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Archive for the ‘Style: Lager’ Category

Leinenkugel’s Red Lager

February 18th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 31 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Jacob Leinenkugel, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Lager

4.9% ABV

“Leave!  LEAVE!!!  Get the fuck outta here!  Yo, get the fuck out of here, motherfuckers!”

Guess who said the above:

A five-star restaurant’s maitre-d yelling at a bum for entering the fine dining establishment to panhandle?  A beleaguered female exploding at her ex-boyfriend who she has a restraining order on but who nevertheless keeps coming into her office?  Perhaps a furious shotgun wielding homeowner barking at a cat burglary he caught rifling through the family valuables?

Nope, not even close.  I’m talking about bouncers kicking people out of the bar at night’s end.

And I’m fucking sick of it.

I live in New York City so you got to drink really motherfucking late to get actually kicked out of a bar at closing time.  Something that I can recall happening to me less than a handful of times.  I’m sure Manhattan has “last call” laws but in a town full of scofflaws they certainly aren’t followed.  And the rare times they are heeded at least the bar’s employees have the decency to casually infer you should leave, to kindly back pat and “See ya’ later, bud” out of the bar.  At like 5:00 AM.

But this doesn’t happen in podunk towns.  Like Syracuse, where I was last weekend to see my beloved alma mater whip up on the most despicable university in America.  In a place like Syracuse or Kansas City or Tulsa here’s how things go:

First of all, you’re not drunk because you’ve only been in the bar for an hour or two and they, of course, don’t have high ABV beer and pour really watered down whiskeys.  At 1:15 or so, some bartender will shout out, “Last call coming!” before slowly filling those orders.  1:30 will mark the “official” last call.  At 1:40 the harsh overhead lights will come on, blinding you before your dilated eyes adjust enough to see that the girl you’re talking to is pockmarked worse than Edward James Olmos.  At 1:41 some cheesy closing time song like…uh, fucking “Closing Time” by that shitty one-hit wonder band will start playing, the drunken local rubes swaying and singing it.

Then, at 1:45 or so, a mere fifteen minutes after you got your last call cocktail, some pituitary case bouncer will shove you in the back, herding you to the door like cattle while rudely shouting the lines that opened this post.

Let me get this straight.  My friends and I just spent several hundred dollars on drinks at your place and you treat us like this?  We chose your crummy bar over all others in town and you treat us like this?!  Even in a small town like Syracuse we didn’t have to choose your bar, it offers nothing sui generis, but we still chose it.  It has the same subpar tap selections, the same shitty iPod mixes, surly bartenders, mediocre women and annoying men, overpriced drinks, filthy bathrooms.  I’m fine with that all, it’s a party of the nightlife lifestyle.  But treat me with some fucking respect around the time the Semisonic starts playing.  (In fact, I would say playing Semisonic is enough of a push to get me out the door.  Good lord that song sucks.)

Can you imagine another industry where you’d be treated this poorly?

You’ve just enjoyed a nice meal with some friends and just as you put the last bite of dessert in your mouth, several waiters lift you from your chairs and start strong-arming you to the door.  “Finish up the chocolate mousse and get the fuck out of my restaurant!”

You’ve just enjoyed a nice movie when seconds before the credits roll the lights go up and the ushers sprint into the dark room.  “Get the fuck out of this theater you shitheads!”

You’ve just enjoyed a nice, sensual massage and are still quivering when the masseuse upturns the table, spilling you onto the floor, and “Get the fuck out of my illegal massage parlour, you asshole!!!!!!”

Look, I know all the excuses, most of which are quite phony.  Shit like your bar will get fined if you don’t have everyone out of it and the place locked up by 1:59:59 EST.  Like you got to get the place cleaned and closed post-haste.  You just want to get home to your girlfriend.  Fine, I sympathize with you.  I’m sure bouncing can be a shitty job some nights.  But many jobs, both blue and white collar, suck.  And if you don’t like dealing with people, especially drunk people, maybe you shouldn’t work in the service industry.

Why would I ever want to go to your bar again if you are going to treat me like a huge fucking asshole come closing time?  The answer is, I wouldn’t.  And I won’t.

So go fuck yourselves Mulrooney’s (”Mully’s”) on West Fayette Street*.  You’re lucky I didn’t throw my fucking pint glass through your bar mirror like I was playing a carnival game to win a giant plush toy for my favorite steady girl.

I think, from now on, I need to restrict my drinking to New York City.  Where we may all be fucking assholes, but at least us assholes treat people with respect.

Likewise, why do I continue to let the Jacob Leinenkugel Co. rape my taste buds?  You might first recall their Sunset Wheat which nearly gave me fluoride poisoning. Then there was their Honey Weisse that caused a sleepless week as I waited for my STD test to come back**. Oh, and who can forget their Summer Shandy which tastes like an Arnold Palmer that’s been used as a colostomy bag.  Finally, there was their Craptoberfest which tasted like that of a public swimming pool on a hot, late-August day.

You’re probably thinking, these beers surely aren’t that bad, you’re just being a funny man.  I can assure you I am not.  If I was truly overstating Leinenkugel’s awfulness, accusing them of poisoning me and giving me venereal disease, do you not think Jacob would sue me for libel?  Or slander?!***  But they never have, which is ipso facto proof that they know the horrificness of their own product.  (Though it doesn’t prevent a Minnesota message board from getting all up in a tizzy about the Vice Blogger.)

