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Archive for the ‘Grade: D plus’ Category

Leinenkugel’s 1888 Bock

June 17th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 12 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Jacob Leinenkugel, Country: America, Grade: D plus, Style: Bock

5.1% ABV bottled

“Why don’t you just go drink some more of your…sugary poison!”

She slung a throw pillow at my head, perhaps taking the name a little too literally, and stormed into her bedroom.

Sugary poison?  How dare she besmirch my precious beer like that?  What a low blow.

She wasn’t mad at my love of beer because I was an alcoholic or anything, no, she’d have had no problem if I was just a passive and aloof macro-swilling drunkard; she was pissed at me  simply because I had a passion for beer.

Why does it seem that so many women hate it when a man has passions?  I’ve had fights started with me for being a foodie, a sports superfan, a cinephile, a cigar enthusiast, a golf nut, a book worm, a TV devotee, and, of course, a beer geek.  Why is it that hobbies, passions, arouse so much anger in women?

I’ll tell you why–and this won’t be that popular of sentiment, and might even be considered misogynistic:

Because women have none themselves.

I’m not saying that’s a good or a bad thing, I’m just making an observation.  Sporting events, nerdy collecting conventions, beer tastings, vintage record shops, golf courses, tiny art cinemas…they are always jam packed with men, and the sparse women in attendance were usually dragged there by their freak of a boyfriend or husband.

It seems women want to have passions like us men do–why else would they get so angry at ours?–but they just can’t manufacture any interest in the frivolous.  Nick Hornby brilliantly understood this in his great paean to sports fandom “Fever Pitch” and his even better paean to music love “High Fidelity.”  Women are just seemingly more interested in the important stuff in life:  careers, family, relationships, “John & Kate Plus Eight.”  And that’s fine, but that’s also kinda boring.

So drink my sugar poison…why yes, yes I will.  In fact, “sugary poison” has now been co-opted as my preferred thing to call beer.  I love when some girl I won’t ever deal with for the rest of time presents me with a catch phrase that I can now use for the rest of time.  Even if it is a bit of a misnomer, being that Googleable study after Googleable study has found that the nectar of the Gods can reduce risk of stroke, heart and vascular disease, dementia, and that it even hydrates better than water.  No wonder some monks literally live off the stuff.

Health benefits or not, I prefer my sugary poison to be incredibly tasty so at least I can wreck myself gloriously.  Having said that, with all the great beers I’ve been drinking and A pluses I’ve been awarding lately, you begin to lose sight of what differentiates the great from the good from the bad.

No problem.  Every few months I need to reset my perceptions, and I do that by drinking a new beer from my least favorite brewery, the brewery I fully expect to sue me one day, the brewery whose negative Vice Blog reviews always manages to drum a bunch of Great Lakes area people out of the woodwork to flood my comments area calling me such poetic names as “douche nozzle”:  yes, I’m talking about the  Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company.

I use dreadful Leinies to calibrate my drinking.  How else would I know what’s great if not knowing what’s meager?

Not unexpectedly, and thankfully for this experiment, the 1888 Bock is just plain gross and unpleasant.  No malt character, no taste, very watery, bordering on undrinkable.  Tastes absolutely nothing like a bock.  A waste of twelve ounces of sugary poison.  At least now I know that what I have been drinking recently is truly great.  Thank you, yet again Jake Leinenkugel!

Now I just need to find a girl who will passionately drink my sugary poison alongside me.  Until then, I’ll just be wondering why women aren’t as frivolous as us men.  Thoughts?

D+

Abita Andy Gator

September 8th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Abita, Country: America, Grade: D plus, Style: Barley wine

11% ABV on draught, so say the waitress though no place confirms this number

I lived high on the non-kosher hog this summer, abusing my mind and body on the weekends with villainous al-kee-hawl. I’m not a 19-year-old year old any more, that fact has become abundantly clear. Why is there no modern-day Carry Nation around to swing an ax at my pint glass to prevent me from imbibing?

Thus, I thought I’d make the first weekend after Labor Day into a teetotaler’s delight. Thought it might be fun to see what would happen to me after a weekend of sipping on ginger ales and Yoo-Hoo. How razor-sharp would my mind become? How much energy would I have? How taut of spectacle would my belly morph into? How easy would it be to pick up women?!

Ah fuck it, I’d popped my first brew by Friday at 8 PM.

