Archive for December, 2011

Christmas Ale

Posted in Ales on December 21, 2011 by wiseweizen

First, to get a sense of what we’re dealing with tonight, watch this video. Tonight I bring to you, the one, the only, Great Lakes Christmas Ale. The behemoth has an ABV of 7.5% and 30 IBUs. That might not sound like much but holy damn will this beer rock your world. This ale is a very dark amber color and emits an aroma that says, simply: “Consume me.”  While the initial taste is a little bitter, Christmas Ale goes down easier than an 18 year old* at their first kegger. Seriously, don’t drink this stuff on an empty stomach and expect to remember the rest of the evening.

Here’s the story that Adam’s been waiting on since I started this blog… So we both work in the same office. That office happens to be close to The Winking Lizard, home of the World Tour of Beers. Now, we happened to be Tour participants, the object of which is to drink 100 different beers within a year.** Company policy states we’re allowed to have a single alcoholic beverage at lunch (two if we’re at a work dinner). Once a week we’d go to lunch together at The Lizard and check a beer off our list. It was great, we were regulars. We’d call ahead, the staff knew us by name, and we even had our own seats. It was like Cheers, but with hotter waitresses. So it’s early December and we go for lunch, I was excited because I knew they had Christmas Ale on tap. I’d been pretty busy at work already that day, and didn’t have time for breakfast, which I usually eat at my desk while working. I was so jazzed up about the beer, that amid flirting with Katie the waitress (who will live forever in our hearts despite moving away) and chatting with Adam, I finished the entire pint before our food even showed up. About 5 minutes later, all three of us make the same realization: I’m drunk – off one damned beer. I’ve yet to live this down, and probably never will. They call me a lightweight, I call it a Christmas Ale miracle. We ended up having to take a two hour lunch, just so I could sober up before we went back to the office. Good times.

Would I drink more than one of these in a sitting? Absofuckingloutely. Would I drive afterwards? Flying Spaghetti Monster, I hope not. Would I do other ridiculous shit in the safety of someone’s abode that would, in theory, only be a danger to myself for the delight of others? Yeah, probably. To quote Old School, “Once it hits your lips, it’s so good.” You know what, on a scale from 1 to Christmas Ale, this gets a score of… hold on, we’re waiting on the judges…. yes….. ok, it is unanimous, the score is Christmas Ale. Now, I will say, the only bad thing about Christmas Ale, other than the price of $12 for a six pack, is this magic elixir is difficult to find, and sells out quickly.

Please note the official Christmas Ale glass, and the lovely backdrop.

Ok, some holiday links: For Travis and Todd, our “favorite” Christmas Crusin song.*** For some reason, this, was my mom’s favorite Christmas song. Meanwhile, mine is this gem, and I’ve got to say that video is amazing. My favorite Christmas movie, you ask? Gremlins.

Alright kids, that’s all for now. Be safe and be merry.




*I was going to add “girl” but you know what, that’s sexist. Everyone can go down easily after their first kegger, though we menfolk tend to imbibe more than we should those first few times, thus making any attempt at “romance” a comedy of errors.

** This blog = excuse to join the 2012 tour…

***Niki, before you watch this, get tipsy, you will then love the animation.


Glutton for Gluten

Posted in Uncategorized on December 17, 2011 by wiseweizen

Because I promised, thus begins my review on a gluten free beer: New Grist, by Lakefront Brewery, Inc. This wheat free beverage has an ABV of 5.7% and sports 8 IBUs. I was going to joke that this would be Part 1 in my 1 Part coverage of gluten free beers, but I feel as though I should try a second one sometime, just to compare. New Grist isn’t the worst beer I’ve ever had, but it isn’t the best either. When I poured it, the aroma emanating from my glass made me think someone had dumped a Coors Light into a bowl of Rice Krispies. In actuality, it tastes like someone took one of those rice cake things and dunked it in beer, as if it were an Oreo with a cream filling of bad ideas.

