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Archive for the ‘Grade: C-’ Category

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?

Harlem Sugar Hill Golden Ale

September 30th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Harlem Brewing Co., Country: America, Grade: C-, Style: Blonde Ale

4% ABV from a sixer

Who knew Harlem had a brewery?  I sure didn’t, and I live only 70 blocks from it.  Though it’s hardly a brewery as this is the lone beer they make.  Seems more like a homebrewer just had the gumption to get some slick labels printed up at Mail Boxes Etc. and then secured some minor local distribution.  And though the beer’s name is cool, and the labels are indeed cool, the beer is unfortunately marginal.

Harlem’s aforementioned brewmaster is Celeste Beatty, an African-American woman.  And being that I only know of one other black brewmaster (Brooklyn’s Garrett Oliver) and zero female brewmasters, I’m assuming Ms. Beatty is the only black female brewmaster in America.

I wanted to have some homtown pride, I wanted to support the little gal, and I’m notorious–like most white folks–for overrating Harlem stuff as Cotton Club, Apollo Theatre, Malcolm X-type cool, but unfortunately Sugar Hill has some problems.

It smells fine.  Mild hints of malt and grain.  I thought it might actually be good.  The taste is fine too, a decent little sweetness.  The problem is that it’s just so damn thin.  Amp these exact flavors up and produce a 6% beer and now we’d be talking, but as it stands now this is just beer-flavored water.  Why would a brewery make their one beer so meager?  I finished an entire six-pack in about 45 minutes and wasn’t anywhere close to drunk.  Though, I was already hungover.  Figure that one out.

Suggested motto:  “Harlem Brewing Company:  Beers that skip the most cherished step in drinking — getting drunk!”

C-

Molson Export

August 26th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Molson, Country: Canada, Grade: C-, Style: Pale Ale

5% ABV from a bottle

Looking for fun in a seemingly boring town? Stuff your pockets with a few beers and hit the local Wal-Mart. Smalltown Wal-Marts are like wild game resorts. But instead of shooting bullets and arrows at deer, you can go to these white trash locations to hurl laughter, insults, and invectives at the fucked up local people and their even more fucked up products.

Such was the case when I was in North Country this weekend with my friends Gary and Dan, two brothers who grew up in the area and somehow survived to prosper. After having already seen the Dunkin Donuts inside the gas station and the old man that whittles on the edge of his porch, we needed to locate some more fun. Gary told me if we went to the Malone, NY Wal-Mart Supercenter that I would see things that would scar me for life. Or, at least, make me laugh until I was keeled over on the tobacco chaw-stained linoleum*.

So, after pounding a few Molson Exes–a surprisingly adequate beer, not great, but some decent ale body and flavor, and very drinkable compared to most shit macros–we headed over to the big box store, a taupe-colored monolith on the horizon. Gary warned me that inbreeding was prevalent and I would see some of the ugliest people on planet earth, but I still wasn’t completely prepared for what I was to witness.

Firstly, every person in town is constantly drinking Mountain Dew. It’s the only thing these people swallow beside beer and the slobber running down their gape-jawed faces. I would speculate that these giant beasts need the intense caffeine in order to locomote themselves around town, but I cannot be certain as not much walking seems to be done. Whereas in a normal city like New York where I live, the most prominent sodas are going to be your Cokes, your Pepsis, maybe Sprite or Dr. Pepper, in Malone those are the sodas of hoity toity fancypants folks. In Malone they say, “Give me Dew, or give me death.” I was absolutely stunned how the Wal-Mart soda selection was about a fifteen feet cooler across of all various flavors of the typically green nectar. I bet you think that all that exists is Mountain Dew and Diet Dew. Heck, maybe you’ve even heard of Code Red. Well you would be stunned at how many other variants there are. I don’t recall their wacky names, but I saw blue Dew, purple Dew, orange Dew, teal Dew, and countless other flavors and colors I can’t even remember. It was stunning.

For solid sustenance, the local indulgences of choice are hot dogs and ice cream. More, specifically, Glazier hot dogs, a bizarre fire engine-red-cased wiener unique to the area and made at a nearby meat plant. More specifically than that, the folk like their dogs “Michigan” style, which is a Glazier dog covered in some cheap spaghetti sauce. I’ve never seen people who give such a damn about meager hot dogs. In most of the world, people specifically avoid hot dogs unless they are broke, at a ball game, or in an eating contest. But not in North Country. Everywhere we went people were stuffing their faces with Glaziers like they were manna from above. And anywhere we went people would offer us these dogs. This must have happened two dozen times in a long weekend. When we turned them down, they thought we were the crazy ones. Who in their right mind would turn down a hot dog?! It was fucking bizarre.

