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Archive for the ‘Style: Scottish Ale’ Category

Equinoxe du Printemps

August 20th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel, Cigars, Country: Canada, Grade: B plus, Style: Scottish Ale

8.5% ABV bottled

What Makes Sammy Strip?

I was at a networking event which is interesting because I absolutely loathe “networking” and can’t think of a typically less interesting answer in the world than that to the question:  “So, what do you do for a living?’

Alas, the event had cigars, booze, splendid food, and a world-class skyscraper roof deck view to keep me sated.  Alack, the event was sans women in a “old boys club” kinda way, so I had no choice but to get loaded and talk to dudes.  How unseemly!

In fairness, it was a nice crew of upwardly mobile urban professionals dressed in nice clothes and living nice lives.  Most all with nice wives back at their nice (and owned) homes and apartments which meant the chicanery was at a lower–more “respectable” you might say–level than I’m accustomed to.

I was quiet and behaved, unable to speak much as the majority of conversation topics dealt with things I’ve never dealt with in my life nor may ever deal with:  seventy hour work weeks, nest egg creation, sweater vests, marriages, honeymoons, intended pregnancy.  I just sat back sucking down a Rocky Patel Ocean Club, a Holt’s Cigar company exclusive and a mini-masterpiece of a smoke, while tippling my second career beer from Canada’s brilliant Dieu du Ciel brewery, makers of the legendary Peche Mortel.  A “wee heavy” made with Quebec maple syrup, this brew has an unbelievable nose.  I expected greatness.  However, the taste is a little more muted.  Caramel malty and complex, but not an overwhelming explosion of flavors.  Nevertheless, an interesting and beautifully crafted winner.

I enjoyed my beer and smoke while enjoying the company, trying to learn a thing or two, decipher fancy business terms, acronyms, and unnecessary argot, vicariously living through these other men.  “Hmmmm…could I live this man’s life?” I wondered each time a I met a new, swell gent.

I didn’t think I could, but oh how quickly the sands go through the hourglass.  You never know.  Then, Sammy approached me.  A diminutive but jacked Indian, he was so aggressive in running up to me that I thought I was either being hit on, or that, more likely, Sammy was one of those hardcore networkers.  The kind of guy with a perpetual smile painted on his face, an overly happy demeanor oozing with artifice, an abundance of faux-enthusiasm that manifested itself in a lot of head nodding, “uh huh”-ing, and question asking.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.  What do you do?  What can I do for you?  Oh, how do you know him?  Do you know her?  Gimme a card.  Shoot me an e-mail on Monday.  Let’s grab coffee.  Let’s get lunch.  Let’s do business together.  let’s facilitate a relationship.  Let’s make things happen.”

But, Sammy wasn’t like that.  Sammy had just entered the world of suits and ties, cubicles and offices, meetings and conference calls and coffee breaks.  He found the world of business quite boring.  But that was great for Sammy.  Sammy liked that.  For you see, Sammy’s previous job, career, occupation, vocation was a little more…interesting.

Sammy had been a male stripper.

I don’t know how the topic came up, I don’t know how we began discussing it, but as you can imagine, a besotted transgressive like me had plenty of questions to ask the man, it was almost as if I was interviewing Sammy.  And lucky for us, he was quite forthcoming in the sort of blase way that shows you he is so unimpressed with himself that he is surely being 100% honest.

“It’s a standard rule amongst male strippers:  no coming.  For some reason, these women have no problems with rubbing a strange man up and down, fondling him, touching him, pleasuring him, but the second he ejaculates, it’s like the record scratching at a party in old TV shows.  Now all of the sudden, the women are quickly sober and disgusted.  Not with themselves.  But with me!”

So you just have an erection for hours on end?

“No, a man has his needs.  And I could only take so much.  So I just decided to break the industry rules and let it fly.  But never in the face.  Never in the face.”

How did you get into this…field?

“I was poor.  Poor as dirt.  Working a shitty job at a shitty restaurant.  I became friends with one of the bus boys and one day he’s kinda staring me up and down.  What the fuck?  ‘You have a pretty nice body, dude.  Muscular.’  Is he hitting on me?!  No, he’s recruiting me!  Invites me to join him that night for a bachelorette party.  I couldn’t believe the bank.  How much cash I left with that night.  I was hooked!”

How much were you making?

“This is Ontario mind you, not New York City, but I was pulling $600, $1000 even a night.”

WHAT?!  Then why the fuck aren’t you still doing it?

“It was far too humiliating.  Embarrassing.  All these gross old ladies slobbering over me.”

You gotta be drunk, right?

“I’d drink a whole bottle of Patron before I went out there.  The naked part wasn’t the worst part it was all the dancing to cheesy music.  So fucking embarrassing.”

But all these women want you.  Doesn’t that make you feel good about yourself?