Since we all know I’m such a self sadomasochist that I make the Marquis de Sade seem like Mother Teresa, I have an odd desire to keep trying all the Leinenkugels I have yet to.  Luckily, my friend Derek keeps finding ones for me.  Like their Red Lager which I expected to be utterly horrific.  So much so that I drank it in the bathroom.****  I especially expected it to be garbage being that I tippled it, perhaps unfairly, after having just shared three asskicking stouts which I scored an A+, an A+, and an A-.

Sadly friends, I am disappointed to report that this beer ain’t bad.  In fact, it’s a fairly competent macro beer, better than most lagers available.  I can even say I kinda enjoyed it, drinking the whole thing down fairly easily and even kinda wanting another.

Oh well, there will be more Leinenkugels in my future that will surely lead to my ultimate demise.

C+

*Two further things, Mully’s:

1.  Your website is comically terrible.

2.  And, you, the grey-haired guy that owns the bar, girls are only hitting on you–correction, letting you creepily flirt with them and touch their backs–because you were comping them all night.  Did you happen to notice at the end of the night that none of those women even kissed you on the cheek goodbye?

**Fun fact: apparently you can’t get chlamydia–or gonorrhea! or any other STDs!!–from a beer, no matter how heinous it tastes. They didn’t teach me that in public school sex ed, we only looked at a carousel of slides of inflamed genitalia. And I don’t mean the genitalia was inflamed as in hopping mad at someone or something. The genitalia was, like, inflamed as in burning and shit.

***Can never recall which one is for the written word as opposed to speaking.  I went to public school, son.

****I’ve been doing far too much beer tasting in bathrooms lately.  I have a problem.

Victory Variety

November 22nd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 11 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Victory, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B plus, Grade: C plus, Grade: C regular, Style: IPA, Style: Lager, Style: Pilsner, Style: Tripel

I don’t sleep well after a night of boozing which is fine because I like to get up fairly early on Saturdays and/or Sundays and hit the movies.  I’m a huge film buff and see several back-to-back-to-back every single weekend, starting early so I’m done with my double or triple feature in time to get home for sports.  I typically go alone because I both see oddball movies that no one else wants to see and because I like the solitude.  Sitting in the dark gorging on soda and candy, feeling my hangover dissipate as I drift away into a hopefully good film.  I also go to very early shows because I hate today’s cinema crowds.  Loud boobs that seem to enjoy spending $12 so that they can have a dark room to text in and gab with their friends.

I always sit in the same seat, the absolute back row, right underneath the projector.  I hate having any people behind me and I like hearing the whirl of the film reels, the flickering of light catching the dust in the air.  Today I went to see a double feature and upon getting to my theater I found a women sitting in “my” seat.  Though this doesn’t happen often as most people reject sitting in the back row it was still unusual for another reason:  it was another solo film goer, and one who appeared to be a smoking hot women too.  Flowing Playboy blonde locks and nicely dressed in a turtleneck sweater, a bubble skirt, and with black tights.   An undoubtedly fetching yet classy look.  Though I was surprised that she was never joined by a boyfriend or husband fetching the popcorn, I paid her no mind.

After the first film I headed across the hall to see my second movie of the day “Slumdog Millionaire.”  This time, I was first in the theater and got my coveted back row seat.  Then, not two minutes later, who should enter the theater and head straight for the backrow but the fetching blonde!  With me in “her” seat she was forced to sit two seats over.  With such kismet I wanted to talk to her and the gods quickly conspired in my favor.  With “Slumdog” being one of the hottest flicks in town right now the theater quickly filled and after several “Is that seat taken?” and “Could you scoot over?” negotiations, the blonde was forced to hop one over and was soon sitting right beside.

I made light of the rudeness of people, arriving seconds before the film and then expecting us early-arrivers to move for their every whim.  She agreed that it was indeed rude.  I goofed on all the old people at the screening, loudly chomping on food and talking about their bone density depletion.  We began chatting.  It was quite dark so I could barely see her, just the glamor lighting corona of light surrounding her mass of blonde hair.  She was so sweet and had a tender accent.

I wondered if she was a tourist.

“Not exactly.  But I just moved here last year.”

“Yet you already hate tourists, correct?” I remarked.

She embarrassingly admitted that she did.  Once you’re a Manhattanite it’s impossible not to.

And where was she originally from I wondered.

Kentucky.

My heart melted.  I love blonde Kentucky women with an ever-so-slight accent.  Neil Diamond was surely right and I made her know this fact.

She explained that she had gotten her undergrad degree at the University of Kentucky and her doctorate at Northwestern.  She was a child psychologist and helped orphans with coping.  On weekends, always alone, she liked to spend either the whole day watching movies or at Barnes & Noble reading historical biographies.

I was fucking smitten.

As the lights dimmed, I had no choice but to go for it:

“My name is Aaron Goldfarb.  After this movie, would you like to join me for coffee?  Or, if you’re in the mood, perhaps something stronger.”

She smiled at me.  “We’ll see.”

You would think it would be hard to focus for the next two hours, wondering about my future, but “Slumdog Millionaire” was so goddamn good that I was instantly drawn in.  You know how blurb whores–lackluster film critics that LOVE ever movie just so they can get their name on the advertising–will sometimes say, “People were cheering in the aisles!” in order to note how great a movie was?  Well, I certainly had never seen that literally happen until today.  “Slumdog” is so life-affirming, so touching, that, yes, I saw several people actually pump their fists, actually stand up and celebrate in the aisles.

Once the credits began to roll she turned toward me.

“I loved it!”

I remarked that I did too.  Perhaps the best film I’d seen in ‘08 in fact.

“I think I will take you up on that drink offer.  Let’s go have some bourbon,” she said as she anxiously grabbed my forearm.

