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Archive for the ‘Grade: C regular’ Category

Ed Hardy Light Beer

December 18th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Cervecera Mexicana, Country: Mexico, Grade: C regular, Style: Macro!, Video Reviews

ABV unknown

C

Tasting notes:

*I currently have, by my count, 12 Beer Advocate Top 100 beers in my McMansion that I have yet to try, but I was far more excited to try this dreck.  I have a problem.

*I love that a beer created by America’s douchiest company is actually brewed in Mexico.  Say what?!

*The taste was very bready, fizzy, smooth, no hops at all, and drinkable.

*I would have to rate this as probably the second or third best macro lager I’ve ever had right behind PBR and perhaps Michelob original.

*I actually finished the entire bottle after I shot the video.  And kinda enjoyed it!

*There’s also, apparently, an Ed Hardy “Premium” Beer.  Do I dare?

And, as always, if you have any recommendations for future SHITTY beer video tastings I need to do, hit me up at theviceblog@gmail.com

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

McSorley’s Old Ale House

October 10th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: McSorley's, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Grade: C regular, Style: Lager

15 E. Seventh Street, New York City

I don’t do bar reviews and I’m not exactly gonna do one here.  Fact is, there ain’t a need to, more words have been written about McSorley’s than probably any other bar in America.  Hell, you can even find an article simply about the urinals at the bar, first installed in 1911 and first made uncivilizably disgusting probably three minutes later.  Thing is, every New Yorker knows–or thinks they know–about McSorley’s and it’s the one bar we’ve all pretty much been to in town. We all love to spout off the “facts” we know about the place–some true, some false, most kinda true–but just like the newspaper editor so famously said in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valiance“: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Here are some of my favorite legends (”facts”) which I neither know if they are true, false, nor half-true, but which I know are all indeed interesting.  You can do the research for yourself:

*McSorley’s is the oldest still-open bar in New York and America.

*Houdini’s handcuff’s hang in the bar, though I’ve never seen them myself.

*Abe Lincoln once drank there.  So did Teddy Roosevelt.

*Though women weren’t allowed to drink there til the 1970s.

*And when McSorley’s owners were finally forced to allow women entry, they made them use a bathroom behind the men’s bathroom.  As in women had to enter the men’s room, walk behind the backs of countless barbarians pissing at the aforementioned urinals, and then enter their ladies room.  Awesome.

But as you’ve probably guessed, not a lot of ladies go to McSorley’s.  Gentlemen either.  Or at least, any ladies and/or gentleman are quickly vulgarians upon entering the place.  You know, like it’s kinda impossible to simply be a watcher at an orgy.  Uh…never mind.

McSorley’s is still kinda rough and tumble, all the wall decorations caked in filth that could probably be carbon-dated back to the 1800s, saw dust still covers the floors, vomiting is all but encouraged, and there’s probably still spittoons in the corners.  The bartenders are rude as hell and have earned the place a nickname of McSurley’s.  If you haven’t been tossed from the place at least once, then you’re a saint of epic proportions or a liar.

But it’s all pretty much a gimmick.  Shit they even have a nicely designed website nowadays*.  McSorley’s is now just a faux-dive bar.  A safe place for yuppies to feel like they’re actually drinking in a scary place.  A real honest-to-god Eye-reesh bar!  Having said that, though it is faux-divey and scary, it is legitimately filthy.  I’d encourage you to garb yourself in clothes that are just one wearing away from going to Goodwill.

I hit the Old Ale House once or twice a year, but only when I have friends in town.  And, I had a friend in town this weekend and thus we went.

Imbibers at McSorley’s quickly learn there’s not much of a drink selection at the bar, but more on that in a second.  First, my favorite McSorley’s story ever, of which the opening line sounds like the start to some old guy’s lame joke:

So a fey and effette youth walks into the bar:

“Whatta ya’ haf?” says the surly barkeep whose seen more shit in his life than a turd farmer.

“Cosmo.  Up please.”

The bartender remains stoic, “We ain’t got d’ose.”

“OK, then a pinot grigio.”

Without turning his head or changing his expression, the bartender juts his left arm at the door like a Nazi salute but with only his pointer finger extended.

“OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUT!!!!!!”

You see, literally the only thing one can drink at McSorley’s is their two house beers on tap.  Known simply as “dark” and ”light,” they come in half-pint mugs which go for two bucks a piece.  No one goes to McSorley’s to sip, you go to drink, like that guy who used to appear at the end of “The Man Show,” thus with big crowds and insatiable thirsts, most people order ten beers for themselves at once.

