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Archive for the ‘Style: Bock’ Category

Doug’s Very Noddy 40th Birthday Lager

January 12th, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Buckbean, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Bock

10.5% ABV self labeled can

What’s the point of life if not for lame achievements, especially ones you conquer near unwittingly?  It’s been about sixteen months since I last examined how many of the fifty states I’ve had a beer from.  Back then I’d had a beer from twenty-nine states but since then I’ve added Arizona (Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer, oy!) Georgia (various from Sweetwater), Hawaii (Maui and Kona), Indiana (Three Floyds can I get a witness!), Montana (Big Sky), North Carolina (Duck-Rabbit), Utah (Uinta), and West Virginia (Mountaineer).  That puts me at thirty-seven down, thirteen to go.

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from Buckbean Brewing Co. asking if I’d be interested in getting sent their newest offering for review.  Why thank you very much!  No need to twist my arm.  Oh, by the way, Buckbean is from Nevada.  Thirty-eight down, twelve to go.*

I really didn’t know a whole heck of a lot about Buckbean but I was charmed by the tallboy “silver bullet” self-labeled can I received in the mail.  An Imperial schwarzbier according to the can–a style that doesn’t seem to “officially” exist really–with double the malts and hops of their standard Black Noddy Lager, which I unfortunately haven’t had.  Since I hadn’t really heard of this brewery, I didn’t expect much but I found Very Noddy to be pretty damn good.  I’m going to call it a doppelbock and in that case it’s one of the sweetest doppelbocks I’ve ever had.  A nice malty but not cloying sweetness, like in a better barleywine.  A very nice “Americanized” example of the style.  Silly drinkable for such a potent ABV, you could put several of these back before the alcohol caught up to you.  All in all, quite enjoyable and Nevada folks are lucky to have this brewery in their backyard.  I look forward to hopefully trying more Buckbean stuff and I believe I might just send an e-mail back to the company asking for a little help on that.

A-

*Those twelve:

Alabama
Alaska
Idaho
Iowa
Kentucky
Mississippi
Nebraska
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Tennessee
Wyoming

Widmer Cherry Oak Doppelbock (Brothers’ Reserve Series)

October 16th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Widmer, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Bock

9% ABV bottled and boxed!

Day Drinking

Upwardly mobile big city yuppies often like to try and make each other think they’re still very much immersed in the more transgressive and fun parts of society.  That they still “got it.”  That they’re actually having as much fun as the rest of us.  They’ll even make up and throw out certain buzz words, catch phrases if you will, to reinforce these faulty thoughts.  “Day drinking” is probably the biggest of these such words.  As in, “What are your plans for today?”  “Oh, just doing some day drinking.”  Like we’re supposed to be really impressed they have chosen to spend their Saturday or Sunday like most normal cool people do–BY DRINKING.  There’s even a Facebook fan page set up for this lamest of self-back-patting hobbies.

Let me fill you guys in on something, there’s nothing outrageously cool or profligatic about drinking a Bud Light on a Saturday at 14:00 hours.  Nothing ornery about slurping down a Bloody Mary with brunch while rocking your massive SUV of a stroller parked next to the booth.  What?  You think you’re being “bad”?  You think that drinking while the sun is out and bad Big Ten football is still on the air is naughty?  You think you’re only “allowed” to start tippling once the dinner hour begins?  Grow up.

“Day drinking” is St. Patty’s Day or New Year’s Eve in micro.  A time us cool people set aside for the amateurs to drink so we can quickly clear them off the streets in time for us to actually start guzzling.  It’s like how New Yorkers give the tourists Times Square and 59th Street, us real drinkers give you phonies Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 to throw down in public.  We’ll be at home getting loaded by ourselves.

