Brooklyner Weisse

September 23, 2008

5.1% ABV bottled

The other day I went on a date with a girl named Cecilia. She didn’t break my heart, she didn’t shake my confidence (daily!), nor did we make love in the afternoon up in my bedroom (more like 3 AM in her living room.)

This got me to realizing that I’ve dated quite a bit of girls named after famous songs.

There was Desiree who was not very sweet and a diehard feminist. She stormed out of a restaurant mid-meal when I told her that I didn’t like any female musicians. Once she was gone I remembered that I’m a huge Debbie Harry fan. How could I have forgotten my “Sunday Girl”?

Rita wasn’t a meter maid (she worked in securities I believe) nor was she lovely. She kicked me out of an all-Indian Halloween bash she was hosting in her midtown high-rise when I got drunk on some “witches brew” punch and threw an hors d’oeuvre tray out the window and into her courtyard.

Allison never let any of my friends take off her party dress–so far as I know–but she didn’t have a problem with my pals constantly goofing on her. She wasn’t very bright and I don’t think she got their sarcastic jokes.  She’s married now and has two kids last I heard.

And when I finally got to live my lame dream of dating a girl with the last name of Brown, I never got the chance to meet her mother and subtly say in a heavily accented British accent, “Mrs. Brown, you’ve got a luv-ly daughter.” It didn’t make a bloke feel so proud.

There was Eleanor who I met just last week. Gee, I thought she was swell but she thought I was…drunk. Fair enough. She missed out on getting to be my pride and joy, et cetera.

And finally Michelle, who was decidedly not ma belle, but rather one big fucking cunt. McCartney would have struggled to write fawning lyrics about her, I’m certain of it.

If you ever go out with a girl with the same name as a song, especially a super famous one written by Paul & Art, best not to ever bring that up. She’s heard it plenty of times and doesn’t find it amusing. But you can still snicker in your head about it. And, your relationship is going to be nowhere close to as interesting, ideal, and romantic as the eponymous song. Perhaps that’s why there doesn’t seem to be any good songs of recent vintage named after women.  Life’s just more complex now than it was in the 1960s.

Cecilia took me to a party her friends were throwing. People might think it weird that I’d go to a party full of strangers for a first date but I kinda agree with wise Costanza.

GEORGE: I’m going out with her tomorrow, she said she had some errands to run.

JERRY: That’s a date?

GEORGE: What’s the difference?

She’s quite a bit younger than me, as are her friends, so I didn’t think for a second there would be anything decent to drink at the bash. I was quite wrong, and a tear fell from my ear when I saw Brooklyner fully stocked in the fridge.

I’ve never been a huge wheat beer fan as I think they are generally uninteresting, simplistic, and boring, but I’ve always loved this one. And when I see it on tap at NYC bars, I can’t help but grab a few dozen of them. This was my first time to drink it bottled and it was just as swell.

A great smell with a refreshing yeasty taste. Slight banana flavor, citrus esters, and even hints of bubble gum. And, of course, some full-bodied wheat. A slight sour finish but incredibly drinkable though that doesn’t mean it is lacking in potency or complexity. This ain’t no watered-down hefeweizen. I absolutely adore this beer. Have been drinking it for years and will continue to indefinitely.

So in summation…

Jubilation, I loved this beer again.  (I wanted to finish this entry by again paying homage to “Cecilia” by bastardizing its lyrics.  Eh.  That’s the best I could do.)

A-

WORKS CITED:

*”Cecilia,” Simon & Garfunkel from “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Columbia Records 1970
*”Desiree,” Neil Diamond, 1977
*”Lovely Rita,” The Beatles from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” Capitol 1967
*”Allison,” Elvis Costello from “My Aim is True,” Columbia Records 1977
*”Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” Herman’s Hermits, 1965
*”Elenore,” The Turtles from “The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands,” White Whale Records 1968
*”Michelle,” The Beatles from “Rubber Soul,” EMI 1965


