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Archive for the ‘Style: Brown Ale’ Category

Brooklyn Dark Matter

April 7th, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Brown Ale

7.5% ABV on tap

Highlights

J was the most beautiful woman I ever dated.  Using an “out-of-10″ number scale was futile when discussing her, but she was about as attractive as a normal girl could be.  Then again, she came from the loins of two un-normal people–a small-time model and a smaller-time CFL player.  She was modelesque, statusesque, and ultimately kinda crazy.  I tried to force chemistry with her just because I liked having such a tall knock-out on my arm wherever I went.  This was during my more egotistical days.  Though we never had a future, even from the get-go, I wish I still knew her.  I just liked sitting across the table from her in a restaurant and staring.

A was the best in bed, which is odd, because she was a mere 22 years of age when we began dating.  Even though I was 7 years her senior, she schooled me in moves, leading me to wonder how she was so sexually educated.  The fact that she was a neo-hippie that liked to follow jam bands around the country during the summer made me think she probably spent a lot of time on her back in muddy tents at field shows, a bearded stinker on top of her, trying out a Kama Sutra of shroom-influenced positions.  It also made me realize why she had a fairly respectable bush for a 22-year-old in the 21st century.

K was the most sexually willing.  She had a voracious appetite–both sexual and food-wise, come to think of it–and simply could not get enough of me (or Thai food).  She was kinda lazy in bed though, not very flexible, and had some self-lubrication issues.  Yet she always wanted it.  My weekly prophylactics tab was extraordinarily high, my shaft was always chafed, my knees ached worse than a hard court tennis player’s, and I didn’t even need to work out any more, all thanks to her.

S was the ugliest girl I ever dated.  She wasn’t “ugly” per se–not by a long shot–she just wasn’t super attractive with her bland face and slightly doughy body.  Meeting up with her for our first date after having picked her up loaded one evening earlier in the week at a dive bar, I was a little stunned by my false remembrance of her beauty levels.  Nevertheless, I was a trooper and drunk my beer goggles back on before falling into bed with her that very night and then went out with her again and again and again and next thing I knew we had been dating for half a year and I’d given myself a six-month long bender.

P was the kindest and never got mad at me for any of the countless stupid and selfish things I am always wont to do (like writing a female superlatives catalog.)  In retrospect, she was actually kind of a doormat (and would have said nothing about me writing a female superlatives catalog–though would have secretly seethed.)

F was the sexiest and of course wasn’t American because, you know, the anti-jingoistic rumors are true–American women just aren’t that sexy typically.  Then again, when American men call a women “sexy”–a term American men rarely use because it’s just one of those embarrassing words to say unironically–they usually just mean that she has an over-the-top sexuality.  Which, again, few American women possess.  American women wear jeans and hooded sweatshirts and pony tails and flip-flops and subscribe to dumb time-frame rules before hopping into bed.  A woman like F wore slinky dresses and flowing locks where ever we went, whenever we went there, subscribed to no rules besides “tongue kiss any one and every one you find attractive,” and quite frankly made me feel inadequate and inhibited, which is never a nice feeling.

Q was the smartest girl I ever dated but I really don’t have anything to say about her because she was just so boring and never liked to do anything fun and actually was kinda more book smart than smart smart.  Which in retrospect makes me realize she was kinda dumb.  Because any one that is 30 that you are still calling book smart, even though they’ve been out of their US News & World Report Top 10 college for a decade, is probably not that smart at all.  It’s the “cute face” of backhanded intellect compliments.

L was the dumbest girl I ever dated.  I had to intentionally make myself about 40 IQ points dumber every time I spoke to her just so she would understand me.  I couldn’t really use polysyllabic words such as “polysyllabic” with her, which is not really a word one should ever use any ways, especially in romantic or sexual situations, but I was just making a point there.  Just like with ugly S, I had to always be drunk with L just so I could exist with her because:  her sober equaled me after about 15 beers IQ-wise at least.

B was the most annoying.  She never quit fucking talking and it wasn’t like she had a silky voice either.  Her voice was shrill and nasally and jarring.  I was embarrassed to take her in public, but alone it was like babysitting a toddler (not that I’ve ever babysat a toddler before, but I can imagine based on some sitcoms I’ve seen.)  There was really no excuse to ever even be in the same room with her except for the fact that I was bored and lonely at that time in my life.  I’m glad I’m no longer bored and lonely.

I’m not sure I’ve ever dated a truly funny women, but B had the best sense of humor.  And by that, I mean, of course, she laughed every time I said something funny, which is rare to find in a woman oddly enough.  But did she make me piss my pants in laughter?  No, of course not.

U was the best drinker.  60 pounds lighter than me yet no matter where we went she could match me drink for drink.  Buckets of beer, pitchers of sangria, shots of Jameson, didn’t matter.  She drank everything, quickly and thoroughly.  I’d have called her an alcoholic but she was far more responsible than me, never seemed to get hungover, never called in sick for work, and oddly seemed a paragon of health.  She may have been a drunkard of a superhero in respect.

And I had my first ever glass of Brooklyn’s Dark Matter with a new girl, which is always the best girl.  Yet another offering in Brooklyn’s stellar every-month-or-two, tap-only Brewmasters Reserve series, this is one of the best I’ve had yet.  Created in the same way as Brooklyn’s stellar Black Ops, though this time using an imperial brown ale for the Woodford Reserve bourbon-barreling as opposed to a big boy stout.  Boozy and rich, with tastes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, this is a quite worthy “little brother” companion to Black Ops.  Decent chilled, as it warms the flavors explode, more so than any beer I’ve had recently, and I’d advise just drinking it at room temperature straight from the get go.