You want to be a real badass?  Don’t day drink on a Saturday or a Sunday, or the occasional Monday or Friday holiday off.  Go day drinking on a fucking Tuesday.  Or a Wednesday.  That’s when the real badasses are day drinking.  Take off work on any normal and insignificant Thursday and go get shitcanned by yourself.  Oh you will see characters my friend.  You will see the dregs of society.  Men, always men, that somehow skirt the paradox between having absolutely nothing going on in their lives, yet still enough money to fund their “disease.”  And what a grand disease it is!  The sun pouring into the quiet bar, “Oprah” or maybe “Family Feud” on the wall TVs for there are no sports on air at this hour, maybe–maybe–some cricket or rugby or hurling from some weird country, but that’s about it.  Bartenders reading the NY Post, the occassional suit going all “Mad Men” for a liquid lunch, some vacationing foreigners.  There is no talking, there is no mingling, there is certainly no flirting, this kind of day drinking is all about you and your hooch.  It is no group celebration but fuck is it fun.

But I don’t want to be an alcoholic you say!  Only “alcoholics” day drink on those days!

My point exactly!  So you admit you simply wanted to be a faux-alcoholic for a little undeserved street cred.  Just like you wanted to be when you went to that faux-dive bar last week.  Let me let you in on a little secret:  there’s no such thing as a chain dive bar.  And those buffalo wings ain’t that wild either.

Alcoholism, drunkenness, is an all-or-nothing proposition, friend-o, you’re either fully in or fully out.

Though maybe you’re like me.  Ya’ want to be a boozehound without all the unpleasant whispering from the Joneses of society.  Then do the day drinking all by yourself.  It’ll be our little secret.  Stay inside your tiny little abode and just start shredding through your beer cellar.  How zen!  How stoic!  Much better than tai chi.  Open that boxed Widmers you just got.  Wait a sec?  Widmer makes a BOXED fancy beer?  But I thought they were like a “macro-micro”?  So did I brother, so did I.  But you know I can’t turn down a boxed beer.  And goddamn am I so glad I got to try it.  It was really quite good.  Your classic chewy dopple maltiness, rich chocolate, etc, but with a beautiful underlying hint of dark cherries and a vanilla oak finish.  This is actually a one of a kind beer, and I greatly enjoyed it.

I’m not gonna quite induct it into the dopplebock pantheon alongside, say, Celebrator, Salvator, Thomas Hooker’s, them boys is legends, but it’s pretty freaking good.  I hope to try it again and all of the sudden I’m looking at Widmer with a new eye, like a girl that just got implants, hoping to try some more from them.  What else ya’ guys got?

A-

Thomas Hooker Liberator (2006)

July 10th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Thomas Hooker, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Bock

8% ABV from a jazzy swing-top rubber-corked bottle

Pulled an embarrassing beer geek move a few weeks ago.  I’d read on the splendid Beermenus that a beer I’ve been seeking out for awhile had just been put on tap at a bar outside my jurisdiction.  So, I quickly sprinted to a pay phonebooth to change into my drinking gear and high-tailed it down to Alphabet City.  Of course, by the time I get there the keg has just been fully spent and now I’m a 50 minute two-subway ride away from home base and I’m alone and bummed out at missing out on a BA Top 100 beer, so of course I sit down to wet my whistle and drink away my middle-class blues.  And soon I am drunk in Alphabet City and still by myself and lonely and not in the mood for a 50 minute two-subway ride home nor a $25 cab, so I think it a good idea to text a dreadful girl that lives in that very neighborhood who I had promised myself never to deal with again and next thing I know it’s morning and I got a girl I hate creepily stroking my luxurious chest hair while I sleep.  Me ruing the day I ever got into them fancy beer and even moreso thought it a good idea to travel halfway across town just for a measly 12 ounces of sugary poison.

To top that story off, the next day as I tippled with a friend at the great Rattle ‘n’ Hum, I of course see Liberator, a beer I’d searched at least a year for to no avail, on their newly revamped bottle menu, rendering my previous night’s activities completely futile.  Ah well.  Live and learn.