A lovely young lass who works at Marcella’s told me that gluten free beers suck, so I set the expectation bar really low here, like unlimboably* low. I’ve got to say, it isn’t as bad as all that. Perhaps I stumbled upon the creme-De-la-crem of gluten free beers. Is it going to be a regular addition to my fridge? Of course not.** Though if someone bemoaned their wheat aversion, I’d not hesitate to recommend this to them. As this is my first non-wheat beer, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of color, and I didn’t know if the sorghum would affect that. I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture, but this is a very light beer. New Grist has an initial taste of “Huh? Wha? Rice?” but is ultimately a smooth beer. There’s almost no aftertaste, and should your biology demand you drink this all night, one certainly could. At the end of the day, on my “How does this compare to other things made from rice?” scale of 1 to Spicy Unagi Sashimi… I’m going to give Lakefront’s New Grist a score of Mildly Undercooked Katsu Bowl.

Before I go, I have a little to say about two completely different topics. So, lets get to that, shall we?

Dear American High Schools, please change your upper level English reading requirements. Seriously, I get that Wuthering Heights is a classic, but you know what? It sucks. If someone forced me to choose between having two random fingers cut off or reading Wuthering Heights a second time I wouldn’t even hesitate to lose the digits. Other “classics” are on my hit list as well. The Awakening, Tess of the D’Urbervilles – both terrible. It isn’t as if I hate them because I’m a male and all three examples have female leads. I hate them because they are mind numbingly boring, verbose, and painful to read. Where’s the Verne or Vonnegut? How about a little Three Musketeers or Robinson Caruso? Let’s get the kids reading things that are well written and fun to read. Hook them young. There’s plenty of time to read Kate Chopin when you’re going through your late 20s cynical phase. That said, I did love The Canterbury Tales.

If you are a board gamer and you regularly play with the same group of people, someone in that group needs to purchase a copy of Risk: Legacy. It both is, and isn’t a Risk game. The core mechanics of the game are the same regarding troop recruitment, attacks, and movement, but then it gets innovative. There are five factions, each with a starting power decided by the players, or randomly. Whoever wins the game, and to win you are trying to collect four Red Stars rather than conquering the world, gets to permanently change the game board. There are spaces to write things, and stickers to put on the board. In addition to signing the Winner’s List on the board, the winner can name a continent, found and name a major city, or select from a few other options. The losers, so long as they weren’t completely eliminated, can either found and name a minor city, or add a resource to a territory. Even cooler than the aforementioned game alterations are the secret envelopes, of which there are 6. Each lists a specific condition required to open it, and inside are more powers for the factions, new rules, missions, events, all sorts of stuff. Our group sat down to play last night at 6:45 and at 10:15 finished our THIRD game, so there’s no “OMG Risk takes forever!” factor involved. We’ve already marked our calendars for the next time we’re going to play. Not only is the game fun to play, but the smack talking and board changes are great. We’ve got two cities named to make fun of our friends. There was so much conflict in Central America that when a city sprung up there we named it “Field of Blood”, in Spanish of course, because we’re classy. Hell, I’ve even started coming up with an anthem for Imperial Balkania based on the picture on their faction sheet – a crimson armored soldier holding a giant ass rifle in one hand, and an ancient tome in another. I only have the one line: “Imperial Balkania, we read, we shoot, we love.” It only works if you say it in a deep voice with an Eastern European accent.

That’s going to do it for today. I’ve got a galaxy to save, and bounties to hunt.


*Say “unlimboably” a few times. Awesome huh? Rolls off the tongue nicely for a fake word. I think people should start using this adverb, and in 10 years we’ll get it in Webster’s. Hell, they caved and added “irregardless” because so many people used that non-word, so why not my colorful addition to the English language? Granted, unlimboably has a pretty limited use, but that will just make it all the more joyous of an occasion when someone does get to use it.

**Because this beer has rice in it rather than wheat,which probably means I’d be putting hardworking American farmers out of work and giving my beer dollar to the Chinese.***

***Just kidding.