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Archive for the ‘Style: Pilsner’ Category

Stone Collaborations

November 13th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: BrewDog, Brewer: Cambridge, Brewer: Ken Schmidt, Brewer: Maui, Brewer: Stone, Country: America, Country: Scotland, Grade: A-, Grade: A-/B+, Style: Pilsner, Style: Porter

Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter

8.5% ABV bottled

Like corned beef, chopped liver, lox, and gefilte fish, macadamia nuts are one of those foods us Jews innately like for some reason.  But, unlike corned beef, chopped liver, lox, and gefilte fish, which you gentiles often don’t quite have a taste for, all human beings love macadamia nuts, arguably the world’s best nut.  Thus, I was quite excited for the first beer, I’m aware of, to be made using luxurious macadamia nuts.  As Morty Seinfeld once said, “They’re like 80 cents a nut!”  I’d really enjoyed the previous Stone collaboration beers I’d had–their Special Holiday Ale with Nogne O and Jolly Pumpkin and their Belgian Triple with Mikkeller and Alesmith–and luckily The Drunken Polack was able to secure me a bottle of this treat too!  This beer is cool in that one of the collaborators is a home brewer, the aforementioned Ken Schmidt, who won a contest Stone put on, crafting a beer so good the big boys from San Diego decided to try and recreate it on a larger scale.  This porter–as mentioned earlier this week, a “new” favorite style of mine–is getting near universal acclaim, but I wasn’t quite as floored as the masses.  And, I’ll readily admit, that’s probably due to my expectations.  What with its massively long name, essentially listing all the ingredients at once, I assumed the most prominent flavors would be of macadamia nuts and sweet coconut.  So, when I got a beer that was actually prominently focused on the Kona coffee, I was confused at first.  Eventually, being a big fan of coffee beers though, I grew to really enjoy this one.  This is very much a roasted, dark and rich beer ala Peche Mortel.  Not a hair of sweetness.  Really got only the slightest hint of slick sweet coconut and macadamia nuts on the finish, but maybe those with niftier pallates can extract those flavors better than I can.  Nonetheless, another great one from Stone.

A-

Juxtaposition Black Pilsner

10% ABV bottled

Better and more succinctly named than the previous Stone collab, but equally hard to photograph with a non-label label I’m still not sure whether I like or not–major pain in the ass to have to get your magnifying glass out to figure out which of the collaborations you actually have–this was another beer sent to me by Drunken Polack.  A Stone completist, I absolutely needed to try this joint offering with BrewDog and Cambridge, but I actually wasn’t that excited for it.  A pilsner?  Bleh.  I was so wrong though, this was quite delicious.  After you get over the fact that you’re tasting an incredibly hoppy dark beer, you can see Juxtaposition for it brilliance.  Floral and piney on the smell, some added roastiness on the taste, shockingly drinkable for the ABV.  This isn’t quite the iconoclastic beer Stone seems to think it is–aside from the coloring–but it’s awesome nonetheless.  I wish I had more bottles of it.

A-/B+

Keep the collaborations comin’!

Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner

January 5th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 13 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Boston Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Pilsner

8.8% ABV bottled

Wrinkly Facebook

At first it was kinda cute, like dogs that wear sweaters or people that let their annoying little children record their voicemail message. But now the madness has got to end. I’m talking about old people on Facebook.

A few Saturdays ago, I was lounging around my friend’s house, looking at semi-scandalous party pictures of girls I think I knew at one time in my life, when what should appear in my News Feed but:

[Aaron's Mom] added you as a friend on Facebook.

I nearly spat my beer onto my laptop. Fortunately, Sam’s Imperial Pilsner was a brew I could not afford to waste even an ounce of. Part of their “Extreme Beer” line–along with Utopias and Chocolate Bock to name two–this one totally fits their claim to be “an intense hop experience.” Smooth and creamy, with only the most mild of bitterness, this beer packs a wallop, and was impressively able to go (somewhat) toe-to-toe with the legendarily overpowering J.W. Lees Harvest. It reminded me a bit of Stone’s Ruination DIPA, and is definitely a can’t miss if you’re luckily enough to score some.

Predictably, I ignored my mother’s friend request. She probably hears enough bad shit about me through the old-fashioned rumor mill, no need for her to have high-speed technological access to the tragicomedy that is my besotted life. I quickly perused her profile. She’s a teacher, a 56-year-old AP Calculus high school teacher from suburban Oklahoma City to be exact, and I really can’t think of a person that Facebook is less meant for.

