Archive for December, 2012

Fun With Beer: Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale


Ladies and Gentlemen, I assure you, there is no time of the year I whole-heartedly enjoy more than Christmas Time.  More parties than Halloween, more thanks-giving than actual Thanksgiving, more togetherness than all the birthdays, anniversaries, and Satanic Black-Masses of the whole year combined.  Even the mighty onyx-like black heart of your humble author is warmed in this very cold time of year.  Even I will watch,listen,read,otherwise absorb religiously (or as religious as a man in my style can treat something) to the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol”.  Perhaps it’s not only the reinforcement of my holiday feelings, or my empathy towards a embittered miser’s conversion, but also the respect towards how the short story has changed the holiday as we know it.  While the only Santa Claus analog was an empty scabbard and Horn of Plenty wielding Spirit of Christmas Present, it has influenced many of the modern traditions of Christmas.  Most notably we can attribute the hearty and joyous greeting of “Merry Christmas!” that can be found on the smiling lips of strangers and loved-ones together.  Puritans at the time, between trying to ban alcohol, women not wearing bonnets, spicy food, comfortable shoes, means of convenience, personal style, bright colors, and pretty much any other form of pleasure or enjoyment, also tried to make Christmas as joyless and somber as possible.  Puritans man, seriously.

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Fun With Beer: New Belgium/Brewery Viviant – Biere de Garde

Ah, Bonjour!  Or as they say in the correct, American way, “Howdy, Chumps and Chumpettes”.  Today I’ve got something interesting to show you all: a brewery collaboration!  It’s a wonderful thing when two breweries who love each other very much decide to do a special hug to make a baby happen.  Generally, this is a very synergistic process, where the combined effort is greater than the sum of either’s separate effort.  I’ve noticed that these collaborations come in three flavors.  I have named them Larry, Curly, and Moe, for reasons that will become obvious.
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Fun With Beer: Pedernales Brewing – Lobo Texas Lager

Take note, some of you more bookish of beer-lovers: I’ve been writing in some style parodies the past couple weeks, the most notably of which has been the short ‘homecoming’ essay done in the style of my persona writing hero, Hunter S. Thompson.  While there is no shortage of writers who famously enjoyed excessive amounts of alcohol (Faulkner, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, I guess mostly all of them?), there were fewer that mainly stuck to beer.  However, there is one who not only preferred beer, but drank it almost exclusively, and wrote about it in great length.
Few would recognize the face, but more would recognize the name of Charles Bukowski.  And as much as I’d like to do a style parody of Ol’ Chuck, there’s just no real way of doing it without coming off as extremely depressing, misanthropic, anti-authority, nihilistic, and downright gutter-mouthed.  Not to deride his work or anything, but this is a family publication (probably?), and I’d rather not risk coming off as a bitter, cursing old degenerate to most, just to appeal to the few that would get the joke.  Besides, it would essentially be me doing “Bukowski-face”, and no one wants that embarrassment.
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Fun With Beer: Pedernales Brewing – Classic IPA

I imagine if the American craft beer scene continues the way it has in popularity, our friends across the water will get jealous in that way only the British can.  The jealousy of a slightly less sophisticated, but younger and much more successful sibling.  Of course, the tide will pull in the other direction some times, where wer emulate ol’ Queen’s England.  Heck, the whole idea of battered and fried food is a very British thing, and we certainly picked it up with gusto ourselves.  So, as with beer, especially the ever-popular IPA style, we can expect the jibes to come in a few years or so.  “Oi, yew wont any beer in yer ‘oppy water?” they’ll say from beneath their top hats, casually crushing a polio-stricken orphan’s orbital socket with a sterling silver cane (I assume nothing has changed in England since Dickens?).  Well nuts to those guys!  How can we not be ourselves?  How can we not take a beer known to be loaded up on hops and LOAD THE HECK OUT OF THEM?  Cranking things up to 11 is our way, the American way.  England invented fish and chips, but do you think they’d ever deep fry grape Kool-Aid and make bank on it?  Not a chance.