Likewise with ice cream. I’ve never seen so many stands, huts, and shacks selling ice cream in a single location. Ice cream is not simply a dessert, not simply an occasional summer treat to cool down in North Country. No, there it is the stomach lubrication that guarantees one will continue to function while producing asses so big they aren’t allowed to ride roller coasters and need houses with custom wide-mouthed toilet seats. Ironically, just like the Dew cans which are also wide-mouthed.

So, these behemoths are riding their rascals and pushing their shopping carts through the Wal-Mart while they eat Glaziers, lap up ice cream, and guzzle Mountain Dew. Appearance-wise, most have completely shaved heads though those with hair have ratty ponytails or John Kruk-quality mullets. And facial hair is a must. Most opt for a goatees though fu machus are popular too. These are absolutely ridiculous looks as the locals have such fat fucking faces that goatees which are typically located on the most southern point of one’s face–i.e. their chin–are instead floating somewhere in the middle of their mugs, several extra chins of ooze residing underneath. This causes an oddball look similar to Al Jolson’s white ring around his mouth when he dressed in blackface to sing “Mammy.”

And Gary was right. Their faces, oh their faces. They just look mentally impaired. Doofy motherfuckers with always-opened mouths and eyeballs with nothing going on behind them. Everyone is so pale too. And of course they literally have rednecks.

For clothes, cheap and dirty construction crew t-shirts lacking sleeves. Sleeves are anathema to North Country. For lowerwear, I don’t think you will be surprised that jorts are the haute couture. Possibly topped off with a NASCAR hat or some fishing bucket cap. Any outfit fancier than that will betray you as being an outsider. One local man wondered Gary was so “spiffed” up. My pal was wearing a Joba Chamberlain t-shirt jersey, dirty cargo shorts, and flip-flops!

And we actually met a man named Bub. A man named Bub!

I’ve never heard such overt racism. Which is funny because after ordering food from a black Burger King employee at a rest stop on Thursday night somewhere about an hour north of the city on I-87, I didn’t see another person of African decent for the next four days. Everywhere we went it was n-word this and n-word that. I saw a motorcyclist at the Wal-Mart with a bumper sticker affixed to his helmet which simply read: “If you don’t speak English, get the fuck out of my country.” Suffice to say, I pretended I wasn’t a Jew, spending the weekend introducing myself as “Christian Christiansen” while eliminating all the Yiddish words and expressions that often spice my communications. Thus, “tchotchkes” became “shit on da’ walls at da’ diner,” “nosh” became “grub on some Glaziers,” and bagel because “crazy hole bread.” Likewise, when the drunk rednecks pulled out the firearms and munitions I had to catch myself from saying, “Oy vey, this is mishigas!”

Other favorite local argot would include “pussy” and “faggot.” As in, “‘eh pussy, quit bein’ a feh-gat and lets go get sum Glay-sher hawt dahgs.” In North Country, if you don’t do something some one wants you to do, thinks you should do, then you are immediately a pussy or a faggot.  Sometimes both.

Not that you can understand what these folks are saying. A drunk Bela Karolyi would be far easier for me to understand. Their speaking style is a cross between someone with Bell’s palsy and someone that accidentally staple-gunned their lips to each other. Their cadence is loud and jutting. Words explode from the back of their throats, with incorrect syllables given some extra oomph. Not that many polysyllabic words are spoken. Their accents are an oddball amalgam of Buffalo lower class, Canadian lower class, and person pretending to be a retard. Makes the accents of Western NYers sound sophisticated. Or at least good enough for voiceover work. I just nodded when these folks spoke to me, unsure what exactly was being conveyed. Eventually I figured some things out.

Thus the common North Country phrase:

“Waaaaaaaaaah, luck ada tiiiihts ahn ‘er. Yer’ a pah-oooooooooo-see if ya’ done ga’ ‘it on ‘er, ayh gahya.”

Would translate to:

“Wow, look at the tits on her. You’re a pussy if you don’t go hit on her, eh guy.”

Not that there are any tits worth looking at for hundreds of miles around. Ever heard the crass expression “fun bags”? Well I would say that the women in the area have un-fun bags, gigantic sacks of fat dangling from their obese torsos, pulling their back down and make them hunched over as they drag their sickly little retard children around on leashes.