A few hours later, while out at the bar, I checked my e-mail on my phone and saw one come up from her:

“Did you get my friend request?”

I ignored it.

The next morning, a text from her regarding the same topic. This was getting ridiculous. I filled my younger sister in on the happenings. I was amused but my sister, a much brassier person than even me, wanted to dike this dam before truly bad things started happening. She immediately e-mailed our mom:

“Facebook is not for adults. No one wants their mom at the party.”

She also noted that a friend’s mother–a women cringingly notorious for trying to be a “cool” mom–was on Facebook, hoping to shame our mother into realizing the kind of fiftysomething that would use social networking.

I thought the matter would be over by now, my mom realizing her folly. We all sometimes get involved in ventures not fully realizing the implications. Heck, I accidentally, and briefly, found myself in a dance club over the weekend. Perhaps my mother had made a mistake like all of us are prone to do. She saw a piece on Facebook on “20/20,” she read an article about it in Time, she overheard a few of her pupils discussing it, and thought, “Cool, I should join, everyone’s doing it!”

On Sunday, I was out at the bar watching some football. I got a call. It was mom. I rarely answer my phone no matter who calls and most people have learned to text me, but since I was drunk and feeling good, I decided to pick up. Immediately she launched into me.

“Why aren’t you accepting my friend request?”

I explained to her that Facebook is not for adults.

“Aren’t you an ‘adult?’” she patronizingly wondered.

I explained that, yes, according to the semantics of “anyone-older-than-18-years-of-age” is an adult, than I am most assuredly one, eleven years over, in fact. But, though I may be an adult, I’m not exactly a “grown up.” Most people in New York City aren’t. That’s one of the reasons we live here.

New York City is all about arrested development. Although, I don’t exactly like that condescending term. The development of adults in New York isn’t “arrested,” we simply wish to develop in a more fun, less responsible way, let us say. We care about the hedonistic pleasures in life. Our only responsibilities are to make money and have fun, life is but a dream.

Whereas, I frequently find myself hanging out in the city with people as young as eighteen and as old as their mid-fifties, and despite the vast age difference, these people are just like me. They want entertainment, excitement, booze, perhaps drugs, women, men, sex, and fun. Not kids and houses and mortgages and chain restaurant dining. I’m far more similar to an eighteen-year-old or a fifty-five-year-old from New York than I am to 99% of my high school class, most now living in the Oklahoma suburbs, married and raising kids. That life is alien to me, and my existence is surely foreign to them. They are grown ups, and I am a twenty-nine-year-old child.

An “old” person from New York City is not technically an old person and there’s nothing weird about them being on Facebook. Meanwhile, most of the people I went to high school with seem just as out of place on Facebook as my mom as they simply use the service as a conduit to proudly display to the world countless pictures of their ugly kids.

I explained this to my mom and she continued trying to break me down:

“You don’t have anything bad on your page, do you?”

Not really.

“So what’s the big deal? I don’t even care what’s on there. I just want to see pictures of you, be a part of your life.”

Eh…

“Then accept my friendship, am I not your friend?”

“Sure you’re my friend, but I don’t want you tagging along on dates with me either. Maybe you want to sit in the corner of the room watching next time I take a girl to bed?”

Finally, perhaps because I wanted to get back to the football game and buffalo wings, perhaps because I was in a fairly jovial mood, my mother sweet-talked me into accepting her friend request. I guess I can be easily manipulated when I’m drunk.

Before accepting though, my more computer-savvy sister showed me how to make my profile “limited” so, in theory, my mother would only be able to see the most bare minimum of information on my page.

By the next day, my News Feed was getting pelted with an enfilade of Facebook tomfoolery from my mother.

[Aaron's Mom] has given [One of her old lady friends] a Bumper Sticker!

[Aaron's Mom] has thrown a snowball at you!

[Aaron's Mom] has sent you a Ninja Request!

What is it about Facebook that seems to infantilize everyone?!

Now look, I’m not gonna be all supercilious and act like I only use Facebook for mature, productive purposes. I don’t. That’s inately impossible. I use it for checking out girls I first met while drunk before deciding whether to e-mail them, for making fun of fat former classmates and the ugly boyfriends of my exes, and for making myself feel good as my friend numbers get higher. (Yes, I’m am a little, little man).

But I never waste my time using all these bullshit apps that I wouldn’t have thought cool even back when I was nine years old! The internet wasn’t even around then and I still wouldn’t have found this garbage cool!

