Home     About Me    Most Beer Blogs SUCK     Top 10 Most Wanted     Very Best of the Vice Blog    

Archive for the ‘Style: Red Ale’ Category


October 31st, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 13 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Ithaca Beer Company, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Red Ale

6.5% ABV bottled

She sipped her cheap blush wine and nuzzled closer to me. She clearly wanted to ask me a question but was nervous. Spit it out, I wanted to say. She finally spat. “Tell me about your last girlfriend…”

A loaded question if I’ve ever heard one, but I’m a bit of a psychological savant and have answered these enough in the past to know the “correct” answer. I took a sip of my Cascazilla, a “monstrously” hopped red ale that pours maroon, smells like an IPA, and tastes like one too. Pretty tasty, and quite drinkable.


“Well…my last girlfriend had major intimacy issues, lived under the shroud of her smothering mother who happened to hate me, couldn’t see and enjoy the practically perfect present for the always-unpredictable future, was clinically lazy, had a fear of commitment which she hid by claiming that I actually did, possessed a pathetically cyclical history of kamikazeing her serial relationships with the same personal errors, and, most egregiously of all, was not a champion of my dreams.”

Perhaps I’d gone overboard.

That was true but those were the only really bad things about her, stuff that could have easily been fixed. But that was irrelevant at this point in time. When a new girl you’re wooing lacks confidence, you tell her only bad things about your ex. One that is confident though, you can’t go far enough in telling her the good things, giving her lofty goals that she will then forever try to live up to and exceed.*

“She was smart as a whip, the sweetest person I’ve ever known, always laughed at my shit, even moreso put up with my bullshit, could drink like a longshoreman, liked to party more than me, fantastic and always forthcoming in between the sheets, enjoyed bar games, was incredibly creative, was my raucous ‘partner in crime,’ and had a comfortable bed…”

Tonight was our first “test” date. Er, actually, it had somehow become a “test” date when she started grilling me. The third date is usual a little early to get the third degree, but whatever, I was too drunk to mind. The only reason I hate being questioned, “tested,” is because it makes for boring conversation. I’d rather just drink, watch a movie, or make fun of other people not as genetically gifted as me.

Why must women always shanghai their chances by getting another woman’s essence into a partner’s head? What a stupid thing to do. You wouldn’t physically derail a man’s interest in you by showing him pornography–unless you were: awesome!–so why mentally derail him by forcing me to have remembrances of things past? And, indeed, now it was no surprise that I was thinking about her.

I was still miffed how it had ended. Completely arbitrarily and unnecessarily. Quite frankly, I was still shocked she hadn’t contacted me once in the however many months since we had broken up. On D-Day plus One I would have bet the heavily-subsidized farm that she would have phoned, e-mailed, texted, and/or carrier pigeoned me by now. Maybe that’s my narcissism acting up. Or, I guess she just didn’t love me as much as I thought she did.

I returned to the present.

“I’d always champion your dreams, Aaron.”

She said it, but I wasn’t so sure. Heck, I wasn’t so sure, yet, if she was even smart enough to know that the word “champion” could mean something other than the sweaty guy that gets to kiss a pretty trophy and display a giant novelty check after winning a sporting event.

Well, if my “new” girl was going to test me, I was going to test her. I don’t particularly care about a woman’s past unless it involves chronic STD contraction or ravenous intravenous drug usage, so I simply follow a trick Quentin Tarantino taught me.** I make each new girl of interest watch my favorite movie of all time — “Annie Hall.”

I’m surely not that daft, but I did used to agree with the line from the great “High Fidelity”: “What really matters is what you like, not what you’re like.”

Then why did every girl I’d ever liked, at worst, loathe “Annie Hall,” and, at best, feel apathetically bored by it?

It’s too irreverent. Too weird. Too old. Too out-of-touch. Too slow. And Woody gives me the creeps, they’d say. I’d heard all the complaints.

Finally, on Tuesday night, I’d come to realize, it didn’t fucking matter whether a girl likes “Annie Hall,” or good beer, or college basketball. All the mattered was if I liked to be with her. And I thought I might like this girl. I paused “Annie Hall,” grabbed her hand, and escorted her to her bedroom. Afterward, when she went to the bathroom, coming back she retrieved the DVD and her laptop from the living room and brought them back to bed. She had actually been loooooooving “Annie Hall” and couldn’t wait to see how it was going to end.


*As a secondary purpose, these revelations also allow you to tell a new girl exactly what you expect in a relationship, a template for what you will and won’t tolerate.