A-

Cigar City at Rattle ‘n’ Hum

February 23rd, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 12 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Cigar City, Country: America, Style: Brown Ale, Style: Cream Ale, Style: IPA, Style: Old Ale, Style: Stout

“I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize for the events of the night of the 23rd.  I’m not accustomed to drinking alcohol.”  –Max Fischer, “Rushmore”

I woke up near noon, still completely dressed in what I’d worn the previous evening.  Jacket, shoes, jeans with wallet, cell phone, keys still in it, everything.  My head pulsated in pain.  Not surprising considered I’d celebrated my birthday the previous night at Rattle ‘n’ Hum, chasing pints of 13% Bourbon County Stout with shots of Irish whiskey in a perpetual Mobius strip of aggressive drinking.  But even worse than the pain in my head, was the pain in my gut.  What exactly had happened twelve hours previous?  Had I scarfed down too many orders of fried calamari and Buffalo wings?  Yeah, probably, but that wouldn’t cause this kind of pain.  A pain so intense it hurt for me to sit upright and killed when I tried to piss.

Oh right, I’d entered myself in an impromptu gut-punching contest Friday night.

Seems that after drinking steadily from happy hour til midnight, after all the women and responsible men had left my party and the bar, leaving only a quintet of degenerates remaining, someone, probably me, had gotten the wise idea to start a quasi-Fight Club in our little corner and we began exchanging a series of gut punches with each other.  I’d never done something like this before, never even had such a desire to do something like this before, but I’ve never been accused of not having strokes of genius when too lit up to remember them the next day.  And, this gut-punching stroke, did I only barely recall engaging in.

I have a long history of alienating friends, ruining relationships, losing my dignity, and flat out humiliating myself on my birthday.  It’s an annual tradition.  But in this case it seemed like none of the above had occurred.  I spent the day writhing in pain, staying supine, and texting with my friends to recount the night.

How many gut punches had we exchanged I wondered?  About fifteen, recalled Tony.

How hard were we hitting each other?  About 75% our maximum punching power, thought Graig.

And why the fuck weren’t we getting tossed out of the bar for such childish shenanigans?  Because Rattle ‘n’ Hum is the most awesome bar in the world, thought I.  Though, honestly, because my friends were probably racking up a combined grand in drinking tab.  Never let any one tell you that money can’t buy you happiness.  Or the ability to have an impromptu gut-punching contest in a heretofore civilized establishment.

But apparently the night wasn’t completely peaches ‘n’ cream at Rattle ‘n’ Hum.  Sal chipped in that eventually, after about a half hour of gut-punching, some guy, en route to smoke a butt outside, had told us to cut it out.  And apparently, I had told said guy where to stick it.

Oh God!  Who was this man?  A bartender?  A manager?  Hopefully not…the owner!

Typically, I wouldn’t care.  Wealthy Charles Foster Kane wasn’t worried that his beloved newspaper was losing him one million dollars a year because, as he noted, “at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place…in 60 years.”  And I’ve long realized that I can get 86ed from a New York bar this week, and one next week, and one the week after that, and at the rate of fifty-two 86ings per year, I’d have to move to a new drinking town…in 60 years.  But the circumstances were different here because Rattle ‘n’ Hum is my favorite bar in the world.

Now normally I’d just lay low for awhile til my statute of drunken limitations had expired.  But, in this case, that simply wouldn’t work.  You see, just three days later, Rattle ‘n’ Hum was having one of the greatest beer-drinking events in recent memory as the esteemed Tampa brewery Cigar City was coming to town to unleash more than their full lineup of beers.  There’s no fucking way I was going to miss this event.

I consulted with my friends.  Who exactly had I mouthed off to and exactly how mouthy had I gotten?  Was I truly 86ed?  Would I be recognized if and when I returned to the bar?

“You’re not exactly the kind of guy that people forget, Aaron,” noted Graig.  I don’t think that was a compliment.

After fretting all day, I had no choice.  I would have to attend the Cigar City event incognito.

In preparation, I shaved an uneven goatee into my scruff, wore some particularly shabby clothing (which is saying something for me, I normally dress like a hobo), put on a Syracuse cap pulled low as possible over my eyes and sharp eyebrows (my most prominent and memorable features), and even wore my nerdy reading glasses that never leave the house, just to have another thing blocking my face.  Of course, I had to fly solo, I couldn’t risk returning to the scene of the crime with any accomplices.

I felt nervous when I entered the fairly empty bar, especially when I saw the afternoon’s bartender was the very same kind Irish lass we’d had at my birthday.  I couldn’t recall if I’d been offensive to her as well.  I walked with an intentionally unconfident slouch, my head meekly drooping to hide myself further.  I looked down at the bar, never making eye contact, feigning intense nervousness as the bartender approached and slid a menu in front of me.

“What can I getcha, hon?”

My ruse had seemed to work.  She didn’t recognize me from Adam.  (If Adam was the name of one of the countless beer nerds that would be infestating the bar soon enough.  Damn, perhaps I should have stuffed a pillow under my shirt to create a faux-beer gut.  I didn’t need my flat belly giving me away.)

I decided to open my drinking with probably the manliest, not to mention priciest, flight of beers ever assembled, pictured above.  A straight boozy stout quartet of Marshall Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, Hunahpu’s imperial Stout, and their bourbon-barreled counterparts.

