Archive for the Lagers Category

And… I’m Back!

Posted in Lagers, Porter on July 17, 2012 by wiseweizen

So, it has been a while. Sadly, life has gotten in the way of my drinking.  Since last I posted I’ve become unemployed,spent some time trying to figure out what to do with my life, and eventually decided to go back to school to get a masters in education with the ultimate goal of teaching middle school science and/or English. Very shortly after that decision was made, I started school which is taking up much more time than it did when I was an undergrad since I’m actually attending classes and doing all the required work – plus extra credit assignments! Finally, I was spending lots of time trying to put a costume together since I attended the 2012 San Diego Comic Con. Things are a little calmer now that the con is over, and I’ve got a rhythm down as far as school is concerned. Oh yeah, I also brewed a batch of beer (which I’ll talk about in a subsequent post). Hopefully I’ll be able to post more often now, I’m going to start out shooting for every other week and see how that goes.

Without further ado, the beer of the moment is Indigo Imp Brewery Co’s Gate Keeper. This Cleveland brewed beer is 5% ABV with 40 IBU’s. This is a very dark porter with about two centimeters of persistent head. I’m very impressed by the smoothness here, it is as if I were drinking velvet. There’s a nice malt flavor with hints of caramel and… I want to say “trees” but that seems off-putting. Instead, I will say that it tastes like a mid-autumn evening in the woods. There’s a rich earthen aroma that doesn’t smell very alcoholic. Instead it smells, well, calm. If I were to undergo aromatherapy treatment, you could pump this smell into the room and I would just fucking cozy up and chill out. I’m finding this beer very surprising.While I don’t dislike porters, they generally aren’t my favorites either, but this beer seems to be exactly what my body and mind need at this exact moment in time. Well played beer, well played. I don’t normally associate porters as beers that would facilitate relaxation but this stuff is really hitting the spot. I almost wish it were like late October, with a bit of a chill in the air. I’d go outside, mildly bundled, sit on a porch somewhere with, I’ll be honest, like five of these beers, and just sit there drinking, letting the autumn evening have it’s way with me.  The stars winking at me knowingly, nature making sounds infused with the evening, as nature is wont to do, and the occasional chilly wind that suggests winter is coming.  The only negative thing I have to say about this one is that, while it doesn’t feel very heavy/filling as you are drinking it, about five minutes after you finish you’re all “ugh, so full!” Still, I’m a fan. So, on my coziness scale from 1 to “Snuggling with the significant other” I’ll give Indigo Imp’s Gate Keeper a score of Jayne’s Hat. *

Three things that were the most disappointing about Comic Con 201: I didn’t get into the Firefly 10th anniversary panel. I was unable to participate in “The Walking Dead Escape” event. The con is over.

So, airplanes. They have all these rules once you are on board like no electronics and upright tray tables. Do these things really matter? If there is some sort of problem, is the position of my tray table in any way going to assist or exacerbate things? And while we’re at it, the emergency countermeasures like floating seats and oxygen masks… have they ever saved a life? If my plane crashes into a body of water, I’m fairly certain that I won’t need a flotation device, as I was killed on impact – or shortly thereafter. I feel as though these “safety measures” exist more for psychological reasons than practical ones. Someone that isn’t me should research the issue, then report to me their findings.

Oh look, another beer! Since the interior of my body has limited space and I’m having pizza for dinner, I opted for a much lighter second beer: Southern Tier’s Raspberry Wheat.** A modest 4.9% ABV with only 5 IBUs. The beverage looks like lightly carbonated apple juice, or something you’d give a kid for a toast at a wedding. Right when I opened the bottle an intense fruit aroma hit me,*** right around the septum. It doesn’t taste bad, but is a little more bitter than I expected from something so light on IBUs. Let me break down this taste for you. It is as if someone took six ounces of Rolling Rock and four ounces of Corona, then added two ounces of raspberries. Once the diabolical mixture was complete it sat for, I want to say two months. The raspberries were then removed, with all of their liquid squeezed out of t hem and into the beer. After that, a spell was cast to bind an invisible spirit to the bottle. This spirit would patiently wait until you were about to open the fridge and grab the beer (it is a telepathic spirit), and would give the bottle a good jarring, to ensure a proper slow fizz. End result: the thing I’m drinking now. I personally guarantee that the last six sentences are 100% accurate. This isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever had in my mouth… but it doesn’t really make me eager to keep drinking it. On my Real Fruit Flavor scale from 1 to Fruity Pebbles, Southern Tier’s Raspberry Wheat gets a score of grape Fruit Roll-Up.

