Archive for January, 2012

Winter Scorpions

Posted in Ales on January 31, 2012 by wiseweizen

Last night I enjoyed a bottle of Mt. Carmel Brewing Company’s Winter Ale. MCBC is a local brewery, hailing from Cincinnati. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve only been to Cincy once, about six years ago to see The Aquabats play in some dive bar near the university. Most of the time I drive about 30 seconds past Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky to go to concerts. Anyways, back to the beer. The Winter Ale is a robust 8% ABV with 36.8 IBUs, which is something I probably should have looked at before I started drinking on a Monday night.

Winter Ale is what makes Sleepy Bear sleepy.

This beverage went down damn smooth. While not as powerful or having as much bite as Great Lakes Christmas Ale, MCBC’s Winter Ale could almost be more dangerous, just because of how easy it is to drink. Upon first opening the bottle a pleasant aroma of spiced honey lingered in the air. It smelled divine. If I could get a Winter Ale candle, and somehow devise a way to utilize it at work so as to trick myself into think I’ve been drinking, that would be awesome. Besides, I could use something other than just my Darth Vader bust candy jar at my desk to remind me that there’s joy in the world.* For being such a dark ale, I was surprised at just how smooth it tasted. The bottle claims this is from the “ginger and orange spice bread”. I don’t think I’d eat orange spiced bread, but apparently it is enjoyable in liquid form. I’ve got to say, this is one of the best wintry seasonal beers I’ve had. Strong and spiced without assaulting you with either aspect, I could be happy drinking this one brand of beer all night. On a scale of 1 to Dirigible, I’m going to award Mt Carmel Brewing Company’s Winter Ale a score of Tauntaun!**

Since tauntauns are so awesome, that’s as good a segue as any into the Three Things… I Wish I Could Have as a Pet: a triceratops, a luck dragon, and either a winged lemur or an air bison.

A few posts ago I mentioned that I’d be attending the Columbus Winter Beer Fest. While I did have a good time, ultimately I don’t think I’d go again. You pay $30, get a 5-oz tasting glass, and are set loose for about four hours in a room full of beer vendors. That sounds great in theory, but doesn’t work terribly well in practice. There were two main problems. First, the lines were super long. In the four hours I was there I only tasted 7 beers. Again, that sounds good, until you remember that each one is only 5 ounces, and that equates to just under three full sized beers for the totally not a bargain price of $30. I sort of paid $10 per (full) beer and wasn’t even at a “gentleman’s establishment.” If I pay that much for a drink, it better come in a sweet glass I get to take home, or be offered with a table dance. The second problem, was probably only problematic for me. There were no height appropriate hard horizontal surfaces upon which to take notes. I went with dreams of being able to write about each beer as I was tasking it, to regale you all with an epic post afterwards, but alas. I think I’d rather invite a few select friends to my abode with instructions to bring 3 or 4 unique beers each. We’d just hang out, taste beers, and eat pizza. It’d be cheaper and ultimately more fun. That said, I suppose I am glad for the experience. Now when people mention the Beer Fest, I can act all knowledgeable and superior. I mean, I’ve been there, so clearly my opinion is better than everyone else’s, especially that guy who thinks the new flavor of Bud Light is “off the hook”. Off the hook, huh? Good. Now I have something to impale you on.***

While I’m ranting… at the office the other day I was walking to get a drink of water and happened to notice that someone’s computer’s desktop background was a big picture of a scorpion. I really wish they’d been at their desk so I could have pointed and said “Why?” One of my brain noodles just popped. I just can’t comprehend how someone could have that as a background. Let’s break it down, shall we? You’ve got two types of background. Type one is the “passion” background. For most people this is going to be a picture of a family member, maybe a pet, or reflective of one of their hobbies. The second type of background is “artsy”. Perhaps a nice landscape photo (real or drawn), or an interesting art piece that caught your eye. There was nothing particularly artistic about the scorpion background, and I really can’t see someone being passionate about the creature. Maybe some guy that studies scorpions for a living, but certainly not some random office dude. Now, if it were something like a scorpion with razor pincers and a tail that shot lasers fighting a bear that’d been hit with a shrink ray, but who received gladiatorial armor to compensate, I could see that as a background. That’s bad ass. Hell, I’d want to see that in mural form. But no, this was just a scorpion with some leaves and a rock. What. The. Fuck.