Troegs Nugget Nectar

September 17, 2008

7.5% ABV bottled

For years, I’ve lived just a dozen or so blocks from the Trump Riverside complex and never thought much of it.  I just assumed the buildings housed your typical breed of Manhattanite high-rise-living stereotypes.  Then, this weekend, needing to get from Hudson River Park across to see a friend on the Upper West Side I decided to take a route that cut a swath through the middle of the massive development.  And, oh boy, was I quickly on another planet, man.  It was like an Oz in the middle of New York, a total self-sustaining upper-upper-class commune of the kind of yuppies you only see in movies.  Powerful forty- and fifty-something finance-type men with their thinning hair, primary color Polos pulled taut over their respectable paunches, slightly too-short pairs of those navy shorts that are kinda like a rich man’s version of cut-offs (if the material cut off was from a discarded pair of Boss suit pants), and Cole-Haan loafers, worn sockless natch.  Walking the sidewalks of their secluded high-rise villa holding hands with their younger never-had-a-job-before trophy wives as each partner used their one free hand to push a massive SUV stroller that costs more than two-month’s rent for plebes like me and you.  It was eye-opening I must say.

As I mentioned, the Trump Riverside community is seemingly totally self-sustaining, but this is no kibbutz, brother, not like these folks are growing their own maize and hemp, so of course they have to have their own fancy-pants stores.  And I shouldn’t have been surprised to come across their supermarket, a gourmet place called Jubilee.  Now, I’m like an old lady who has to go into every antique shoppe she comes upon to look for dumb knick-knacks, as I am cosmically compelled to enter every new supermarket or beer store I come upon, despite the fact that I was overstocked with supply at the time.

I was not surprised in the least to see that Jubilee had a phenomenal beer supply, surely one of the biggest grown up soda secret stashes in Manhattan.  All sorts of oddball stuff I had never seen before and in many cases never even heard of before.  I was psyched to see literally just a single loose bottle of Nugget Nectar (and for only a buck fifty!).  A buzz-worthy beer that I know is not so rare, at least in PA, but which never makes it to NYC.  I also realize it is quite a bit out of season as it appears to release in February–and was no doubt on the Jubilee shelf since then–but for such a hopbomb I don’t think that should have mattered freshness-wise.  I could be wrong.

God, I loved the smell of this one.  Like inhaling a Christmas tree.  And the taste is about as hoppy, piney, and floral as they come.  Right up my alley.  A nocturnal emission for hopheads.  Not exactly sure why this isn’t an IPA, but whatever they want to call it, I loved it.

A-


Surly Furious

September 15, 2008

6.2% ABV from a 1 pint can (“Beer for a glass, from a can”)

If this is a practical joke being played on me, it is one of the most subtly diabolical ever conceived. You see, I hate Time magazine. Hate it with a passion. I think it is a woefully out-of-touch, dated, and worst of all boring periodical that is about as maturely written as the Scholastic News. I won’t read it for free in the dentist’s office when the only other choices are Seventeen, AARP Monthly, and a brochure on gingivitis. Yet for the past decade or so, counting all the way back to my sophomore dorm room in Syracuse, I have been getting a free subscription to Time. It makes no fucking sense to me. During that time I have moved on five occasions in three different cities and though things I actually care about (bills, good magazines, my sex-toy-of-the-month-club shipment) struggle to find me, Time never fails to locate the Vice Blogger. They are like the mob relentlessly going after Henry Hill in witness protection. I’ve gone so far as to call, e-mail, and send a letter to Time Inc. begging them to please leave me alone, but they refuse to cease sending their semi-glossy rag to me. I’ve finally learned to live with it*.