Oh, the products these people buy! They stuff their carts with all sorts of shit. Upon entering I immediately saw a section of beer signs. You could literally buy the kinds of cheap signs promoting cheap shit beers that many eighteen year olds hang in their dorm rooms. And they seemed to be doing a brisk business as that area was one of the more messed-with sections of the store.

You can also purchase food at Wal-Mart. All of it frozen and fat-laden. Tons of microwave pizzas and sacks of knock-off Ore-Ida products. The most fucked up thing I saw though were hot dogs wrapped in pancakes (both chocolate chip and blueberry flavor!)

The beer section is a tribute to quantity not quality.  24 cases of beers you’ve never heard of for the low, low price of $4.99.

Finally, in the back of the store, we stumbled upon an entire aisle devoted to furry steering wheel covers. An entire aisle! I didn’t even know this product existed, but in Malone their must be a huge demand for it. Firstly, why do you need to cover your steering wheel with anything and second, why would you want it to be furry like a cheap bath mat?! I do not know these answers. I don’t not know the answers to most of the questions I was confronted with during my hour in Wal-Mart. I was as flummoxed as the first time I heard about String Theory. It became too much. I felt weak, I felt like throwing up. I needed to get back to the car and just be alone for a while. And be thankful I would never enter the North Country Wal-Mart again.

C-

*Gary encouraged me to blast his hometown as much as I could. He noted that no one there knows how to use the internet so no one from there will ever read this. I don’t completely believe him so I look forward to hearing from North Country folks in the comments.

Budweiser

June 22nd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: C-, Style: Macro!

5% ABV from many, many, many ice-cold tall boy cans

The Flushing Meadows public course is like a bar that you just so happen to be able to golf at. On Saturday I accompanied my friends Plerchee and Ian to this par 3 “pitch ‘n’ putt” nestled under the shadow of Shea and amidst the ruins of The World’s Fair from back in an era when we still had world’s fairs. Little did I know it would be one of the strangest–and most pleasurable–golfing experiences of my life.

Arriving at the 7 train stop in Queens, you get off and take a short boardwalk headed toward Corona Park. It is at this point in which you feel you have entered another country. As I hoofed it the 10 minutes or so to the course, I’m not sure if I saw another white American. Most of the crowd were Latinos kicking around futbols, but there was also a large contingent of Asians headed to play tennis at the USTA Tennis Center. I did not hear English even spoken once. Where the fuck was I?

Plerchee told me ONLY to bring a wedge and a putter and, though I doubted him at first, I’d rather be short a club or two than have to lug my entire bag to another borough, so I listened to his advice. He was totally right. In fact, a sign on the “pro shop”–really just a tiny concession stand that you might see at a Little League ballpark–advised, if not ordered one, to only carry two clubs (humorously noting that “One club must be a putter.”) I looked out over the course. It was puny, one of the worst looking courses I’ve ever seen. But I still kept my hopes up. Golfing on a shit course is still better than spending the day at home watching a “Tila Tequila” marathon. Mark Twain was wrong.

While I waited for my friends to arrive I decided to have a little hair of the dog to stave off my dipsomania. And, as luck would have it, the “clubhouse”–really just a second “drive-thru” window next to the “pro shop”–had a special on Shock Top drafts. Only 2 bucks. My day was already starting off nicely. I typically don’t drink when I play golf. Correction: I typically don’t drink early in the round when I golf. Though I am a crummy golfer, my incredible confidence, if not delusional nature, makes me think that every time I tee it up I’m gonna card a 69 and thus I better keep my wits about me. However, by the time the turn comes and I’m already shooting a 52, it’s time for the cigars to be lit up and the beers to be shotgunned. I decided to begin my round drinking at this course because I was still quite hungover from Friday night’s activities.

My friends arrived and the golfing began. Some highlights of the course and our Saturday round:

*No tee boxes. Just mats like at the driving range. Cool by me, I hate lugging tees around. Having a pocketful of wood spears is not what I call comfort.

*You can play rounds as late as 1 AM. The last tee time go off at 11 PM. Seriously. The course actually has stadium lights. Though if I was playing this course at night I’d probably carry a sidearm with me in addition to my two clubs.

*The scorecard notes the course’s ground rules. A most amusing list culminating with the policy “High heel shoes and coolers are not allowed on course.”