After making my friends and I personas non grata at the inglorious Press Box last week, we had to find a new locale to watch college football on Saturday. Enter Mara’s Homemade, a Cajun juke joint owned by some real-life Looooo-see-anna natives, a husband and wife team whose alumni roots cause them to root for both LSU and OU and likewise have all their games on their sole flatscreen.

God must have been mad at all the sodomites, homosexuals, Jews, and/or sinners in New York, because he allowed his great flood waters to stretch up north our way over the weekend. By the time I’d sauntered into Mara’s at the 3:00 hour, my jeans were wet up to my knees like I’d been noodling for catfish all morning. Shoulda wore some capri pants. Those effete Euros sure know where it’s at.

After tripping the lights (and tipping the bottles) fantastic on Friday night, I truly did not want to drink on Saturday afternoon. But the sweet lady that owns Mara’s so convincingly convinced me that I had to. “You want a Hurricane, don’tcha, hon?” is what she said the second I slopped into the restaurant, my Nike Shox squirking like leaky galoshes. And though she asked a question and said it ever-so-sweetly with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes, I’ve never so much felt the peer pressure to order some booze. And let it be said, this lady was at least three decades from being my peer.

The Hurricane was exquisite and potent. I don’t know if the women intentionally hooked my sexy ass up or if Mara’s Hurricanes are just always so rummy. A part of me thinks it the latter. My career record with Hurricanes is a bad one as they have always lead to me doing something foolish and waking up the next morning in a pile of garbage, my first encounters with this devilish concoction dating back to New Year’s 2001 on Bourbon Street when I was only 21 and was drinking 64 ouncers at an unholy pace. I only had one of Mara’s though, so the aforementioned would not lead to the lattermentioned. It was a bit syrupy, as all Hurricanes are, and a second was simply not in the tarot cards.

I chilled for a bit then, munching on Mara’s food. It’s solid, good, if not a bit overpriced and non-plentiful. I will still hail the Delta Grill as the finest Cajun restaurant in Manhattan. But Mara’s is worthy and certainly worth visiting if you find yourself in the East Village. A quaint little place with just the absolute nicest people running it. However, I would highly suggest they offer some gameday deals and knock a buck or two off their across-the-board $7 (!) pints if they want more customers.

Look, you wanna know how to run a bar, Mara’s, get me to drink number four. That’s all you gots to do. Because if I order a fifth drink then I am hunkering down for the entire night. So charge me $5 for a pitcher of beer and then you can charge me $5 for beer #5, $6 for beer #6, and by beer numbers 10plus, I’ll probably give my ruined liver to have just a taste.

Mara’s has the full line of Abita brews, pretty much every major pop that overrated brewery makes on either tap or bottle, shipped north to NYC at a bit of premium from what I understand. Our oddly sexy, shorts-jumper-wearing waitress–the daughter of the owners perhaps–suggested Abita’s barleywine Andy Gator. From my steel trap memory I knew that beer got horrendous reviews online, but I love barleywines so I had to try it.

A few minutes later, a pint that was a watered-down pale golden color like a Miller Lite was set in front of me. “I ordered the barleywine actually,” I said, thinking a barleywine should be a ruby red/amber/dark purple color even.

“Oh, that’s the barleywine, hon.”

Odd.

I smelled it. No odor whatsoever. What barleywine has no smell? Stuff like Old Guardian or Fred is so potent in smell that its fumes are almost enough to get you loaded. Not so with Andy Gator.

The taste was even worse. Honestly, even from taste I could not identify it as a barleywine. It tasted…terrible. I had my friend call up the Beer Advocate reviews of Andy Gator because I was absolutely certain something was wrong. The tap lines had been crossed. Nope. Indeed Andy Gator is considered a barleywine and indeed it pours a light golden color.

I tasted absolutely no hops it in. Heck, I tasted absolutely nothing good it in. Very little flavors. Just harsh, bad alcohol. Tastes almost like a malt liquor. And a cheap one at that. Not Colt 45, more like Bum’s Bathwater fortified wine or something. A terrible beer. I could barely finish it.

The worst was the sweet old lady came by to ask my thoughts on her beloved Abita. I wish I could have said, “Wait for my review on theviceblog dot com on Monday!” but I couldn’t hide the obvious disgust on my face.

At the least, I can confirm that it may indeed be 11% percent because even after a day of stuffing my face with some crawfishy app (solid), fried okra (eh) and a catfish/oysters po’ boy (delish), I was kinda wobbly as I headed back into the Manhattan monsoon.