Well kids I’m going to leave it at that. Until next time, watch out for those Care Bare Stares!

Cheers!

 

 

*I’d like to assure my readers that I’m not an alcoholic, despite the fact that I write a beer blog and just declared a wish to feel like I was drunk at work. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t wished they could be drinking at work? Probably actual alcoholics that are trying to stay dry. Also, lion tamers.

** Note that this particular tauntaun would come equipped with an air freshener.

*** Of course when I say “I” what I really mean is “my team of people that lift heavy things to compensate for my T-rex arms and lack of upper body strength.” Didn’t know I had a posse, did you?

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Being Tipsy and Blogging

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 by wiseweizen

I got teased for misspellings and poor grammar from the last post. I was going to correct these errors when another friend said: “Dude, you were just slurring your speech. It totally fits the theme, you’re fine.” Justification, I have found you! So yeah, sometimes being tipsy and blogging doesn’t mix – unless you are blogging about beer!

However, my tipsy state did not allow me to remember that I was supposed to include the second iteration of the new feature “three things.” To make amends I’m going to give visuals for this one.

Three (nerdy) things that made me sad the first (and possibly subsequent) times I saw them:

For those that need a textual explanation… 1.) In the original Super Mario Brothers, when you defeat Bowser in the first castle, this is the very next thing you see. 2.) An Ewok just discovers his buddy was killed by an AT-AT in Return of the Jedi. 3.) The death of Gwen Stacy, from Amazing Spider-Man #121.

I have justified, and amended. My work here is done. I’ll be drinking at The Tilted Kilt this Saturday to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Corrie LaPointe’s 21st birthday. That should be a fun time and I hope to have a “normal” post up Sunday or Monday.

A quick thanks to the folks that re-posted my blog. A hearty welcome to any new readers, who should check the archives and stick around for future posts!

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and ends up able to remember most of it!

Cheers!

World Tour, Part Deux

Posted in Ales, Hefeweizen, Lagers on January 25, 2012 by wiseweizen

Remember how I said that World Tour posts were going to be multiple beers and no pondering? Lies! Multiple beers AND pondering below, for your pleasure.* Since I’m a little tipsy, the beer portion is going to be a quickie.

If I had a nickle…

First up is Bell’s Oarsman Ale. The Oarsman comes in at a meager 4% ABV but a whopping 56 IBUs. The color of fuzzy, light pee, this ale has a sweet citrus aroma. It tastes like it smells, and is a nice palate cleanser. Since I had this one at lunch, I’d say it is a great “I have to go back to work but I still want to drink” beer. The ale was a little tart, which surprised me. On a scale of 1 to Slave Galley, I’m going to give Bell’s Oarsman a score of Crew Coxen, based on the plaate cleansing capabilities, which I have apparently just likened to yelling and boat steering.

Number two is New Zeland’s Epic Lager from Epic Brewing Co. At first I thought it was Epic for being $9, then I thought it was Epic for being 22 oz. Correct on both accounts. The lager is 5% ABV and weights in at 25 IBUs. Epic has a clean citrus smell, and is colored golden – like a transparent doubloon. I was surprised at the bitterness, yet it did have a citrus taste with a hint of honey. There is a crest on the label bearing the number 6. I’m not sure why it is there, and have no intention of looking it up at the moment. Anyone feeling the need to solve the mystery, please post your findings in the comment section. This is a tingly, yet refreshing beverage. On a 1 to Lord of the Rings scale (because it was filmed in New Zealand), I’m going to give Epic Lager the high score of “Toss me, but not a word to the elf.” I should point out that midway through this beverage, while I was still sitting alone, the waitress, in ninja fashion, sidled up to the table while i was unaware and also singing “Rescue Me”.  Sometimes you just have to let out your inner Aretha.