**QT: “When I’m getting serious about a girl, I show her ‘Rio Bravo’ and she better fucking like it.”

(Also, please to join The Vice Blog FACEBOOK group. I’m trying to get the #1 ranked beer blog on Facebook.  Link in the upper right hand corner of my page!)


October 29th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Guinness, Country: Ireland, Grade: B-, Style: Red Ale

4.5% ABV on draught

Sunrise on a foursome ~ Murphy bed ~ Brian ~ Brazilian meats ~ Umbros as underwear ~ Brian’s tippling caveat ~ Meet Market Adventures ~ The seduction(s) ~ Boutique hotel rooms ~ Bathroom coitus ~ What the fuck? ~ Breakfast and laughs

The sun came in through the eastern exposed window, hitting the four sleeping people crammed onto the small Murphy bed which housed from right to left, easterly to westerly: me, my one-night stand, Brian’s one night stand, and Brian, all of us in various and unfortunate states of undress. The previous night had begun so normally, so PG, so unceremoniously headed toward mundaneness and early bedtimes.

But then, ain’t that how the best nights always begin? With the lowest of low expectations?

On Thursday morning I received a text from a good out-of-town friend Brian. He had been handed some spur-of-the-moment meetings in New York and was on the Acela en route. His night would be free though and he thought we should grab dinner. On the company card, natch. He enlisted me to pick a place. Living in Hell’s Kitchen near Little Brazil, I instantly offered the idea of a churrascaria, otherwise known as stuff-your-face-with-skewered-meat-until-you-are-supine.

Before Brian’s communique, I had planned on doing laundry that night, having no underwear clean. I hate going commando, especially on a hot and sticky night in the city, so I rummaged through my dresser for the most undergarment-like thing I had to don. Eventually, in the back, back, back of my dresser, I found a pair of high school-era tight-like-the-Europeans-wear Umbro soccer shorts. Shimmery, shiny, overly colorful, and with a long drawstring, they would have to suffice. And, since Brian had already explicitly stated that we would under no circumstances be drinking alcohol due to the fact that he had a bright-and-early Friday meeting, I figured I’d only be out wearing my soccerwear for an hour or two. Hey, what could go wrong?

Soon, I would see how Murphy’s Law would lead to Murphy’s bed.

We met at the Brazilian joint, asking to be sat in the dark basement so impressionable youths would not have to witness our savage destruction. For those of you rubes that have never ate churrascaria before, it essentially works like this: for a single price (usually in the $20-25 range) you get an all-you-can-eat of carnivore’s delight. On your table you have a card, on one side a green “go” light, on the other a red “stop” light. As numerous ESL waiters walk through the dining room carrying countless skewers of differing meats on a stick–beef, chicken, pork, lamb, shit wrapped in bacon, etc–a green light-turned card tells the gents to keep piling portions onto your plate. Not expecting to drink, and showing amazing discipline in spurning offers of delicious Caipirinhas, Brian and I must have put down a dozen pounds of animal in under a half hour. It was glorious. And, oddly enough, over oh-so-quickly.

Our bellies bulging like Buddha, we listened to a seemingly endless loop of “Girl from Ipanema” and “Mas Que Nada”–apparently the only two Brazilian songs ever written and performed–being played by the bossa nova band out front, laying back in our chairs and gasping for air. The night was still very young. What could one drink hurt?

I hate to transgress my friends, so I refused to broach the subject. But I hoped. I sent ESP signals across the entrails, viscera, and meat-laden spittle covering our table. Finally, Brian reacted, a neon bar light going off beside his head–an idea!

“Let’s go get A drink,” he said, accenting the “A” with a long-vowel stressing–as opposed to the typical schwa pronunciation–that one only uses when they are truly fucking serious.

Nearby on Eighth Avenue was a bar where Brian and I had had some fun times in the past and he quickly offered up that joint for my approval. Now, for whatever reason, I–like most locals–never go out on Eighth Avenue. Eighth is for the bridge-and-tunnel, the happy hour heroes, the tourists with just enough balls to venture to a tavern outside of Times Square, and flight attendants in town for the night and staying at nearby midtown hotels. In other words, a perfect storm of deviant, don’t-know-when-they’ve-had-enough, easy lays. Fun times are always had in Eighth Avenue bars, I should go more often. This time would prove to be no exception.

As we entered the classless and sterile pub, a stream of all-dolled-up women spewed out the front door like a bison herd. “Did a pipe carrying noxious gases just burst in back?” we wondered. Nope. Seems a Meet Market Adventures speed dating event had just ended. We would quickly realize that the girls leaving the bar were the ones that still had a shred of dignity, a sliver of confidence still inside of them. These were the girls that wanted to at least cry about their romantic failures in the privacy of their own homes. What remained in the bar was a gaggle of desperate women who had amazingly not found “Mr. Right” during the event and were now content to get shit-faced while singing along to “I Will Survive” off the Bose jukebox.