Each week I take Time from my mailbox, perhaps briefly snicker at the lame cover story (usually on one of their four perpetually rotating topics, all of which necessitate derisively mocking quotation marks: the obesity “epidemic,” new “findings” on Jesus’s life, a “special” issue on going green, and “how” the brain actually works) and put it straight in the lobby wastebasket. There is only one time I so much as read a page of Time. That is when I am taking public transportation to go out drinking. Typically I read a book or listen to nerdy podcasts on my ipod (TED Talks!) when riding the subway, but since I won’t want to lug a massive tome around a pub, nor do I trust myself to not lose an ipod during my wily tippling escapades, an issue of Time is perfect. I can read it for five or ten minutes then immediately discard it. In fact, most trips are so short that I only have enough time to read the only legitimately good section of Time, the letters to the editor. Nothing better than reading rubes’ complaints about the east coast media’s evolutionary and homosexual “agendas.” I only wish Time would print the letters as they actually appeared at their offices. It would be funny to see whether they are written in crayon or Magic Marker.

However, the other day I was stuck at the worst train station in Manhattan (the Columbus Circle 1, coincidentally located underneath the Time Warner Center, home to the offices of…you guessed it) for an interminable amount of time and forced to venture further into my shitty magazine. Glad I did because I stumbled upon an amazingly interesting piece penned by never-amusing hipster doofus columnist/gadfly wannabe Joel Stein in which he drank a bottle of wine from all fifty states, reporting on the good, the bad, the ugly, and the surprising.

Having just received a package from Minnesota in which I got to sample my first ever Gopher State beers, I decided to see how much fifty-state beer drinking I have so far done in my life. Using Beer Advocate’s state directory as my main tool, I got to counting between TV timeouts during Monday Night Football.

I came to find that 48 states produce beer, and that I have had pops from 29 of them. Not quite as good as I would have thought, but decent considering the evidence.

Here are the 19 states I have never imbibed from and their most noted (or “noted” brewery)**:

Alabama — only two breweries producing ten total beers, perhaps due to the most asinine beer laws existing in perhaps any non-Muslim part of the world

AlaskaAlaskan

ArizonaFour Peaks maybe

Georgia Sweetwater

HawaiiMehana

IdahoCoeur d’Alene

IndianaThree Floyds, I’m ashamed I’ve never had one of their supposed-to-be-miraculous offerings

IowaMillstream

Kentucky — only two breweries producing eight total beers, meaning you should just drink bourbon when you’re in KY

Mississippi — only one brewery, so congrats Lazy Magnolia!

Montana — with an impressive 18 breweries, the king would appear to be Big Sky

NebraskaEmpyrean

NevadaRuby Mountain

North CarolinaCarolina Beer Co.

North Dakota — as far as I can tell, one of only two states with ZERO breweries!!!

Rhode Island — only one brewery, so congrats Coastal Extreme!

South Dakota — I bet you’re not surprised that this is the other state with ZERO breweries!!! Dakotas, get your shit together!

TennesseeYazoo

UtahUtah Brewers Cooperative, cherished makers of Polygamy Porter (“Why Have Just One?”) and Evolution Amber Ale (“…intelligently-designed just for intelligent beer drinkers.”) I think I like these guys!

West Virginia — only one brewery, so congrats predictably-named Mountaineer Brewing!

WyomingSnake River

If you are wondering if I now have a goal to drink a beer from my remaining untried states…absolutely not. That’s a pretty lame ambition for a 29-year-old who actually has things going on in his life. And Jesus Christ some of these states have some abominable-sounding offerings. Having said that, I’m always willing to drink liquid garbage for a funny review if VB fans from any of these states wish to send me some local swill.

Now let’s get back to the impetus for these state beer musings–no, not Jewish embarrassment Joel Stein!–but Surly Furious, the craft beer in a can. I was squeamish at first, but I for one have come to like the microbrew-in-a-can mini-revolution (Oskar Blues, et al). Much lighter for shipping, lugging around, and disposing of. Nothing more embarrassing than clinking a giant Glad bag full of bottles to the garbage room on a Sunday night (NOSY NEIGHBOR: Oh! You musta had a big party this weekend. You guys were sure quiet though. Except I heard crying several times. AARON: Yeah…heh, heh…party.)

Furious, as of today BA’s #49 ranked beer in the world, poured out a lot darker than I expected, a rich caramel or perhaps maroon. A foamy, foamy head with tons of lacing. Its smell was right up my alley. Exactly how I like an IPA to smell. Incredibly fresh and floral, akin to Maharaja or Captain Lawrence’s DIPA, two of my absolute favs.