McSORLEY’S “DARK”

5.93% ABV on draught**

I believe this is a dark lager and, you know, it’s not half bad.  I typically drink the darks by a ratio of about 3:1 over the lights.  It’s very easy to drink but some in your party may still struggle with it.  I’m absolutely convinced that sight is the absolute worst sense for a macro-drinking amateur to use when imbibing.  I have friends that the second they see a dark beer it’s, “Oh, it’s so heavy!  It must be so caloric!  It’s impossible to drink.”  Doesn’t matter if it’s a 4.2% 95 calorie Guinness, they still act like it’s a 20% 500 calorie Dogfish Head 120 Minute.  By the same regard, if they see a golden beer–kinda like they’re used to with macro crap–they have no problems.  This is best exhibited by the fact that most amateurs have no problems drinking golden tripels but faint at the sight, smell, and taste of the lower-ABV brown-colored dubbel.  What a buncha maroons.

B

McSORLEY’S “LIGHT”

3.9% ABV on draught***

And this is almost certainly a light lager and what your macro friends will exclusively drink at McSorley’s.  They may sip one dark, but they’ll quickly go back to the lights.  Fine with you, they already bought ten darks and now have nine left that they don’t want any more.  Damn it’s fine to be a skilled tippler!

C

My most recent visit to McSorley’s lasted two rounds of ten beers (i.e. fifteen minutes) before we were so fed up with the idiots congregating near us that we bolted.  Wise move.  Best to get in and out of this place late on weekend nights.  Better to go in the afternoon.

*Then again so does my dear mother. No you don’t get that hyper link.

**I’m using the listed ABV for the bottled versions which I’m not 100% positive are the exact same.  I’ve quite frankly never actually known.  And being that I’m always shitcanned when I drink at McSorley’s and have only had the bottled versions–bottled by Pabst Brewing no less!–a few times, I really can’t offer any thoughts as to whether they are similar formulas.

***Ibid

Schell Stout

September 23rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: August Schell, Country: America, Grade: C regular, Style: Stout

5% from a bomber

FROM THE READERS’ MAILBAG:
(in response to the pictures in yesterday’s Brooklyner Weisse review)

Question: When you go out in public are you undercover? Like Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent? Or do people know you are the World Famous Vice Blogger? I ask because you are always taking pics of the beers you drink. I am sure people see you and inquire WTF are you doing? What is your answer to them? Do you tell the truth? Or make up a story? And do they think you are weird for taking the pics? Do bartenders think you are taking pics of them? And did the people at the party think? If I saw some kid I didnt know at my party taking pics of beers in my fridge I would punt his ass out the window. Why? Because I wouldnt understand what he was doing, and when you dont understand others or they are different from you, then you are supposed to turn violent toward them. Intolerance is in the Bible so you know it is the right thing to do.

Anyway maybe this question is better answered in a beer review.

First of all, I have taken pics of the inside of your fridge before, Sal. And soon enough I will be posting on this very blog all those images I snuck of the Ziploc-ed severed body parts you are hiding in there. But I do agree with your theories on intolerance, good looking out.

When I began this blog, I used to be nervous about taking pictures of my beers while in public and would try to do it quickly, surreptitiously, and inconspicuously. Being that I am not a skilled photographer, I’m often drinking in dark places, oh, and drunk too, it sometimes was tough to quickly pull off an acceptable, publishable photo. Not to mention, I refuse to lug a camera around to the bars so I have to use my phone’s camera, which, if you’ve noticed, is not the most high-definition. Especially in dark places where I’m forced to put on the “night” switch and then hold the camera completely still for literally like 10 seconds to get a clear photograph. I feel like I’m using a Daguerreotype camera it’s so goddamn slow.

Occasionally, bartenders or other customers, party goers, or even my dates would catch me and brusquely wonder in confusion, “What are you doing?”

Initially, I tried to blow it off with a chuckle and a mumbled “Oh, nothing, don’t worry. I just have a stupid website where I write about beers…”

I wouldn’t even have a chance to finish my blow-off explanation before I’d hear “Cooooool!!!” Everyone loved it! The first bartender to “catch” me was so impressed he immediately started bringing me free glasses of Scotch, bourbon, and “secret” bottles of beer his bar had stored that I just had to try and then write about. Fellow customers with boring lives of their own immediately had something interesting to discuss with me. As did my dates. In fact, the only place that has ever reacted negatively to me taking a picture of a beer was once when I tried to do it while in Whole Foods, which inexplicably has a no-photography policy (”But how ‘r’ ma’ friends back home in Tupelo, gonna’ believe I actually went to one a’ dem fancy ore-gan-ick supermarkets?!”)