We pushed through the failed would-be Mr. Rights, milquetoast dorks dressed as if they were attending a wine tasting, blazers and khakis galore, all smarting after having been rebuffed by the female speed-daters, and hit the bar to get our drinks and scope the scene. With no great tap offerings we went with Swithwick’s, the ubiquitous and usually mispronounced beer* that is satisfactory enough in a pinch.

Brian and I quickly showed our speed-seduction prowess by becoming the life of the bar, the bon vivants of the party, the idols of every girl in attendance. We are funny and scene-stealing enough in normal crowds, but going up vis-a-vis with pathetic speed-daters was as if you had planted a steroids-era baseballer back into the 1940s. We quickly had our pick of the litter. And I don’t mean litter (def. 1), I mean litter as in garbage, rubbish, refuse.

Brian went for the queen bee, an actual employee of Meet Market who was running the whole sob-fest. With 300 ccs of confidence injected into her chest, I was quite jealous of Brian’s score. I found myself with a cute but pathetic speed-dater, too shy to flirt and do much talking, malleable to my every whim. In other words, perfect for me, as I adore the sound of my own voice and I very much like to tell women what to do as though I’m Patton.

Not surprisingly, only A drink became huge tabs replete with pint after pint and shot after shot. Soon we were the last in the bar and the party needed to move elsewhere. Brian suggested retiring to his nearby hotel room to hit the minibar and play some “party games.” Of course, upon arriving at Brian’s hotel, I learned that it is what is quaintly known as a “boutique.” Which, in Manhattan, means a tiny, shithole. The room was as small as a janitor’s closet with nothing more than the aforementioned Murphy bed, a mirror, a rabbit ears TV, and of course nothing even remotely resembling a minibar.

The four of us stared at each other with dumbfounded, what the fuck do we do now?, looks on our pusses. It was near 4:00 AM and our options were limited. Fortune favors the bold, and followers need leaders, so I had no other choice. I ordered my girl:

“Go to the bathroom, strip naked, and I’ll be in there in a sec.”

And she wordlessly did as she was told, shutting the door behind her. I shrugged at Brian and he shrugged back. Quite frankly I was a little impressed by myself. Brian’s girl had a leery look on her face, wondering what deviant things were about to occur. “Hey, you run these Meet Market Adventures. You should be happy she’s about to get laid.”

I followed my girl in, indeed finding her naked and standing in the bathtub. I liked this one!

We began to ravenously make out and as I reached down to unbuckle my jeans, for the first time in twelve hours I recalled what I was wearing under them. I snickered in my head, a tinge of worry, predicting that nothing kills a drunken 4 AM mood faster than hot pink and purple soccer trunks. Thus, I was forced to pull everything down at once, in the blink of an eye, totally breaking hook-up protocol but thus never giving her a chance to see my embarrassing Umbros.

When we finished, I no longer cared. I threw on my Umbros and we headed back into the room, finding Brian and his girl missing. We collapsed on the bed, my girl kindly insisting that the two of us only take 50% of the small sleeping space, should we doze off and our friends return. Of course, that is exactly what happened, and that is exactly how just a few hours later, I woke up in a tiny Murphy bed, me, my girl, Brian’s girl, and Brian, all in various states of undress. God, I don’t want to know what happened on the 50% of bedspace open beside me. Then again, at least I had my girl as a buffer, like those bumpers you throw up to help kids and retards bowl better. Likewise, I couldn’t complain as it was possible I had caused Brian’s company to get charged room damages for my bathroom dalliance.

Somehow, Brian woke the exact same time as me, and over top the shoulders of our sleeping lasses, we looked at each other and laughed. And then, OHHHHHHHHHHHH!, collapsed back to our shared pillows, our heads throbbing with the most epic fucking hangovers ever.

“SHIT!” Brian’s meeting was in just fifteen minutes. As he scrambled to get dressed, I tried to shake the bitches awake. I’ve always been amazed by how deeply somnolent my one-night stands can be. Girls are just wired differently than us I suppose.

By the time the girls were awake and tidy enough to walk of shame back to Yonkers and Hoboken–each of them cutely giving their respective man a business card should we ever want to have future contact with them (we wouldn’t)–Brian had already decided he wasn’t making his meeting and would just call in sick, cementing his status as a legend of vice.

We headed to a diner to grab brunch and recount the past fifteen hours ad nauseum.