Finally I enjoyed the contents of an Brau Weisse, by Ayinger. These are the same folks that make the Celebrator, from the previous post. Another 22oz beer, this was 5.1% ABV and only 13 IBU’s. I seem to be cutting the IBUs in half with each beverage. As this was the third beer, and it, along with the previous one were quite large… don’t expect much of a review. Where before I feel there was a mild amount of eloquence, my notes for the aroma on this beverage simply says: BANANAS, yes, in all caps. It ended up tasting like oranges though. Danielle thought it was reminiscent of “vanilla and mount wash, but creamy.” On a scale of 1 to Tripping On Nothing, I’m going to award this brew a rating of “I Got Lost in the Waitress’ Cleavage because of Her Lacy Undershirt”. Three out of three people at my table agreed, Mandi’s boobs were pretty epic. She got bonus points because when I asked if she had a disdainful relationship with the letter Y’s use as a vowel (because of the spelling of her name), she totally played along.

I did have two guests with me tonight at dinner, Duck and Danielle. Duck enjoyed the contents of a Troegenator Doublebock, highlighting the floral qualities. I remarked that it was as if “a flower got drunk, then threw up on me.” Meanwhile, gluten free Danielle was forced to imbibe a Red Bridge (Bud’s gluten free offering, and sadly the only GF beer at The Lizard). She felt that it merely tasted like a normal Bud that someone had emptied a sugar packet into.

 

Can you like something incorrectly? Let’s take the film “A Clockwork Orange”. Mrs. A likes the film for the action scenes and the violence. Mr. B enjoys it for the messages delivered in the subtext. They both enjoy the film, and for different reasons, which is fine. When you look at the reasons though, is Mrs. A enjoying the film incorrectly, since she’s completely missing the point of the piece? Or, is it ok that she views it as nothing more than a violent popcorn movie with some weird prison stuff in the middle? Are there even “right” and ‘wrong” reasons to like something? Stupid thoughts like these keep me up at night. Seriously.

In things that actually matter news, as of March 9th, I will become unemployed. Don’t fret; I think this is a blessing in disguise. If you know me, chances are you know I don’t enjoy my job. You may also know that I’m lazy, sometimes requiring a metaphysical kick in the butt to do things. I’m looking at the job loss as a giant kick in the butt to punt me toward the next step of my life.** What is that step going to be? Well… I haven’t quite figured that out yet. There’s a lot I’m considering – 1.) any corporate job, 2.) a corporate job at a company who I could be excited to work for,*** 3.) figure out what I could be passionate doing, 3a.) go back to school? 3b.) move? 4.) figure out how to become one of the following: voice actor, karaoke DJ, paid blogger.**** So, what happens next in the super short term? The first week of March will herald the first wave of resumes being sent out. The job ends March 9th, and severance begins. Later in March, my dad and I are going to take a trip together. Upon returning from said trip, wave two of resumes will be sent out. Depending on my mood/finances/the cost, I will probably end up going on a solo vacation in early April. I’m thinking Europe, because why the hell not? Shortly after returning from the motherland, another wave of resumes will go out. All the while I will be pondering, considering, and contemplating numbers 1 through 4 above. Where will I end up? I have no idea. Does this trouble me? Not at the moment. Will all this somehow involve breasts (the lady kind)? I certainly hope so. We’re about to have an aside!

Aside: I’m incapable of being serious for too long without throwing a joke in there. It is a defense mechanism or something. Seriously, can’t do it. Getting yelled at by parents: giggle. Serious talk with girlfriend: joke. At a funeral: comes up with at least 3 ways to re-kill deceased loved one on the chance they reanimate as some form of undead. You know what? That paragraph above encompasses from now until about mid to late April. Upon consideration, while the boob comment was funny (at least I thought so), if there actually aren’t any in the next 4 months, I would be a sad panda. Incidentally, my birthday is in early May. Nothing says “I know looking for jobs and trying to find your passion in life is tough. Also, happy birthday.” like getting flashed. That’s truth. Ask anyone. Probably just ask men. Or lesbians.

