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Archive for the ‘Style: Oktoberfest’ Category

Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest

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

5.1% ABV bottled

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

Did you know Leinenkugel has an Oktoberfest?

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

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

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

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

Why was I so excited to find and try this brew you may ask? Isn’t Leinenkugel nothing more than a marginal brewery you say? Naw, it’s even worse than marginal. Marginal would be a compliment. You see, I have a long-standing rivalry* against Leinenkugel in which I enjoy nothing more than in locating their beers, drinking as much of the twelve ounces as I can handle, taking the correct inoculations to survive the vile Wisconsin-borne fluidic pathogens, and then bashing the beers on my blog. You might first recall their Sunset Wheat which nearly gave me fluoride poisoning. Then there was their Honey Weisse that caused a sleepless week as I waited for my STD test to come back**. Oh, and who can forget their Summer Shandy which tastes like an Arnold Palmer that’s been used as a colostomy bag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Harpoon Octoberfest

September 19th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Harpoon, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Oktoberfest

5.5% ABV bottled

In my mid-twenties I was friendless.  No, that’s not as bad as it sounds.  What I mean is that I was essentially friendless in the city I lived in, New York.  Through a weird confluence of events, several of my pals moved to Hollywood for greener pastures, several moved to other East Coast cities, quite a few got engaged or married and fled for the ‘burbs, and of my two most-usual drinking buddies one got shipped to Iraq and another picked up and moved with his fiancee to middle-of-nowhere New Jersey.  In seriously like a half-year I had gone from having two dozen friends and at least a dozen regular drinking partners to having no one.  But I still wanted to drink, I still wanted to go out, I still wanted to socialize, get in trouble, have stories to tell, and meet women, so I had to go out drinking alone.

Here are my tips for drinking alone.  On a Friday night.  In a packed bar.

1.  Arrive slightly early.  Just a few minutes before the rush because you absolutely have to get a chair at the bar.  This is incredibly crucial.  I will never drink alone at a bar unless I have a chair.  Guy sitting at bar drinking alone = passably normal.  Guy leaning against a pole in the corner drinking alone = creep.  Just the way it is.

2.  Gotta go to a bar with TVs so you have something to do when you’re still sober.  Some of these faux-dive bars that would be perfect for drinking alone don’t have TVs.  You know how hard it is to find something to do while sitting alone at a bar and still sober?!  You can only study the menu for so long.  You’re forced to stare vacantly ahead, usually at your reflection in the bar’s crappy schmutz-covered mirror, at the reflection of yourself.  The guy drinking alone.

3.  You don’t have to be too friendly and start conversations.  Big mistake drinkers-alone often make.  You don’t want to act like that one guy from your freshman dorm floor who went out of his way to say hello and introduce himself to literally every single person he came across in your first week of school.  God I hated that guy and so did everyone else.  Just sit there and like Ted Williams or Barry Bonds, wait for your pitch.  It will come.  The bartender will remark on something and you can respond.  You better be interesting, funny, smart, and certainly not needy, but it should be easy to quickly befriend the bartender.  Other bar patrons will follow suit.

4.  Nor do you need to lie about why you’re drinking alone.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with drinking alone.  You’ll get asked often, “Who you’re with.”  People that ask you this aren’t trying to play a cruel game of “gotcha” and make you tell them you’re a solo-sipping loser.  You’re not.  Yet a lot of people lie.  I don’t know why people think it better to tell someone that asks that they’re just “waiting for a friend” rather than drinking alone.  So you think it’s cooler to infer that you have been stood up by a friend or a date than that you are simply having a few by your lonesome?  Believe me, drinking alone is cooler and more sexy than you think.

5.  And not having to piss is more crucial than you think.  I used to have a massive bladder as a youth and never had to break the seal, but as we get older we all have to go out to water the horse a little more than we’d like.  Nothing sucks more than having to do that move where you put a cardboard coaster on top of your pint glass and then shuffle off to the little boys’ room, returning to find a happy hour group of seven people standing around your chair, considering taking your seat as you have to “excuse me, excuse me” your way to your barstool, the group staring needles through the back of your melon.

6.  Girls (and guys) will love you.  It’s probably apparent that my rules are pretty much written for males.  Look, I certainly have no problem with women drinking alone, but a lot of people do.  A lot of people call a woman that drinks alone a…prostitute.  So sorry for the malecentricity within my rules, but it is what it is.

The days of rugged individuals have long since passed and people are impressed by those that can exist as an island.  I go to bars alone, restaurants alone, and movies alone.  It’s not a big deal, it really isn’t.  But our pussified culture has gotten so used to hand-holding and the buddy system in all we do that most people simply don’t have the testicular or ovarian fortitude to be independent.  I do, and women are impressed by that.  But more importantly, people aren’t intimidated by someone drinking alone, they think he’s surely so hard up for companionship that he’d love to be approached by anybody and everybody and he will certainly be ingratiating.  And thus, they do all my work for me.  I never get approached when I’m with a group but when I’m alone at a bar I get bombarded with people coming up to me as if I’m an celebrity and they are an autograph seeker.  For some reason people want to know the guy drinking alone.  Men come up and shoot the shit with me, buying me drinks and introducing me to their girlfriends, and groups of girls come up to hit on me.  It’s kinda insane. People aren’t scared of someone drinking alone and it can be used swimmingly to your advantage.