Marshall Zhukov’s Imperial Stout

This 11% ABV brew is bursting with distinct flavors of coffee, chocolate, toffee, and molasses.  A rich syrupy mouthfeel and great carbonation, this is an awesome effort.  (A)

Bourbon Barrel Aged Marshall Zhukov’s

I can’t believe I’m saying this, and I’m not sure I’ve ever said this in my entire life as I’ve long stood by the reasoning that awesome beer + bourbon barrel aging = awesomer beer but in this case I thought the incredible booziness here overwhelmed the subtler flavors.  Or maybe I’m just becoming a little pussy in my old age.  I’d love to try this one with a little age on it but even hot and young it’s quite good.  (A-)

Hunahpu’s Mayan Chocolate Imperial Stout

Currently resting at #38 on Beer Advocate’s Top 100 beers on earth after an amazingly meteoric rise, this 11% beer takes a base of Marshall Zhukov’s and ages it on pasillo and ancho peppers as well as vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa nibs, giving it a nice little spiciness with a surprisingly sweet finish, and making it taste truly like no other imperial stout around.  As a huge fan of Latin spices, I absolutely adored this effort, and, for me, it was my clear stout winner of the day.  (A)

Bourbon Barrel Aged Hunahpu’s

Just like the bourbon-barrel Marshall Zhukov’s I think the intense bourbonness of this effort blocks out the awesome spices and makes it a less complex and enjoyable beer.  Having said that, it’s still quite good.  (A-)

After my first flight, I thought, let’s see, twenty-four total Cigar City beers available, if I keep flighting in out, I could knocked off the full lineup in only six total plate appearances.  Flight #2 coming up!

Creamsicle IPA

This sounded like an intriguing premise, an IPA that tastes just like a Creamsicle, but I doubted the execution was possible.  I was so wrong.  This straight out tastes like a bitter IPA backed by the orange creamy goodness of a popsicle.  Amazingly drinkable and quaffable.  (A-)

Flora IPA

This standard IPA with cedar and lavender added smells like a sack of weed and tastes like a flower garden.  And that’s a compliment.  Absolutely delicious and unique.  (A)

Humider Series Juniper IPA

I’d been floored by Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA aged on cedar so I was excited to try yet another IPA from their exciting Humidor Series, and this was just as good.  Like drinking a box of wood.  (A)

Brandy Barrel Winter Warmer

I honestly ordered this one just to fill out the foursome, but it absolutely floored me.  The normal Warmer Winter Winter Warmer–an old ale I still hadn’t had at this point so I can’t compare–aged on Laird’s apple brandy, this would end up being my favorite beer of the evening and one of the best beers I’ve had year to date.  Silky, syrupy, and sweet but not cloying, this reminded me of J.W. Lee’s delicious Harvest Ale Calvados, but even boozier and more delicious.  A huge winner.  (A+)

At this point I was getting pretty drunk and began fretting I would soon break into Leonard-Duran gut-punching numero dos.  I really had to focus and say “No mas” as there is surely some demon inside of me that now likes me to get punched in the gut.  I had brought a paperback and had planned to quickly drink my beers with my head ducked into the book, but, ironically, I kept finding myself talking to people over the two hours I was there and even made two new friends.

I now realized that having all six flights was probably out, but I figured I could squeeze in two more.  Unfortunately, their pricey cask selections, of which they had several, were not available in flight form so I had to go with full pours.  The remaining beers I slugged:

Double Cream (cask)

When I prepared my drinking order the night before I’d flagged this 9% strong cream ale as one I was particularly excited to try, but its corn and honey sweetness simply didn’t fully deliver for me and it would go down as the worst (relative term) beer I had for the day.  (B+)

Mango IPA (cask)

This IPA loaded with dry hops, mango acai tea, and a hint of lavender was my third favorite effort of the day.  As it warms the intense mango flavors come through nicely.  Flawless mouthfeel and drinkability.  Amazing.  One of my favorite IPAs of the year.  (A)

Maduro Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

After the mild failure of Brooklyn’s far more ballyhooed attempt at making a straight-up cookie tasting beer I didn’t expect any one could execute in that regard.  I was wrong.  This brown ale does taste just like an oatmeal cookie as the tart raisiness comes through nicely.  (A-/B+)

Cuban Espresso Maduro

Wow, just like the previous beer, this 5.5% brown ale aged on Naviera Coffee Mills #3 Espresso blend with chicory tastes like a flat out iced coffee.  Intense and smoky, simply delicious if you’re a coffee nut.  (A-)

At this point, the major-league beer nerds starting filing in, wielding their note-taking pens like rapiers and setting up their cameras on tripods (tripods!) to take pictures and videos of the scene…and I knew I had to make my exit, stage left, before I caught anything.

I had twelve of the beers, coupled with three others I’d had in the past, meaning I’d tried fifteen of the twenty-four available.  A 0.625 batting average.  Not bad and I hope to some how, some day, try the ones I missed, especially their Peach and Papaya IPAs which just sound phenomenal as well as the standard Warmer Winter.

Oh, and I’m putting myself on a self-imposed one month ban from Rattle ‘n’ Hum.

Brooklyn Katz’s Ale

July 15th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: B-/C+, Style: Brown Ale

ABV unknown, on tap

(Earlier today a VB commentator wrote:  “why, oh why, is this becoming just another beer blog?… get ye into the streets and find us adventure!”  Though this post will be “just another beer blog” post, mea culpa!, I want to assure this kindly man, or woman, that I will be back with a vengeance immediately after this post with an onslaught of adventure posts.  Be ready.)

And here is one of the great things about living in New York.  In most cities, you’re drunk at 3, 4 AM, you better hope you got a frozen pizza at home.  Maybe you can hit an all-night Taco Bell for “fourth meal.”  You live in one of the major, major cities on this planet, you can probably find some good pizza, a good burger, a cheesesteak, or other local delicacy late night.  But in New York, man, drunk at 3 AM in the morning, you can have one of the finest sandwiches in the world at the finest deli in the world.

Tired of dealing with summer interns and youthful morons corrupting the Lower East Side as we bar-hopped last Friday, my friend looked at me at around 2:30 and said, “You know, fuck it.  Fuck drinking any more.  Let’s go get a pastrami sandwich.”  Genius!  I had never heard of a better idea.  And a nice pastrami and corn beef on rye, schmear of spicy mustard, with a side of matzo ball soup…well, that’s better than any cramped bar, any overpriced bar tab, and picking up any miserable woman to spend the rest of your night with.

