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Archive for the ‘Grade: D regular’ Category

Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest

October 14th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Jacob Leinenkugel, Country: America, Grade: D regular, Style: Oktoberfest

5.1% ABV bottled

At 5:38 the Vice Phone rang. I paused Tony and Mike yelling at each other on the Worldwide Leader and answered. It was Derek. He skipped the pre-crux “how ya’ doin’” formalities which are a major reason why I abhor talking on the phone, rarely do so, and probably caused my last SO to dump me. He immediately jumped right into the focus of his call, only needing to utter a single simple sentence:

Did you know Leinenkugel has an Oktoberfest?

I dropped the phone I was so shocked, it fluttered to the ground in slow-motion, doing several tucked somersaults and twists before making a splashy entry onto the hardwood and exploding.

I was so stunned because in the Vice Blogger’s world of beer buzz, it was as if Derek had just informed me that the good monks at Westmalle were now bottling a quadruple.

“Thanks for the tip, Derek. I gotta go.”

I hung up, told my secretary to cancel the rest of the evening’s plans, put on some clothes, and immediately set off to find this beer.

Why was I so excited to find and try this brew you may ask? Isn’t Leinenkugel nothing more than a marginal brewery you say? Naw, it’s even worse than marginal. Marginal would be a compliment. You see, I have a long-standing rivalry* against Leinenkugel in which I enjoy nothing more than in locating their beers, drinking as much of the twelve ounces as I can handle, taking the correct inoculations to survive the vile Wisconsin-borne fluidic pathogens, and then bashing the beers on my blog. 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.

I left the house and hit all my beer haunts, moving in ever increasing concentric circles around midtown. I was having no luck. I ventured as far as the high-80s on the West side. As low as Chelsea. It became a scavenger hunt but without nerds carrying around checklists, asking complete strangers if they have any Canadian coins on them. Mine was a one-man search for a potentially vile brew, the antithesis of de Leon’s explorations to find the Fountain of Youth. Unfortunately, I never found the beer that night and went to bed a failure.

Luckily a week later, I was elated to locate the brew on the menu at the typically well-bred House of Brews.

The smell of the beer is that of a public swimming pool on a hot, late-August day. This is not a beer to be poured into a pint glass. I cannot stress it enough that you please not “open” the nose of this beer at all. Drink it from a tiny swizzle stick straw if possible, you do not want to smell it as it nears your face.

Taste is equally crummy. I’m not even sure why this is considered an Oktoberfest/Marzenbier, it’s nothing but an overcarbonated fizzy little macro lager with orange food coloring stirred in. Maybe a tad extra cheap malt added as well as something metallic. A real pathetic attempt at a seasonal. Heck, a real pathetic attempt at potable beer.

The joke has to be made “Mad Libs” style:

This is no Oktoberfest, it’s more like a _______fest***.

Maybe one day you’ll make a great beer, Leinenkugel–I see a few intriguing ones listed on BA that you should overnight me to get the powerful Vice Blogger back in your good graces–but until then, go fuck yourselves and quit exporting your shitbier to New York state lest I report you to Andrew Cuomo.

D

*This is obviously still a one-sided rivalry as Leinenkugel has yet to take action against me. I pray one day they sue me for slander and libel, but I think even they realize that I am right in my product pans.

**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.

***Submit your guess to win fabulous prizes! Shitfest? Craptoberfest? Vomitfest? There’s so many possible choices!

Bleue Legere Light

August 27th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: Labatt, Country: Canada, Grade: D regular, Style: Macro!

4% ABV from bottles, cans, taps, and anything and everything else

In French Canada the Labatt Blue Light flows like water and the men make David Beckham look like John fuckin’ Wayne. I think I drank about seventy-five “Blue Lights”–as they’re known in the region–in slightly over two days while not seeing a Mapleleaf male with a waist larger than 26 inches the whole time.