So now when I need to take a snap of my beer in public, I pretty much just proudly announce to any one in ear shot, “Excuse me, I need to take a picture of my beer for my blog.” And, usually, those around me stop everything, wanting to assist in the composition, lighting, and set-up for my beer shots.

Such was the case at the infamous party where the Brooklyner pic was taken as a fellow guest thought an in-the-fridge photo would be a unique composition. He was right.

Nevertheless, a good majority of pics, such as the one that kicks of this review, are taken in my home where no one can make fun of me except for the ghost that lives under my bed.

Of my first two career Schell beers, one was a solid success and one was a marginal success. This would be my third to try and the one I was most leery about. You see, stouts are always a risky proposition to me. When it comes to IPAs or pale ales or even barley wines, I still feel like I can enjoy a lackluster one. Of course I want a masterpiece every time, but I have no probably quaffing mediocre to bad ones and even finding a thing or two nice to say about them. That is not true with stouts. For whatever reason with stouts, if I don’t get a masterpiece or a near-masterpiece, I all but hate the beer. Thus, I always drinks stouts with tons of trepidation.

The 5% ABV worried me immediately. The stouts I’ve grown to love are American-style “imperial” asskickers, often so potent they make bourbons blush. This English stout was one of the least alcoholic stouts I can ever recall having, aside from, you know, Guinness.

Nevertheless, the pour was promising. Black and milky with the ever so smallest hint of a head. Smells of dark coffee, roastedness, and burntness. Everything seemed to be in order so far.

I’d like to claim that I tasted even the faintest hints of coffee, but I didn’t. It simply tasted smoky and borderline meaty to me, and, I must admit, a bit like inhaling some flatulence. Not much flavor, complexity, or kick to it. No carbonation or hops feel either, as to be expected. A slight creamy finish redeems the beer somewhat and it is indeed very drinkable. When I have them, I usually make stouts my last brew of the evening and only drink them on a somewhat empty stomach, but this one could be handled any time.

There’s not much else to say. I didn’t particularly love this one. However, admittedly, the more I drank it the more palatable it became and the more I like it. But I never loved it and wouldn’t have it again.

C

Budweiser American Ale

September 21st, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: C regular, Style: Amber Ale

5.1% ABV bottled

Aside from those Domino’s oven-baked sandwich commercials and the inexplicable Dr. Pepper spots in which an aging Julius Erving plays beer pong by himself, no product has been as advertised on TV this fall as Budweiser’s new American Ale.  Yet for the past month or so I’ve been unable to find it.  The first Anheuser-Busch product I’ve wanted in my entire life and I simply could not locate it.  That changed last night as I finally stumbled upon some and greedily snapped it up.

The nicely designed bottle label sure makes it look like a respectable beer and the pour was downright craft brewery-looking.  A rich amber color, could have easily been mistaken for a beer from a skilled microbrewery rather than an assembly line suds factory.

Not too much smell and nothing more than adequate flavor.  A marginal effort I suppose, but a sour finish and a certain heft doesn’t even make it as drinkable as you’d expect this kind of swill to be.  It’s very “safely” made, Anheuser’s uninspired version of a Killian’s Irish Red I suppose.  I would probably only drink it again if the only other choices were light macrobeers.  And it’s not like I’d relish that.

Honestly, I don’t understand the point of this beer.  It’s nowhere near good enough for beer snobs to enjoy, yet is too “weird,” “dark,” and complex for macro-swilling hillbillies to tipple.  Too fancypants they’ll say.  I predict this beer finds no market and ends up as the Crystal Pepsi of the industry but, you know, without the Van Halen crap-rock soundtrack.