7.  Soon enough you’ll be part of a group and no one will have even remembered you came alone.  You’ll be treated as just an old friend and asked if you’d like to join them at the next bar.  Of course you would.  This has happened to me countless times. And the best part is that these are just ad hoc friends so even if you make a fool of yourself–like you usually do–by morning none of these folks have your number or email address to call you or write you and ask what the fuck you were doing, thinking.  So you have no excuse not to at least attempt to be the life of the party!  Oh, and you will be!

Luckily, my friendless state only lasted for like a half-year or so before I had re-formed a crew.  Having said that, living in NYC one is forced to drink alone for at least 30 minutes stretches quite often when friends are late in arriving.  So these tips are good for those times too.

Such was the case just last week as my friend got caught in traffic and I hate to wait him out at the bar.  I sipped on Harpoon Oktoberfest, finding it kinda boring, but decent.  No real bite or flavor but smooth.  Malty.  Doesn’t exactly taste like a true Oktoberfest, and I wouldn’t want another, but it’s not offensive or anything.  I don’t know why some of these American breweries don’t think we can handle a full-bodied Germanic Marzenbier, but for Christ’s sake, we can!


Blue Point Oktoberfest

September 17th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Blue Point, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Style: Oktoberfest

ABV unlisted (I fucking hate when breweries do this!)

I have an embarrassing confession to make. I would understand if you are so disgusted by me that you quit reading the Vice Blog. On Sunday night I ordered from Domino’s.  A full day of watching football and I must have been so deluged by those commercials for their new oven-baked sandwiches that eventually I thought it a splendid idea to actually order one.

Putting that fact aside for a second, Domino’s has an absolutely amazing feature on their website whereas they literally show you step-by-step, like a sporting event gamecast on ESPN.com, how your order is progressing.

They tell when your food has been prepped and by whom (Ramon in my case!), when it has been put in the oven (by Jordan in my case!), when it has been taken out and put in a heatwave bag (thanks Hector!), and when it is headed your way (see you soon delivery man Baganda!).  It’s almost worth ordering from Domino’s online just to see this amazingness in action.

However, this seemingly rave review quickly takes a right turn and drives off the cliff.  You see, as I was following my sandwich’s progress, anxiously awaiting for Baganda to arrive from a location just 5 blocks away, I noticed it was taking far too long.  And after 30 minutes I started to think that Baganda had been hit my a car.  And after 45 minutes, when the website order progress changed and said “Order Completed by Baganda!” I knew I had been bamboozled.  That the order progress follower must simply be a cosmetic lie.  Numerous calls to Domino’s went unanswered as well and I began to seethe.  I considered sprinting down to the corporate pizzeria to shove someone’s head in the oven “Goodfellas” style.  Alas, I was sitting in my underwear and too lazy for that exercise.  Thus, with nothing in my fridge but beer, my dinner for the evening, just like a monk during lent, became a six-pack.

Earlier that day I’d stumbled upon Blue Point’s Oktoberfest.  I didn’t even know they made that style.  And apparently others don’t either as it currently only has 15 reviews on BA.  Too bad, it has a cool label and is pretty decent.  And actually tastes like a correct Oktoberfest, which is great as I’ve been finding many American versions are nowhere close to correct in style.  This one is.  Mild smell, not too complex, malty, or full-bodied but good enough.  Certainly better than Brooklyn’s version.

Oh, and the epilogue to my Domino’s story is that I did indeed march down there on Monday where the kindest of kind Jamaican manager told me that Baganda did show up at my apartment building but that my doorman refused to let him in.  That might sound legitimate except for the fact that I live in a building so shitty that we barely have a front door, much less a doorman.  Whatever.  I was refunded my money in cash and given some free coupons and cheezy something-or-others.


Samuel Adams Oktoberfest

August 28th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Style: Oktoberfest

5.7% ABV from a bottle

The Vice Blogger Goes Off Beer

It was August of 2002. One year out of college and all the debauchery in New York had caught up to me–I was in the worst shape of my life, tipping the scales at probably 215 or so. Going to happy hour every day–especially when that “hour” actually equals 5 PM til closing–does in even the best of us. I needed to do something about it, I was not happy. I’ve always been overly confident if not arrogant, no matter my current lot in life, thinking I deserve more women than Moulay Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty. And I was getting significantly less than that. I looked deeply at myself and had to chalk it up to the extra baggage I was lugging around. Now at 29, I realize that it doesn’t matter how fat I am, I will always land attractive women due to my rakish charm, disarming wit, and the fact that, well, I’m just plain interesting. There’s nothing more important than that. In fact, Ben Franklin, no schlub himself, called the great lover Giacomo Casanova the most interesting man who ever lived. Not cause he scored with tens of thousands of fair women but rather because he was a librarian, consort, writer, confidence man, dandy, master gambler, diplomat, spy, magician, and philosopher.  Oh, not to worry female Vice Blog fans, I also currently cut a toned and taut 178 as I type this.  I’m interesting, yes, but I’m not some slob.