Furious is very hoppy, again, just how I like it. A bit more sour than I expected (at 99 IBUs I shouldn’t have been surprised) and prefer though. Quite frankly, it could use a little balance. American hops and Scottish malt with citrus esters, grapefruit perhaps. A piney finish, like sticking a conifer needle in your mouth and chewing on it. Little bit of a carbonated sting, but very drinkable nonetheless.

For a certain kind of IPA fan, I could see this being their absolute holy grail, but for me, it’s just a tad too lacking in sweetness and alcoholic potency. Still stellar though. I’d love to get “session” loaded on it. This is a great one and the people of Minnesota are lucky to have it right in their backyard.

A-

*I seem to be a victim of oddly diabolical practical jokes. Last year around this time I received an unlabeled package which had in it nothing else but a dozen pair of some brand-new high-end socks. Who could have sent these to me? I questioned family, friends, my girlfriend at the time, but they all insisted that they were not the culprit. I still have no clue who sent these to me, especially since next-to-no people knew my home address back then. It still baffles me to this day. Oddly enough, I was really in need of some socks at the time.

**Just for craps and laughs, here’s my top five beer-producing states:

1. California — the unquestioned king with 84 incredible breweries, most notably Stone, Russian River, and Bear Republic to just name a few, as well as Lost Abbey and Port which I hope to finally try within the month.

2. New York — call me a homer, but the Empire State kicks ass with an amazing amount of top-notch breweries: Southern Tier, Captain Lawrence, Brooklyn, and Ommegang, to just name a few.

3. Colorado — good chance if I lived in Colorado they would finish second, but I don’t, so they’ll have to settle for the bronze with such great breweries as Great Divide, Avery, and New Belgium.

4. MichiganBell’s, Jolly Pumpkin, Arcadia, and New Holland. And I still have never tried a single Founders or Kuhnhenn beer so I couldn’t factor those highly-esteemed breweries into my rankings. Consider that for a second before you write me an angry letter to the editor (and, yes, I do have an evolutionary and homosexual agenda).

5. OregonHair of the Dog, Rogue, and Deschutes to name a few.

Notables:
Maine — Allagash, Bar Harbor, Shipyard
Massachusetts — Boston Beer Co., Harpoon, Wachusett
Pennsylvania — Troegs, Victory, Weyerbacher
Wisconsin — New Glarus (points deducted for harboring the dreadful Leiny)


Southern Tier Pumking

September 4, 2008

9% ABV from a bomber

John Jay was America’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, one of the founding fathers of this country, and a man who was strongly anti-slavery.

John Jay College is a dump of a school in my neighborhood whose beginning of fall classes and its perpetually sidewalk-lingering students always are one of the worst signs of the start of Fall.

Look, there’s plenty to bash about NYU and Columbia both university-wise and student-makeup-wise, but I don’t live across the street from those schools so I don’t have to deal with their riff-raff every fucking day.  On the other hand, those institutions are so formidable that they don’t only exist in one single building like John Jay seemingly does.

Having said that, I know nothing about John Jay as an academic institution since they don’t play high-level football or men’s basketball which is they only reason I am aware of any college.  Also, I’m too lazy to look up online how reputable the school is. Thus, all I can base my hatred of John Jay on is what its stupid “scholars” look and act like as they steal a little enjoyment from my life daily.

Firstly, as mentioned John Jay clearly has no high-level athletics, but they must have the top cigarette-smoking team in the nation.  I don’t know if they offer scholarships for tobacco-inhalation or if they just happen to attract the best of the best due to reputation alone.  Fuck, even their “walk-ons” are prodigious puffers as literally every single person in the school must smoke, clogging up the sidewalks of Tenth Avenue near 59th street all evening long.  The ACS should get off MJ’s back and instead focus their attention on John Jay kids.  Actually, scratch that, something tells me that John Jay doesn’t offer a lecture course in self-inflicted eugenics so the problem will handle itself.