So, as many of you may know, I’m doing the Winking Lizard world tour of beers. We’re already in mid-July and I haven’t even hit the halfway point of my tour yet. Here’s my proposal, non-tour members who are interested in going out for a night of drinking, we hit up the Lizard, everybody can drink stuff I haven’t had before, I’ll bring a bunch of note cards, and do a big guest blog post based on your thoughts of all the assorted beers we drank. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, leave a comment on here or send me a Facebook message if we happen to be friends on that.

Until next time, cheers!

* If you are all “WTF, I don’t get it…” then you need to watch all fourteen episodes of Firefly. Right the hell now.

** Side note: I recently enjoyed, but did not blog about, Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumpking Ale. It. Was. Amazing. Once fall hits and it comes out again I endeavor to purchase more, and it will be blogged about then.

*** For this image search I typed “1960s Batman pow.” Scrolling through the results, the 48th image was one of Ronald Regan standing in front of the American flag. What the fuck Google Image Search, what the fuck?


World Tour, Local Beers

Posted in Ales, IPA, Lagers with tags , on April 11, 2012 by wiseweizen

Totally without meaning to, the last time I was at the Winking Lizard, I ordered all Ohio brewed beers. I was the vanguard that evening, holding down a table for ten by my lonesome. Other folks waiting for tables gave me an envious look as I followed the waitress, strutting toward my giant table.* I sat down, started playing Super Bust-a-Bubble on my phone, and placed my first drink order: The Doppelrock, from Great Lakes Brewing Co.

This lager is a pretty potent first beer, weighing in at 7.8% ABV and with a modest 18 IBUs. For all you cheese fans out there, Doppelrock pairs well with “earthy cheeses.” Just thought you’d like to know. Mid beer people started to arrive, so I made Lauren smell my drink. Her nose interpreted the aroma as hickory, though mine was able to discern the chocolate undertones. Her husband/manservant Sam noted the color as “sanguine” which I observed that the closer to the center of the glass you looked, the darker the beer became – something that I don’t think I’ve noticed in a beer before. I really enjoy the Doppelrock, it is exquisitely smooth for such a powerful brew. It is very rich without being heavy, and has the faintest hint of caramel.  Apparently Meg thinks it tastes like a unicorn. On my Rocking Out scale from 1 to Queen, I’m going to give this an Aerosmith.

With dinner, I ordered an IPA. I figured if it tasted bad I could always follow a swig up with a delicious bite of my Blue Shroom Burger w/ Spicy Garlic BBQ sauce on the side. The IPA in question was Rivertown‘s Hop Bomber. This Cincinnati beverage is a low 5.5% ABV but boasts 60 IBUs. This amber toned beverage had a floral aroma, despite the beer’s write up saying it was supposed to smell like pine and caramel. Meg decided that it didn’t taste as awful as she thought it would – based on the smell. I found it to be quite hoppy, and very warm with a spiced flavor. All in all thought, it was pretty “meh”. For an IPA it was pretty tolerable, and if I can tolerate an IPA that means it probably isn’t a very good one, right? On my Bomber scale ranging from 1 to Bombman, I’m going to give this a Unabomber, for the one note flavor. Also, take a gander at the lip of the bottle in the picture. What the hell is that smegma?