On Saturday night we drove into the big city of Lakefield, Quebec looking for a place to wet our whistles and possibly our nether-regions. Driving around a town that is striving to one day be two-bit, we surprisingly found numerous watering holes, but not a single one of them a straight bar. How queer! Why were there so many gay bars and so many homosexuals in this town? It was like the Christopher Street of the Great White North. Eventually, we realized these pixieish little men, with their sleeveless mesh shirts, Rafael Nadal capris, circa year 2003 faux-hawks, and aviator sunglasses worn indoors, were in fact the straight men of the town. Great Caesar’s Ghost!

No matter, the women in the town were sah-moking hot and when Gary, Dan, and I–three strapping young Americans–entered the bar, the ladies got whiplash they spun so quickly in their seats to ogle us. Despite the fact that we are of average build and dress in the States, to these women we must have looked like some UFC fighters passing through the area.

In this pub slash discotheque slash pool parlor, as the men unironically danced to such 1980s hits as Canada’s own Corey Hart’s “I Wear My Sunglasses At Night” (while as previously mentioned wearing their sunglasses at night), we were free to slug cheap beers we purchased with loonies and twonies while making plays on the gorgeous ladies. That was fun and successful, but not as fun as trying to figure out why French Canadian men dress like late-1990s American sitcom interpretations of what flaming homosexuals dress and act like. Alas, we never came to a definitive answer. But we laughed a lot. Especially at all the biker “gangs” that likewise inhabit the region and bar scene. Let’s just say, the motorcyclist in The Village People would even call these straight men “fruits.”

Oh yeah, Blue Light kinda sucks too. Labatt regular is a solid enough, above-average macro, but the Light tastes as if they’ve treated the regular like a concentrate and added 2/3rds water to each bottle to make it less potent. I guess Franco-Canadian men are in fact so sissy that they need to feel some false machismo by claiming they can polish off thirty beers in a night. Well fuck, an old lady hooked up to a dialysis machine could drink Labatt Blue Light all night and I’m not even sure her doctor would mind.

D

Humorous postscript: I saw several “men” at the bar drinking some oddly labeled bottle called 0.5. As in 0.5% ABV. Labatt’s Low-low alcohol beer. Sheesh. What a province of pussies.

Wild Blue

July 17th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: D regular, Style: Fruit Beer

8% ABV

I had been seeing this beer on the shelf for a few weeks and was intrigued to try it. A fruit beer at 8%. Wow. We all know I have a perverted love for fruit beers and for whatever odd reason blueberry seems to work best as a beer fruit. My friend warned me that is was undrinkably terrible, but I didn’t completely trust him. I’m loyal to my friends, but I don’t always trust their opinions, arrogantly thinking AKB (Aaron Knows Best).

I popped the top and the smell was kinda magnificent. Potent and powerful, packed with blueberries. The first sip wasn’t so bad either. It was all downhill from there. This beer is indeed borderline undrinkable and I struggled to finish it. The problem is that it doesn’t even really taste like beer. Just very viscous blueberry juice. Actually, it’s almost more grape-like. I can’t believe this isn’t made by Welch’s. Or Manischewitz for Christ’s sake*. Only later did I learn who truly makes this abomination: Anheuser-Busch. How absolutely bizarre that the near highest ABV beer in their massive collection is a fucking blueberry lager. But, this is clearly not flavored with real blueberries. It’s a potent force of artificial flavors and colors (this beer appears more purple than Grimace) that totally mask the alcohol. Not a good thing in this case.

It’s also quite sleazy how AB has clearly tried to design their bottle to look “microbrew-esque” and to dupe fools like me into trying it. For shame.

D

Wow, just realized this is my fourth straight review in the Ds. Please beer Gods, send me some good beers this weekend!

*You like that clever play on religions? If Jesus had turned water into this beer/wine, no one would be happy. I mean no one.

Coors Light

July 15th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Coors, Country: America, Grade: D regular, Style: Macro!

4.2% ABV from a keg

Went to a housewarming party thrown by my friend and his wife at their sweet new house in the Boston suburbs. I was the only one of the 3 or 4 dozen guests that did not own at least one of the following: a house, a car, a spouse, a child, a pet, or dignity. Thus I got belligerently drunk and overcompeted in all the day’s “friendly” drinking games.