Ok, it turns out I don’t have anything more to say at the moment regarding my current state in life, so I don’t feel like my aside can really be called an aside since I’m done talking about the asided subject.  Should it have been a mid script post script? Quick, I need an English major!***** Yes, I could probably use Google to divine an answer, but I did self describe as lazy within this same post. Anyone who thinks I’m now going to Google it should sit down and really think about their reading and cognitive skills, because apparently all the context clues and inference in the world isn’t going to help you. Could I have used the time I’m taking to write these sentences to find the answer I want? Probably. However, the English majors would be useless again. I just want people to feel special.

An now, an open letter:

Dear People Who Read My Blog,

I like to think that upon finishing an entry, you leave my humble corner of the web informed and/or bemused. While there aren’t many, I read (and often respond to) each and every comment left here. Now, I don’t think I ask for much, but I’m going to make a request now. Hit the subscribe button. Re tweet, re facebook, re post the link. Within the next couple of weeks I intend to approach The Winking Lizard (whose World Tour of Beers I’m participating in) to somehow sponsor my blog. If I had to venture a guess, if they were even remotely interested in such a prospect, they’d want to sponsor a blog with at least a few more readers than I have now. I know that a lot of you that read are mutual friends and we among ourselves have the same mutual friends, but still, I’d appreciate a shout out every once in a while. If you find a post particularly funny, touching, insightful, or even idiotic, earn some awesome points and throw a repost my way. Or rather, your other friends’ ways. Props to Teague and Janet, who have actually done this in the past.

Thanks,

Me

Until next time, drink and be merry. Cheers!

Please note that this post was not spell checked, because tipsy. Also, suck it grammar Nazis.

 

* Though this post is not ribbed. Sorry ladies. Oh, vulgar!

** I need to give thanks to Justin K here. I’d been inflicting mental torture on myself trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. He dispensed some sage-like wisdom upon me: I don’t need to figure out what to do with the rest of my life, just the very next part of it. My mind was blown.

*** Examples include Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Wizards of the Coast, etc.

**** Presuming these things would provide a livable wage.

***** That is the first time an English major has ever heard/read that phrase. You are welcome. Those of us with useless degrees need to stick together.

Preparing My Liver

Posted in Lagers on January 12, 2012 by wiseweizen

This should be one heck of a booze imbibing weekend. So, in an effort to jump start my liver I bring to you today’s beer: Celebrator Doppelbock, by Ayinger Brewery.

Why yes, that is the official glass I’m drinking out of. Thank you for noticing. Did you see the plastic goat around the bottle? Yeah, he is pretty pimp. This lager is a robust 6.7% ABV with 24 IBUs though it goes down nice and smooth. Normally I’d tell you all about it but I’m going to give that honor to the motha fuckin POPE OF BEERS Conrad Seidl who says of Celebrator Dobbelbock: “Almost black with a very slight red tone, a sensational, festive foam and truly extraordinary fragrance that at first summons up visions of greaves lard. The first taste is of mild fullness with an accompanying coffee tone, which becomes more dominant with the aftertaste. There is very little of the sweetness that is frequently to be tasted with doppelbock beer.” A truly insightful gent. I mean, I was totally thinking “Yeah, I’m getting a real greaves lard vibe here.” On a scale from 1 to Disney’s Matterhorn Coaster I’m going to give this a rating of Matterhorn Screamer, which is a pretty high rating indeed! I like this because it is a pretty strong beer, with a robust taste that goes down easy. Plus, every bottle has a plastic souvenir goat.

I mentioned that I was prepping my liver. Tomorrow is karaoke night at Otani’s. If you are participating in karaoke and not drinking, you’re doing something wrong (Dan…). Upon request I’ve learned Madonna’s Like a Virgin, which I’ll be singing falsetto. Epicness will ensue. Saturday is the Columbus Winter Beer Fest. That might earn a blog post depending on just how many beers I sample.

You know how way back I said that sometimes posts might not always be amusing?