The Liberator is of course incredibly malty, tastes of biscuits, caramel, and toffee and a great example of a dopplebock.  A swell rival to the great German standards like Celebrator and Salvator.  And, in all honesty, until I just looked it up right now, I had thought this was a beer out of Europe.  The U.K. most likely.  Nope, it’s from neighboring Connecticut.  USA!  USA!  USA!  Even kicking ass in the dopplebock category.  Who knows why I’d never found this before, but it’s worth seeking out if you’re a fan of the style.

A-

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+

Samuel Adams Imperial Series

April 6th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B plus, Grade: B regular, Style: Belgian White, Style: Bock, Style: Stout

Within the last month, Sam Adams released a new series of imperial brews in order to “offer beer lovers’ an intense version of some of their favorite traditional beer styles by boosting the ingredients and testing the limits of each traditional style” said the press release robot employed by the brewery.*

I was excited to try all of these as I can’t help but love Sam.  Sure, they aren’t the most adventurous beermakers in the world–save the brilliant Utopias–but they always make quality stuff and you have to admire the heights they’ve attained in the world of beer while not making watery swill.

Double Bock

9.5% ABV

I don’t particularly love most bocks, but this was a pretty good effort.  Incredibly malty, the bottle actually claims you could make a loaf of bread with it.  I believe that!  So rich, I honestly struggled to finish the bottle and liked it less and less the more I drank it I was so overwhelmed.  Though the initial flavor is admittedly pretty solid.  Robust and syrupy tastes of malts, caramel, and spices.  Worth trying, though I’d recommend splitting a bottle.

B

Imperial Stout

9.5% ABV

Inexplicably, Sam had never had a major release stout before this.  Odd for one of the most common and desired style.  Thus, I was excited to see what they could accomplish with this release.  I found it very boozy and harsh tasting for the not-to-so-high(-for-an-impy-stout-at-least) ABV.  Still, not bad.  High level of roasted coffee notes and malted chocolate but not much else going on.  It actually reminded me of a less polished version of Founders Breakfast Stout with a mouthfeel and a drinkability like a Guinness Extra Stout.  This would be a splendid “starter” imperial stout to give to a friend you are trying to get into craft beer. A worthy effort fo’ sho’.

B+

Imperial White

10.3% ABV

What a shocker!  I was least interested in trying this one of the three.  I mean, what do you think of when you hear American white beer?  You probably think nothing.  Flavorlessness.  The bland faux-micro macro Blue Moon.  Again, nothingness.  No flavor, just nothing.  Imperializing a white seems like an oxymoron.  How can something so bland be made “bigger” and “bolder”?!   Ultimately, what I’m saying is that I hate whites and much like two times zero still equal zero, I figured two “times” white would still equal shit.  It’s like imperializing tap water.  I saw no way this would be good.   Boy was I wrong.  This was incredibly flavorful, complex, interesting, and potent.  Tons of orange with strong coriander notes.  A hyooooge mouthfeel and body.  And the ABV!  Wow.  I will definitely get this again, and, actually, I kinda want one now. Truly one of the bigger beer surprises of the year.  I don’t even feel foolish saying this is one of a kind.  Beer Advocate actually may now have to create an “imperial white” style category.

A-

*He cost $2.5M to design but his brilliant and totally human-sounding statements meant to inspire customer loyalty and create a new fan base has paid off ten-fold!

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

July 21st, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei, Country: Germany, Grade: A regular, Style: Bock

6.7% ABV from a bottle

At 21 it was Darwin’s in Syracuse and extremely cheap happy hour pitchers of Miller Light. It was hitting on 18-year-old freshmen that had snuck into the bar with their fakes IDs. Girls that were still taut and yet to become doughy in the stomach and triceps from a good three years of collegiate drinking. It was still not knowing how to drink for shit yet.

At 22 it was Faegan’s and full pint glasses of knock-you-on-your ass Long Island Iced Teas. Three was the norm, four might kill you. At the start of the night you only needed to remove a single twenty from the ATM. That would be enough to get you absolutely plastered with a few bucks left over for a slice or two of crappy, greasy, mop-up-the-cheap-booze pizza inexplicably served by a Greek family.