I’m not going to give a Katz’s itself a full-scale review…yeah, it’s a tad overpriced, yeah it’s cash only, yeah it has the harshest lighting this side of standing five feet from an angry cop’s halogens, yeah it has a surly staff, and yeah it has the occasional tourist taking a dopey picture of the “When Harry Met Sally” spot.  But, despite all that, the sandwiches are heaven on earth.  As good as meat between bread can be since the day the Earl of Sandwich came up with the idea.

And though we’d already said, “Fuck drinking” by this point of the night, while in line I had an epiphany.

“Hey, wait a second, Aaron, didn’t you read that Brooklyn Brewery makes a special beer for Katz’s?” the Vice Devil on my left shoulder whispered in my ear.

My friend disputed it.  No way.  How ridiculous!

He shouldn’t have.  Garrett Oliver seemingly makes a unique beer for every goddamn restaurant, venue, stadium, and food stand in the city.  He is truly the hardest working man in brewing.  The motherfucking James Brown of beermaking.

I am nothing if not a cheerleader for Brooklyn Brewery, an avowed religious worshiper and evangelical trumpeter of Mr. Oliver and his magical beers.  I give them hosannas left and right, but it would be pure bias not to review the rare Brooklyn beer that I absolutely did not care for.  Maybe it was because it was 3 AM and I was somewhat drunk, maybe it was because I had just eaten a pound of cured meat, maybe the pounding overhead lights were making me dizzy, it’s hard to say, but I simply think this is not a good beer, and a totally inappropriate beer to pair with deli.  Which is odd, since Oliver is the beer pairing master par excellence.  Hell, he even wrote the book on it!  (Highly recommended.)

Katz’s Ale is an overly syrupy and malty brown ale, more like a dopplebock on the mouthfeel, and I simply could not choke it down.  It wasn’t unflavorful, necessarily, it wasn’t bad, exactly, it was just not good, and a terrible match for what I was eating.  Unfortunately, I could barely finish it.

Still, I’m grateful to have tried one of the rarer drafts in New York.

B-/C+

Three Floyds Blackheart

July 8th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Dogfish Head, Brewer: Three Floyds, Country: America, Grade: A plus, Grade: B plus, Style: Brown Ale, Style: IPA

9% ABV from a bomber

Almost any time I saunter into a typical BYOB party, a six pack of craft under my arm, some wiseguy sipping a Stella always has to look me up and down, a sneer on his face.  “So, what are you?  One of them beer snobs?”

How is this something to mock?  And why does drinking good beer make one a “beer snob”?

If I’d walked into the party with an attractive women on my arm would the same chap have queried me:

“So, what are you?  One of them pussy snobs?  Can’t be content just fucking boring, average women?  Need to get your dick wet on something a little more sexy, huh?  Yeah, I see.  Snob.”

Luckily, last weekend’s July 4th party was hosted by a beer “snob” just like me and further luckily he’d just returned from Chicago with one more suitcase than he’d flown into town with.  That new suitcase packed to the gills with Three Floyds bombers.

I’m embarrassed to admit I’d never even heard of Blackheart, but an employee at the (what I understand) is amazing Binny’s, had all but shoved a bomber of this in my friend’s cart and said it was a must buy.  So glad that man did, because this beer was silly good.  Named after their parlor and with a sick label by San Fran tattoo artists Tim Lehi and Jeff Rassier, this is one aromatically robust IPA.  English IPA for that matter which I, honestly, can’t really differentiate from our Yankee IPAs.  This is probably the most flawlessly balanced IPA I’ve ever had.  The perfect amount of pine, grapefuit, hops, and malt.  It’s not a “bomb” of any sort, just dangerously easy drinking deliciousness.  I almost wept when the split bomber was finished.  We were slurping it back like Gatorade after five sets of tennis.

Why is this beer not more “famous”?  I honestly think its better than Three Floyds’ much more regarded Dreadnaught. Hell, I think this is one of the best IPAs I’ve ever had.  Exquisite and not to be missed.  Stock up.

A+

Three Floyds Broodoo

5.5% ABV from a bomber

Next we went with Three Floyds’ “harvest ale” Broodoo which is actually just a typically hoppy IPA.  Solid, no question, but it quite frankly pales in comparison to the Blackheart.  It almost felt unfair to drink anything after the glory of Blackheart but Broodoo had to be the sacrificial lamb.  Though I did like this beer, I could see myself enjoying it scads more if it were my first or only beer of the night.  A tasty biting and spicy hops bitterness that tickles your tongue, this beer still remains remarkably drinkable (seems to be a theme with 3F stuff and I’m not complaining!)  Then again, at a mere 5.5%, this one felt a ton more boozy than the Blackheart.  A little too over-carbonated as well.  But these are minor quibbles and this is a nice, expertly-crafted brew.

B+

Popskull

10% ABV from a bomber

My final brew from my impromptu Three Floyds Weekend troika was actually a collaboration beer with Dogfish Head.  Doesn’t your dick get hard just hearing those words?  Two of my favorite brewers, two of America’s finest brewers.  I’m such a sucker for collaboration beers even though these gimmicky brews are usually nothing special, and in fact, with rare exception–off the top of my head I’m thinking of Collaboration Not Litigation and Stone’s collabs with Mikeller, Nogne O, et al–most are just mediocre.  And, I hate to admit it, but such is the case (somewhat) here as this “Threeheaded Floyddog Production” is nothing special.  It’s a flavorful but not really mindblowing brown.  With less hype and fanfare, I’d call this a very solid example of an (imperial?) brown ale.  It’s very drinkable, has a nice little sweetness, tastes of roasted and sweet malts, a hint of vanilla.  It didn’t really taste that complex to me despite the wood aging.  Which, speaking of, makes me just realize that I would much prefer to simply have Dogfish Head’s own Palo Santa Marron, a truly exceptional brown ale.  Seems that in the beer collaboration world, too many cooks spoil the broth.  Eh, but I’ll keep on buying them nevertheless.  A sucker may not be born every minute, but I’m unable to control myself when it comes to over-priced, over-hyped collaborations.  (Now when are Miller and Coors going to team up for their special collaboration beer????  AMERICA IS WAITING!)

