Monday, May 31, 2010

Haircut Day is the Worst Day of the Year  This is tough.  After a couple of long posts, I think this one will be pretty short.  But, BUT, you'll get all the information you need.  Saturday night Liz and I drank some of those Coney Island brews.  First, to get warmed up I guess, I had a Lagunitas Censored.  After that Liz and I split a Coney Island Blockhead and then we each had a Coney Island R.I.P.A.  Information about those beers can of course be found here.  See?  I told you you wouldn't be bereft of information.  The only thing I can add is that they all sort of tasted like sadness.  Sunday during the day we took a little trip to the Brooklyn Brewery.  We thought we'd only have a beer or two there, but the best laid plans of mice and men and all.  I ended up having a Summer, a Blast, and 3 Buzz Bombs, some beer with honey that was pretty dope and named after a Dead Kennedys song.  Also, while we were there we shared a table with a 20-something woman and her mom.  They bought a whole pound of cheese and a loaf of bread and took it to the brewery with the intention of making friends.  Well, they certainly made at least one.  I'd say more about it, but I'm pretty posted out right now!  I start work tomorrow, which means that the numbers should go down, but I promise the posting will go up!

Total Beers: 429
Where I Should Be: 410.958

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Beat LA! Beat LA!

So everyone in the country is a little peeved at Arizona right now, right?  I get that.  I mean as Arizona's favorite son, I understand, and mostly agree, with these sentiments.  So when I came back to visit my family I thought, hell, if I can get my undergraduate university honor's program to slightly modify its recruitment brochure (and it only took me two terms as president to do that!) then clearly I can fix this whole immigration ordeal in Arizona.  Because, as should be evident, when I set my mind to something, I do it.  Except when I don't.  Let's be real, I get lazy sometimes.  So did I fix all of Arizona's problems?  I mean, if Arizona didn't have enough beer drinking done within its borders, then I guess I slightly fixed that problem.  Immigration?  Not so much.  So while Arizona does have problems with its laws, its racist, racist, sheriff, and, well, a lot of other things, it does have some good things going for it!  Like check out Arizona's state flag:

Pretty great, right?  Coolest state flag in the states if you ask me.  You know another good thing Arizona has going for it?  Its beers (I bet none of you saw that one coming.  You know, on account of being idiots and all [Way to keep your readership happy, Ryan!]).  Well, Wednesday through Friday, I drank a few solid Arizona brews.  Let's dive in, shall we?

I did a lot of afternoon/lunchtime beer drinking out here.  This started on Wednesday when my whole family went out to the San Tan Brewing Company for lunch.  San Tan is a small brewery in Chandler that is mostly famous for getting in a trademark dispute with ASU over the use of the name Sun Devil Ale.  Turns out, though, they also make some phenomenal beer.  This may sound odd, but I tend to be a little skeptical of brewpubs that have no distribution outside of the brewpub.  The beers, while generally pretty good, never really turn out to be something to write home about.  Well, San Tan turns out to be an exception.  Their HopShock IPA was phenomenal.  It might be the most floral IPA I've ever tasted.  Its a shame they don't bottle that because I buy the eff out of it.  Also good, their Hefeweizen.  Not as good as their IPA, but a pretty solid beer.  If anything, a little too on the banana-y side, but still pretty good!

After lunch, we went back and I split a big bottle of Deshutes Mirror Pond Ale, which is just a really, really good pale ale.  Deshutes is a pretty great brewery from Bend, OR.  However, its distribution hasn't made it out east yet, so the only time I ever have it is when I am in Arizona.  While I like limited distribution in theory, as I think its kind of neat when you can only get certain beer in certain locations and also it prevents all of American from becoming one homogenous strip mall, it does kind of stink when I can get a lot of California and Pacific Northwest brews out in New York.  Similarly, it blows my mind that no one in Arizona can get their hands on Brooklyn or Weyerbacher beers.  Well after the Mirror Pond, I had a Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale.  Don't let the "Double" fool you.  It's an English bitter clocking in at 5%.  My dad loved this beer.  Me?  I thought it was perfectly drinkable, but nothing to write home (or on the internet! zing!) about.  My dad picked up a six pack because my friend told him it was the best beer he had ever had.  Well, drink more beers, my dad's friend.