The libations for the affair were Coors Light from a keg and my friend’s freshly-squeezed watermelon martinis. Don’t knock ‘em, they were potent and flavorful. Alas, I only drank one, spending the rest of the fifteen hours of marathon tippling throwing down foamy CL Smooths from a plastic cup. Certainly not a great beer, in fact, a pretty bad one. And if you even just barely overpumped the keg you were given a cup full of something that looked more akin to Cool Whip than an adult beverage. Nevertheless, it is damn easy to drink the Silver Bullet and it lubricated me nicely for a day of competition.

I have a love/hate relationship with drinking games. On one hand, I hate the idea of needing a reason to drink and get drunk. I especially detest games where you only get to drink when you “lose.” That’s silly. It’s why I abhor games like Asshole. A better drinking game would be one in which a person doesn’t get to touch alcohol until they actually accomplish something.

On the love side of the equation, I’m a fierce and maniacally insane competitor and thus I adore any drinking game that actually takes some skill, that actually determines who is better at something, that actually allows for bragging rights. Oh, and I will brag–remember, I don’t got things like a house, a car, a wife, a child, a pet, or dignity to live for. So obviously I love an awesome game like beer pong. Unfortunately, that was not going to be on the day’s agenda.

First up was Wiffleball. Of course, not traditionally a “drinking” game per se, but if you’re drinking and competing you can figure out how to make anything into a drinking game. We set up a two-on-two home run derby-esque event in which pitchers were allowed to throw the fastest, nastiest, craziest junk balls they possibly could. You ever seen those famous experiments where a spider is given booze and drugs and then spins these absolutely fucked-up webs? Well, the more Coors I drank the more “wiffly-er” my pitches got as I began throwing some absolute 12-to-6 hooks. Pitches that arched behind the batter’s head yet still inexplicably dropped into the strike zone (a lawn chair). Another good thing about playing Wiffle Ball while drinking is that the alcohol numbs your arm, turning it as rubbery as David Wells’s and making it easy to have a 1200 throw pitch count for the afternoon.

My partner Bryan and I won the first game 23-21 on a walk-off double and instantly the trashtalking began. I’m the Gary Payton of shittalking during drinking games. Other folks are just trying to enjoy a beer and have fun and I’m taunting them and brashly reveling in my own accomplishments. Maybe that’s why no one likes me. It would be considered hubris, but then again, as Caesar said, “It’s only hubris if I fail.”

And though I may have been failing at attracting members of the opposite sex or being known as the “nice” guy at the party, I didn’t do a lot of failing in the drinking game spectrum. By early afternoon I lacked the motor skills to swing a yellow bat at knuckling plastic balls and the agility to run around the yard avoiding babies and dog shit in order to shag pop-ups, so I needed a more sedentary event.

Thus, next up was a game called Baggo (also known as Cornhole in some places). I suppose I should be embarrassed that in my 29 years I had never seen, heard, or certainly played Baggo, but then again I’m from Manhattan where space is limited.  I’m also an urbane Jew, not some hick from French Lick. Having watched some people play the game before me I thought it looked pretty dumb. For those that haven’t played, you essentially try to throw beanbags into a hole in a slightly slanted wood board some 20 feet away, netting 3 points for ones that go in the hole and 1 point for beanbags that are still resting on the board surface once the round is complete. First team to 21 points wins. Kinda like a mix between beer pong, bocce, and curling. Sounds dumb and easy, right? Well, it is kinda easy for a superior marksman like myself, but it was certainly not dumb. I fell in love with it quickly. Heck, I’d like to be playing it now. I think it may have even surpassed beer pong as my favorite drinking game.

