Samuel Adams 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



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