C

Widmer Hefeweizen

June 19th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Widmer, Country: America, Grade: C regular, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

4.7% ABV on draught

Attended a weekday happy hour event where all tap beers were just three bucks. Unfortunately, the limited draft beer menu chalked onto the wall looked something like this:

STELLA
MILLER LITE
HEFEWEIZEN
COORS
AMSTEL LIGHT

Ugh. It was as if the owner of the bar was a faithful reader of my blog and had created his beer menu by simply putting all my D- and F-rated beers on tap. What a despicable array. There was obviously only one beer I could possibly order, but I needed to know what it was. As most all people know, Hefeweizen is not a brand of beer, but rather a style. It was almost as if the beer menu looked like this:

ALE
LAGER
HEFEWEIZEN
STOUT
PORTER

I had to inquire with the bartender. I called the dunderhead over.

Aaron: “Hey, what’s the hefeweizen?”

Doofus: “It’s like, uh, a German wheat beer.”

Aaron: “Yes (dipshit), I know, but what kind is it?”

He must have thought I just couldn’t hear him over top the cackling hens seated near me cause he simply repeated what he said just a little bit louder.

Doofus: “IT’S A GERMAN WHEAT BEER!”

Fine. I ordered it. I was upset that I would inevitably have to walk my fat ass all the way across the length of the bar, tell some finance poseurs to part for this Jew like they were the Red Sea as I learned between them to ogle the tap, then nerdily scribbled the name down on a cocktail napkin. Yeah, not the coolest move when you’re at a bar and hoping women will find you dashing.

However, I was excited that I was going to get to sample a beer without knowing what it was. I thus couldn’t be bigoted. I don’t try to be biased when I review beers but much like even if Scorsese puts out a stinker people are gonna give him decent marks, sometimes if you drink a bad beer from an esteemed brewery you can’t help but overrate it. I had no idea whether this beer was coming from the finest German brewery in the world or from some basement beermaker from the Bronx.

This mystery hefeweizen was solid. Refreshing. Though I had just walked 50 blocks to get to the bar, so I would have been happy to have a Gatorade on tap. This hefe ain’t too complex, not too lemony either (that’s a good thing). It could use some more maltiness and bite, it’s pretty low in alcohol, but then again most hefes are. Also, it’s a little salty. It could use some more spice, but not salt that’s for sure. I enjoyed this beer less and less between my first sip and my last. Sour finish with not the greatest aftertaste. It’s like an American macrobrewery’s version of a hefe. Not much else to say.

Once I was finished, a second bartender, looking a tad brighter than the first but still not exactly like a MENSA candidate, came over for my next round.

THE “HONOR” STUDENT: Ya’ want another?

AARON: Sure, but what is it?

THE “HONOR” STUDENT: It’s a hefeweizen. Like a German wheat beer.

AARON: CHRIST. I know. But what fucking brand is it?!

The bartender actually walked the length of the bar, eyed the tap handle like it was written in Sanskrit and then returned to me.

THE “HONOR” STUDENT: Uh…it says like Whyd-marr brothers or something. Vid-mer maybe? Vide-mar?

That was enough. I knew what he was talking about. I ordered something else.

C

Blue Moon Belgian White

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Coors, Country: America, Grade: C regular, Style: Belgian White

5.4% ABV on draught (with a feeble orange slice included. And not even a pure Florida orange. This orange was from like Trenton or somewhere.)

After some plans I had were canceled I wasn’t in such a great mood so I decided to inflict on myself the ultimate form of self-flagellation: going to the most wannabe “hot shot” financeguy pub possible and subjecting myself to the kind of beers those cretins drink. And coming to the plate in the lead off spot…Blue Moon.

I wanted to start with Blue Moon (I won’t shorten it to BM even though I might find that abbreviation apropos, especially in light of how I felt the day after drinking it) because I have blasted the beer for so long. In fact, it’s probably in my holy trinity of most mocked beers alongside the criminally awful Heineken and Corona. But unlike those two beers which I constantly find myself being forced to drink for some damn reason due to bars and parties often having nothing else, Blue Moon is a beer I rarely drink. One I probably haven’t even had a sip of in a year or so. It was time to give the brew one more try, a hopefully unbiased shot.

Odorless. All I can smell is the Trenton orange in the glass. Seriously, I cannot get a read on the taste due to the orange overpowering everything else. That’s pretty bad. There, I plucked the fruity wedge from my glass and slung it at a fruity guy in a suit at the other end of the bar. Aha, now I see why most people drink this beer with an orange in it. Clearly stated, Blue Moon is not a good beer. But at least it isn’t heinous. It probably does not deserve my scorn. Perhaps if only because Blue Moon’s biggest supporters think they are drinking some obscure Trappist bottling made with the most precious of ingredients by vow of silence Belgian monks as opposed to a Coors bottling mass-produced quite carelessly by machines that are even cheaper to operate than would be the cost of paying illegal Mexicans.

