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Archive for the ‘Style: Chile beer’ Category

The Stone Event at Blind Tiger

March 25th, 2010 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Green Flash, Brewer: Stone, Country: America, Style: Chile beer, Style: IPA, Style: Smoked Porter, Style: Stout, Style: Strong Ale

Note:  any characters with similarities to persons living or dead (cirrosis?) is purely not a coincidence.

You go to enough beer geek events and you start wondering what “Piano Man” might have sounded like had Billy Joel hung around some of these creepy events stocked with some truly depressing lifeforms.  The events never start as late as nine o’clock on a Saturday, usually more like two in the afternoon on a Wednesday when the regular crowd shuffles in:

No man is ever making love to his tonic and gin (a spirit?!), but I always see this obese man with a minuscule Beetlejuice head atop his body stick his schnoz all the way into his tulip for a good minute before imbibing.  The mulleted Irishman at the bar may be named John, but he’s no friend of mine, in fact, his only friends seem to be a coterie of mental ward patients only allowed off Shutter Island for special craft beer events.  He’s never quick with a joke, and I doubt he smokes (would F up his palate), but he sure will bitch about the over-maltiness of a Double IPA.  Davy’s not in the navy but it looks like he eats gravy for every meal (what pairs well with that?) and he brags about being the first in line at every Captain Lawrence release (”I know Scott”).  The fat fat fat Italian lady doesn’t discuss politics but she sure will bitch at you if you get a bar seat before her (perhaps she’s…eternally pregnant?) and after five pints will start ranting in Italian.  Most of the guys aren’t real estate novelists–most likely in computers, or unemployed–and though few women would have them they have no time for a wife because there’s fucking wild ales to drink!  The tiny scraggly Asian quickly gets stoned on samplers of bourbon-barreled stout and never makes eye contact with any one, instead preferring to keep his nose in sci-fi pulp.  Then there’s the guy who looks like Jerry Garcia and wears shorts no matter the weather and the skinny ginger dweeb always passing out business cards for his crappy beer blog and the (male) Indian slob with bigger tits than Dolly Parton.

And the bar looks like a carnival (of side-show freaks) and the smelly British bloke is surely homeless yet he likes to brag about having surpassed 2000 reviews on Rate Beer…all these folks are sharing a drink called loneliness, well I guess it’s better than being a Trekkie queer.

I said Bill I believe these dorks are killing me, as the smile runs away from my face, well I’m sure I’d be full of more cheer, if I wasn’t into such fancy beer.*

Honestly, I always expect the worst and trod carefully when I go to beer geek events but the Stone one at Blind Tiger last night was stupendous–perhaps because I got a coveted bar seat in the mob scene, perhaps because I actually had an attractive girl with me (a site rarer than a bottle of Midnight Sun M amongst this crowd), perhaps because I quickly got loaded and entered my Stoic state–and I had some great offerings. Like most beer connoisseurs Stone was one of my first “idols” but, sadly, you get to a point where you don’t think they can impress you any more, you almost forget to drink them even.  I was wrong to ever be so blasphemous.

Chipotle Smoked Porter and Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean (cask)

Stone’s 5.9% ABV smoked porter is one of the best in the biz and I was curious to see what these additions would do to an already great beer.  A lover of spicy foods, the chipotles added a terrific zing to the brew which tickled my uvula and tingled the area behind my sternum as it went down.  Just liked Cigar City’s mindblowing Hunahpu’s Mayan Imperial Stout which is aged on pasillo and ancho peppers, I just love how these rich, maltier beers taste with a little chili heat.  (A-)  As for the Vanilla Bean, it had one of the best aromas I’ve ever encountered, just a luxurious and creamy vanilla smell, but unfortunately the taste didn’t quite stack up and was surprisingly mild in flavor.  (B)

Double Dry Hopped Double Bastard (2009)

Now I’m not exactly sure what double dry hopping means, but I do know that Stone’s highly limited, tap only Double Dry Hopped standard IPA has surged into the Beer Advocate Top 100, so I was intrigued to try this effort and it totally delivered.  A gorgeous ruby red grapefruit color but an incredible floral smell.  Kinda skirts the ground in between DIPA and barleywine, like a slightly aged Dogfish Head 90 Minute.  Whatever the case, an amazing beer.  (A)