We headed across the dark aisle and down the dark stairs to exit the theater.  Once we got into the light we turned to each other and our giddy smiles instantly became shock.  She was tons older than I thought she was and I was tons younger than she thought I was.  Damn the darkness!

“What are you?!  Like 30?”

“Close.  29.  You?!”

“Remember those ‘old people’ you were making fun of earlier?  I’m one of them.  Just turned 50 last week!”

I have to say, she was twenty to twenty-five years older than I thought she was in the dark, but she was a fantastic-looking 50-year-old.  Glowing and lustrous blonde hair, minimal wrinkles, a damn good-looking gal.  Why…she could easily convince people she was…43.

“You still want that drink?,” she chuckled, clearly expecting me to say no.

Well, you’d certainly be my record, I most certainly DID NOT say.  But I did surprise her by saying, what the heck, and accepting the date.  Variety is definitely the spice of life.

We headed to a nearby hotel bar and each had a $15 Blanton’s Old-Fashioned.  I wish I had a funny, surprising, unexpected ending to this story, but when you write about true life, you sometimes don’t get those endings.  After our drinks we laughed about the weird events of the day and parted ways.

“Maybe I’ll run into you again on the back row,” she said as she sweetly kissed me on the cheek.

As I said earlier, variety is the spice of life, so I was quite excited when I arrived at my friend’s house in Philadelphia last weekend and his wife had picked up a variety case of Victory brews for me to drink.  What a sweetheart she is.  Almost enough to make me consider marriage.

Victory HopDevil Ale

6.7% ABV

In this author’s opinion one of the most underrated IPAs around.  Why does this beer get so little credit?  It’s damn good.  Nice balance of hops and malts and very drinkable.  I plowed through the six in the variety pack.

B+

Victory Golden Monkey

9.5% ABV

A very respectable American version of a Belgian tripel.  Creamy and sweet with some great yeastiness.  The spices tingle as they go down your throat.  Pretty drinkable too for the ABV.  I finished all six of these too.

A-

Victory Lager

5.2% ABV

Lagers are a most lackluster style of beer, so you can’t expect much better than a C or so.  And that’s about what this is.  More interesting than a macro lager but nothing special.  I only handled these after 2:00 AM when the Philadelphia bars closed and I was already loaded.

C+

Victory Prima Pils

5.3% ABV

One of Victory’s most highly-regarded beers which is weird because next-to-nobody regards pilseners as anything special.  They’re the dumb twin brother of the lager.  I don’t see what the fuss is about, I found this to be just a typically boring pilsener.  Far too skunky and bitter.  I certainly wasn’t dancing in the aisles drinking it.

C

Weihenstephaner Original Premium (Malt Liquor)

November 10th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 8 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brauerei Weihenstephan, Country: Germany, Grade: C plus, Style: Lager

5.1% 500 mL bottle

Procrastination is.  Procrastination is.  Procrastination is…Oh, fuck it.

I wasted Saturday but what’s the big deal, that’s what Saturday’s for.  And is viewing movies all morning, watching college football all day, drinking all night, and canoodling into the wee hours really that big of “waste”?!  What purpose is life if not to occasionally give me mindless pleasure?  OK, then let’s not say I wasted Saturday, let’s say I was just less-than-productive Saturday.  But, today, today will not be a waste.  Today you will be productive, Aaron.

Alarm set for 8:00.  Only 4 hours of sleep, that’s fine, remember I’m getting stuff done today.  But first, I’m going to lay in bed for a bit.  It is really early.  I won’t sleep though, I’ll use this time to casually plan my day out.  What would I like to do, today?  Hmmmm…gotta write.  That’s number one.  Real writing though, not my blog, not any of my scripts, but my novel.  I figured I’d already be done with it by November.  So I’ll do that.  At least five solid pages.  No, ten, I can do ten.  Ten if I’m really cooking.  What else?  I should market my blog better.  The visitor numbers are getting way up there, but they could be stronger.  And it’s fun to do any how.  But I gotta promise myself that once I get online, I can’t dick around.  No reading sports message boards.  No reading beer reviews, favorite personal blogs, movie buzz websites, ordering shit on amazon, Facebooking, porn.  None of that.  I’ll only go online to do legit work.  And, check my e-mail.  Need to do that too.  NFL’s allowed to be on while I work, but muted, in the background, and I can’t really pay attention.  If I work real hard I’ll day, if I’m productive, my reward will be to watch the 2nd half of Eagle/Giants at night.  I’m gonna eat healthy today too.  Had a gluttonous weekend.  Better jog as well.  The rain yesterday prevented me.  Quit bullshitting.  Yes, it did prevent you, indeed, but it was more of a bail-out.  You weren’t going to run even if the weather was pristine.  You just didn’t have it in you.  The weather looks nice out today, better go for at least five solid miles.  No, ten, I can do ten.

Ah, I drifted off.  9:30 now.  Not bad.  That’s hours before I usually arise on Sunday.  Better get some coffee down my gullet to jump start me.  Turn my engine over.  Fuck, the line at Dunkin is long.  That Indian bitch is so slow on the register.  Why must she ask instead of being told?  The guy said an onion bagel and a large coffee.  How fucking simply is that?!  And she says, “Toasted?  Butter?  Cream cheese?  Cut in half?  Iced or hot?  With milk?  Cream?  Skim?  Sugar?  Equal?  Splenda?”  Such a time waster.  Just use what he directly tells you.  Just use the popular defaults.  Actually, a bagel does sound pretty good.  That’s not that unhealthy.  I’ll get lite cream cheese.  And those 99 cent mini-hash browns look pretty hot too.  Ouch, 180 calories.  I hate how calories now must be advertised.  Whatever, it’s Sunday, I’m allowed a little decadence.  My turn, that only wasted five minutes.  Here’s how you order, bitch, “Multigrain bagel, untoasted, lite cream cheese, cut in half, mini-hash browns, large coffee black, bag it, swipe my card, that.  is.  IT.”  Breathe.  “Any additional muffins or donut holes, sir?”  Fucking bitch.