My final beer of the night was one I couldn’t bear to finish. Thirsty Dog Raspberry Ale. Having enjoyed Thirsty Dog  products before, and considering raspberries are among my favorite fruits, I was really disappointed. A very low 3.9% ABV and 7.5 IBUs for this ale that smelled like a sugar laden Popsicle. It had a hazy yellow color and there were flecks of red… faux-berry in there too. It was like the gold flecks in Goldschlager except the resembled red Fruity Pebble crumbs. No matter how you pour, as seen from the picture, there is a tremendous amount of foam. I mean, I poured as slow as I could, with the perfect glass to bottle angle, and still ended up with all that head. The beverage was very bubbly and tingly, and seemed to foam in your mouth. I like raspberry and I like ale, but yuck.  I’m not even going to dignify this one with a fake rating scale. Instead, I give you this.

Before I go, today’s three things is: Three things that are awesome about being unemployed… 1. Severance 2. Afternoon Naps 3. No Corporate Politics

That’s all for now. If there are any World Tour beers you think I should try so you don’t have to, let me know! I generally just pick them at random. Until next time,


* Mental soundtrack was something from The Commodores, hence the strutting.

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.



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,




*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.

On the Giving of Gifts

Posted in Lagers on November 30, 2011 by wiseweizen

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.

Ugh, next!

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.

Clearly, I’m Fine

Posted in Lagers on September 27, 2011 by wiseweizen

Ladies, please note the candle and twinkle lights. This is how I keep it classy. Fall romance -swagger- oh, yeah. Its getting to be good cuddling weather, is all I’m saying.

Men… it is Autumn. Football. Less need to mow the lawn. No more days so hot where our sweaty parts stick to one another. But… but! Most importantly, fantastic fall brews. Prosit!

Alright, down to business. Tonight I’m enjoying an Octoberfest from Harpoon Brewery. You may remember them from post #5, Goodbye Summer. The Octoberfest is 5.5% ABV, and has an aroma that makes me think of flowers and apple pie. It has a dark amber color with a light reddish hue reminiscent of fallen leaves. The taste on this Octoberfest isn’t like some of the others I’ve had. I’m getting flavor sensations as if I were drinking the boozy offspring of a stout and an ale (traditional), and they named their beer-child Alesclaus (pronounced aul es claws). This isn’t a bad beer, it just isn’t very stand out either – despite the “not quite like other Octoberfests” taste. On my Fall-o-meter scale, from 1 to Leaping in a Pile of Leaves, I’m going to give this a score of: Realizing Leaves Somehow Got Down Your Pants. If I had to I could drink this all evening, but if there were other options available, I’d try for an upgrade. The beer: is fine.

Fine. While I did actually mean that the beer was fine, I can’t think of any other word – off the top of my head – the usually doesn’t confer it’s definition. Recall for a moment the last time a significant other said something was “fine.” We all know that things were in fact, not fine. In that “not-fine” context, fine can actually mean anything from “just let it go for a bit and I’ll be OK” to “I am thinking of ways to get away with murder.” What I wonder is, how did fine become a scapegoat? Why did society chose precisely that word?  Is it the closest positive word to a negative one, such that when we say fine we can feel like we aren’t quite lying? Perhaps we humans just don’t like to admit vulnerability, or that there is a problem.  Even though everyone knows a “not-fine” fine when they see it, when we hear a fine we can pretend it is a “fine” fine. -shakes head- I have to admit I’m perplexed fine.

An interesting thing happened at the office today. One of our computer systems was down the entire day. There are at least six very large departments that use this system, and no one in a specific department is cross trained to perform the functions of a different department. Because of the crash, some entire departments were sent home at like 10am. Mine wasn’t, but being a clever reader, you saw that coming. Now, I’m not going to complain (at least not too much), because I was essentially paid to do nothing today – like 95% of my work is done on the system that crashed. What I wonder though, if some departments were sent home, who not everyone who works with that program? None of the units are more important than the other, in fact we’re all different stops on the same work stream. It just didn’t make much sense. Gotta love workin for the man! Rant over.

Confidential to J. Kilgore, Esq.: You going to hit me up with that Old Rasputin write up for a guest post, or what?

Secret Message for Duck & Danielle: Far too long has it been since we’ve hung out! Even longer since I’ve wooed anyone with spices! Dinner, we should have some.

Today’s footnote free post is brought to us by songs of the 70s, the letter Q,  and these guys.