Speaking of my dad, you might recall that he didn't think this blog was the greatest idea in the world, because I mean who wouldn't want their son to spend thousands of dollars on drinking an enormous amount of alcohol and then post about for all the world and potential employers to see?  But Thursday, my dad set the drinking pace with six beers!  At times he was one ahead of me!  We went out to lunch at Four Peaks, perhaps Arizona's most famous (and probably best) microbrewery after an aborted attempt to go to a different AZ brewery, Papago Brewery. At Four Peaks at had their Oatmeal Stout which is really good.  Not as chocolately as most oatmeal stouts tend to be and I appreciated that.  We also picked up a growler of their Hop Knot IPA, another fantastic IPA.  Arizona, it would seem, loves itself some hops.  Well back home my dad and I split the growler, three full pint a piece, while getting our hearts broken by the lunatic Ron Artest.  So we finish the growler (or should I say he finished his third beer while I'm still drinking mine), we're both at four beers on the day, and lo and behold, my dad walks downstairs with another beer!  I'm not going to let this guy pass me, so I drain my beer, and go up and grab another Firestone DBA.  Well, we finish those, and guess what?  Another round of DBAs!  I think my dad has a problem.  Him and Liz should both go get help.  (I should also note that my mom had about 3 or 4 beers over the course of this day as well.  I don't know what it is about my presence that drives my parents to drink, but if it means more beer for me, well I'll take it!)

Friday was a Tale of Two Ryans.  An old friend, and Friend of the Blog (who also happens to share my namesake), and I met up for lunch at the Main Ingredient, a pretty sweet house-turned-restaurant out in Phoenix.  There I had a Four Peaks Sunbru (their Kolsch-style ale) and a Odell Red Ale, both on tap and both, get this $2.50 a piece!!!!!!!!!  Insane.  Absolutely insane.  I don't know if the restaurant is staffed by illegal migrant workers, but 2.50 for quality craft brew?  Some things about Arizona aren't so bad.  But here's something about Arizona that IS bad.  No public transportation to think of.  I had to think about what beers I got based on the fact that I had to drive home.  For my second round I wanted to get a Stone Imperial Russian Stout, but then thought about its ABV content, and then thought about my drive, and then thought about how its probably not a good idea to drink a 10% beer and then get my car for forty minutes.  So I opted for the Four Peaks kolsch, a beer with literally half the alcohol content.  In NYC, never a problem.  I drink what I want, when I want (that's not even remotely true).  But given that Arizona, while superior to NY in state flags, is inferior to NY in having subways and stuff.  So out here Responsibility is my first, middle, and last name.  And here I have been trying to keep my identity secret.  Well, it's out there now.  This blog is written by Responsibility Responsibility Responsibility.  At home that night I had another Deshutes Inversion IPA (a lot of IPAs, I know) and thus ended my Arizona drinking.

So states I've drank in: NY, AZ, CT, and PA.  Watch out, other 44 states in the continental US, you're next (except for probably Utah, your 3.something limit on alcohol content is too stupid for words).

Total Beers: 421
Where I Should Be: 405.479

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ron Artest's Infinite Intensity

I just wanted to drop by here real quick and let you know that a big ol' Arizona post is dropping tomorrow.  I've got a few hours to kill in the Phoenix airport, which seems like a perfect posting time, and PHX, unlike EWR, has free WiFi.  So stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fixing SB1070 One Beer At A Time

I don't mean to drown out Liz's excellent post here, but I've got to put some numbers up here or I'll start to forget about all the beer I drank.  So, appropriately enough, I had my 400th beer in Arizona with my dad (and mom and sister) at Red, White, and Brew.  It was a Four Peaks Kiltlifter, a Scottish Ale made out in Tempe.  It's a pretty good beer and my dad wanted you all to know that it's his favorite.  I followed that up with a Four Peaks 8th Street Ale, their pale ale, and as far as pale ales go, it's ok, not the hoppiest thing in the world but not super un-hoppy if that makes any sense (it didn't).