Dear Mom,

Remember when I was 13? I’m going to go ahead and offer a blanket apology for that year and, let’s go ahead and say the following four. I probably could have given you much less of a hard time, but I gotta say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree there, for at least three generations, huh? I just never understood, and still really don’t, the lack of trust during that period. “Staying out late to finish this game of Risk” wasn’t code for drinking, sex, and/or smoking pot.* Wanting to come home an hour later so I could “play a few more rounds of GoldenEye”** wasn’t a coy way of saying we were out blowing up mailboxes like dad did at my age.*** Regardless, I could have been a little easier on you and not made everything a battle. I will say, it did mean a lot when, years later, you apologized for occasionally being overly restrictive, and, in so many words said you were glad that I turned out to be a nerd. On that point, I think it took you and dad a long time to ”get me”, but when you eventually did – while you never explicitly said anything, you made gestures to show that you thought I was pretty ok. A lot of things I didn’t really pick up on at the time, one of your bears dressed up like Spider-Man for example, but upon reflection I can see what you did in an effort to let me know everything was ok, even if you didn’t come out and say it. I never got the chance to tell you how much I appreciated that.

There’s something I need to get off my chest though. I’m so mad at you, to the point that “so mad” is the best my considerable vocabulary can come up with. You never went for age appropriate medical screenings. You had chronic abdominal pain for years (that I never knew about) and never went to the doctor. By the time you were diagnosed the doctors told us the cancer had been growing for 5 – 7 years! Had you gone in for a simple check up at age 55 there would have been a very high probability that you’d still be here. Maybe it is selfish of me to feel this way, but it just steams me that this could have been prevented, or at worst delayed. Should I ever get married there’s not going to be a mother son dance. If I ever have kids they’ll be short a totally awesome grandma. All because, for whatever fucking stupid bullshit reason, you didn’t get your ass to the doctor’s office.

I’m going to take a moment for an aside. Sometimes I write the non-beer portion of the post at work. I’m doing so now, and thinking it wasn’t the greatest idea to tackle this subject not in the privacy and comfort of my abode. Despite the emotionless husk façade I like to present, I’m finding myself struggling to hold back some tears here. I need a drink.

Ahem. Ok, where was I? Oh…remember that big fake plastic frog that was on the front porch and would “ribbit” anytime something moved in front of the sensor? That time we came home from a family vacation to find him in the driveway, with stones from the flower bed spelling “Welcome Home!” as if spoken by the frog… and you flipped the fuck out…hilarious! I’d like to think looking back you’d find that as funny as it really was. Hey, it could have been worse. One year when Travis came home from vacation there were fireworks involved, on his bedroom window sill, at 1am. Hrm. So there were some shenanigans. To be fair, they were all amid our own group, so that makes it ok. Not that you were above a good prank, as shown by your and pap’s TPing of my car while I was at the prom. Dave and I thought Todd was responsible and exacted vengeance not only with TP, but also by buttering**** his windows and the underside of all the door handles of his car.

The only positive thing I can think of that came out of the whole cancer thing is that we became pretty close. Calling for half hour chats every other day will do that. I don’t regret the fact that it took so long for us to be that close, I’m just thankful it happened at all. Once I started asking for it (and actually listening, even if I didn’t act on it) you gave some pretty good advice. The thing is, your advice never ended up being quite what I expected it to be. I’ve been thinking about you a lot this week with everything that’s going on, and I’ve got no idea what you’d say. Try for a promotion? Take the severance? Drop trow and tell everyone at work to “suck it”?***** Sure, I’ve got dad, and some friend advisors, and ultimately, as I’ve done since forever, I’ll make up my own mind about what to do… but there’s no substitute for some quality mom advice

Despite having a little bit of an anger issue, really what I wanted to say was that I miss you. I can’t believe you’ve already been gone a little over a year. If there is a Heaven, I hope you and Pap are up there raising a little Hell. Keep those lay about angels on their toes. I love you mom, and I miss you.

Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” just came on my shuffled playlist. Deep breath. Ok. Just so this post doesn’t end on a downer, I’m going to debut a new feature, “Three things…”, in which I finish that sentence then provide a three item list.

Three songs that I would like to hear playing in the background when I meet a girl. (You know, like a ‘movie moment’. Think Wayne’s World.) 1. Heat of the Moment by Asia. 2. Short Skirt, Long Jacket by Cake. 3. Somebody to Love by Queen

Ok everyone, that’s all for now. Go call your mom. Until next time,

Cheers!