At 23 and just out of college it was Rogo’s in Hoboken. $5 cover charge but once inside it was like a store in the ghetto: everything was a dollar. And I mean everything, cheap beer, cheap liquor, cheap shots, and cheap wine were all a buck. Sadly enough that was still a little steep for us as we were all underemployed to say the least. The deal started at 7 PM and we’d be seated at the bar by 6:59. Drink orders and dollar bills would cascade over our heads for the next five hours and by night’s end–I’m only a little ashamed to admit this–we had usually made money as we began discreetly integrating the strip-club-stage pile of bills into our personal funds. At least we tipped the drink-slingers well with the ill-gotten gains. Throwing up was inevitable.

At 24 it was the now-shuttered Village Idiot in the Meatpacking District. $6 MGD pitchers were the draw to this absolute pig sty of a bar with sawdust-covered vomit-covered floors and skanky bartenders that you didn’t even need a medical degree to recognize the strains of STD riddling their bodies. Surprisingly, hot, but equally cheapskate, women frequented this joint too and of course they were always easy to lure home for some forgotten-by-the-morning adventures.

At 25 it was Doc Holliday’s in the East Village for the hipster special, $2 tallboy cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. One guy would go up, drop a few twenties, and buy enough cans to cover an entire booth table with PBR. It would last well into the night before the empties began tumbling onto the floor making noises like a “Just Married!” car was pulling away, the Jameson shots began to get purchased in order to toast our besotted lives, and the drunken flirtations began as all the while fat chicks danced on the beat-up bar. A quintessential faux-dive.

By 26 many of my friends had gotten engaged or married and moved to the suburbs or outer boroughs. One friend had been shipped out to Iraq, another had pursued Hollywood dreams in LA, and another had moved home to New England. Thus, a formerly huge crew’s halycon days of wine and roses had come to an abrupt halt. But that was fine, I still had one single friend JT and his two favorite pursuits coincided neatly with mine: stiff drinks and promiscuous women. We became a two-man wrecking crew throughout his part of town, the less-dead-than-you-think Flatiron District, and mine, the as-touristy-as-you-think Hell’s Kitchen. We’d hit crapholes like No Idea or Scruffy’s Duffys for gin-and-tonic after gin-and-tonic and to demonstrate our sloppy drunken rakishness to “adventurous” Midwestern tourists and laid-over flight attendants that were admittedly impressed that we had 100__ zip codes and roof “decks” to take them back to. They never questioned the unfinished and tar quality of our roofs, the need to jimmy a fire lock to gain access, and just enjoyed the romantic jaunt for what it was. And they went back to Abilene or Omaha and said, “By gosh, I hooked up with a real life New Yorker! (sotto voce) And he might even a been Jewy.”

By 27 JT had somehow quickly gotten hitched and moved to Jersey and, shit, even I had a steady girl in my life. We’d party around her pad on the Upper West Side, hitting bars that we were probably just a little too old to be partying at, but we still weren’t rich so we liked the cheap pitchers and stiff whiskey drinks. We liked kicking just-out-of-college kids’ asses in mixed doubles beer pong and foosball. In drunkenly hooking up in the photo booth before ordering jalapeno poppers. Ah, a young drunkard couple in love.

By 28 we’d become more comfortable and refined (read: lazy). We spent more nights in where I enjoyed quality craft beers and bourbons. When we went out, we’d hang with another couple at quiet and bland “Irish” pubs where we played bar trivia and drank buckets of crappy macro beers because they were the only things available.

And now, here at age 29, I am again, as the great Neil Diamond said, a solitary man, sitting alone in my dark living room watching TV. Sounds like my life has gone downhill, huh? As if my tale has ended on a lachrymose note. As if I am at the worst year in my 20s. Nope, not in the fucking least. Not when I’m surrounded by three bottles of Beer Advocate-rated A plus brews about to watch the only movie I haven’t seen from my all-time favorite director Woody Allen’s oeuvre.