“I tell you bro, it’s hard for me to respect women after all the shit I’ve seen.  Women blowing me mere seconds after meeting me.  Grandmas, mothers, wives.  Fucking fiancees sucking my dick one day before their wedding.  It’s disgusting.  I can’t trust any women after that.”

None?

“None.  I guarantee you, most all the women you meet have done the same shit before.  Think of how nasty us men are.  Well women are worse!  They are all disgusting whores.”

Did they ever have sex with you?

“They all want to.  But I never did.”

Why?  Morals?

“Economics.  You never have sex with a client because once you pop, then you’re done.  How you gonna keep making money dancing with a deflated balloon hanging from your groin?  Not to mention all the women you don’t fuck are going to be jealous of the one woman you did fuck and are going to want to spite you.  So you tease all of the women, make each and every women think that she is the one you most want to fuck.  You tease them, milk the money, let them milk you, but never have sex with them.  Unless they are mindblowingly hot.  And then, only at the last second before you leave, after you’ve maxed out your earnings.”

“Pretty fucked up, huh?”

Absolutely.  I’m kinda disgusted with the human race myself.  Did you ever feel bad the next day?

“No.”

No?

“I felt rich.”

Uh, so you want to go another bar and try to pick up some girls?

“No.  I don’t have one night stands.”

B+

Founders Dirty Bastard

April 20th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Founders, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Scottish Ale

8.3% ABV bottled

My Quasi-Celebrity Girlfriend, Part II

(previously…)

“What are you?  Like a large?  Medium?”

“Large is fine.”

The Land O’Lakes Girl looked through a stack of clothes–men’s clothes–in her top dresser drawer.

“Here, try this.”  She tossed me a long-sleeve t-shirt promoting some coed beach volleyball tournament sponsored by a University of Buffalo fraternity several years previous.

You should always be a little concerned when a girl has plenty of men’s clothing in her house.  “What size?” is not a question you want asked, as in she has such an abundance of clothes left behind from lovers’ past that she can accommodate a medium or a large or even an XXL in a pinch like she’s running a Salvation Army or is the wardrobe girl on a film set.  She might as well just reveal what her “number” is.

Our initial one-night stand had some how become a one-day stand which had then punched a hole in the sky into the ultra-rare two-night stand.  I was the Johnny Vander Meer of bar pick-ups.*

Everyone knows the morning after a one-night stand can be fraught with regrets and excuses.  Or, at least, trite sitcoms would have us believe that they are.  I used to be like that myself, making any dumb reason possible to jet.  Then, I invented the straight-shooting, “So how you want to end this thing?  Handshake?  Hug?  Kiss on the cheek?” shtick which has begun to serve me quite well.  Both sexes wrongly always assume that they want out of the situation more than their counterpart.  This is not true at all.

However, something about the Land O’Lakes Girl and our magnetic rapport refused to let us separate.  We woke up that first morning euphoric, giggly, hooking up some more.  She offered to make me an omelet.  I don’t turn down an omelet.  We laid in bed all day watching classic movies in the dark.  There was nothing odd about it.  Uncomfortable.  Awkward.  Neither of us wanted to part.  We were having a great time, almost instantly soul mates it would seem it could be said if we were the kind of banal morons that said such silliness.  But we weren’t.

We were simply lonely.

As darkness fell and night two approached, I broached the subject of finally leaving.

“It’s late and you live on the other side of town.  You don’t want to deal with that.  Might as well just stay again.”

I laughed at her reasoning.  I did hate late night commuting across town.  She was right.  I told her we were now in two-night stand territory.  She laughed.  She didn’t know who Johnny Vander Meer was.  I was glad of that.

I told her, so long as I’m gonna stay, why don’t I grab a shower and then we can go out and grab a bite on the corner.

After my hose she lent me a previous lovers’ clothes, though, by now, she thought we should nix going out and just order in.  It was late and I was dressed like an asshole repping some frat I was never a member of, whose members had never teabagged me nor pissed on me at all during hell week.  She didn’t understand why I wanted to leave the house so badly.

“Because neither of us has been outside since like 1 AM.”

This would become a standard refrain.

For soon, I would see the first chink in this seemingly great girl’s armor.  She never left the house.  But I didn’t notice at the time.  Or, I didn’t care.  Because I really dug her.

She really never left the house.

She thought she was too famous for that shit.  Seriously.

I didn’t realize this was the reason until afterward.

She thought everyone recognized her.  Especially tourists.  Huuuuge Land O’Lakes enthusiasts.  I would learn that was why she had no interest in going to my just-off-Times-Square Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

She never left the house.  Worked from home.  Maybe would go out once a week to get drunk alone.  Like when I met her.

I didn’t realize it til during my post-relationship analysis, but the Land O’Lakes Girl was batshit crazy.