(And, yet another hat tip to The Captain for grabbing me one of these bottles on Dark Lord Day.)

B+

So what did I learn over the weekend?:

1.  “Snobbiness” is very sexy.

2.  Adults that still ooh and ahh fireworks are fucking morons.

3.  And Three Floyds is clearly one of the best brewers in America.

Voodoo Wynona’s Big Brown Ale

April 2nd, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Voodoo, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Style: Brown Ale

I write from what is surely the loudest Starbucks in the world.  The life of a writer can be solitary, boring, us existing for most of the day only in our minds, on our paper, the computer screen, perhaps our only words spoken aloud for eight straight hours being, “Large coffee, black.”*  That is why so many of us go to coffee shops, simply to be around other humans.  We don’t want to talk to them–each other–or even mingle with them, we simply want to be near other living breathing folks to let us know we are not alone, perhaps to have a fleeting exchange of half grins, head nods every so often.

Now, I kinda detest Starbucks coffee–too charred and unflavorful–but I can’t deny that they provide a splendid atmosphere for getting work done in public.  Usually.

Not so though at the ‘bucks closet to my house.  Yeah, the interior is just like any other:  a near-romantic level of dimness perfect for my sensitive squint eyes and oft-hungover brain, nice comfortable wooden chairs and tables, a clean interior, smooth jazz on the overhead Muzak system, and an abundance of space.  But the pleasantries stop right there.

[Mind you, this Starbucks is in what Forbes magazine rates as one of the top 100 richest zip codes in America.**]

Firstly, this particular Starbucks is overflowing with UWS housewives–the real Real Housewives of New York City except these bitches are legitimately rich–wheeling around SUV-sized Bugaboo and Stokke strollers that are triple the cost of the computer I currently write on, yenta-ing it up with their friends as they swig frothy caloric coffees and allow their asses to exponentially expand (sure hope they didn’t get roped into a prenuptial).   Or, these same housewives’ Jamaican nannies, everyt’ing irie-ing it with fellow babysitters, neither of these parties paying attention to the warbling children sleeping in the luxury beds on wheels, to the crying toddler who just pissed his expensive “organic” diaper connected to their wrist via leash.

There’s the little school girls that don’t seem to ever go to school, Double-Dutching it up loudly in front of this Starbucks’s countless windows, you can’t help but pay attention to them, constantly in your eyeline.  They occasionally even entering the coffeeshop to play Hop Scotch–I shit you not–as their faux-gangster boyfriends make clumsy passes at them.  Why are just Bat Mitzahed girls in an adult coffee shop?!  I didn’t become addicted to the substance til my early twenties.  Oh, that’s right, because no one drinks coffee any more, hell, barely serves it even; everyone now drinks what is essentially a milkshake acting under the guise of a coffee drink.  That’s why everyone’s so fat.  And, I’m the weird one that always gets a look when I only want a large coffee black.

The place is also overrun with bums.  No, they don’t hang in the Starbucks or even panhandle inside, but they visit the public bathroom like it’s a goddamn peep show and they hold more quarters than a dormitory laundry machine.  I swear, these motherfuckers either masturbate more than can even be imagined or they have the bladders of a college sorority girl that just played five straight games of beer pong using Natty Light.  They stink to high holy hell as well, a single file line of them currently snaking through the floor area, culminating inches from my table.  A man only wearing what appears to be a burlap sack looking over my shoulder trying to read my screen as I write this fucking word.

Behind me is a door, the “employee’s only” entrance to the back–no clue what goes on in “the back”–that slams with the force of a bank vault every single time an employees goes in there.  Which is literally every two minutes or so.  They must surely be doing some back room coke.  The door is in desperate need of an air break.

The lone male barista just returned from his smoke break with a Subway $5 footlong which he is now inhaling, in my sight and every other customer’s sight, right behind the counter, next to the lemonade machine, the overflowing bed of discolored lettuce cascading out from the poorly sliced Italian loaf and onto the floor.

But that’s OK, because the other male employee is on nonstop mop duty.  After much observation I think I’ve figured out his scam.  Him casually and slowly mopping all day so that he may never be assigned more taxing work.  Admittedly, the floor is always clean enough to eat off of–I haven’t, don’t worry–only problem is this guy is always in the way, especially with his nappy mop head which he has no compunction in tossing its wet, sudsy tendrils right under the table I sit at, dowsing my Nikes in the process.  I’ll remember next time to wear my boots that could use a good polishing.

The three other baristas are these fat fucking bitches.  They gab non-stop and laugh so much you would think Chris Rock was a co-worker.  Not quite.  Nothing funny is happening, or being said by them, believe me.  I now understand why painfully unfunny Tyler Perry movies are packed to the gills with guffawing crowds and have made him a $100millionaire.***

My head is about to fucking explode.  I can’t take it any more.  I’ve gotten no work done for at least an hour.  I am fuming.

But where else can I write?  The McDonald’s next door?  I actually like their coffee, but the interior is just so goddamn bright.  The overhead fluorescents could grow hydroponic marijuana and the place wreaks of ketchup.  Dunkin Donuts?  Again, superior coffee to Starbucks but too many Munchkin-poppin’ fatsos hogging the booths.  Public library?  Ick, don’t get me started.  Bums, mega-nerds, old folks, and cheapskates, the dirty stench of decades old paper and people that chronically shit in their pants.  Plus, they close at like 4.  And I certainly can’t write at home.  Too many things to do that are far more interesting than writing:  television and Netflix to watch, video games to play, beers to drink, music to dance to, and a dick to jerk off.

The final straw has just occurred, the entire crew now loudly singing along and dancing no less (!) to the song that has just come on the Muzak.  Oh, and it ain’t fucking “Build Me Up Buttercup” either.  Unbelievable.