We assume that rule was put in place to eliminate prostitutes from walking the grounds.

*Most holes are so short you could spit from the rubber-matted tee box all the way to the greens. Surprisingly, the greens weren’t half bad, and fairly challenging. The “fairways” were another story though. One fairway had a man hole cover in the middle of it, while another had what looked like a bottomless trench that if one fell in it would cause the person to drop all the way to the center of the earth. Luckily, this most hazardous of course hazards was surrounded by six bright orange traffic cones. The few bunkers on the course were not white sand traps, but more like quicksand marshes. Thankfully, I didn’t once find myself in them.

*The twosome in front of us was a guy dressed like a overly serious golfer playing with a girl lugging a purse around and wearing a flowing sun dress that scraped the ground. Yeah, she wasn’t exactly Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

*The group in front of them was an unwieldy fivesome featuring five fat fuck friends that though in their mid-thirties probably all still live with their mothers. These folks would come into play later during the absolute highlight of the afternoon.

*I saw another group on the course, a large Mexican family. The only person playing was the father though. However, the mother, two small children, and a baby in a fucking stroller joined the man on his round, following him like a 1800s circus caravan. Yes, though you aren’t allowed to sport stilettos you are apparently allowed to push a stroller around the course with an infant in it.

*We also spied what seemed to be some sort of Asian mystic. She looked like a 90-year-old Yoko Ono and just absentmindedly wandered the course in her bizarre dress, interacting with no one. I’m not sure if she was a bum, crazy, or simply a mirage on the horizon. Perhaps she was all three. Maybe when people talk about the “golfing gods” they’re referring to this chick. And, I gotta admit, I was snaking in long putts all day long. This loon was clearly on my side.

*The highlight of the day occurred as we were about to tee off on 6. A bum lugging around an enormous Glad bag full of aluminum “empties” walked past us and headed toward the adjacent 8th green. There, he cavalierly picked up a ball that was resting some five feet from the hole for a makeable birdie putt. The hitter of the ball was the fattest of the fivesome mentioned previously and when he saw the bum grab his ball he began sprinting down the fairway wielding his club like a mad man. Me and my buddies watched with baited breath. This had the potential to be the most exciting thing to happen on a golf course since my friend lost his virginity in a sand trap at the local country club at 3 in the morning after the prom. Can you imagine some fat Long Island guido hitting a bum over the head with his wedge? All of the sudden our day was about to become “Grand Theft Auto: Municipal Golf Course.”

Unfortunately, the fat fuck was too much of a fat fuck to run the 80 or so yards that were the length of the hole and halfway there he was winded. He had to stop to put his hands on his knees and, panting like an asthmatic, he shouted out at the bum to leave his ball lest he get a beat down. The bum feigned ignorance of the situation but ultimately left the guy’s ball. I’m not sure that there’s a deposit refund for golf balls so he probably figured he best just go retrieve more cans.

Oh, and there were plenty of empty cans to retrieve! There was an elderly black gentleman driving the course who was seemingly on a mission to keep all the golfers well lubricated. I’ve never had such prompt service, even at five star restaurants! And, at $3 a tallboy Bud, we were going to get quite schnockered as we were averaging a fresh can every 2 holes or so.

Budweiser, The “King” of Beers. How fucking arrogant to call yourself that, especially when you produce such an inferior product. I tell you though, sometimes an ice cold Bud can really hit the spot. It’s not like I’d be drinking La Fin Du Monde on the course were it available.

So, what to say about Bud? It’s actually one of the more flavorful macros which is indeed faint praise. Compared to it’s Light counterpart there’s no contest. A really superior beer in comparison. Actually has a little taste and bite and doesn’t just taste like dirty water. Hints of corn and rice if any flavors can be distinguished. Goes down easy and that’s why college kids and people that don’t truly like beer drink it. A little too carbonated for my liking too, but I guess that’s what AB has to do to mask the mediocrity. And it’s very bloating, I feel like an over-inflated whoopee cushion after polishing off a few of these. Nothing special, it is what it is and we were all shit-canned by the 18th hole.

C-

As for pitch ‘n’ putt: It eliminates all I hate about golf–prohibitively expensive greens fees, six hour rounds, carrying a heavy bag, losing balls, using woods and long irons, spending most of the day lost in the trees and weeds, wearing spikes, lugging around tees, and exhibiting decorum–while maintaining everything I love about the game. Plus, it’s a great confidence booster. Even wasted, I was able to shoot an even par round on the back 9 (7 pars, 1 bird, 1 boge) and an overall round of 62. Nice! I may have to become a “member” at Flushing Meadows CC. Pitch ‘n’ putt gets an A+.