Now is as good a time as any to discuss that this was the first drinking party of my life in which people actually brought their fucking children. Being a vulgarian, I was concerned at first, especially since I’m the kinda guy that loudly yells things (ala John McEnroe) like “Fuck!” or “Jesus Christ!” or “Jesus fucking Christ!!!” when I fail at some sort of sporting attempt. And, the last thing I need is some parent lecturing me on appropriate behavior whilst young’uns are around. Amazingly though, all the parents in attendance were cool, throwing back beers, and letting their children goof around and even mingle with a scumbag like me. Ever the leader of men, I quickly taught these children important things. Stuff such as how to hold my beer when I am batting during Wiffleball, how to pull me a nice brew with only a half-inch of head when my drink needs freshening up, and how to exalt me in my victories. Pretty soon, I had a little army of four-foot-tall hype men cheering my every triumph and deriding, mocking, and aping my opponents and their miscues. Those children will never be the same.

Though I didn’t exactly understand the rules or strategies of Baggo until halfway through our first game, Bryan and I won that one and then proceeded to make mincemeat of the rest of the day’s opponents (most of whom had been playing the game for years) and finished up with a sterling 8-0 record.

From there, it was time for a quick bite which lead into Flip Cup. Flip Cup is definitely a game I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, I’m not sure if it’s truly a game of skill assuming you have an arm, a hand at the end of it, and don’t suffer from delirium tremens. On the other hand, it is definitely a game that can take a party to a whole new level as it forces typically serene drinkers to chug beer and frequently leads to buttoned-up women becoming more…friendly. Quickly. The party was divided into a team of Ivy League grads versus Team “Everyone Else.” Our “everyone else” team featured alums from places such as Clemson and NC State and of course my great university Syracuse. We soon developed a nice esprit de corps, happy that we spent our years of college getting loaded and honing our drinking skills as opposed to reading books, organizing rallies, and not rooting for major sports programs. There was no way we could lose to the Ivy nerds in a best-of-seven series.

After six games it was knotted at 3-3. The tiebreaker game 7 was determined on the spot to be a relay race. Each competitor had to sprint from one end of the backyard to the other, grab a full beer already waiting for them, chug it, show to a “line judge” their open and empty mouth, and then sprint back for the tag up. With superior athleticism and prodigious chugging abilities, I was tapped to anchor my team like an alcoholic Carl Lewis. Alas, it didn’t matter. Midway through the race, one of my teammates false-started on his return after the chug and thus we lost ground we were never able to regain. A defeat by the Ivy League, how demoralizing.

From there, it was time for Slip ‘n Slide races. Though the box made it seem as if the slide was dozens of yards long in length, upon unfurling the feeble thing we were amused to see it was about as long as a California King Size bed with the explicit warning “Not For Adults” boldly written at the start of the slide. Well, a lot of things a Vice Blogger does aren’t exactly for “adults.” And, by now, fresh on the heels of the Flip Cup series, most of the other partygoers were equally too plastered to care. We began headfirst throwing our bodies down the Slip ‘n Slide as if we were Pete Rose in his hey-day, bashing our aging and fat bodies into each other as we zipped down the cheap wet plastic, hurtling past the “collection” pool at the slide’s end and tumbling into the mulchy and bumpy grass.

Eventually we added a flag to capture to the bottom of the slide which turned the end of the race into a battle that looked more like a rugby scrum than anything Wham-O intended the toy to be used for. Suffice to say, very few women participated in this contest. We men emerged from our Slip ‘n Battles with nicks and cuts and grass slathering our backs and riding up deep into our asscracks like enemas. But we felt alive!

Next, with absolute darkness surrounding us, it was time for the final game of the day: an absolutely retarded event called Stump. Essentially, this involves a dozen or so wasted people standing around a tree stump that has a corresponding nail for each participant, then taking turns throwing a hammer in the air, catching the tool in one motion and trying to throw it down and drive one of their opponent’s nails through the stump. Don’t believe me that people would actually play something so dumb? Well it actually has a wikipedia page. Definitely a game for future Darwin Award winners. Suffice to say, I did not find this game entertaining at all. I’m not sure if more than a person or two did. And, I find it hard to believe that anyone is skilled at this “sport,” as it took like two hours for the game to finish despite all the “expert” veterans in attendance.