I’ll multitask, drink my coffee and eat my breakfast while I check my overnight e-mails, my blog traffic, my other business.  Oh, hey, look who friended me on Facebook, haven’t thought of her in a decade at least.  Man, she used to be so attrac—YOW!  What happened?!   Good lord!  She was once so pretty and now she looks like she’s Eddie Murphy in latex playing a fat caricature of herself in a movie no one will ever watch but everyone will mock purely on the basis of its incredibly lame trailer.  So sad.  Oh, hey, she’s friends with that person too?!  Didn’t even know he was on Facebook.  Shit, he’s friends with like forty people I know that aren’t friends with me.   What the fuck?!  I’m starting to think I wasn’t as well-liked in high school as I believed.  Whatever, they all can suck my dick.  I prefer NETWORK:  NEW YORK,  RELIGION:  ATHEIST,  RELATIONSHIP STATUS:  SINGLE over…whatever the absolute opposite is of that, plus countless pictures of your ugly and fat kids in your photo section.

It’s too quiet, better put the TV on.  But just as background noise.  Find something at least halfway decent.  Boy, they really do not put anything interesting on Sunday morning.  Retarded and retired football players yelling at each other and laughing at non-jokes, retarded and worthless politicos yelling at each other and laughing at non-jokes, and…here we go, “Groundhog Day.”  But, on TNT.  Ugh, I hate watching movies with commercials.  But, goddamn is “Groundhog Day” such a classic.  I still remember going on a “date” to see it back at the mall when I was an 8th grader.  I loved it then and I still love it today.  Bill Murray’s best work.  Yep, even better than “Rushmore,” “Royal Tennenbaums,” “Lost and Translation.”  Or is it?  Ooh, I’m gonna try to figure out my rankings for all-time Bill Murray performances, that’ll be fun.  Ha, my favorite scene, the one where Bill Murray dupes Andie MacDowell by ordering the same drink as her.  I’ll never forget her drink order:  “sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist.”  How fucking weird.  Who in the world drinks sweet vermouth as the only component of a cocktail?  For a complimentary ingredient in a Manhattan, sure, of course.  But as the main ingredient, fucking weird.

God I never get sick of “Groundhog Day.”  I think that’s like the fiftieth time I’ve seen it.  I should just admit it’s one of my favorite movies of all-time.  What’s the big deal if it’s directed by Harold Ramis?  What’s the big deal if it was a big budget studio movie?  Sometimes they get it right.  And this time they made a fucking unadulterated classic that will live on forever.  That’s it, I’ll quit being a snobby cineaste.  I’m changing the favorite movie section on my Facebook page, moving “Groundhog Day” into my Top 25 All-Time list.  Hmmm…where should I slot it?  Let’s think real hard about this.  Yes.  22nd, between Woody’s “Manhattan” and Ingmar’s “Cries and Whispers” seems perfect.  Nice.  I see a few other changes I should make too.  Why do I have “Clockwork Orange” so low?  Better move that into my top 10.  There, that works.  In fact, that works vidi well, little brothers.

Shit, how’d it already become 1:00?  The first games are about to start.  I’m hungry too, that bagel wasn’t enough.  Need some energy.  Better order in.   Save some time.  I’ll relax, enjoy my food, watch the first half of the games, when they start boring me as NFL games are want to do, I’ll begin work on my novel.  And, after the first game I’ll go jogging.  First food.  Seamless Web.  Let’s see…I’d really like a club sandwich.  Really got a hankering.  Every since I saw Don get one last weekend at that “classy” sports bar, damn it looked tasty.  One of those big motherfuckers.  Triple decker they call it.  Finger-sized white toast, lettuce, tomato, crisp bacon, turkey, slather of mayo, bread, repeat the aforementioned, bread, and a toothpick with a cellophane flag on it.

Seriously?!  What the fuck?  Not a single place in midtown has one of these to deliver to me?!!  Unreal.  When did I start living in Tulsa?!  I could just order a turkey sandwich on toast, add bacon, and ask them to throw some toothpicks into the bag.  Make it myself.  Nope, it won’t be the same.  I’ll just get a cheeseburger and some fries instead.  Better make it a turkey burger, that’s healthier.  Or, at least every one tells me it is, never really confirmed that.

Jesus, did that delivery guy take long enough.  And he didn’t have a pen either.  Goddamn idiot.  The way I see it, a New York City deliveryman needs three things:  a pen, an arm or hook to carry my food bag with, and something to locomote with.  Sadly, they usually only have two of those three.  Plus, an inability to figure out how to use a buzzer system correctly while also being bereft of the most basic ESL skills.

Food is soggy and gross.   Totally unsatisfying and totally overpriced.  And the 1:00 PM games suck too.  That’s a good thing, though, I can start writing.  But, I’m so tired, I’ve been up forever.  I can’t stop yawning, I’m sluggish.  Do some push-ups, get the blood flowing.  One, two…OW.  My shoulder is still sore from last night.  Did I injure myself somehow?  Drinking injury?  I really can’t recall. I think I was doing too much hugging.  Constantly putting your arm above some other man’s shoulder can give you muscle problems.  Why do I get so huggy when I’m drunk?