For visitors to John Jay, the first thing you’ll notice are the female students.  You’ll no doubt remark, “Huh, I didn’t think Manhattan had a red light district any more.  I guess Giuliani drove them all from Times Square to Tenth.”  Sad to report, though, those aren’t hookers.  Hell’s Kitchen’s prostitutes don’t look and dress so similar to Miss Piggy.  A little similar sure, that’s to be expected, but not all-out adorned in skin tight dresses struggling to remain pulled over their giant shelf of a rump, totally-inappropriate-for-the-classroom boas and costume jewelry, with massive bouffant wigs.

Also, hookers typically don’t have backpacks slung over their humps which they got for free by amassing 1000 Kool points.  Likewise, while streetwalkers enjoy street “meat,” John Jay co-eds like literal street meat, gorging themselves on hot dogs and cheap beef on a skewer while waiting for their next class.  These co-eds make one almost wish the 19th Amendment had a special rider on it that banned despicable pigs from getting the same treatment as the general female population was soon to receive.  I’m pretty sure even Susan B. wouldn’t want these women learnin’.

The men of John Jay are another story, a parade in creative facial hair.  Prince and the artist formerly known as rich and famous AJ McLean would be quite envious of these males’ topiary mug styles.  These gents are paradigms in multitasking.  Booming iPod ear buds loosely hanging from both ears while similtaneously utilizing a not-even-cool-back-in-’05 Bluetooth piece. With such aural inundation, you’d think these men would travel alone.  Nope, in fact, they hang in large circular groups, fronting a guise of friendship and rapport with their classmates when, in fact, no one is talking to anybody else in person as each listens to their music while loudly yakking in their headsets while smoking butts more briskly than Andrew Dice Clay.

I always ponder where all the professors are as I never see any clear-cut adult around the premises nor entering or exiting the academic building.  I assume the profs are brought to and fro the “campus” via reinforced armored vehicle and escorted into the building courtesy of several state troopers.  Then again, I can’t imagine any aloof John Jay student cares about his or her grade enough to threaten a teacher.

Now actual educators may never be seen but a lot of fucking children sure are.  Every day at John Jay is apparently bring-your-toddler-to-class day.  And besides those few students lucky enough to have accidentally stumbled upon correct rhythm method usage, most of the non-parent student variety seem to be “expecting.”  A typical John Jay lecture must easily be confused for Lamaze class.

The school bookstore is right across the street from my pad.  I popped in once to get a new copy of Aurelius’s Meditations as I’d misplaced my previous one and figured a large bookstore at an institute of higher learning would surely have at least one edition of maybe the most significant written work in the history of words.  But, of course, they did not.  However, based on what the bookstore did have in stock, I’m guessing most John Jay class syllabi call for plenty of Tasty Kakes, Cheetos, and copies of JET.  Boy, I’d love to audit one of those classes, but I’m worried that the value of my legitimate tier one university degree would plummet.

In the founding father eponymous standings, Sam Adams got a great microbrewery, John Hancock got the ubiquitous idiom for one’s signature, and John Jay got a safety school of all safety schools chock full of students that make me always dance over to Ninth Avenue when I’m forced to head north.

Luckily, Fall also signals some good things. I’ve already discussed my love for Oktoberfest beers and I love pumpkin ales even more so. Pumking is often regarded as the best of the yearly bunch and this was to be my first time to try it.  Bummed out and feeling a tad self-loathing on a Labor Day Monday night, I needed a bit of a pick-me-up and Southern Tier had just the cure.

I can’t believe how much Pumking smells like fresh pumpkin. I can even taste the crumbly crust. Very complex for a pumpkin beer with tons of spices and subtle little notes.  Like most of Southern Tier’s oddball line of chocolate, coffee, and creme brulee beers to name just a few, Pumpking is of the highest quality.  No artificial flavors and ingredients are used here like in your typical pumpkin beers.

The first glass I had was perhaps a little too warm but the next two were at a perfect cool temperature to enjoy the beauty of Pumking.  Very good, very smooth, and imminently drinkable.  And “paired” with some of the phenomenal new Kraft Mac & Cheese crackers (white cheddar) by evening’s end I was feelin’ fine.  I think I’m going to be drinking this beer a lot this season.  I may even go as Pumking for Halloween.