Labatt Blue

June 12th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Labatt, Country: Canada, Grade: C-, Style: Macro!

(Beer not pictured since I’m rarely sober enough to operate my camera when drinking this one)

5% ABV in six-pack bottled form

I don’t know much about the Muslim culture. Not cause I’m a bigot, but simply because you don’t usually stumble upon the Islam entry on wikipedia when you’re starting on things like “Brian Bosworth” and working your way around hyperlink by hyperlink (Bosworth > Bo Jackson > Baseball > Asia > Islam, voila!). Having said that, I don’t think the Muslims that run the bodega next door to my Hell’s Kitchen hovel much like me. Not because I’m a jerk or anything, but rather because my lifestyle is most certainly antithetical to their Muslim beliefs. At 10:00 AM I’m paying for a roll of Mentos, “Oh, and I’ll take the twenty pack of Durex behind you.” On Sundays I’m strolling out of bed hungover and unshowered at two in the afternoon and asking them if breakfast sandwiches are still available. And, on many Friday and Saturday nights at 4 AM I’m returning from the bars to pick up some brews for a nightcap. You see, let’s just say that not a lot of high-brow beer purveyors are open at these late hours and thus I’m forced to patronize the Muslim bodega if I want to keep my buzz goin’. And pick up some Cheetos. It is at these times that I get leered at by the Muslim owners as if I’m a black in the Jim Crow south. (Note to self: Look up wikipedia entry, “Muslims and their beliefs on American alcoholic, promiscuous youths.)

And, it just so happens that Labatt is the best beer my bodega sells. Luckily, I love Labatt like any upstate boy should. It’s probably my favorite macro in fact. I wouldn’t insult it by calling it a “session” beer but goddamn I love to throw ‘em back. So I guess it’s my favorite late-late-night session beer. Canadians make good macros like Labatt and Molson because at least they put some punch in their beer. 5% is a good number when you’re drinking piss water. Most American macros hover in the 4th percentile. Shameful. I won’t claim that Labatt tastes great, and on those rare times when I drink it sober I’m like, “God lord, did this beer go bad?!” However, Labatt is not nearly as watery as the America macros, has a bit of taste, and actually doesn’t hurt sliding down your throat like it’s peroxide. Bonus points for feeling like I should root for the Maple Leafs while drinking Labatt.

Labatt is like the kinda chubby girl you booty call only when you’re shitcanned. The girl who you finish your business with and then whose house you have left before your BAC is back into single digits. Both serve their purpose and so long as you don’t indulge in them while stone-cold sober than you won’t have any problems.

C-

Dogfish Head Festina Peche

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Dogfish Head, Country: America, Grade: C-, Style: "Summer" beer, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

4.5% ABV on draught

I fellated Dogfish Head’s flagship brew so heartily in my previous review because I knew what I had to do next: absolutely trash their Festina Peche offering. I needed to make it abundantly clear that I adore DFH—it’s close to my favorite brewery—before laying into one of their brews. You know how when your favorite filmmaker makes the rare dud of a movie and all the critics and your friends bash it, but you refuse to believe your beloved idol made such a stinker—despite what you saw with your very own eyes—so you lie to yourself and insist to your friends that it’s actually a great flick and they just don’t get it and maybe the filmmaker isn’t even making movies for (idiot) people like them any more. Eventually, you fess up and admit to your friends that they were right all along, your idol had indeed made a shitty picture.

Well, I refused to believe that Dogfish Head had made such a bad beer in their Festina Peche. I was absolutely stoked when I first saw it on the shelves last spring—beer, peaches, I love them both!—and absolutely stocked up on it despite never having had a sip of it. You ever rush home with like 30 bottles of the same kind of beer, sure you’ll love it, and then after popping the top of the first one to taste it you realize almost immediately that you hate it? There’s nothing sadder than staring at those remaining 29 bottles of beer realizing that it is going to literally be work to plow through them, like a punished G.I. staring at a pile of potatoes yet to be peeled.

I guess I forgot about that experience, or continued refusing to believe it because I found myself at a bar on Friday night where a brand new keg of Peche had just been put on tap, a new offering for the spring. My sister was getting the round and when I ordered the $7 brew she said, “Mmmm, sounds good…”—same exact thing I thought a year ago—”…how is it?”