I’ll chug some Diet Mountain Dew.  That’ll give me energy to write.  It worked!  Feel like I just took a bump.  Open my novel file on my laptop and here we…phone just vibrated.  Don’t answer.  You finally got energy to write, no need to get derailed.  Oh, it’s a text.  Can’t hurt to check:

“why is andy not playing?”

FUCK.  I forgot Syracuse has an exhibition game today.  Shit, get the game on.  Phew, didn’t miss opening tip.  It’s only an exhibition, I should try to do work during the game.  Alas, I can’t.  I’m too transfixed, even by sloppy, exhibition basketball.

Game over, it’s 4:00.  Feels like 9:00 PM but it’s only 4:00.  Shit that’s early.  Still some daylight.  Now, I’ll go running.  And afterward, a quick shower, then time to write.  Where the fuck are my running shoes?  Dammit, I left them at Elisabeth’s place the other day.  That’s fine, I’ll wear my back-ups, no excuses.  Ipod isn’t charged, either.  Again, no excuses.  Ten miles.  Ten fucking miles.  I feel good, I feel good, I feel good, good lord!, it’s freezing out.  It looks so nice from inside, sky blue and clear, but motherfuck is it chilly!  I’ll just warm up for a second in the foyer, check my mail, forgot to check it yesterday.  Nice!  New Netflix.  Can’t recall what was on my queue.  Yes!  I’ve been waiting for that one.  You know, fuck running.  It’s too cold.  I’ll go watch this movie.  But I’ll do sit-ups and push-ups while watching.  Two hours straight of sit-ups and push-ups, now that’s a workout.

Musta dozed off.  That movie was a lot more boring that I expected.  Actually, no, I did expect it to suck.  That’s why I didn’t see it in theaters.  How come movies I avoid in theaters due to bad reviews I excitely order on Netflix and then–surprise, surprise–come to find out they suck just like I knew they did months previous?  I’m such a sucker.  Whatever the case, now it’s 6:00.  And, I’m hungry again.  What’s my problem?  Why do I need to eat so much today?  I’m not even burning calories that need to be replaced.  I’ve barely sat erect today!  I’m a glutton.  A sloth.  But I can’t deny I’m starving.  I can’t order delivery two meals in a row, that’s pathetic.  That’s just a few more delivery orders away from Lifetime doing a special on me, the fat guy that hasn’t left his house in a decade and needs a fire team and a crane to remove him from the premises.  It’s times like these I wish I kept food in the house.  Unfortunately, I don’t.  Just beer.

I don’t really feel like putting on clothes but I’m starving. I smell bad too.  I should probably shower.  Fuck it, no gumption to even do that.  At this late hour I’d even count that as having done something productive.  I’ll just put out sweats.  I look like such an asshole.  Then again, everyone in my neighborhood looks like an asshole.  I’m hungry but what do I want?  Whatever’s closest, doesn’t matter, too cold to walk far.  Thus, that would lead me to the prepared food counter at the D’Agostino’s across the street.  And…it looks as if, by 7:30 on Sunday night, all they have left is one half rotisserie chicken.  Good enough.  It’s just sustenance.  I’ll get some Golden Oreos too.  Cannot stop eating those motherfuckers.  I don’t even like cookies.  Especially lard-ass Oreos.  But the Golden boys are unbelievable.  Why did it take a century for Nabisco to realize that simply reversing the chocolate and vanilla component of the iconic cookie would make it vastly superior?  It was right under all of our noses, quite frankly.  Genius.

Giants game’s about to start.  I’ll only watch til my beloved GMen start to blow the Eagles out.  Sure to happen.  I hate to see my man, my former classmate, Donovan get whipped, but the Giants need to keep rolling.  Motherfuck, three point game at half.  Alright, a lot closer than I expected.  NFC East bouts always are.  I’ll just watch the game til it’s over.  Actually, now I feel like a beer.  Football and brews go hand in hand.  What’s in my fridge?

Weihenstephaner Original Premium?  Don’t even recall buying this one.  Absolutely adored their hefeweizen, did I screw up and buy their lager?   It should be good, still, I’d imagine.  Yuck.  Putrid stench.  Smells like a Heiny.  Skunky and macro.  Tastes somewhat better though.  Gotta say, it’s pretty solid for a boring lager, pretty solid compared to an American macro lager, but as a beer it’s pretty lackluster.  I can only think the overwhelmingly good reviews online have to do with the famed country of origin and esteemed brewery of creation cause this one is nuttin’ special.  Shit, even my beer was a waste today.  Fuck.  Am I gonna get anything out of my Sunday?  Should I start going to church?!

Well, at least the Giants won.  Another nice victory.  But that doesn’t really benefit me.  Doesn’t really make my day any more “productive.”  And now it’s midnight.  Sports take too long to watch.  DVR hasn’t figured out a way to speed up our sports watching capabilities.

I guess I should just admit that after sixteen hours of anxiety, sixteen hours of determination, sixteen hours of goals, dreams, and wishes, I really didn’t do shit.  Where did the time go?  Unbelievable.  Don’t beat yourself up.  So, you didn’t seize the day.  Big deal.  I’ll get more work done tomorrow.  I know it.  Mondays have less distractions.  Now I’m kinda buzzed.  I want another beer, a nightcap, and then I’m gonna watch the abominable “Entourage” on HBO On-Demand.

It is absolutely breathtaking how you wasted an entire day, Aaron.  At least you managed to write this.