On the second consecutive morning together, we finally parted ways for the first time.  She told me to come back later that night if I wasn’t busy.  I wasn’t.  Whatever.  I had nothing better to do at that lonely time in my life.  This time, however, I made sure to stuff a bag with with essentials:  my non-frat-promoting clothing, some craft beers, some classic movie DVDs.

I recall a story about Scorsese and Robbie Robertson from “The Band.”  This was during both men’s heavy drug usage days, we’re talking post-”The Last Waltz,” pre-”Raging Bull.”  So apparently the two move into some hovel together where they blacked-out the windows, did a ton of blow, and watched classic movies all day.  That was my life with the Land O’Lakes Girl for the next week, minus drugs, plus sleeping together, minus me making a concert film about her.**

We got drunk every night on good beer.  Plastered.  Stuff like Founders Dirty Bastard, the first “wee heavy” I’ve ever had in my life as far as I can recall.  An absolutely delicious Scotchy brew full of caramelized malts and a smokey booziness which still goes down quite easy.  We watched movie after movie after movie.  I was a better film buff than her, but she was no slouch.  We’d alternate between watching a favorite of mine, then a favorite of her’s.  Then, we’d discuss them.  We were like Siskel and Ebert, minus the bad sweater vests and turtlenecks, plus cuddling during screenings, minus sexual tension.

She liked movies about celebrities, movie stars, divas, crazy women.  “All About Eve,” “Sunset Blvd.,” “A Star is Born,” “Day of the Locust,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” “The Player,” “Singin’ in the Rain,’ and Bunuel’s “That Obscure Object of Desire.”

She had wanted to be an actress once.  Right after she’d gotten out of school.  In fact, she had been “discovered” while waitressing at a Penn Station area coffee shop waiting for her thespian career to be handed to her.  At that coffee shop, a marketing director for Land O’Lakes had found her.  This was back at the turn of the millennium.

That first and only week between us passed quickly.  We’d blown through dozens of movies, done little to no work or anything productive, created an epic pyramid of beer bottle empties, used Seamless Web so much that we actually got an e-mail from customer service making sure that someone hadn’t stolen our information to order piles and piles of food delivery.

On Friday morning, the Land O’Lakes Girl sweetly and earnestly asked me if I would go on a date with her that Saturday.  I smiled.  Why of course I would.  Ha, we had been essentially living together for the past week and we still had never gone on a date.  On that first date.  We had skipped the courting stage and gone straight to the relaxed, lounging around in sweats stage.  Or, maybe we were both ashamed with each other, might as well keep our lives together private.

I asked the Land O’Lakes Girl where she wanted to go on our de facto first date, suggesting some of my favorite restaurants, bars.

No, she explained, she already had a place that she wanted to go.

(That she needed to go to is what she should have explained.)

Saturday afternoon, after a quick shower and change of clothes at my place, I returned to the Land O’Lakes Girl’s building to pick her up.  She was in a bathrobe when I arrived.  I sat on the couch watching some college football.  She took forever.

Finally, she emerged from the bathroom.

She wore a brown suede and fringed dress covered with ornamental beads, moccasins on her feet, necklaces and bracelets aplenty, her hair in two Willie Nelson-esque braided pig tails supported by a feathered headband.

Clark Kent had just gone into the phone booth and become Superman.

The Land O’Lakes Girl and I were going to a trade show where she had to work.

CONTINUED…

A-

*Nothing but love for you if you got the reference.  A regular Bill James you are.

**”THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD!”

Old Chub Scottish Style Ale

August 19th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Oskar Blues, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Scottish Ale

8% ABV from a can

“Are you gonna blog about this?”

Mid-gulp I turned around. She was much better looking than I would have guessed regarding the unusual circumstances.  Thus, she had to be crazy.

Last week a random girl A___ had sent me an e-mail telling me how much she liked an entry I had written about a certain beer she liked.  She also noted how much she liked the bar where I mentioned getting the beer. I told her I likewise liked that bar. She thought we should like it together. I quickly agreed to meet her for a drink.

“You’re not even gonna ask me what I look like?”

True, perhaps I had been too overzealous.  Damn. But I didn’t care if she was 70 years old and ugly as Joy Behar, I had done something remarkable in only four easy steps:

1. Drink a beer.

2. Write an article about said beer.

3. Woman reads said article about said beer.

4. Now said woman wants to sleep with said me.

I wish life were always so simple. However, now A___ refused to tell me or show me what she looked like pre-date. She claimed it didn’t matter, that I shouldn’t be concerned, because there was no doubt I would “love her.” I told her what George Bernard Shaw said:

“Love is a gross exagageration of the difference between one person and everybody else.”

So, yeah, I didn’t know what she was gonna look like and now I was a tad nervous. What kind of woman could read my vulgar missives and think me a good catch? Think they absolutely had to meet me?!  Actually, I imagine most, I am indeed pretty awesome and my writings don’t even tell half the story.