“I absolutely hate it,” I responded.

My sister: “Let me get this straight, I’m going up to the bar to buy you an expensive beer you hate?”

“Yes. But I’m hoping that I’ll like it this time. That maybe they brewed it differently this year.”

Suffice to say, she wasn’t pleased when after a single sip of my pint I realized I hated it just as much as last year’s offering. I don’t know what I expect. Maybe something super-peachy and rich like a Lindeman’s Pecheresse? Perhaps, that is a tasty son of a bitch, but, alas, a completely different style of beer.

The Festina Peche does smell great but it just is really, really, really sour and tart. It’s as clear as a cheap macro-cider that girls that “don’t like beer” drink. I just really don’t like it at all. It’s the only Dogfish Head offering I haven’t loved, not liked, loved. I don’t know what went wrong with it. I really think—hope!—that one day I’ll taste the Festina Peche and go, “Aha! Now I get it!” and realize that it is a great beer, like some kid that finally understands the glory of “2001: A Space Odyssey” after several viewings. But I have a feeling that will never happen with this one. I almost wish this beer was taken off the market cause I know I’ll continue buying it every single May to give it another hopeful whirl.

C-

Blue Point Summer Ale

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Blue Point, Country: America, Grade: C-, Style: "Summer" beer, Style: Blonde Ale

4.4% ABV

There are lot of Blue Point beers I like (I know it sounds gay, but their blueberry beer in particular is sublime. OK, using the word “sublime” sounded gay. But really, there is no other way to describe the wonder of Blue Point Blueberry). Any who, I was pretty excited to see this Blue Point Summer Ale fresh on the shelf at my local supermarket, rushing home to try it. I didn’t like it at all. I guess it’s just time for me to admit that I don’t like summer ales. Any of ‘em. Even breweries I hold in super high esteem (Brooklyn, Sierra Nevada to name two) make summers that I don’t really love. Much like all summers, Blue Point’s is overly light, overly citrus-y, underly alcohol-y, and just really has no body or taste. I mean, I guess this would be the pinnacle of beer for those (non-)drinkers that list Corona as their favorite, but other than that, it just isn’t that swell. I don’t really have anything to criticize this beer for, but there’s nothing to recommend about it either. Actually, it does have a pretty gorgeous (first “sublime,” now “gorgeous”???) label, looking like special issued stamp from old-timey Long Island. That was my favorite part of this beer.

C-

(Note: A lot of people take me to task for criticizing beers like Corona and summer ales. They say that these are great, “refreshing” beers meant to be enjoyed ice-cold and poolside or at an outdoor BBQ. Hogwash. A beer should be good no matter where I have it. A Gatorade Propel might be refreshing in the hot sun too, but it doesn’t mean it’s a great beer)

Bud Light Lime

June 3rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: C-, Style: Macro!

4.2% ABV

People often call me a beer snob but I find that label completely inappropriate. I often (and without complaint) polish off pitcher after pitcher of Coors Light with my buddies while watching my favorite college basketball team lose games. Throw back can after can of Pabst while participating in bar trivia. I don’t love those beers or anything, but sometimes you got to drink them when the price is right. Not every bar is going to have Orval on tap. And one doesn’t want to look like a pretentious fuck when in mixed company. So I prefer to call myself a beer connoisseur. I mean, I’m sure George Clooney is a pussy connoisseur, but I bet he’s fucked an ugly girl or two in his life. Likewise, I’ve drank many bad beers in my life. Surprisingly, Bud Light Lime wasn’t one of them. Go figure.

The ladyfriend had been curious to try some and picked up a sixer at the local Duane Reade (always a great emporium of fine brews…right.) It’s supposed to be Bud Light’s answer to Miller Chill which is Miller’s answer to how poor Mexicans like to drink their cheap beer. The BL Lime comes in a clear bottle, an aesthetic I absolutely detest when it comes to beer. Beer bottles are brown or dark green because they are meant to keep outside light from ruining the beer. With rare exception (Newcastle), every beer in a clear bottle fucking sucks, culminating in Corona and Corona Light, arguably the two worst beers on the planet.

BL Lime has no smell. It tastes like an alcoholic Sprite. Which actually isn’t an insult. It’s kind of refreshing to be honest with you. I might actually drink this beer again were I at a macrobrew-laden BBQ sometime this summer. At the least, it’s better than Budweiser or regular Bud Light.

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