I really wanted to like this beer. I tried to figure out how I’d rate the beer if someone handed it to me and told me it was some Belgian that’s in Beer Advocate’s top 100. I closed my eyes and focused as I tasted it one final time. Didn’t matter. I still didn’t like it. It’s very bready. I feel like I have to chew it. It’s salty too. It’s like I’m drinking liquid Wonder Bread with hints of artificial orange flavoring. Shock Top is a far better beer in the macro-faux-Belgian-release-that-tastes-like-Sunkist-orange-soda category.

C

(At least this review made me realize that C is about the absolute worst rating I will give to a beer that I don’t like but which doesn’t repulse me in any way.)

Sunday afternoon drinking at 123burgershotbeer

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Brewer: Goose Island, Brewer: House Beer, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Grade: B-/C+, Grade: C regular, Style: Belgian White, Style: Bock, Style: IPA

This bar sprung up seemingly overnight just down the street from me. Here’s their conceit:

That absolutely blew my mind and I refused to believe it. Nevertheless, I trekked back over for some day drinking. The interior of the bar is pretty damn classy. Almost like a furniture showroom. You can still smell the fresh lacquer on the floor. The waitresses are cute and inexplicably dressed in hot pants in which the bottom curvature of their butt-cheeks show. I remained focused as I pointed at the sign seen above and said something like, “Uh…that true?” Indeed it was. The waitress told us that the burgers were sliders—she proceeded to spend far too long explaining the concept of a slider to me like I was some alien from a non-burger-eating planet—and indeed were just a buck. Likewise, every single beer on tap was just $3. Wow. I was impressed. They had a marginally respectable tap too. Here are some of the beers I had. I was in a jovial mood so I probably overrated all of them. Plus the beers all came in absolutely frigid mugs. A sensation I love. I wouldn’t want to drink a high quality beer from a frozen mug, but shitty beers and root beer are phenomenal in them.

Shock Top Belgian White

5.2% ABV on draught

This beer has one of the oddest, eye-popping taps around: a transmogrified orange with sunglasses and a mohawk. For $3, I’ll take a whirl with this one. It came with an orange slice and while I typically hate fruit in beer I decided to just go with the flow. Glad I did. This beer tasted almost like a Sunkist soda. VERY orangey. I like Sunkist so I liked this beer. Not sure I could drink several but it was enjoyable. I was surprised when I got home to see that it’s an Anheuser-Busch beer. You’d think it would be in more bars. It’s better than most of that macro-brewery’s selections for sho’.

B-/C+

Goose Island IPA

5.9% ABV on draught

A nice, solid example of an IPA. Nothing more, nothing less. I could drink these all day were it actually served in more NYC bars. It has a nice little spiciness to it. And if we’re talking about taps, Goose Island has got to have the best tap in the bid’ness, a big, long goose neck coming out of the bar. Who hasn’t wanted to tug on a goose neck before?

B

123 Amber (house beer)

No clue on ABV. Draught.

“House” beers always amuse me. I used to be real impressed. “Wow, this crappy little bar actually makes their own beer?! That is so cool!” Quickly I learned differently, the dirty little secret that bars just make their own TAP and throw it overtop some other macro beer. I don’t know the legalities of this and I don’t really care, but alas, I’m no longer impressed. Every time you ask a bartender or waitress about the house beer they say something like, “Oh, it tastes a little bit like [beer you’ve heard of.]” The beer you’ve heard of is in fact the beer they’re trying to sell as their own. The waitress at 123 didn’t know what their house beer tasted like, but I’ll assume it’s the Michelob Amber Bock, which I think I’ve had sometime in my past. This is not a great beer and the frozen mug theory greatly improves it. No doubt making it go from tasting bad to not tasting at all. For such a dark color how can it be so lacking in taste? Odd. Since it doesn’t taste at all that already makes it superior to most macros. I wish they had put a little more effort into make this house beer taste good.

C

Oh, final note: if any sissy or frat boy cares, the $2 shots are the kind of silly-named shots that are like 90% mixer and 10% cheap booze. I mean really, if you’re having a shot it should be 100% liquor. I’ll expound on this at some other time. Suffice to say I only completed the 1 and 3 of the 123. The burgers were damn fine too, like upscale White Castles.