Nevertheless, I got to the bar early to make sure my beer goggles were securely in place before A___ arrived. It didn’t matter though, she was surprisingly stunning. And she quickly wanted to buckle down and get some beer-drinking done. But first…

“Are you gonna blog about this?”

People always ask me that question nowadays when we’re in the midst of something. Some activity.  Having some shits and giggles.  And there’s no good answer.

I typically reply, “Well, yes, if something interesting happens.”

That’s not a great answer, though it is true. Paradoxically, the people I’m with both want to and don’t want to be blogged about.

They want to because it’s validation. It’s validation that they were a part of a good, memorable time; validation that they are a good, memorable person. At least that’s what they think, though it’s not exactly how I feel.  Many of the best times of my life are simply not interesting enough to an outside reader to necessitate writing about.

However, these same people don’t want to be blogged about because…well, I’m not actually sure why. Do they think that simply being a part of my blog will sully their sterling reputations? That it would be an event they will never be able to recover from? Like appearing in a “Girls Gone Wild” video or something? I’m still unclear about the line of thought. Especially considering me (and portly Kansans) are pretty much the only people I mock, defame, and libel in my writings.

I explained this all to her and she immediately took it as a challenge. She had to make the evening interesting enough to get written up. Cool with me.  Little did she know, though, that no matter how mundane the occasion, I was 100% going to write about my first date with a Vice Blog reader.  If we had an fun, interesting time, well all the better.

A___ was from near Boulder, Colorado originally and she seemed to know her beer. She recommended Old Chub from the Oskar Blues Brewery. I had never tried it before but I had certainly heard quite a bit about Oskar Blues. Mainly because they’re the only craft brewery in America that cans their beers.

Yes. They can their beers. A highly regarded beer from a can?! My interest was aroused but I was also quite leery.

I shouldn’t have been.

Old Chub has a thick smell, kinda like soy sauce though not unpleasant. Tastes of caramel, chocolate, and pronounced smoked malt. Very nice flavor and not what I expected. Kinda tastes like a dopplebock actually. It also went down a lot smoother than I thought nor was it as filling as I figured it would be.

However, it is perhaps a little boring. I would have it again though and am intrigued to try more Oskar Blues brews.

As we tippled our Old Chubs, A___ wouldn’t stop talking about…well, me. Specifically my writing. No matter how I tried to steer the conversation–toward the Olympics, toward other beers on the menu, toward last week’s awesome “Mad Men” episode, even toward the humor in watching the fat gal at the end of the bar eating an entire platter of nachos grande by herself–she kept coming back to me and my writing.  Discussing her favorite posts and mentioning many of her favorite lines and views espoused by your humble author.

Did this get annoying after a while?

Fu-uck no. I loved it.  I mean, I am a deep-seated narcissist.  Incurvatus in se ipsum.

So no A___, you didn’t do anything quite interesting enough to make me want to write about it, but you did make me realize who the perfect kinda girl is for me:

A member of my own fan club.

B+

[To join the fan club please write me at theviceblog [at] gmail.com!!!!]

Belhaven Scottish Ale

July 23rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Belhaven, Country: United Kingdom, Grade: B plus, Style: Scottish Ale

5.2% ABV from a nitrocan

I have a bit of a feud with nitrocans. Years ago, during my Guinness phase, I was invited to a party thrown by some older, classier folks, and I decided to bring two four-packs of Guinness nitrocans (this being a “classy” party I didn’t think a 30 rack of Milwaukee’s Best would be appropriate). Setting them down I suppose a bit too rough on the host’s kitchen counter, the (I say defective) widgets somehow managed to combust and the highly pressurized cans exploded. It was like when Vincent Vega accidentally shot Marvin in the head while he sat in the back of the 1974 Chevrolet Nova, blood and bone fragments flying everywhere, even landing in Jules Winnfield’s jheri curl. However, in my case, the exploding cans shot viscous brown stout beer in every direction, hitting party guests and landing in every single nook and cranny of the small kitchen. I didn’t need a Winston Wolf in my life to know what I had to do next. I thus spent the first hour of the party on my hands and knees scrubbing and standing on a small step ladder trying to sponge the Guinness from the ceiling. It was absolutely humiliating. I wrote Guinness a letter hoping to score some free shit, and, in fairness, their quality control guy did call me, but it was too much of a rigamarole to fill out all the paperwork and mail in the defective cans for laboratory analysis. Not worth it.

Now you see why I try to avoid nitrocans. However, my friend cites Belhaven as his absolute favorite beer and so I had to give it a whirl. Glad I did. Nutty, malty, smooth and creamy. Like a more flavorful Guinness. Goes down like Yoo-Hoo. I would definitely have this again.

B+