Look, if I wanted to try and write while fat, uncoordinated, and ugly employees danced to music, I’d be currently sitting in a booth at motherfucking Johnny Rockets.

That’s it, after I hit “publish,” I’m slamming my laptop shut and heading out for good.  I’m gonna go write at a bar down the street.  Can’t be more annoying than this.

Wynona’s Big Brown Ale

7.3% ABV from a bomber

My new buddy from the best beer podcast (”brewcast” ahem) around, Should I Drink That?, hooked me up with this beer in a recent trade.  I had been reading a lot about the Voodoo Brewery from out of Meadville, PA and was curious to try some of their stuff, none of which makes it to the Tristate area.  Here’s their version of a brown ale, a style I generally enjoy but am never that blown away with as it’s usually executed in a most basic way (save DFH Palo Santo Marron of course!)  And, indeed, this is a solid, well made brown that I enjoyed drinking quite a bit.  Mildly hoppy, a shit load of smooth brown malt with the feintest hints of chocolate.  Well crafted, I’d certainly drink it again, but it’s not a beer I’d bend any one’s ear in talking about.  Nevertheless, I very much look forward to trying further Voodoo brews, specifically their award-winning stouts.

B

*I don’t say “venti.”

**For the record, I live in the just two-blocks-away yet different zip.  It’s not in the top 100.  And I’m certainly not rich.

***Lest you think that was a racist joke, the employees I refer to are a veritable Rainbow Coalition of colors.  In fact, most of these loathsome employees are white.  Sure, “urban” white, whatever that means, but still “Caucasian” is what these people most definitely check on their law school applications (har har).****

****OK, that was “classist.”*****

*****But funny.

Surly Coffee Bender

March 19th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 12 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Surly, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Brown Ale

5.1% ABV from a can

Today, March Madness Thursday, is probably my favorite day of each calender year, assuming July 1st doesn’t all of the sudden become National Aaron/Scarlett Johansson/Megan Fox threesome day (observed).

From the second the brackets are announced on Sunday night and Jay Bilas starts calmly, rationally, and wisely arguing with a maniacal Dickie V while Digger picks his nose with a fluorescent pink magic marker, I am in the throes of anxious anticipation.  Obsessively studying my team Syracuse’s route to the Final Four.  Speculating on the minutiae of each and every of the 63 games yet to be played.  Debating with friends about the merits of this team we never saw play and that team we never saw play.  (”What?!  You’re taking Texas A&M over BYU?  You gotta be fucking kidding me!  The Aggies will never stop…”–checks internet–”…6′7″ guard Lee Cummard and his 16.8 point per game.”)

As the week goes on, the tournament closer, the wait is maddening, the possibilities endless.  This is the best time in the world to be a college basketball fan.  Even a Binghamton supporter can probably convince themselves that somehow someway they could maybe win it all if everything falls into place.  I will scrutinize my tournament pool picks countless times, making little tweaks here and there (”Hmmm…maybe Clemson is better than Michigan.”), talking myself into and out of Final Four picks, making sure the bracket isn’t too “chalk,” nor too obscure.  Two #1 seeds in the Final Four is just a correct number to seem possible yet not ludicrous.  And not win either.  Never win ever.  Let’s be honest, it’s all a crap shoot and a moron always wins the loot.*

The week goes on and I’m watching every single highlight show, reading every single breakdown of every single game on every single website and blog.  Inhaling as much as I can about Syracuse’s chances.  Blatantly ignoring the writers and analysts that don’t pick us (”He’s always HATED us!  Asshole.”) and awarding MENSA memberships to those that do have the Orange going far (”I’ve always liked him.  So intelligent and even-handed.”)  I’m also barely eating or drinking, saving my body for the Thursday through Sunday gauntlet of gluttony and vice.  That wasn’t that hard of a task this year as I was sick as a dog all week after completing a Big East tournament bender from the previous Wednesday through Saturday:  four games, seven overtimes, all my greasy and fried meals ate in Madison Square Garden area bars, hundreds of beers consumed, and zero attractive UConn fans espied.

Now we are T-minus three hours until tip-off between LSU/Butler and the aforementioned BYU/TAMU tilt (play-by-play announced by buddy and fellow Cuse alum Carter Blackburn!)  I will gather with fellow hoops nuts** at a friend’s pad where we will toggle between the games on the DirectTV package, noting how every team sucks except for Syracuse and whoever we picked to win in our pools.  We will flip the fuck out at the ad nauseum airings of commercials promoting some new crappy CBS show that you’ve haven’t heard of this very second but will already fucking loathe by the end of the weekend (my money’s on some schlock called “Harper’s Island.”)  We will have numerous brackets spread out in front of us, laptops flapped open to garner any bits of useless info, Bacchanalian spreads of snack food and comical greasiness.  We will over-caffeinate to stay hyped up, and slug beer like we’re in a contest.  I may start early with something most apropos, Surly’s Coffee Bender.

My unofficial Surly dealer, The Captain, scored me the Coffee Bender as he has likewise got me every single other glorious Surly I’ve ever had, including the original Bender which I adored.  This version is that brew steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.  Pours dark and tastes more like a stout than a brown ale.  Actually more like a rich iced coffee sans sugar and milk.  And, with a fairly low ABV, you could probably convince someone that this is indeed one.  (Aproposly, on this can, Surly’s usual motto of “Beer for a glass, from a can,” cutely becomes “Beer for a mug, from a can.”)  Roasted, dry, and quite earthy.  Delicious, though for coffee nuts only I would advise.

I’d go so far as to say this is the second best brown I’ve ever had after DFH’s Palo Santa Marron.  I’m not sure if Surly makes quite enough total beers to be considered among the best breweries in America, but on a per capita basis they are certainly up there as I haven’t given one of their five releases I’ve tried any worse than an A-.  I can only imagine that if and when they up production in both quantity and different styles that the great Minnesota brewery will rightfully be called one of the best beermakers around.