I like that restaurant Red, White, and Brew, but their waitress did something that absolutely drives me crazy.  I should start by saying that this place has "Brew" in its title.  The place has beer.  I know that.  I've been there.  But when I asked her what's on tap, she proceeded to give me a very detailed litany of their copious amount of macro-brews and then, almost as an aside, said "and we have some Four Peaks beers."  After I asked her which ones they had (they had 4!) she told me and I ordered.  But you're telling me that you thought it was necessary to say that you had Bud AND Bud Light AND Miller AND Miller Lite, but you thought it was ok to just lump all of your microbrews into a quick, "and we have some Four Peaks beers"?  Poor form waitress, poor form (not to be confused with poor pour form, which could theoretically be something, or poor pore pour form, which, if that's something, it's super gross).  The only worse response she could have given me, and I kid you not when I say that I get this a lot when I ask "What's on tap," is "Everything."  Ok, well then bring me back a Westvleteren 12 or else you're a filthy liar who, as a result of your awful, awful lies, is going straight to hell.

After the restaurant we went back home and my dad and I split large bottle of Stone Ruination IPA.  My parents' place was filled to the brim with IPAs in anticipation of my arrival.  Have to say, it was appreciated.

Tuesday, my mom, dad, and I went golfing.  While golfing I had an Oskar Blues Gordon Ale, what they describe as a "double red/imperial IPA," that clocks in at around 9%.  It was canned and delicious.  Before you think the golf courses out here are super dope and stocked with microbrews, they're not.  We brought our own beer.  In the hierarchy of "Sports You Can Drink Beer While Playing," I'd have to say golf if easily in the top three.  I'm not going to say that drinking a beer made a super golfer.  That's it.  You expected a "I'm not going to say...but..."  But the but just wasn't there.  Don't let it ruin your day.

After golf we went to my grandma's place to have some dinner and watch the Suns game.  There I had an Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale (brewed in Sedona, AZ!), a Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, and a Deshutes Inversion IPA.  Once again, before you think my grandma's place is stocked with sweet beer, it's not.  We brought our own.  Then we went to my parents' where I had another Deshutes and a Full Sail Pale ale while hanging out with the family.  So that's my Arizona drinking so far.  Not bad if I do say so myself!

Total Beers: 408
Where I Should Be: 397.260

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Michigan's Loss is New York's Gain

Its'a Me!  Liz!  As we all know, Ryan split and is on the West Coast exercising and playing golf.  I am holding down the hedonistic fort over here in New York by drinking beers and eating pizza.  Yesterday, I accomplished this by laying on the couch with the pizza box on the table, a 6-pack next to the couch, and my PJs on.  Today, I got dressed and left the house.  But it's all the same.

This post may ramble and be super beer-filled (like me!), but I'm going to do my best to describe my evening without putting you all to sleep.

In Park Slope there is an awesome place called Bierkraft.  This place has an amazing by-the-bottle beer selection, a great 10-15 taps for filling growlers, and the best sandwiches in the world (which are made with their incredible selection of artisan meats, cheeses, and spreads).  Recently, they added the rule that made it so you can buy the beers and drink them there at their picnic tables.  So, a great date is picking 2 bottles of beer, 2 sandwiches, and then getting a growler (or two) filled to go.  It's a nice walk and super yummy.

Today, however, I had no sandwich.  I got there at 6:30 and got a Sly Fox IPA.  It was very good, and for $2.80 to sit with my book and hang out, it beats any bar in the area.  At 7:00, the fun began.