[Aaron's Dad] added you as a friend on Facebook.

Moments later.

[Aaron's Dad] is now friends with [Aaron's friend].

[Aaron's Dad] is now friends with [another of Aaron's friend].

[Aaron's Dad] is now friends with [yet another of Aaron's friend].

I had had enough. Befriending my friends! This was getting ridiculous. Maybe I should call up my dad’s sixty-year-old co-worker friends and see if they want to go drinking with me. Turn about is fair play, eh?

I started punching out an e-mail cc’ing my mother, father, and sister. Before I could even hit send though, a status update came up on my News Feed.

[Aaron's Mom] is Facebook chatting with [Aaron's Dad] even though they’re sitting in the same room together. Pretty funny, right???

Gag.

I told my parent they were embarrassing themselves and the family. By friend requesting my friends they were putting them between a rock and a hard place. Either accept the old fart’s request and now have fifty-seven-year-olds lurking on their page, or be a dick and turn them down. Something they surely wished to do but didn’t since my friends are nicer than me.

My mother began crying. She said I was crazy. Yeah, I was the crazy one. Not the old lady getting caught up in the Facebook world like some junior high pop tart. She wailed about how much fun she had had in the twenty-four hours she had been on Facebook, locating some old boring friends, giving her teacher cohorts bumper stickers, seeing the lives my old babysitters had crafted, catching up with some distant relatives.

I let sleeping dogs lie. Briefly.

Then, over Christmas, my sister went back to Oklahoma while I stayed in New York. Quickly, my sister called me, it was worse than we had even suspected. Apparently my dad, a consummate snoop worse than a stereotypical yenta, had his laptop open all day long goofing around on Facebook and looking at people. Meanwhile, my mother had somehow, despite the limited profile setting, downloaded all the pictures from profile onto her computer, and was even displaying them as a screen saver. She was also still furious at my sister for refusing to be her Facebook friend.

Finally, things came to a head and my sister broke my mother down in a huge yelling fight. My mother locked herself in her room and sent a lengthy mass e-mail to me and my sisters:

“I realize now that you really never wanted me to be one of your friends…So to make you happier, I should probably remove you from my friend list. I don’t want to be accused of stalking my kids, just because I want to be in their lives. So confirm that you wish me to do that, and I will. I don’t plan to be a friend of someone who wants me blocked and doesn’t trust me.”

Uh…victory?

So now my parents are no longer my “friends” but countless other adults I’ve known over the years keep sending me requests. Many of my friends have professed that their parents too have joined Facebook in the past few weeks and are now bothering them in a similar fashion.

I think Facebook has reached a tipping point of annoyance. I don’t know, I guess we really need a Wrinkly Facebook for true adults to spend their time and not annoy me. I liked it better when I could just post drunken pictures of myself and status update concerning my sobriety without immediate comment from my 2nd grade teacher and my great-aunt.

A-

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

Brooklyn Pilsner

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brooklyn Brewery, Country: America, Grade: B-, Style: Pilsner

5.1% ABV

As mentioned before, I am a huge fan of the Brooklyn Brewery—my “home” brewer—and most of its line. Yet today when I was at the store, I glanced at the Brooklyn Pilsner and I realized that I absolutely never drink it. Hell, I’m not sure I have EVER had it. And that’s weird cause I do like pilsners a whole lot. I think it must have to do with the BP’s label design. Something about it just viscerally rubs me the wrong way. What could it be? The orange color? Surely not, because as a Cuse fan I find it the most regal color in the universe. Alas, maybe I just need to quit judging all things in life by their “covers.” (Except woman of course. Sure you could “get to know them better” and love them for their personality and “what’s inside,” but if their “cover” isn’t hot, then what’s the point?)

Speaking of points, let me get back on point and declare that Brooklyn Pilsner is a good beer. Smells great, very malty. Not amazing or anything, but better than Pilsner Urquell which many consider the standard bearer for the style. Honestly, I like the smell of this beer better than its taste. Which I suppose is a bit of a problem. I spent more time sticking my big Jew nose into the glass than actually sipping it. Did someone say “Jew”???—

Hey! According to the fine print on its label…

the “K” indicates that we got a Kosher beer on our hands. Mazel tov! Finally the “chosen” beer guzzlers have something to drink!

Final thought: it could probably use a little more bite, but for a lighter beer Brooklyn Pilsner is pleasant enough.

B-