Abita, if you can’t compete with the big boys, don’t attempt something as ambitious as a barleywine. You’ve made the worst one I’ve ever had by an order of magnitude. And if I was the “Andy” this beer was named after, the gloves would be off.

D+

Michelob Bavarian Style Wheat

July 16th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: D plus, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

5.2% ABV from a bottle

I’m the kind of sicko that upon visiting a friend’s house and being offered a beer, I don’t ask for a fresh bottle of some “normal” stuff just purchased the day before.  I’m more interested in digging way in the back of their fridge and finding those oddball beers bought a long time ago yet never drunk because the first beer from the six-pack was so heinous. Thus, when I was at my buddy’s house over the weekend, initially I turned down a few decent but normal beers in favor of some stray Michelobs from their “upscale” sampler. My friend warned me that they were terrible, but that only stoked my fires more. Tell me something is good and I’m intrigued. Tell me something is world-class terrible and I need to have it that second. See, I can believe something could be good or even great, but I’m always astounded by absolutely inferior products that enter the market.  How do they slip by quality testing?

First up was the oddly and literally named Bavarian Style Wheat. It’s very malty, very yeasty. Tastes like a fucking loaf of rye bread. If this beer included some corned beef, swiss, and a schmear of spicy mustard then you’d have a great sandwich.  More plainly put, this is one of the worst hefes I’ve ever had.

D+

(I had several other offerings from the Michelob sampler, most un-notably the Smoked Porter, but I found them all so forgettably mediocre that I’d just rather never have to revisit them in review.)

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

June 30th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: Jacob Leinenkugel, Country: America, Grade: D plus, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

4.2% ABV

Some people push their bodies to the limit with extreme sports, climbing the highest mountains, swimming the longest bodies of water, running fucking marathons and competing in all sorts of things that end in -athon and -thlon. I push my body to the limit by spending my weekend with some out-of-town friends.

Went down to the DC area to hang with buddies Derek, Batch, and Whitey, drink a lot of highfalutin beers, and pretty much just act like a profligate.

Ignoring pure cash purchases, here’s what my online debit card statement looks like after the weekend.

06/27 WASHINGTON NATIONALS C WA… Debit -$14.00

06/27 PARADISE TOO, LLC WASHING… Debit -$34.10

06/28 BOURBON WASHINGTON DC Debit -$18.80

06/28 OLDVIRGINIA TOBACCO C … Debit -$13.97

06/28 TAQUERIA POBLANO 2400 MT … Debit -$20.86

06/29 THE LIBERTY TAVERN LLC … Debit -$14.72

06/29 THE LIBERTY TAVERN LLC … Debit -$22.89

06/29 BAR LOUIE DC WASHIN… Debit -$22.54

06/29 THE LIBERTY TAVERN LLC … Debit -$22.89

More concisely put, we engaged in lots of vices: smoking the kinds of things that will get you leered at in public, eating the kinds of food that will make you need angioplasty at a young age, and drinking some glorious beers. I think my friends and I are the only people around that have weekend long benders using expensive and rare beers, scotches, and bourbons. Let the serfs get cocked on Budweiser and Captain Morgan’s, I’m drinking Allagash or Stone! In the last three days I drank countless “A” beers that I can’t wait to review in the upcoming week. But, today, I’m going to start my recap by reviewing the shittiest beer I had all weekend: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.

You may recall I have quite a hated history with the brewery. True, I do enjoy their Berry Weisse, but every other Leinenkugel I’ve drank in my life has made me determined never to drink another one. And, I thought I would never, until I went to a Washington Nationals game Friday night at their beautiful new stadium. The beer selection there was abhorrent. Batch and I checked out the “micro” porch bar. There, the only beers available were decidedly not micros. Mike’s Hard Lemonade, your standard Buds and Millers, and many beers from the Leinenkugel line. Why has this brewery seemingly exploded so much in the past year? My friends know my hatred of Leinenkugel yet taunted me to try the sissy Summer Shandy. It actually sounded appealing and inspired. Lemonade mixed with beer? It’s like an alcoholic Arnold Palmer. And, of course it had a nice-looking label, which I’ve come to find out is often the best part of a Leinenkugel bottling.