C+

McSorley’s Old Ale House

October 10th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: McSorley's, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Grade: C regular, Style: Lager

15 E. Seventh Street, New York City

I don’t do bar reviews and I’m not exactly gonna do one here.  Fact is, there ain’t a need to, more words have been written about McSorley’s than probably any other bar in America.  Hell, you can even find an article simply about the urinals at the bar, first installed in 1911 and first made uncivilizably disgusting probably three minutes later.  Thing is, every New Yorker knows–or thinks they know–about McSorley’s and it’s the one bar we’ve all pretty much been to in town. We all love to spout off the “facts” we know about the place–some true, some false, most kinda true–but just like the newspaper editor so famously said in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valiance“: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Here are some of my favorite legends (”facts”) which I neither know if they are true, false, nor half-true, but which I know are all indeed interesting.  You can do the research for yourself:

*McSorley’s is the oldest still-open bar in New York and America.

*Houdini’s handcuff’s hang in the bar, though I’ve never seen them myself.

*Abe Lincoln once drank there.  So did Teddy Roosevelt.

*Though women weren’t allowed to drink there til the 1970s.

*And when McSorley’s owners were finally forced to allow women entry, they made them use a bathroom behind the men’s bathroom.  As in women had to enter the men’s room, walk behind the backs of countless barbarians pissing at the aforementioned urinals, and then enter their ladies room.  Awesome.

But as you’ve probably guessed, not a lot of ladies go to McSorley’s.  Gentlemen either.  Or at least, any ladies and/or gentleman are quickly vulgarians upon entering the place.  You know, like it’s kinda impossible to simply be a watcher at an orgy.  Uh…never mind.

McSorley’s is still kinda rough and tumble, all the wall decorations caked in filth that could probably be carbon-dated back to the 1800s, saw dust still covers the floors, vomiting is all but encouraged, and there’s probably still spittoons in the corners.  The bartenders are rude as hell and have earned the place a nickname of McSurley’s.  If you haven’t been tossed from the place at least once, then you’re a saint of epic proportions or a liar.

But it’s all pretty much a gimmick.  Shit they even have a nicely designed website nowadays*.  McSorley’s is now just a faux-dive bar.  A safe place for yuppies to feel like they’re actually drinking in a scary place.  A real honest-to-god Eye-reesh bar!  Having said that, though it is faux-divey and scary, it is legitimately filthy.  I’d encourage you to garb yourself in clothes that are just one wearing away from going to Goodwill.

I hit the Old Ale House once or twice a year, but only when I have friends in town.  And, I had a friend in town this weekend and thus we went.

Imbibers at McSorley’s quickly learn there’s not much of a drink selection at the bar, but more on that in a second.  First, my favorite McSorley’s story ever, of which the opening line sounds like the start to some old guy’s lame joke:

So a fey and effette youth walks into the bar:

“Whatta ya’ haf?” says the surly barkeep whose seen more shit in his life than a turd farmer.

“Cosmo.  Up please.”

The bartender remains stoic, “We ain’t got d’ose.”

“OK, then a pinot grigio.”

Without turning his head or changing his expression, the bartender juts his left arm at the door like a Nazi salute but with only his pointer finger extended.

“OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUT!!!!!!”

You see, literally the only thing one can drink at McSorley’s is their two house beers on tap.  Known simply as “dark” and ”light,” they come in half-pint mugs which go for two bucks a piece.  No one goes to McSorley’s to sip, you go to drink, like that guy who used to appear at the end of “The Man Show,” thus with big crowds and insatiable thirsts, most people order ten beers for themselves at once.

McSORLEY’S “DARK”

5.93% ABV on draught**

I believe this is a dark lager and, you know, it’s not half bad.  I typically drink the darks by a ratio of about 3:1 over the lights.  It’s very easy to drink but some in your party may still struggle with it.  I’m absolutely convinced that sight is the absolute worst sense for a macro-drinking amateur to use when imbibing.  I have friends that the second they see a dark beer it’s, “Oh, it’s so heavy!  It must be so caloric!  It’s impossible to drink.”  Doesn’t matter if it’s a 4.2% 95 calorie Guinness, they still act like it’s a 20% 500 calorie Dogfish Head 120 Minute.  By the same regard, if they see a golden beer–kinda like they’re used to with macro crap–they have no problems.  This is best exhibited by the fact that most amateurs have no problems drinking golden tripels but faint at the sight, smell, and taste of the lower-ABV brown-colored dubbel.  What a buncha maroons.

B

McSORLEY’S “LIGHT”

3.9% ABV on draught***

And this is almost certainly a light lager and what your macro friends will exclusively drink at McSorley’s.  They may sip one dark, but they’ll quickly go back to the lights.  Fine with you, they already bought ten darks and now have nine left that they don’t want any more.  Damn it’s fine to be a skilled tippler!

C

My most recent visit to McSorley’s lasted two rounds of ten beers (i.e. fifteen minutes) before we were so fed up with the idiots congregating near us that we bolted.  Wise move.  Best to get in and out of this place late on weekend nights.  Better to go in the afternoon.

*Then again so does my dear mother. No you don’t get that hyper link.

**I’m using the listed ABV for the bottled versions which I’m not 100% positive are the exact same.  I’ve quite frankly never actually known.  And being that I’m always shitcanned when I drink at McSorley’s and have only had the bottled versions–bottled by Pabst Brewing no less!–a few times, I really can’t offer any thoughts as to whether they are similar formulas.