One final thing that is best about this March Madness Thursday is that Syracuse doesn’t play til tomorrow.  So ain’t nothing bad that can happen to me for the next twenty-four hours!

A-

For the record:  I have The Cuse losing in the Elite 8 to UNC though I think Ty Lawson is more injured than Roy is letting on and they are ripe for an upset.  The rest of my Final Four includes the indomitable Pitt, Slick Rick’s Louisville, and in the South I took a flyer on Mizzou.  I don’t particularly like UConn or Memphis this year–could that be cause the Orange beat both of them?!–and see some oddball team coming from this region.  Mizzou’s tempo control could conquer the South as UConn greatly misses Dyson and Memphis hasn’t played a big dog in months.  I’m taking Pitt over the Cardinals in a title game I would never ever never watch.

*Unless it’s me of course.  This is my year!  I feel it!

**I pity you if are working today.  You couldn’t call in sick?  Come on, man!

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

March 5th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Dogfish Head, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Style: Brown Ale

12% ABV bottled

I turn out bartenders like Iceberg Slim turned out hos.

And that’s a good thing because the price of a pint is a handsome penny in Manhattan and your resident Vice Blogger is thrifty with the nickel.

It was only recently that I started noticing how whenever I go out drinking I am awarded countless free rounds if not flat out comped most of my beer and liquor.  So I started analyzing why this is.  I figured that perhaps every drinker gets treated as I do.  In New York it’s a pretty standard unwritten rule that fourth round’s on the house.*  But I had been doing even better than that.

I thought maybe it flukily had to do with the fact that I eschew paper money and solely use cards.  What with a busy watering hole the bartender could easily forget to add a round or two to my tab, maybe even accidentally add my adult beverages to a card belonging to some other poor schnook with a Jewy sounding last name.  Again, though, I don’t think that was it.

Likewise, it’s not to score a huge tip from me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fine tipper, a highly competent tipper even, especially when I’m wasted, but I’m not throwing my bills around like Shaq nor making it rain like Adam Jones.

Nor am I getting any sort of “regular” treatment.  I’m known by name and face at a good half-dozen bars in the city by at least a baker’s dozen of drink slingers but I don’t patronize any place with a frequency and ubiquity that merits me getting treated like family, that merits me getting to say things like, “Throw in on my tab” in that 1940s way that means, “I won’t be paying for these drinks any fucking time soon.”

No, I’ve finally come to realize that the reason I drink with such discount at most bars is an incredibly simple one:  I’m nice, I’m cool, and, most importantly, I quickly establish a legitimate rapport with the bartenders**.

That seems like nothing, right?  Believe me, it is something and it is something huge.  Next time you go drinking, watch how most people treat the bartender.  Few are outright rude, but most all are curt.  Most barely cordial enough to throw out some pleasantries, look the bartender in the eyes.  Most simply wishing they could attract the bartender’s attention in order that they may quickly pronounce their order in an abrupt fashion.  “Stella two gee and tees Blue Moon no orange five Jameson shots.”

They treat the bartender like a means to an end.

Now, I’m not exactly one to talk.  In pretty much every other aspect of consumer life I try to deal with as few of people as possible.  I order most things off the internet in order to not have to go to stores and when I do go to stores I use self check-out if I can.  I hate having to have a human middle-man between and my product.  But until a computerized bar comes into existence–not the worst idea in the world actually–the beer and booze will always have a gatekeeper.  A human being known as the bartender.  And I seem to be one of the few people that talks to him, gets to know him, fuck, even learns his name***.  And that’s appreciated.

Also appreciated is just being a cool, interesting, funny person.  Women aren’t the only people on the planet that a man has to amuse and seduce.  What’s so wrong with entertaining another man, especially one that can reward you with free bourbon?  So while the other horndogs at the bar are slobbering over the butterface female bartender in the hot pants, drunkenly throwing out the lamest lines and the most bloated tips, I’m in the corner getting to know the bored male bartender–who usually hates his female cohort by the way–shooting the shit with him and getting free drinks in the process.

This is a lesson that could easily be applied to women.  Most guys treat women like they treat bartenders.  Again, as a means to an end.  This time the end being sex.  In the same way they over-tip bartenders to try and finagle free drinks they over-spend on women to try and inveigle their way to the bedroom.  Instead of bringing something, anything, to the table–a funny anecdote, a witty observation, a bon mot!–they just sit still like a boring slug, hoping the woman will like them, expecting the woman to like them for simply being in her presence, in the exact same way they expect the bartender to slobber over them simply because they have a few twenties in their pocket and want a macro pint.  World doesn’t work that way, fellas.  Start trying to give as much as you take.  What’d Paul McCartney say in “The End”?  “The love you take is equal to the love you make?”  There’s some parallel there, but I’m too drunk on Dogfish Head’s delightful Palo Santo Marron to figure it out.

Brown ale is not usually a style that you think can reach heights of greatness.  There’s plenty of decent ones–Newcastle, Brooklyn Brown, even DFH’s Indian Brown–but they’re all kinda ordinary.  Tasty enough, sure, but lacking in complexity, bite, flavor.  That why when a brilliant brown like Surly Bender or especially Palo Santo Marron comes around your mind is blown so hard.  Is it any wonder that, as per usual, it’s Dogfish Head destroying these beer barriers?  I never knew a brown could be so good and quite frankly I would have guessed this was a very complex stout if I didn’t know beforehand.  Roasted and malty with very pronounced wooden tastes from the Palo Santo tanks the brew is aged in.  A great vanilla and caramel sweetness gives the brown a bourbon stout like boozy taste which reminded me greatly of Goose Island’s brilliant Bourbon County Stout.  This a beauty of a beer and I highly recommend you pick it up.  Another job well done, Dogfish Head.  Bravo.

