patronage to turn the whole world into committed Darwinists. What you see there at the Isle of Capri are people pondering how many stools it’ll take to support them, how quickly they can smoke a full pack of butts, and how briskly they can blow throw the month’s government assistance check. The floor was 99.9% slots and of those it was about 95% penny slots. Yet, these people played the games and pulled the levers as if they were about to become millionaires. These people were the absolute opposite of the “Bringing Down the House” MIT card-counting nerds. I’d love to hear these folks’ brilliant strategies for “beating the system” at penny slots cause you know they have some.

Not surprisingly, I saw the first cigarette vending machines I’ve seen since Reagan’s first term. Later we would learn that gamers are only allowed to lose $500 per 24 hours, a stat that is monitored on those stupid swipe cards we had to sign up for. That’s 50,000 penny bet pulls on the one-armed bandit, assuming you’re the unluckiest SOB in the world. And, you’ll have to believe me when I say that if there was an “Unluckiest SOB in the World” contest, the Isle of Capri could definitely submit a few title contenders.

I don’t really like gambling unless it involves betting nerdy kids how many _____ they can consume, or how many _____ they can do naked, or how often they can _____ while _____, so I went straight for the bar to canoodle with the vermin and watch the Opening Ceremonies. There, I was floored to see that every drink apparently comes default with whipped cream: daiquiris, margaritas, White Russians, it didn’t fucking matter. And, I’m not talking a dollop of whipped cream either. I’m talking one of those massive, swirling cones that looks more like soft serve and which empties out half a can of Reddi-Wip. I was starting to understand why every one was so fat. Fuck, in the morning my iced coffee was given to me topped off with some whipped cream that was taller than the cup the actual drink portion came in. Not particularly digging putting 1000 calories of pure fluff into my belly to start the day, I was forced to use my spoon/straw (the most popular utensil in KC) to wrist-shot the goop off my drink and onto the sidewalk. I’m kinda surprised that pure whipped cream isn’t drank in Kansas City.

At the bar I ordered a Boulevard Wheat, sans whipped cream, but unfortunately plus a crummy little lemon slice. Boulevard Wheat is the beer that everyone in KC seems to think is the greatest brew on the planet. And, indeed, it ain’t bad. Light, zesty, wheaty, very refreshing. But just like the brewery’s Pale Ale, far too low in alcohol content. Wonder if that’s some arcane state law influencing things. Alas, it is a pretty good beer especially when the only other things on tap are shitty macros.

After a few plastic pints, far too much televised Yao Ming, and contracting full-blown emphysema, we headed home to clear our lungs and throw away our clothes.

C+

*I wish I was making a joke. [Pathetically small George Brett statue figurine pictured above.]