On Tuesdays at 7pm, Bierkraft has a tasting.  Generally, (like tonight) they are hosted by a brewery who sends a representative to talk about the beers and then they hope you'll buy their beers.  Other times they choose a type of beer (Double IPAs or something) and do a cross-brewery tasting of that style with a discussion led by a staff member from Bierkraft.

Today's tasting was led by the founder and owner of Shmaltz Brewery.  Going in, I knew very little about them.  I see them around, but had honestly only had three of their beers before, none of which really impressed me.  Shmaltz is known for two lines of beer:  The HE'BREW beers and the Coney Island beers.

(FACT:  Shmaltz is a contract brewery.   A contract brewery means that someone designs the beers, markets/packages them, etc. but does not do the actual brewing.  The owner of the company hired a tiny brewery in California to actually make the beers.  The Coney Island line will soon be brewed in Coney Island starting this weekend at their very own brewery, meaning it won't be a complete contract brewery anymore.  ADDITIONAL FACT:  Sam Adams started the same way.)

Anywho, prior to this tasting, I had had Genesis (a fine tasting ale of the HE'BREW line), the Coney Island Lager (again, a decent lager, but nothing better than Brooklyn Brewery's lager, so when choosing I usually went with Brooklyn's), and the Albino Python (which is actually good - the world's only White Lager and has a bit more of a kick than more White/Wit beers for sure).

Today I tasted 5 beers and was really impressed with them.  Let's talk about them, shall we?

1.  Albino Python - This is in the Coney Island line of beers.  It is named after Serpentian, the snake charmer and contortionist at the Coney Island Sideshow.  It's a White Lager that heavily features fennel, orange peel, and ginger.  It has a higher carbonation rate too.  It has a good bite while being incredible refreshing at the same time.  Of the beers of theirs that I had had before this tasting, it was the only one I really enjoyed.  Awesomely enough, it was the least interesting of the other beers I tasted tonight.

2.  Rejewvenator - This is in an awesome series of beers featuring the Sacred Species.  In the old testament, there were many foods that had to grow in order for it to be seen as the Land of Israel.  Deut. 8:8 describes the Land of Israel as a "land of wheat and barley, of (grape) vines, figs, and pomegranates, and land of olives for oil and date for honey."  This series of beers features different items off this list.  This Rejewvenator features Concort Grapes.  It's a half Dopplebock and half Belgian Syle Dubbel.  It had a very sweet yet full-bodied taste.  It's 8% abv and really drinkable.

3.  Human Blockhead - This beer was incredible.  Firstly, the Human Blockhead is the dude who hosts the Coney Island Freakshow.  In olden days, he would hammer nails into his head.  While the current host still does this, he also power drills into his head as well.  Ok!  Beer time, again.  This beer is as close to a barley wine as you can get while still just being a lager.  It has a great seasoning to it, a 10% alcohol content, and a very thick mouth-feel.  The owner said he enjoys taking the 22 oz. bottle, pouring it into 4 small glasses, drinking 2 immediately and putting the other 2 into the fridge.  After a few hours, he sets the two glasses on the counter until they are room temperature and then drinks them.  He says it's almost an after-dinner cordial taste at that time.  I am not a barley wine fan, but I really enjoyed this beer.

4.  8 Jewbelation - This beer barely exists now, since it was made in their 8th year, and they are now on their 13th year.  In each year they up the numbers by one to match their age.  We got a taste of their Jewbelation from 5 years ago.  This meant that it had 8 types of hops, 8 types of malts, and was 8% abv. I haven't had their 13 Jewbelation (happy Bar Mitzvah!) but it would have 13 of those 3 things.  yikes.  I think this beer was good, but I liked the gimmick more than the beer.