Ruination w/ Simcoe and Amarillo (cask)

This DIPA was straight danky and just like pure liquid hops.  As I was drinking this, coincidentally, a vagrant passed by the open bar window smoking a spliff.  I gotta say, the joint paired well.  (A)

Old Guardian (2007)

Old Guardian was my first ever “favorite” beer and the beer that made barleywine my first ever “favorite” beer style.  Lately though I found each yearly release of Old Guardian to be a little “hot” (could you calm down on the scare quotes, Goldfarb?) and hoppy.  Thus, I was psyched to try a three-year aged version, probably the oldest version I’ve ever had.  This old friend had matured wonderfully into a silky, malty, cordial-like drink.  Lovely.  (A+)

Arrogant Bastard Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Gotta say, did not see this one coming.  How could such a glorious beer aged in bourbon barrels not be startling?  It was startling, just startling in the wrong way–this was easily my least favorite beer of the night.  The bourbony flavors simple did not meld well at all with the legendary strong ale.  (B)

Imperial Russian Stout (2007) and Imperial Russian Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels (2008)

Despite all the amazing beers I had last night, comparing an already monumental imperial stout now aged and/or bourbon barreled (!) to everything else I had was just not fair.  Not much else to say.  Both were as good as you could imagine, probably better.  (A+ and A+)

So I batted 16 for 16 last night and tried every single Stone offering, not to mention the swell Green Flash tote Le Freak (a very spicy, yeasty saison) (A-/B+) and Pallet (sic?) Wrecker (a tap only rarity that is one of the best DIPAs I’ve had in a while) (A).  I stumbled home and may or may not have watched three straight hours of “Life” on my DVR pretending I was on a drunken safari (”Look out, ostrich!”)

*I’m not exactly Al Yankovic but I’d love if someone musically talented out there could write this song.

Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer

February 16th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 39 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Chili Beer Co., Country: America, Grade: F regular, Style: Chile beer, Video Reviews

4.2% ABV bottled

My second career video review, yet again from my Ten Least Wanted List. And I don’t believe anything else needs to be written…


The Taste:

The Aftermath:


Finally, as mentioned, I got a fuck ton of this shitty beer. Who wants to try some? If you’re interested shoot me an e-mail at theviceblog [at] gmail.com and I’ll send you a bottle, on me. I only have one stipulation: you must record yourself drinking the brew and then put it online for us all to see!

Dogfish Head Theobroma

December 3rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Dogfish Head, Country: America, Grade: B-, Style: Chile beer

9% ABV from a bomber

Tradition can be great if it involves eating delicious foods, getting presents for eight straight nights, or singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch.  Likewise, it can suck if it involves sitting at a Seder table with relatives you hate, getting your foreskin chopped off by a drunken moyel, or asking a father “permission” to marry his daughter.  The most fun, though, is starting traditions of your own.  Which brings us to the 2nd Annual Apartment 17C Thanksgiving Beer Pong Tournament.

Last year, I found myself alone on Thanksgiving day because I wasn’t allowed to accompany my girlfriend home for the holidays being that her parents are antisemites.  No, not really.  They just viscerally hated me for nebulous reasons and wouldn’t allow me in their home.*  Thus, I found myself dining with my good friends from Apartment 17C, a married couple K and J, along with J’s visiting brother and his girlfriend, and two other rollin’ stones AJ and Andy.

Thanksgiving day 2007 had started off “normal” enough.  In a traditional manner.  Gorging on turkey, stuffing, and all sort of other tasty things sopped in gravy.  Drinking fine wine in a refined manner.  Watching the Detroit Lions lose.  But after a few hours we were bored.  In Manhattan, no one has the space for a dining room table and most people are forced to eat their meals off of coffee tables.  But for this feast, J had been clever enough to rent a table which she placed in the middle of her living room.  After the meal, once the plates had been cleared, and the plastic tablecloth balled and stuffed into the garbage, one of us noticed that the shape, size, and length of the Thanksgiving table sure resembled something else:  a beer pong table.  And, thus, an impromptu tournament was quickly put together.