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Fun With Beer: Guadalupe Brewing Co. – Americano Wheat

I’d like to talk a bit about something that’s a little sideways from what we think about beer, namely beer aberrations.  I don’t mean something that’s strayed from a style, but rather strayed from it’s application.  Beer cocktails, beer sauces, beer foods, basically any use of beer that isn’t in a glass and into your mouth.  From improving a cruddy macro-brew with a hit of juice to make a shandy, to highlighting some of the unique flavors in a good craft beer with an herbal liqueur, beer cocktails are an area that has almost limitless depth.  And while beer in food may not really be for everyone, let’s not forget the simple beer bratwurst.  By the way, a good and hoppy ale in while cooking up the mix for a Shepard’s Pie is my secret ingredient and surefire converter for beer-purists.
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Fun With Beer: Faust Brewing Co. – Golden Ale


“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” – Dr. Johnson

If I ever get the chance to hop in a big red hovercraft of a convertible and take off like a bullet for Los Angeles, I’ll consider it less of a vacation and more of a reset.  Why is this, you ask?  Why would I want to be “at home” for a few days in LA and then “vacation” again in Las Vegas?  The answer is simple: I hate Los Angeles, and I love Las Vegas.  The best way for me to enjoy both is to quickly acclimate myself to the culture of freaks, goons, ex-pats, and blazed up soft-heads before I can make the trip into the true pineal gland of the American consciousness.  A mirror world, like a metaphor in some fire-n-brimstone diatribe on a world built on godless good-times, Las Vegas shines as a statement to everything illogical and immoral and wasteful, a great beacon of how super-cool it is to be there.  It’s less of a city than it is a naturally-occurring machine, pulling in people and water, and emitting a white-hot rail of golden neon FUN.  Sure, there’s a bit of nits and grit when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it, but literally nothing looks good if you keep zooming in.  It’s a place so synonymous with frivolity and celebration that the main reason why so many people come here is because it’s become natural to say “We should do this in Vegas.”
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Fun With Beer: Magic Hat Brewing – #9 Not-Quite-Pale-Ale

So after last week’s “unpleasantness” with the wolves and the hot dog highway and other such insanity-fueled ramblings, I asked my most normal co-workers how I could open an article in a normal way.  After a few ideas being shot down for being too -shall we say, “hard to grasp”- I decided on having a normal conversation about fruit.  After all, the beer I’m reviewing is (spoiler alert) a fruit beer.

Let’s start with some facts.  Did you know peaches, apricots, and plums are all related? It’s entirely true.  Chiquita Banana used to be an actual anthropomorphic banana with a fruit hat before being replaced by a lady with a fruit (and not animal/people) hat.  And to settle the old debate, YES: limes, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are all picked from the same tree at different times in the season as they ripen.  Look it up, smart guy, I didn’t.
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Fun With Beer: Pedernales Brewing – Lobo Negro

If I had to choose one animal that describes me, I would choose NOT a wolf.  Why?  Everyone chooses wolves, everyone sucks, and wolves probably suck as well.  I can’t say I know “much” about wolves, but I can say I wouldn’t be shocked to learn they eat garbage and are racists.  Would you be surprised at all?  Didn’t think so.  But it is no surprise why they’re so popular, what with all the Liam Neeson movies and magical wolf howling at the moon t-shirts.  Not to mention, ultra-cool people like Zach Galifanakis describing themselves as “one-man wolf packs”.  Wolves man.  Wolves.

Woah, got distracted there for a minute thinking about wolves and how overrated they are.  They’re in my head man, just constantly barking on the ol’ Hotdog Highway (that’s what I call my mind [because I’m always thinking of natures perfect food, the hotdog {when I’m not thinking about wolves}]).  A whole pack of lone wolves, I think that’s how the world is supposed to be.  Or at least that’s what this engineering student said when he was trying to get me to read this giant book about trains and business.
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