A

*In authentic (as opposed to “authentic”) Irish pubs it’s often third round gets you a knock on the bar.

**When I’m not getting 86ed from piece of shit establishments.

***Female bartenders are a whole ‘nother story.  99% of my bartending friends are male and 99.9% of bartenders that give me free drinks are male.  Not to sexually stereotype, but it seems like female bartenders are both more “by the book”–as in against tossing around free drinks–and money-grubbing.  I may cover this topic someday but most female bartenders, even the ones that are my friends, are closer in mentality to strippers than to other service industry pros.

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?

Surly Bender

September 28th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Surly, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Brown Ale

5.1% ABV from a one-pint can

Criticizing the blue collar never wins you friends, but screw it:

Why are New York construction workers so fucking noisy?

You say, because they’re drilling, soldering, hammering, nailing, building and destroying. No, believe me, I understand that. What I mean is why are construction workers so fucking loud when they aren’t doing work? So loud while they are simply talking? While they are simply existing?

I sit in my room right now behind a closed door. Travel further down a long lag putt distance of hallway to my thick metal front door. Down the steps two full flights where you would find a crew of men currently doing some seemingly minor work to my shitty building this weekend. Quite a ways away from me and my god can I barely focus on watching bad football as these motherfuckers are so loud. It seems like they actually work only about one minute out of every hour, and that is sadly the most peaceful minute! I can handle the repetitive mundane sounds of nailing or drilling, but when these three gents aren’t working they are insufferable.

It’s an occupational prerequisite I’ve come to notice and not just something atypical coming from this troika. All construction workers in New York are obscenely noisy. Firstly, they talk so loud. Telling boring anecdotes about “banging” some girl or last night’s sports action or whether they are gonna get peppers or not on their Italian hero at lunch. Are they hard of hearing from a lifetime of being outside and working near loud power-tools? Possibly. So I’ll excuse the talking element and instead focus on their other aural annoyances.

Moments of “Walden”-esque quiet solitude don’t exist in the life of a New York City construction worker:

When they eat, they loudly chomp on their meal, spittle and foodstuff flying everywhere.

When they are alone they can’t just sit and think.  Or read.  Or just be.  They are always in motion.  Loudly tapping their empty water bottles on walls or the ground, wannabe Keith Moons in coveralls.  And the whistling, oh the whistling.  Why do construction workers love to whistle so much?  Is there are more annoying sound than a poorly whistled ditty?  I could handle it if they were Axl at the beginning of “Patience” but believe me they aren’t.

The chronic whooping coughs aren’t pleasant to the ears either.  Constant hacking and phlegmy noises and eruptions create a cacophony of sounds that rock my ears.

How bout their Nextels?  Of course the most annoying men in the city must have the most annoying communications device since A.G. Bell.  Despite the fact that they are only a few feet away from their cohorts, these men must use the walkie-talkies at all times, a never-ending whirl of chirps permeating my brain.

*CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRP!*

“Yo, did you wan’ peppahs on your sangwich?”

*CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRP!*

“Yeah.  Lotta dem.  Oh, and get me a’ sugah free Red Bull too, wouldja?”

*CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRP!*

“Yo, you ain’t gonna believe dis hot piece of ass in fronta me in line.”

*CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRP!*

“No shit?  Ax her for her numbah.”

*CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRP!*

“Already did, bro.”

*CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRP!*

“Nice job faggot!”

*CHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRP!*

“I’ll be bangin’ her by tonight.  You won’t believe da tits on dis bitch.”

And don’t forget about the cat-calling. Any being with presumably a vagina that comes within fifty feet of a construction worker gets yelled at no matter how unattractive they are. When I see this I just want to sprint up to the crew and shake the shit out of them, explaining how they ruin it for us civilized men when they cat-call every single woman willy-nilly. Cat-calling an ugly woman just buoys her spirits and gives her a healthy boost of undeserved self-confidence. Now the ugly woman thinks she can act all haughty and supercilious toward her suitors, while the average and truly attractive women think they are goddesses. Message to cat-calling construction workers: please be more discriminating as you’re fucking shit up for all of us.  Oh, but please go ahead and hit on the hotties that vamp in front of my building.

I didn’t want to start drinking during the day, but with the weather grim outside and no friends available to rescue me from the construction crew (they’re talking about “Law & Order” right now, arguing whether that “fag” from “Sex and the City” was ever on the original show:  “Swear ta’ gawd, he once was, bro.”), I’m forced to.

Bender has a Coca-Cola brown pour with a hot chocolate foam head. Smells fantastic and potent, like a strong ale.  The taste is pretty unique. It’s considered a brown ale and while I’m not sure if it is the best I’ve ever had, it’s certainly the most complex. Tastes of oatmeal, roasted coffee, and with a creamy finish. I’d like it to be perhaps a little more carbonated, but it’s damn fine.  A very nice brew indeed.

I’m liking you Surly–you deserve to be a national beer.

A-

Dogfish Head India Brown Ale

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Dogfish Head, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Brown Ale

7.2% ABV from a bottle

I pretty much like every beer from Dogfish Head and this one is no exception. I’m a big fan of brown ales and this probably surpasses my previous favorite, Brooklyn Brown. This beer pours dark and frothy like a can of Welch’s grape soda. It’s very alcoholic for a brown, though doesn’t exactly taste so. Quite frankly, it almost tastes like a stout, or maybe a porter (although now that I think about it, I’m not really sure I know the difference. (Shame on me self-proclaimed-beer-connoisseur*)). I could drink these all night—I think—though I would assume the ABV would eventually catch up with me and I’d wake up with my head in a pizza box wondering, “Wha’ happened?” Very nice beer.

A-

(Apropos of nothing…I really like Dogfish Head’s labels. Very sharp)

*Wikipediaing reveals stouts and porters to be virtually identical.