A-

Vice Blog Reading Group Guide: Questions for Further Discussion:

1. Did you find Aaron’s Pumking entry to reek of racism?  Or perhaps you are the racist one for calling Aaron racist when he didn’t ever mention race once yet purely on the basis of reading his completely matter-of-fact observations you thought of particular races of people, you racist.  But, but, but you say, he did reference JET and Kool cigarettes.  Sure, like only a certain race of people read and smoke those.  If you’re claiming that’s a black thing, then I wouldn’t know, I’m not racist like you.  And neither is Aaron.  Aaron also mentioned Miss Piggy, and as far as I can tell…she’s Asian.

2.  Aaron frequently discusses his love for cigars while bemoaning the nanny state this country is becoming as the pansy-ass government continues impinging on our rights to enjoy so-called vices in public.  Do you think Aaron is a hypocrite for chastising the cancer-stick smoking ninnies that pollute John Jay?  Or do you accept his borderline hypocrisy because cigarette smoking is disgusting while stogy smoking is a totemistic explosion of fragrance and awesomeness?

3. Do you find it amusing that some of the worst high schools and universities are named after some of the most successful men and women of our time, people that these schools’ students could never dream of accomplishing even a quarter as much as?  Would it perhaps be more apt for these schools to be named after, say, a very good manager at the local AMC who figured out a way to consistantly upsell moviegoers from Goobers to Raisinets?


Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale

September 1, 2008

8.6% ABV from a bomber (limited release)

A bit tardy to the party, but better late than never!

Here’s the deal, the great Stone brewery–who still won’t reward my beloved touting of their mindblowing beers with any free shit–releases a new specialty beer one year, one month, and one day from the previous Vertical.  This started on January 1, 2001 (01.01.01) and will end on December 12, 2012 (12.12.12).  The thinking is that one will collect all the bottles and cellar them until after 2012 at which point they will do a “vertical” tasting, that is start with Vertical one and working all the way up until Vertical twelve at which point they will have been in a coma for a few hours.

I love the thinking, but I’m not much for planning that far ahead into my future.  Not much for commitments.  I mean shit, how can I know what I’ll be doing on 12.12.12?  I barely know what I’ll be doing on 09.09.08.  By 12.12.12 I’ll probably be a thrice-divorced teetotaler, living in a Buddhist commune in Little Rock, Arkansas, making spending money by selling I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter sculptures at county fairs.  And, if I’m not, if I’m still the world-famous Vice Blogger, then I’ll just find some friend with the foresight to have kept all the Verticals and mooch off of them.

08.08.08 smells fantastic, just like a Duvel which is one of my all-time favorites.  Unfortunately, it does not have quite as much flavor as Duvel.  Spicy, cloves, fruity (mainly citrus and other tropical ones are noted), Belgian yeasts, and a surprising amount of hops.  Sweet and bitter at the same time.  A tingly aftertaste nicely lingers.

Quit frankly, not quite enough bite and potency for my liking.  Which probably means I am a maniacally insane dipsomaniac because most other people online are calling this brew too alcoholic for their tongues.  Pussies.  Though a tad weak, this is still a very good beer though from the untouchable Stone.

One final point for my homebrewing friends.  Stone is cool enough to literally list the complete recipe for their beers online.  Remarkable.  I hope someone I know attempts it.

A-


Russian River’s Blind Pig IPA

August 18, 2008

6.1% ABV from bottle

Call me a chauvinist, call me delusional, heck, call me a fucking asshole (but in the comments section, please), but after ten straight days of feasting on a smörgåsbord of Olympics, here are the female events I believe I could medal in or help a team medal in with just a month of training.