Until next time, keep those glasses filled. Cheers!

Roll to See if I’m Getting Drunk…

Posted in Lagers on September 18, 2011 by wiseweizen

I went to The Anderson’s today to pick up some more beer. They are one of the few places in town that allows “by the bottle” purchases, and since their selection is quite robust, I’ll be going back again. When I started browsing, I nearly wet myself with excitement.* This fine purveyor of adult beverages had, quite possibly, one of my favorite drinks ever: Wytchcraft. This is from the Wytchwood brewery, who, if you’ve heard of them, is probably for their Hobgoblin. As if that wasn’t exciting enough though, they had Hobgoblin: King Goblin, Special Reserve! I’d never seen this before and had to buy three bottles. *** This is a post about Wytchwood… NO! It is a post about being happy! Ok, it isn’t really about that either.

I wasn’t in the mood for anything in particular this evening. As I stared into my fridge, I found myself unable to decide what I’d be drinking this evening. I was going to think long and hard about it, but decided that seems a little too arduous for such a simple task and instead, allowed fate to decide. 1d8 later, and I’m now enjoying Oktoberfest, by the Great Lakes Brewing Co. I’m a fan of GL’s beers, so this seemed like a fine cap to the weekend. This handcrafted amber lager from Cleveland Ohio is a 6.5% ABV beer, best served at 45 degrees. ****

There’s a problem. I’ve just started the third paragraph and I’ve only got about two swallows of beer left in the glass. Unfortunately, there aren’t any more of this particular beer in the fridge either. Also, I forgot to take a good whiff before I started drinking. -sigh- Ok, we’re going to pause while I try to ascertain the lager’s aroma without doing something asinine like spilling beer up my nose… That was tricky, but I return to you, nose unmoistened by spirits. This might sound a little odd by my reaction from the scent was “spicy, warm, and dry.” Feel free to draw your own conclusions. As you can see above, GL wasn’t kidding with the “amber lager” moniker. While I tend to like lighter beers (not light  or lite mind you), I do like they at least dark or hazy enough that you can’t quite see through them – it makes me feel like I get to drink some extra ingredients. Octoberfest has a nice blend of spices, which are potent enough that you really taste them, yet they don’t overwhelm you. That said, much like relatives that arrive at your abode with a suspicious amount of bags, the spices linger. Despite the negative connotating***** comparison, this isn’t a bad thing. The beer tastes good, and the flavor lasts just long enough that when it eventually fades, you’re ready for another sip.

On a scale from 1 to Halloween, I’d rate this as Babbling Day. I’ll give you a few minutes to check out those links.

Welcome back. GL Oktoberfest could easily be a brew you stick with all night. Smooth, enjoyable aftertaste, and an ABV high enough to feel – but won’t have you on the floor. While this is the first time I’ve talked about a GL beer, it certainly won’t be the last.

Confidential to Dan and Rachel: Lots of talk about beer this time, not much about random nonsense. I’ll try harder next time to pander to you, my non beer drinking friends.

To the nerds: You thought there were going to be a lot of D&D references in here, didn’t you? So did I. Once again, I’ll try harder some other time.

Until next time, everyone go make a bad decision!******




*Admittedly, there may have been, let’s say… three drops of pee.** It was THAT exciting.

** Reader, meet hyperbole. Hyperbole, say hello to the nice reader. I can be a pretty literal fellow, so let me assure you, gentle reader, that despite my excitement, I did manage to refrain from soiling myself.

*** Expect a post on that beer Thursday… I hope.

**** What the hell is up with all these Ohio beers having instructions regarding temperature? Barktoberfest, from Akron, (the first blog entry) had it too! I’ve not seen a temperature recommendation on any of the other bottles… perhaps this is a weird Ohio thing.

***** I know connotating and unmoistened aren’t words. Sometimes, you just need to make up your own because existing ones just won’t do. Like “nopie”. A combination of no and soapy, it is an adjective describing a person that says no to soap and a synonym for hippie.

****** Please don’t cook bacon naked. Take my word for it.