***Ibid

Schell FireBrick

September 20th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: August Schell, Country: America, Grade: B-, Style: Lager

5% ABV

When I was younger, I thought there would be nothing better than if I could one day live above a bar.  I would walk down there in my slippers and a bathrobe for a quick nip.  I could tell women I met there that I literally lived upstairs.  And if I got too wasted and passed out on the bar, my kindly bartender friend would excuse himself for a minute and fireman carry me upstairs to tuck me in.

I currently live above a bar.  And despite the sandwich-board advertised obscenely cheap drinks and quite raucous atmosphere, I’ve never been inside once.  You see, I live above a gay bar.

Look, I obviously have no problem with gays or gay bars, in fact, one can quite accidentally wander into gay bars in NYC, missing the tiny rainbow decal on the front window, and find themselves drinking there and enjoying themselves for quite awhile before noticing that the clientele is 100% fabulous men save a fat fag hag or two.  But this gay bar I live above is flamboyant gay.  More like Elton John than Lance Bass.  Blowjob-in-a-dark corner gay.

I sit in my bedroom drinking a bottle of Schell FireBrick as I prepare to go out.  A hearty pour with a foamy head.  Decent smell with a bit of skunk to it.  A pretty good taste, an all matl Vienna-style lager, like a slightly worse Negra Modelo.  I’ve been impressed with Schell’s offerings so far.  My room abuts the bar’s patio and its already starting to get rowdy down there.  I’m guessing they ain’t watching the South Florida/FIU game.

When I return tonight I will be greeted outside the bar stretching to in front of my building’s stoop by a herd of transvestites and transsexuals smoking Virginia Slims and cat-calling all the straight men that pass, trying to solicit them.  Even though I know the score, returning drunk at 3 AM I will always see one of those gender-reassigned, DD-siliconed, shaved-down Adam’s apple, flowing blond hair extensions “women” from afar and think, “Goddamn, who is that piece of ass in front of my building?!,” getting closer only to realize it’s clearly a former man.

However, most of the bar patrons hanging out front are John Waters’s Divine-style drag queens.  Personal performance artists not even trying to pretend they are female.  6′5″ with green wigs, stuffed to the gills bustiers, and sequined gowns.  I’ve started to know some of the regulars.  Nice gals and boy are they funny.  On occasion I’ll even find myself chatting with the trannies late at night, only waking the next morning hungover thinking, “Why the fuck did I talk to ‘Jasmine’ for fifteen minutes last night?!  What were we discussing?!”  I wonder if these drag queens think I’ll fuck them one day.  God I hope not.

B-

Negra Modelo

July 8th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Grupo Modelo, Country: Mexico, Grade: B plus, Style: Lager

5.4% ABV

While most folks celebrated America’s birthday with cheap U.S. macro beer, I opted to indulge myself in Mexican brews and a Honduran cigar.

As far as I can tell, Negra Modelo is Mexico’s finest beer. That’s kind of sad I guess, but in a country whose most popular brew is the despicable Corona, we’re not exactly dealing with a standard bell curve that culminates with rare A pluses on the short tail to the far right. Surprisingly enough, the Grupo Modelo brewery that makes Corona also happens to make Negra. Quite a stark difference between the two.

Negra is what I order–save sometimes an occasional margarita–when dining Mexican. And, along with Tecate, it’s probably the only Mexican beer I will purchase for home usage. Inexplicably, this most recent time I drank Negra, I was served the foil-rimmed bottle with a lime corked into it. Why the fuck do Mexicans think every single drink needs a lime in it? This is a dark, rich Vienna-style lager. It’s almost stoutish with its toastiness and hints of coffee and caramel. Can you think of a less appropriate fruit to throw into that kind of beer than a goddamn lime?! Perhaps a cherry tomato or a pear or a peach? Just give the beer fruitless please.

Negra is a very, nice and flavorful (and incredibly drinkable) dark beer from a culture that typical doesn’t give us anything close to that. It would be a solid beer in any country and any culture though. Recommended.

Hey, and if any one can recommend a better Mexican beer–and, no, I don’t want to hear about Pacifica or Dos Equis–then I am all ears. Please comment below.

B+

Yuengling Traditional Lager

June 25th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: Yuengling, Country: America, Grade: B-/C+, Style: Lager

4.4% ABV from a draught beer tower

Based on pure conjecture, my most drunk beers of all time:

Honorable mentions: Labatt Blue, Brooklyn Lager, Stone Arrogant Bastard, Dogfish Head Sixty Minute, Sparks, Pabst Blue Ribbon (NYC hipster special makes it always $2 a can!), and all macros and their crappy light counterparts.

5. Milwaukee’s Best (aka “Beast”) (years drunk 1997-May 21, 2001) — The “house” beer in college. I didn’t drink a lot of beer in college, especially my freshman through junior years, but if beer was being drunk, it was this shit. We drank it in cans, bottles, pitchers, kegs, funnels, any fucking way possible. The day I graduated, I knew my lips would never come close to this vile brew again. And they haven’t. This beer made me hate beer so much in my formative years that I nearly never learned to love it.

4. Heineken (2000-2001) — In my Heineken entry I discuss how I started drinking this beer senior year of college because I thought it made me look cool, especially compared to my Beast-swilling cohorts. Bad times. And a bad beer to boot.

3. Guinness (heavily from 2001-2004, sporadically from 2004-present) — Upon leaving college, I needed to find something to drink. And, since I was living amongst tons of Irish in Hoboken, New Jersey, this seemed like a good place to start. Seven of these on a Monday night of dicking around and I’d be feeling fine. Then, I’d do the same thing Tuesday night, and Wednesday night, and Thursday night, etc. Yeah, I was a profligate during that era. I’m not sure why I slowed down on drinking this other than that I’ve found plenty of more beers I like better. Nowadays, I pretty much only order one if I’m drinking at a bar before noon or having some rounds with my Irish buddies.