But back then at 215 pounds, I was flummoxed at how I was going to cut weight. I live in the finest eating city in the world, ain’t no way I was going to eat salad and rice cakes for every meal. And back then I refused to exercise unless it was in the form of competitive sports. Nope, I knew the only thing I could cut out of my diet was beer. “You’re going to quit drinking?!” said my roommates in shock. No, I’m not going to quit drinking I snapped back. Hard alcohol was still fine. Thus, from September 1st through January 1st, all I drank was liquor

You don’t realize how often you drink beer until you no longer drink it and have to have liquor instead.  Heading to happy hour, every one else is capitalizing on a few hours of $2 beers…you’re drinking $7 whiskey sodas.  Saturday morning you’re tailgating or preparing for a whole day of watching football, everyone’s pummeling a macro keg…you’re drinking vodka tonics.  At home, pregaming before a big night out, your buddies are polishing off a few bottles of Yuengling…and you’re drinking straight from a bottle of Beefeater.

Those four months were murderous.  I was crying mercy.  I spent tons of money, was always wasted, permenantly damaged my liver and innards, lost a lot of cell phones and other possessions, frequently woke up in piles of sidewalk garbage, alienated friends, ruined relationships too…oh, and got laid even less than when I was Rubenesque as I was often slurring before heading out to the bars and barely made it past midnight without embarrassing myself or getting 86ed from many fine establishments.

But, yes, I did lose some 40 pounds and I looked fantastic.  So much so that people would come up to me in public to actually compliment me for my newfound handsomeness. Swear to god.  That shit hadn’t happened before and it certainly hasn’t happened since.

However, it wasn’t exactly worth it.

The worst thing about those four months of beerlessness was that my favorite seasonal beers in the world were out–Oktoberfests.  I don’t know what it is, but I love the beer style.  Maybe it’s because the end of summer sucks so much, as you know it’s about to be cold again, that when you see these beautiful orange-labeled beers and taps on shelves and bartops, you know there’s at least something good about the incoming chilly season.  You don’t know how much it sucked to be at bars back in 2002, staring at the recently installed Oktoberfest taps, drooling, but unable to break my personal vow.

Sam makes one of my favorites. In fact, it’s the first Oktoberfest I ever had, and one I immediately fell in love with. I guess I should be embarrassed by that, but shockingly enough, it is the best selling Oktoberfest-styled beer IN THE WORLD.  Even more than any German one.  Amazing.

Having said that, I don’t like Sam Oktoberfest as much as I once did. I used to think they had changed the recipe from the delicious early-2000s versions but now I’m thinking my palate just got more sophisticated. Nevertheless, it is still tasty. Rich, very malty, with a hint of spice. Not too complex though.  But I still love my first taste of Oktoberfest of the season, and every year it comes courtesy of Sam.  Though, what the fuck, August seems earlier for the beer’s release than normal, doesn’t it?

Now in 2008, I drink plenty of beer. And hard liquor. And wines. And any and all other fermented or distilled beverages available.  Yet I’m in better shape than at any other time in my life and doing better with woman too.

Lesson learned: never cut any pleasures from your life.

“I am writing My Life to laugh at myself, and I am succeeding.” –Casanova


Brooklyn Oktoberfest

August 28th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Oktoberfest

5.5% ABV bottled

I like to compare Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest to Brooklyn’s every single year. And since they’re usually the absolute first two on the shelves in Manhattan, this is easy. I must admit, every single year I root for Brooklyn to win my little side-by-side taste test–treating it as a battle between my beloved New York and the despised Boston–however, every single year Sam wins, usually in a landslide. Same goes this year.

I drank this one within minutes of my season’s first Sam Oktoberfest. That was unfortunate.

Brooklyn Oktoberfest has a bland, poor smell.

Tastes very much like a cheap cracker. Perhaps a Ritz. Can barely taste any malt at all. No sweetness, not very flavorful. Maybe a little hint of raisin? Hard to say. If that’s not enough, it has a very harsh, carbonated finish. Stings the tongue on the mouthfeel.

Ultimately, doesn’t really taste like an Oktoberfest at all. More like a very good macro lager (assuming such a beer exist).

You know Brooklyn, you’re one of my favorite breweries, I consider you and Captain Lawrence my “home team” breweries, so it pains me when you let me down with one of your brews. Luckily, that rarely occurs. As the Brooklyn Dodgers might say, I’ll wait until next year…