The first beer on my evening’s agenda is the legendary Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, a brew I’d been meaning to try for years. It excitedly came with a little trinket on a string attached to the bottle’s neck. Nice. More breweries should employ this Cracker Jack a-prize-in-every-box strategy in order to lure me into buying their product.

Celebrator also has a very slick label.

Beautiful dark chocolate pour with little hints of purple and a tan head. I never talk about a beer’s lacing cause I typically don’t give a shit but Celebrator has maybe the best I have ever seen. It was hypnotic to look at. Tastes of chocolate and espresso and it’s incredibly smoky, like Worcester sauce or something. Very malty of course too and no sweetness at all. Slightly more sour finish than I expected. Very warming. Incredibly drinkable too as this beer is smoother than a eunuch’s crotch.

If you have not had many doppelbocks in your life I think you would find this beer very odd and perhaps undrinkable. Even having loved many doppels in my life it took me a little bit to get acclimated to this one. I’m not sure if this is a beer you completely figure out until you’re halfway through the bottle. The beer is much better the warmer it is served as well, as I began drinking it at too cold of temperature.

Celebrator is pretty much the dictionary definition doppelbock. It is the most known and arguably the best as well. However, I wouldn’t advise an amateur beer-drinker to try this as they’d probably be in for a bit of a surprise and not enjoy it. As for me, though I found it brilliant, it lacked a few things I would have liked to consider it a masterpiece. First of all, it’s a bit dull, a bit bland. I also think it could have used a sweet component or two. I also think the alcohol content should be amped up. But then again, I always think that.

But these are minor quibbles and this an amazing beer that rightfully deserves all the accolades it receives.

A

Also, “Cassandra’s Dream” was nowhere close to as bad as most people reviewed it. Not classic Woody by any means, but still an interesting picture.

Brooklyn Brewmasters Reserve Blonde Bock

June 13th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Bock

7.7% ABV on draught

Made a specific trip to the great House of Brews on 51st and 8th to try a beer that I have only ever seen there — the Brooklyn Brewmasters Reserve Brooklynator Doppleback, an absolutely magnificent brew. Unfortunately, that beer is now out of rotation until next year and thus my formal review will have to wait. Drats. I nearly cried upon the bartender informing me it was no longer available. I was left speechless, as if somebody died, and was unable to possibly think of anything to say and a beer to order. I almost didn’t want to drink. Yes, I was too depressed about the lack of one certain beer to drink more beers. I almost felt like going home. Fortunately, however, Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver makes sure that House of Brews always has the latest Brewmasters Reserve on tap and thus I was able to sample their helles bock, a beer with a little less thickness and potency than the dopple, one befitting the summer months — or so they say. I was predictably leery as we all know my thoughts on summer beers.

Quite frankly, I was barely able to enjoy the first half of my pint as I was still so mournful over having missed out on saying goodbye to the dopplebock for the summer. The helles is much lighter and less flavorful, but still refreshing. Which was actually a good thing as it was about 95 degrees in Manhattan at the time. The dopplebock might have felt akin to drinking a cup of coffee.

Eventually I was able to forget about the dopplebock and focus on my beer in hand and slowly but surely I realized that this one was deceptively complex. On the first sip it seemed like nothing more interesting than, say, a Blue Moon but as I continued drinking it I noticed all of the maibock’s brilliant subtleties. It’s very malty, with light fruit flavors and hints of honey. Most impressively, it does an amazing job of hiding the alcohol content. It’s actually quite remarkable that a 7.7% beer can be so light and refreshing. I would have never guessed it was that high. It might be a good beer to sneak into your opponent’s stack if you’re ever both immature and classy enough to have a drinking contest featuring only highly-rare craft brews.

I may not have totally given this beer a fair shake, I will be honest. I don’t think it’s a masterpiece like the dopplebock, but I hope to return soon to confirm this. Nevertheless, it is very good. And, it proved to me that maybe I need to be thankful for what’s in front of me rather than sad about what’s behind me. I think Confucius said that. Or maybe it was the star of some gay gang bang porn film.

B+

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.