After that snoozefest, as the clock reached 2 AM, it was time for Aaron to play one final game. A game called “Trying to score with available women but actually ending up falling asleep on my guest room cot covered in grass and filth.” I miserably failed at the first part, wildly succeeded at the second.

The next day I awoke feeling as if I’d taken part in football two-a-days as opposed to just marathon drinking games. My right pitching arm hung from my side as worthless as Bob Dole’s. My left pec palpitated like I’d been shot with a bullet there, surely a result of the fifteen hours of repetitive arm movement as I took beer cup from waist level to mouth and down again, every thirty seconds or so. I must have done some 25,000 beer curls during the day as I drank some 40 or so cups of pisswater Coors Light. Meanwhile, my entire body from head to toe was covered with bruises, scrapes, and even minor gashes from all the Slip ‘n Slide diving, especially my knees, elbows, and hamstrings which throbbed, my ulnas feeling like they were about to poke out of my forearms. Oh, and I was sunburned, badly.

Tail tucked between my legs, ass authoritatively kicked, I nonetheless returned to Manhattan happy after an incredibly fun Saturday. Coors Light is a shitty beer no doubt, but I’m starting to think that the quality of beer you drink during marathon drinking events is inversely proportional to the fun you’ll have. If I drank Old Guardian all day…well, there wouldn’t be an all day, I’d be passed out by 1 PM. But Coors Light keeps the tank running as long as you can let it. And that’s about the only good thing I have to say about it.

D

Bud Light

June 26th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Country: America, Grade: D regular, Style: Macro!

4.2% ABV from a can

“Brewed with the finest ingredients for a refreshingly smooth taste.”

That’s what is says verbatim on the side of a Bud Light can.

The “finest” ingredients? A “refreshingly smooth taste”?! Really?!

Why do all macro beer manufacturers lie so fucking blatantly? These places should be sued. No truly good beer promotes itself this hard. It’s only the shitty ones. It’s like the dude that walks around the bar talking about his great job, his awesome penthouse apartment in Soho (with a balcony, yo), and his big dick, while conspicuously swirling around his Porsche key chain, and telling any girl that will listen how awesome he is.

Fact of the matter is, that guy stocks Chiclet vending machines for a living, crashes at home with his moms, has a tiny dick and comes too early on the rare opportunities he gets a chance, and doesn’t truly have the car, just the $3 Porsche key chain. Oh, and could he get your phone number reeeeeal quick because the last train leaves Penn Station at 12:45 AM and he needs to get back to Clifton, NJ.

Something truly outstanding doesn’t blatantly say it is outstanding, it just IS outstanding. And, thus you notice this and remark, “Wow, this is outstanding.”

Bud Light on the other hand is decidedly not outstanding. No matter how much its cans believes this to be true. Unfortunately, I drink too much of the swill, as recounted in this entry. That has to stop.

I suppose Bud Light is mildly refreshing on a hot ass day, but that’s just because it’s usually ice cold and its pretty much water. I hardly taste flavors in it. Maybe a little corn, perhaps a little low-grade rice, some metallic sensations that have worn off from the side of the cheap can. No bite, no hops, no malt. Pretty much just piss water. Actually, tastes a little like soggy white Wonder Bread. Terrible finish. It almost instantaneously gives one beer breath and you start smelling like the old drunk guy at the pub that’s always leaning over into you, putting his arm around you, and trying to give you life advice, despite the fact that he has no teeth and is wearing a scuzzy 1988 Cincinnati Bengals AFC Champs t-shirt.

Best thing you can say about this brew is that at least it ain’t Corona.