Field Hockey

Why?: I dated a girl once who played high-level collegiate field hockey for what I understand is a national power. After school she continued to play on a very competitive club team in the city. I tagged along once to watch a practice and afterward dicked around with her stick seeing how well I could strike the ball. The answer was quite well.  In fact, much better than any of the long-time-playing woman there. And I was a much faster runner than all of them too, though my “dribbling” was admittedly a little shoddy. Thus, this leads me to believe I would be the Wayne Gretzky of women’s Olympic field hockey, pelting the net with my screaming shots as the opposing defensewomen cowered to the ground in fear of bruised thighs and battered egos.

Why not?: Like most men who have played sports their whole lives, I have a fairly bad back, and thus I can’t imagine being hunched over in that awkward stance for an hour and half long game. Also, my legs would look so great in my short sporting skirt that inevitably my teammates would be thrown off and unable to concentrate on the competition at hand.

Handball

Why?: Have you watched these matches? Have you seen how slow these women throw?! How little of velocity they get on their shots?!! Well that wouldn’t be a problem for me.  I may have a rag arm now in my old age but it’s still a veritable Dan Marino-type cannon compared to Olympic women’s handballers. Women’s handballers throw like the kid that sucks at grade school dodgeball. The kid that tells his mom to write a letter to the principal excusing him from participating in the masochistic game due to the trauma it inflicts on him.

Why not?: I really can’t think of a reason why not. Maybe the fact that I don’t know the rules and would probably just quickly scan handball’s wikipedia entry fifteen minutes before my team’s first match? Yeah, I would probably commit a lot of infractions I wouldn’t be aware of. And you know the officials would call me for a lot of BS fouls too.

Javelin:

Why?: The world record currently stands at 71.7 meters by one Osleidys Menéndez of Cuba. Please. I could throw an unsharpened number 2 pencil that far using my left arm while seated in a rolling desk chair.

Why not?: Because I have no idea where to buy a javelin. You think Modell’s sells them? I doubt my fellow competitors would lend me theirs for the competition. Especially since I’m gonna be kicking their asses. Hmmm…wonder if I can get a deal on a good used one on ebay?

Fencing (Saber)

Why?: As exciting as it was to see Beca Ward, Sada Jacobson, and the oddly sexy Mariel Zagunis produce a USA sweep of the medals at this year’s games, I was stupefied by how slow the womens’ footwork was during parries and ripostes. They lumbered around, moving as if their trousers were full of shit. And, come to think of it, looking at some pictures, maybe they had in fact soiled their drawers. Now, I may not be Barry Sanders or anything agility-wise, but I’m a lot nimbler than these gals. Not to mention, my reflexes are highly acute due to always being alertly wired on the Voltaire-esque amounts of caffeine I consume every single day. I would be poking these women in their sextes and quartes so quickly during my balestras that they wouldn’t know what to do!

Why not?: A much bigger body surface area than my fellow competitors would make it a lot easier for them to get scoring hits. Plus, I’m a little concerned about how good of vision I would have through one of those beekeeper’s-like masks they wear.

And one women’s sport I would be terrible at:

Trampoline

Why?: I’m a stoic so I’m not frightened by many things, but I have been scared shitless of jumping on trampolines ever since I was a little kid. I was always fearful of mistiming a leap, losing track of where I was on the bouncing surface, and falling into the open void in between canvas and base, thus getting my entire lower body stuck between two of those menacing coils. Ouch!  You can imagine that I never did anything more difficult than little six inch vertical bunny hops on the trampoline bed, too scared to put the pedal to the floor and see how high I could go. I wouldn’t even get on the trampoline with other kids, too worried that numerous youngsters bouncing at once would cause a ridiculous exponential recoil affect that would propel me far off into the ether. I always admired the kids with the balls to do back flips and stuff, for I was too chickenshit of those damn coils. Hey, why’s this a sport any how?!

Of course, like any good armchair sportsman, I came to all these realizations while lazily lounging on my sofa in my boxer briefs, stuffing my face with Flipz (sweet white fudge coating with a nice salty pretzel core–they are delicious!) and drinking beers. The brew for the day was Blind Pig IPA, another Russian River selection from the package sent to me by the amazing Marie. In fact, she told me she actually prefers it to Pliny in bottle form.  Intriguing.

