Welcome to the holiday edition of Pondering Pints. We’ll get to the beer eventually. First, watch this. While I don’t mind giving gifts, I am not a fan of receiving them.* That’s weird, right? I feel this has come about for two reasons: 1. for some reason my parents and girlfriends have never seemed to be able to get me anything I would actually want** and 2. I am terrible at feigning enjoyment of bad gifts. And… story time:
I’d just graduated college and my parents presented me with a small box. They said they wanted to give me a commemorative present that I could have forever. Said item turned out to be a gold necklace. I stared at it for a bit, then stared at them. They said “It’s gold and you’ll be able to keep it forever, isn’t it great?” I said – in the most neutral demeanor I could possibly muster – “I’ve never worn a necklace before, or ever expressed interest in doing so. What lead you to this as the perfect gift?” I wasn’t trying to be an ass, really, I wasn’t. Seriously though, after being my parents for over twenty years, you’d think they would have some inkling of what their son would consider a memorable gift. I mean, just off the top of my head in the under $100 range (and I’m sure the hunk of gold cost more than that) why not an FX Lightsaber, replica web shooters, or even the issue of Amazing Spider-Man where PETER GRADUATES FROM COLLEGE!*** Ok, to be fair, there’s almost no way they would have known such an issue existed unless they asked me or someone that worked in a comic shop. Still, they knew I collected comics and at the time I didn’t have the money to buy any of the really key older issues, I don’t think I had more then one or two issues lower than #150. They really could have taken a shot in the dark and even if they purchased a bad issue, I wouldn’t have cared because they actually put thought into the gift. Now that I’m putting thought into it, I’m only about 50% sure I even know where that necklace is right now. The point is, I suck at receiving gifts. (Sorry mom and dad!)
Now, dear reader, I tell you that, to say this: when getting gifts for someone this holiday season do one of two things: 1. a gift card to somewhere you know they shop or, better yet 2. a gift that you actually put thought into and purchased based on the individuals tastes. Too many people seem to buy something that they would like on the assumption everyone else probably would want it too. Also, if you ask someone for a list, but then don’t buy anything off said list, that’s pretty much the definition of fail.
As a quick non-footnote addendum, before we get to the beer I just wanted to throw out there that just because they sucked at giving gifts (usually) doesn’t mean they weren’t pretty awesome parents (also usually).
So, tonight’s beer, which was a gift from Doctor Scott Valentine, is Sword Swallower, from Shmaltz Brewing Company’s Coney Island line of beers. Multiple websites list the ABV at 6.8, but the company’s website has it at a 7.2, so I’m going to split the difference and call it a 7.0% ABV. The IBUs were similarly tricky to pin down so I’m calling it 60 IBUs. Now, the beer is actually a lager but brewed IPA style. I don’t know what to expect (haven’t actually taken a sip yet) but I put it in a glass with a griffon on it. My hope is that somehow, the griffon will make it taste good. The aroma is very hoppy, with a hint of citrus, and the beer has a hazy yellow/orange color. Ok, here goes nothing…
The griffon didn’t work. I can say without a doubt, that of beers I’ve reviewed thus far I like this the least. Also, it is the only one I’ve considered not finishing. Two sips and one gulp in and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over pouring the rest of this out. I don’t even know how to begin to give this beer a fair and balanced review. So yeah, I’m not going to. This beer sucks, don’t ever drink it. If anyone thinks I might be hurting Scott’s feelings by trashing his gift beer, don’t worry, he wanted to “get this out of his fridge” so I’m pretty sure there aren’t going to be any hard feelings. I am obligated to give it a rating though. So, on a scale from 1 to Excalibur, Sword Swallower gets a score of: Unevenly Cut Wooden Sword That Gives You Splinters When You Hold It. Oh, Christ on a Cupcake! Without thinking I took another sip. The next 3 minutes of my life are going to be full of an aftertaste called regret.
Cheers! And seriously, don’t get me anything for Christmas.****
* Exceptions include: beer, and gift cards to places that sell video games or comic books.
** Two notable exceptions come to mind: last year my then girlfriend made me a mix cd and got us tickets to a brewery tour / beer tasting, which was an excellent gift, and way back in the day Janet (who I never dated, though our parents probably suspect otherwise) got me a pair of fleece Spider-Man pajama pants. I may or may not be wearing them right now.
*** I actually ended up buying the issue as a graduation present to myself.
**** Unless it is a strip-o-gram. From a girl. That’s good looking. You might think those last two sentences go without saying, but I can think of at least a dozen of my friends that would have hired a guy.