Some hillbilly at the bar with a mouth sans teeth and Nats t-shirt sans sleeves commended me on my selection. At that stadium, just like at any others, they don’t give you the bottle because they think you’ll get drunk and heave-ho it over the railing at underperforming players. Thus, I had to embarrass myself by asking the cashier if she could please bring me the bottle back so that I could take a picture of it. She not only obliged, but was duly impressed that I had a craft beer blog. Overhearing us, and seeing me take my pictures, the hillbilly was likewise in awe, further commending me on my awesomeness.

“I only drink microbrews, y’all,” he whistled through his open jaw, toasting me with his Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat, the beer with hints of toothpaste.

“No, my good sir, you only drink shit.” If Leinenkugel, the 7th oldest American brewery, now owned by Miller, America’s 2nd biggest brewery, is considered “micro,” I can’t imagine what he considers the size of his dick.

As for the beer, it’s fucking heinous. I would have rather just had a legit Arnold Palmer. It tastes like weak light beer mixed with a cheap lemonade powdered mixture you might get from a giant tub. Again, I will say that a bottled beer/lemonade mixture is a fairly inspired idea, but the execution here is terrible. I wouldn’t mind if a decent beer-maker gave this a go, not that they would. Summer Shandy is simple shanty.

D+

Coors

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Coors, Country: America, Grade: D plus, Style: Macro!

5% ABV

I’m not sure I’ve ever had this one. Seriously. Sure, I’ve had literally thousands upon thousands of Coors Lights in every sort of drinking vessel possible—from a bottle, fo’ty, can, keg, pitcher, stripper’s crack—but I don’t think I’ve ever had just a plain ol’ Coors. Nowadays, people pretty much only drink light beers. It’s an odd phenomenon. You go to 99% of bars and all they have on tap are pretty much macros, but those macros they have are the light version from each line. You’ll rarely see Budweiser or Coors or Miller on tap, but their light counterparts flow freely. Why is that? Is this only an NYC phenomenon? As bad as macro beers are, their light versions are as if you took the already crappy beer and then cut it with 4 ounces of dirty tap water.

So how did I end up drinking this filth? The ladyfriend was forced to buy it to fill out an incomplete sixer at Duane Reade (again, her favorite beer emporium). She was too snobby to drink the Coors—wanting to drink her Bud Light Lime instead—so I decided to end my night with it. It ended up being more a nightcrap than a nightcap. Ba dum dum.

Best part of macros? Twist-top caps. The sensation of using nothing more than your bare hands to twist off a beer cap and then sling it across the room is vastly underrated. And it becomes quite a rarity as one gets more and more into craft beers. Slummin’ it I guess. Taste-wise, Coors actually ain’t that horrendous. Not that bad of flavor, actually no real discernible flavor, until you hit the aftertaste. Which kinda tastes like rotten sourdough bread.

Try not to burp after drinking this one. Or, if you have to burp, at least get some hilarity out of the situation by pulling off the vaunted “French Oven” move*.

Eh, what to say, it’s not a great beer but it’s better than Coors Light.

D+

*Akin to a Dutch Oven, with this move you stuff your bedmate’s head under the sheets and then burp a stinky Coors burp down there.

Heineken Lager

June 3rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Heineken, Country: Netherlands, Grade: D plus, Style: Lager

5% ABV

This beer doesn’t even merit being poured into a glass. It probably doesn’t even merit coming in a glass bottle. It should come in a cheap plastic one like they give you at Yankee Stadium so when you get drunk you don’t start hurling dangerous projectiles at Jason Giambi after yet another golden sombrero.

My ladyfriend’s pathetic ex-boyfriend-who-she-inexplicably-still-talks-to left several Heinekens in her fridge after they had a Sunday playdate. I had nothing else to drink that night so I went with this terrible dreck. Heineken used to be “my” beer back when I was a 19- to 21-year-old dumbass. I thought I was classier for drinking it, more sophisticated than my buddies who sipped on Milwaukee’s Best. Nope, I was just a fucking tool. Only tools drink this beer. And Puerto Ricans.

It smells terrible, it tastes even worse. It burns my throat going down. At least the label is pretty cool but I hate drinking from the short stubby bottles it comes in.

Make no mistake, sportsfans, despite the European pedigree, despite the fact that Heineken appears for $6 in the “import” section of beer lists, this is one heinous beer (coincidence that heinous and Heineken start the same?). As bad as any American macro. And, when the price is considered, it’s arguably worse.

D+

(F - if other factors such as price and “Europeanness” are considered)