As AJ and Andy rushed out of the house to find any place that was still selling macro crap on a Thanksgiving night, J and her brother went searching for ping pong balls and Solo cups, while I stuck behind to craft the double-elimination tournament bracket.  Drawing up a bracket is a tougher skill than most realize, and I’m quite good at it, my masterpiece being a fifty some-odd person triple-elimination ping pong bracket I once made for a freshman year all-dorm ping pong tournament.

After the reconnoitering we all reconvened with our findings.  AJ and Andy had scored a bulk of Miller Lite cans, while J and her brother had struggled in their endeavors.  To get ping pong balls they had snuck into the highrise’s game room, feigned playing table tennis for a bit, and swiped the orbs, but had found less success in Solo cup scoring.  Ultimately, they were forced to beg a deli guy to give them a stack of tall cardboard coffee cups.  It wasn’t perfect but the tournament went off swimmingly, leaving us all shit-faced by the end of the evening, a night we would never forget.  Especially me, because I was the inaugural winner.

This year we were much more prepared, acquiring the balls and cups earlier in the week.  The one rub this time was that only five of us were dining, returnees J and K, AJ and I, plus a new addition in my sister.  With only five we would have to make the Second Annual tournament a round robin format:  everyone would play everyone else once, and the two leaders in the final standings would square off for a one-game championship.

It’s funny when the Thanksgiving meal acts as a mere prelude to the day’s real events.  The meal is usually the centerpiece of Thanksgiving day, but not in our case when they are bigger fish to fry.  Speaking of fried, we had a Cajun fried turkey which was scrumptious, one of the best birds I can ever remember having.  Nicely spiced and incredibly succulent.  Before the tournament we drank classy, the highlight being when I finally cracked a precious bottle of Theobroma which my friend Derek had generously nabbed for me.

I’d been aching to try this brew ever since I first saw the press release about its release, but I found myself somewhat disappointed.  Yet another archaeological recreation beer from the good folks at Dogfish Head to sit beside their earlier Midas Touch.  The company’s literature notes:

Theobroma, or “food of the gods,” is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs from Askinosie Chocolate, honey, ancho chilies, and annatto. The recipe is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras, which scientists claim is the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink.

I expected a dark, rich beer and was stunned when it poured a thin orange-yellow color.  I didn’t smell or taste chocolate at all, either.  In fact, the flavor I most got out of this beer was that of cheese queso from a Mexican restaurant.  I just couldn’t avoid it.  Every fucking sip I felt like my tongue was a nacho chip and I was dipping into some liquid queso.  That isn’t quite as damning as it sounds, but I really was not floored by this beer and my drinking partner and I struggled to finish the entire bomber.  Dogfish Head is always interesting and I’m glad I got to try this, but probably never would again.  It’s not even as good as the likewise oddball Midas Touch.  Having said that, here I sit typing this some six days later and I can still mentally taste the beer in my mouth, it has truly left its mark.

Once the meal was done, you’ve never seen a group of people, especially men, so anxious to clear a table and clean up after their feasting.  Everyone had to play everyone once, so for scheduling purposes we just randomly drew names out of a hat.  As mentioned countless times before, I am a classic overcompetitor in all aspects of gaming.  I’m just like the father in Pat Conroy’s masterpiece “The Great Santini” who refuses to relent when playing his milquetoast teenage son in driveway basketball, browbeating him the one time he finally loses.  Luckily for me and my prodigious ego, I rarely lose things.

I drew host J in the first match-up and she absolutely took me to the wood-shed.  Destroying me by four cups as all her shots went down while mine harmlessly bounced off the edges of the iconic red cups.  Finally, in a fit of frustration, I lashed out at the cups.  I was not playing poorly, I was making fine shots, it was the fucking cups!  I went so far as to claim that they were not even Solo cups.  And you know what?!  They weren’t!  AJ, perhaps to save ten cents, perhaps to screw me over, had purchased America’s Choice knock-off Solos!  Call me a bad sport, but I knew we were playing with inferior equipment, it was surely the only reason I had been upset in the first game.

Refocused, and now forced to adopt a new throwing method to deal with the cheap cups, I dug myself out of a massive 0-1 hole to make it to the top of the round robin standings and eventually cruise to my second straight title.  How ’bout them apples?


*Because I’m Jewish.