2. Bud Light (1997 to, unfortunately, the present) — I really don’t like this beer at all. But it goes down easy, you can polish off a zillion of them in a night, and it’s dirt cheap at bars. Why do I continue to drink it nowadays? Probably because the bar I go to twice a week from November to March to root on the Syracuse Orangemen basketball team serves pitchers of it for $6. Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to be there on Wednesday nights, there’s a beer pong special and pitchers are only a quarter. So, even though I don’t like this beer, even though it makes me gain 30 pounds every winter, even though it gives me wicked hangovers, and even though I’m usually drinking it from dirty Solo cups laced with floor detritus from filthy beer pong balls, I know come November and season tip-off, I will unfortunately be drinking this shit again.

1. Yuengling (years drunk 2001-present)

I have drank so much of this motherfucking beer. Yet, I didn’t even know what it was in college. I heard my friends from Pennsylvania always talking about it, saying their pops drank it, but I just assumed it was some exotic Chinese beer, what with the weird name and all. Only after college did I learn that it was straight out of Pottsville, PA and courtesy of America’s oldest brewery.

I begun drinking it because my first “real world” roommate was a prodigious drinker out of Scranton, PA and he introduced me. In Scranton, and in most of Pennsylvania, they don’t even call the beer Yuengling, they simply call it “lager.” Watch your Pennsylvania friends go to a bar anywhere on the East coast and ask for a “lager.” The bartenders will look at them crazy. “OK, you want a lager. But which one?” Only if a fellow Pennsylvanian is manning the taps will they know that there is only one lager. To these folks at least. Funnily enough, Beer Advocate doesn’t even classify Yuengling as a straight lager, calling it an American amber/Red lager instead.

Any how, I began drinking Yuengling because in the NYC area it was priced as rock bottom cheaply as the American macros but it tasted so much better to me. Only now do I realize that it was a weak 4.4% ABV and a 22-year-old Aaron probably liked that. I drank so many of these fresh out of college. Heck, I usually drank an entire six-pack of Yuengling before going out on a Friday and Saturday night–probably a good reason I never picked up woman once getting to the bar!–before drinking more drafts of Yuengling once out on the town.

It’s virtually impossible for me to review this beer any more because I have gone past my capacity for drinking it. Wilt Chamberlain surely got sick of fucking, and I have finally gotten sick of Yuengling. It came to a head on Saturday when my friends and I ordered a “beer tower” of Yuengling at the great Lansdowne Road. A beer tower is literally what it sounds like: a poorly washed out clear PVC (?) tube connected to a base from which a group of friends can spigot themselves pints of beer. I think the tower holds maybe 10 pints in it. I felt like a Spring Breaker with it at my table, but it is fun to order one for novelty purposes.

Lagers are typically cheap beers made with low-level hops. It’s why most macros are considered lagers. But Yuengling always seemed better than the Buds, Coors, and Millers of the world. Even sick of the brew I still have to admit it’s tons more flavorful than the aforementioned. Malty, nice red amber taste, and creamy, though not much hops, and nowadays I’ve come to realize it’s far too thin and watery. Being better than the “famous” American macros is just not good enough for me any more. Especially when I can get Brooklyn Lager and Sam Adams pints for similar prices if I’m drinking “on the cheap” for the evening.

I used to loooooooooove this beer, but the love affair is finally over.

Yuengling. Years drunk: 2001 to 2008.

B-/C+

Amstel Light

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

3.5% ABV (not a misprint)

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

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

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

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

D

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

June 7th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Style: Lager

4.75% ABV from a bomber

The flagship Sam is maybe America’s most underrated beer. I think your average beer guzzling yahoo sees it as nothing more than a macro (not that he would know that condescending term), and an overpriced and snobby one at that. “No twist off cap?!” “I’ll need a bottle opener for this beer?” “That soooo European.” “I thought this beer was named after some American president.” Meanwhile, I think your average stuffy beer snob doesn’t like Sam either–but it has nothing to do with taste. Most beer snobs have probably never drunk a Boston Lager. “It’s advertised on television for gosh sakes!” “It’s soooo cheap!” “You can find it in pubs.” *shiver*

It’s nothing if not a victim of its own success. On both extremes. Heck, I’m not sure if I’ve EVER met any one that calls Sam their favorite beer. And that’s weird, especially since there are people that probably call stuff like O’Doul’s and Mike’s Hard Lemonade (Strawberry flavor) their favorite “beer.” I must admit that even I forget to drink Sam as I’m a much bigger fan of the brewery’s terrific seasonals and, of course, their Utopia is an all-time legend. We take this beer for granted. But it’s a damn fine brew. And just about the cheapest and most readily available craft beer you can buy in this country.

Good smell, nice and light. Nothing too complex, but tasty. You could drink these all night and you could definitely do worse. One small gripe is that it could probably use about 0.5% more ABV kick in it.

A good, solid beer and that’s hard for a New York-born and living die hard to admit. I’m supposed to hate all things Beantown. Typically I do. This is the rare case where I don’t. But don’t tell that to my Boston friends.

B

Peroni

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Peroni, Country: Italy, Grade: C-/D+, Style: Lager

4.7% ABV on draught

This beer isn’t great. The Italian Budweiser. I wouldn’t typically drink it. Yet it was only $2 per pint at a Little Italy dive over the weekend. Handed the ditzy waitress an Andrew Jackson and told her to keep ‘em coming. Thus, I drank plenty and got drunk, quod erat demonstrandum.

C-/D+