Right of the bat, it has a great smell. Very bitter IPA, fresh and well-balanced with some powerful hops, kinda like Ruination. Grapefruity and I detect a slight minty flavor as well. It has to be said, it simply doesn’t taste quite as good as it smells. It’s very drinkable though and I think it could make for a splendid session beer. Nice and cold (as ordered by Russian River on their bottle) it was indeed tasty.

Blind Pig is good, damn good, but I just don’t find it super flavorful, interesting, or complex enough to be considered the masterpiece a lot of people seem to think it is.

A-


Stone Pale Ale

August 1, 2008

5.4% ABV from a sixer

The scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has just discovered a most interesting thing about the Malaysian pen-tailed treeshrew. This 25 centimeters long, 190 grams heavy creature drinks alcohol twenty four hours a day, every single day, guzzling the 3.8% ABV fermented and frothy nectar from the flower buds of the bertam palm. It is the only wild mammal known to be into the “good stuff” and pound-for-pound it is the hardest drinking animal in the universe. Even better, these 55 million years-evolved motherfuckers never get drunk, shitfaced, intoxicated, inebriated, crapulent, blotto, hammered, sloshed, plastered, or even tipsy.

How awesome are they?

Having said that, true I may not be as svelte as the treeshrew or as able to consistently marathon drink as much as them, but I beat those rascally critters in other ways. First, I drink way more potent brews (3.8% is almost as pathetic as Amstel Light. Step it up shrews!), and I would brashly wager I have far better besotted raconteurial skills, beer pong prowess, and adroitness at picking up bar floozies than they do. Plus, when I’m drunk I don’t shit in the woods like them. (Too often at least.)

But let’s not compare dick sizes, treeshrews. Though I’m guessing I would win at that contest too.

I love the treeshrew and I find great inspiration in them and their lifestyles. My dear readers are often concerned about my tippling escapades, but they need not be. I am actually in tip top shape. In fact, I’m not sure how you could read my blog and not realize that alcohol, for the most part, only improves my life. And the treeshrews’.

Dr. Frank Wiens from the University of Bayreuth in Germany (and now The Vice Blog’s #1 recommended healthcare professional) most certainly agrees with me. He believes that there are actually positive effects of the treeshrews’ (and thus humankind’s) insatiable urge to get loaded: “The trait of alcohol consumption is actively maintained during evolution, so the overall effect must be beneficial.”

Score!

So when you’re getting wasted at 10 AM on this upcoming Sunday morning as your wife hauls the kids off to church, don’t be concerned, don’t feel bad about yourself, but relish your drunkeness like you’re WC Fields. And tell your creationist wife that you’re evolved to get drunk and she’s the one not behaving inherently human.

Two nights ago I was visiting my favorite brewery Stone’s website–I look at beers online as if they are pornographic photos–when I noticed they had a Pale Ale. In fact it’s the first beer they ever made. How had I been drinking beers from Stone’s entire line for years and never realized this?! I have literally had every single other major Stone bottling plus numerous special releases, but had never even heard of their Pale Ale. And, I’d certainly never seen it around in stores and bars. Oddly enough, the next day I was visiting my friend in Hoboken when what should I see on his local beer store’s shelf but the Pale Ale. What kismet! Bacchus continues to watch over me!

Stone is known for big, bold, ass-kicking beers, so this seemed to be a very un-Stone-like brew right off the bat. At first sip I didn’t really love it. Seemed kinda bland, like their IPA only with far less hops, far less flavors and complexity, and a semi-sour finish. But by the end of the first bottle I’d grown to really appreciate it. Goes down smooth, a nice combination of creamy and silky hops and malts. In fact, the bottle proudly claims that literally the only ingredients in the beer are hops, malts, yeast, and water. What perfection can be attained from so few ingredients. I can’t recall ever polishing off more than two Stone beers in a night but my friend and I tore through bottle after bottle of the Pale Ale, never getting sick of it. I didn’t think Stone had a sessionable beer in them, but this is about as good as one gets.

A-