 

 

*I saved all that for college.

** Proximity Mines / Facility or Moonraker Lasers / Temple FTW!

*** Seriously, don’t let him fool you, he was mischievous – makes for some pretty hilarious stories now though. I suppose the apple doesn’t fall far from there tree there either.

**** Fact: you cannot get back at someone utilizing margarine.

***** This wouldn’t have necessarily been out of the question. Back in the early days of high school some chick was acting all superior and bitchy and sort of making like a bit of a pain in the ass. Mom’s advice: “the next time she says something like that say – ‘Would you like a medal, or are you just pissed you don’t have a chest to pin it on?’” Seriously.

World Tour

Posted in Ales, Porter on January 7, 2012 by wiseweizen

Early this week I joined the Winking Lizard’s 2012 World Tour of Beers. They’ve got over 300 beers, of which I now have to drink 100 by December 31st. Challenge accepted. In theory, this should mean more beer reviews, more frequent posts, etc. I am going to change format slightly though. Each time I visit the Lizard will be one blog post, regardless of number of beers. Also, there will likely be more pints and less pondering in my World Tour posts.* Today, I’ve got two for you.

First up is January’s beer of the month (in official glass): Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, by Kentucky Ale.

This ale is aged in bourbon barrels for up to six weeks, which gives it one heck of a kick. It comes in at 8.2% ABV and 15 IBUs. While it has a sweet small, you can also tell that this is going to be a strong beverage just from the aroma. There’s a reddish amber hue, which the picture doesn’t capture all that well. This was very bourbony, and even burnt a little on the way down. There’s a mild bubbling sensation when you first imbibe, and it doesn’t really taste much like a beer.  I was midway through a cold, and this guy did a number on me, certainly not what the doctor ordered.

As I did not venture forth to the Lizard alone, others wanted to weigh in on this one. “Mimi”** thought that it smelled wonderful, but tasted like a glass of bourbon that “had melted ice cubes in it”. I said, so, watered down? She insisted that since it was cold, it was more like melted ice cubes than watered down. We had a stare off, I think she won. Meanwhile, Jeff thought it smelled like something his grandfather would drink. Those two seemed to enjoy it well enough, but I wasn’t really a fan, though that could have been due to fighting off a cold. On a scale from 1 to Secretariat, I ‘m going to give Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale a score of: “horse that dies of a heart attack in Animal House.”

Next on the docket, Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, by Breckenridge Brewery. I… almost forgot the picture…

This porter is a mild 4.7% ABV and has 16 IBUs. I know it is a vanilla porter, but to me this beer smelled like tangy chocolate. This is a very dark beer, had nice head, and left a little body on the glass, as you can see. I couldn’t really taste the vanilla, honestly. Whether that was due to low content in the porter, or out of whack taste buds, I can’t say.*** No one else wanted a sip, so I couldn’t get a second opinion. It was very smooth to drink, and tasted almost, but not quite, like a dessert beer. I don’t have much at all to say about this one, unfortunately. It was pretty average so I’ll give it a score of “wax” on my 1 – green “bean-o-meter”.****

I’d like to give a shout out to Rachel, who performed surrogate nose duty, since my olfactory senses weren’t up to the task. Also to “Mimi”, Jeff, and Lauren (among others) for tagging along. I think I’ll start posting on Facebook when I’m going to go to the Lizard, and if anyone would like to join me, they are more than welcome to. I take index cards so I can have notes (otherwise I won’t remember). If you’d like to taste the beers I’m having and provide some input, I’d be happy to quote you. If you want to write down your thoughts on the beers you drink, should I review that beer in the future I’d be happy to use your notes. Finally, If someone wants to write a guest post, I might be willing to entertain that notion as well.

Until next time, Cheers!

 

*Don’t worry though, stuff I drink at home will still get a good does of pondering and ranting after them.

**Seriously, that’s what she wanted her pseudonym to be. I don’t know why.

*** Third option: poor quality vanilla from Madagascar. Dan, Casey, could these beans have come from Mattagascar City? It would explain a lot.

**** Yes, I know wax and green beans are vegetables, and vanilla beans aren’t.