D

Amstel Light

June 16th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Amstel Brouwerij, Country: Netherlands, Grade: D regular, Style: Lager

3.5% ABV (not a misprint)

Went to my aunt and uncle’s place upstate to celebrate Father’s Day. Besides my 18-year-old cousin who spent the entire afternoon texting and messaging on Facebook, I was the only being in the house under let’s say sixty (even the dog is 77 in canine years). Tired of hearing debates about medicaid, discussions of Obama, lectures on correct propane grill usage, and thoughts on Tim Russert, I had to escape. I snuck downstairs to the basement to watch the US Open and find some “relaxation” medication (i.e. beer) to allow me to continue existing around my loud Jewish family. Unfortunately, all the house had in stock was Amstel Light. Yuck. What a horrific beer. I’ve always detested the brew but when I was younger I assumed it must be highly regarded due to it’s “classy” commercials and the fact that I always see douchebags in suits drinking the stuff. It’s, in fact, one of the few beers that suited men feel comfortable imbibing on. Come to find out, Amstel is just the Absolut vodka of beer. In other words, a savvily marketed libation meant to make people think it’s highbrow. It’s a good trick. Overprice something crappy and now all of the sudden people like it. Price Amstel cheap and no one’s touching the swill. Call it an “import” and sell it for $6 or $7 at a bar and now everyone’s a fan.

However, it wasn’t until last week or so when I finally realized why I detest this beer so much (besides the fact that it tastes like shit). I was at a bar that nicely listed the ABV of every beer on its menu. I was stunned to see the absolute lowest ABV offering they had was Amstel Light at 3.5%. I thought that had to be a misprint. Root beers are higher ABV than that. Beer sold in Utah is more potent that 3.5%. No, it was NOT a misprint. My god.

So what to say about this semi-alcoholic water? It tastes very salty. Seriously. Like a pack of Lay’s Salt & Vinegar chips made into liquid form. The beer is arguably thinner than Corona. And that’s saying something. The only way Amstel Light could be worse is if it was bottled in gas form. Then you’d just pop the top, inhale the zero-calorie Amstel Gas as it escaped, and not get fat. Or drunk. Exactly what happens when you drink it in beer form. Amstel Light is the Netherlands’ answer to Stella.

Speaking of which, has any one ever seen a regular Amstel?

D

Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat

June 9th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Jacob Leinenkugel, Country: America, Grade: D regular, Style: Belgian White

4.9% ABV

When it’s the best of times, a beer aficionado likes nothing more than popping a nice expensive bottle of maybe an Allagash or a pricey Chimay. But when it’s the worst of times, that would be totally inappropriate, thus wasting and squandering a potentially pleasurable experience. It is on these sad occasions when I act like Despondent Man #1 in a trite movie and head to the store, buying the cheapest six pack possible with some loose change. In my opinion they should cut out the middle man and make CoinStar machines that dispense cheap beers as opposed to gift certificates to Linens ‘n Things or Borders. After buying my cheap beer I return home to my bedroom where I don’t even refrigerate the beer, instead setting the six pack right beside me in bed as I polish off bottle after bottle in a dark room. The six pack selected for this episode was Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin’s (hometown of both Annie Hall* AND Jack Dawson**) Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat.

Nice name, nicer label, I was surprised it was literally the cheapest beer in my supermarket. I had no right to be. It was terrible. After the first sip I began to reanalyze my sadness, wondering to myself, “Am I really in that bad of place where I need to drink six of these things?!” I don’t truly think I was, but alas I am nothing if not a completest. Once I start a task, by golly I finish it!

I really do not like this beer at all. I hated it as much by the sixth beer as I did with the first. It did not “grow on me.” I should have donated my sixer to the bum on the corner that sleeps on a warm subway grate. I will say one thing, though, Sunset Wheat is definitely unique. I taste wheat and blueberry and, yes, I believe that’s hints of toothpaste. Seriously, I taste fucking Colgate in this beer. I almost thought this beer was like one of those mouth rinses you do as a kid where you gargle it and then a few seconds later your teeth are bright red where there’s tartar build-up.

I wish I liked this beer, Leinenkugel is America’s 7th oldest brewery and I was gobsmacked to see this one gets great reviews on Beer Advocate. Maybe I got a bad batch. I truly hope I did. But as for now, I can only find one positive about my first Sunset Wheat experience. By the time i was done with the sixer i felt like I’d visited my dentist and had a full fluoride treatment. And my gums have never felt so healthy!

D

*The eponymous character of my all-time favorite movie.

**Really wish I didn’t know that!