5.  Bittersweet Lenny's R.IPA - This is a Rye IPA named after Lenny Bruce and has an "obscene amount of malts and hops" according to its tagline.  It was very drinkable - which is bad since it's 10% abv.  It's listed as a "Radical Beer", which the owner said meant it did not brew to any specific style but more to his taste.  I really enjoyed this beer.  BUT it got better!  We then got to try it aged in Rye barrels and man, it was delicious.  I really enjoyed being able to try them back-to-back to see how they changed.  And which the cost of the 22oz bottle of the R.IPA nearly doubles to that of the Barrel Aged R. IPA, I understand why.  A small brewery takes on a lot of costs - they literally drive down south to get Sazerac barrels and fill the back of a van and then drive them back.  They then fill the barrels by hand to age the beer.

Anyway, that was my evening.  I walked out with bottles of the last 4 on that list to try again with Ryan when he returns.  I am a fact-loving person, and this 2 hour talk was great.  I am an easy sell if you appear passionate about what you're doing and you do that thing well.  I walked in knowing that the brewery simply existed, and now I am a fan.  Check them out if you get the chance.

Monday, May 24, 2010

And Don't Call Me Shirley

Hello everyone.  I’d like to start this megapost by officially declaring New Jersey to be the worst place on earth.  You might notice the formatting/font on this post is different from the previous posts (as I’m assuming it’s going to be).  Well, that’s because I had to type this post up on a word document and transfer it to blogspot here.  Why am I going about writing a post this way?  Well, NEWARK’S AIRPORT MAKES YOU PAY FOR WIFI!!!  I’m stuck at the airport about three hours early, on my way to Phoenix and I am internetless.  I’ll be damned if I fork over the ten dollars to use airport’s wifi.  And, AND, they use Boingo, which is the worst thing on earth.  I was in the Detroit airport for nine hours one time and decided to actually pay for the wifi (congratulations New Jersey, you and Detroit share a common crappy feature!).  Well, in doing so, it installed this Boingo program on my computer to connect to the internet.  After I was done, I forgot to uninstall the program.  Well, next time I’m in a “Boingo Hotspot,” the program automatically opens, connects to the internet, and CHARGES ME EIGHT BUCKS for internet I DID NOT WANT.  Well, suffice it to say, I immediately tried to uninstall the program, but the thing about Boingo is, it hides itself nice and good on your computer.  I actually had to call those a-holes to figure out how to permanently uninstall it.  Well, long story short (too late), I’m not about to drop ten bucks on Boingo in New Jersey.

With that rant out of the way, let’s talk about beer, shall we? I last left you guys on my in-laws couch on Friday, discussing my Thursday night beer drinking.  I’d like to verify that, but I can’t check the site, what with no internet and all.  Well Friday night I went to my friends’ wedding.  I like weddings.  I really do.  You see a bunch of people you haven’t seen in forever.  Everyone’s automatically your friend there, even if you just met them.  Everyone can freely dance around like an idiot, despite the fact they’d never be caught dead doing so at a dance club.  You get to do the chicken dance and talk to drunk uncles.  They're great.  As long as you follow one simple rule.  Open bar.  You’d think this would be a no-brainer, really.  But I’ve been to weddings with no open bar.  They are as bad as they sound.  No one is your friend.  No one dances.  There are no drunk uncles.  Anyway, my friend of course had an open bar (an hour of which was in a legitimate castle!), and I had myself five Sam Adams Lagers and a Yuengling.

Saturday I went to one of my favorite places in Pennsylvania, Bethlehem Brew Works.  I love that place.  We (Liz, myself, Liz’s friend and her husband) originally tried to go this place called the Bookstore, one of those new speakeasy places that has like a hidden door and no electricity and makes fancy cocktails and stuff.  In NYC they are getting, as they say, “played out,” but I thought this one looked kind of cool because I think part of the appeal is that they are unexpected.  You expect to see them in NYC.  In Bethlehem, PA, not so much, so that’s kind of neat.  Anyway, it was booked solid and we couldn’t get a seat.  Outside I listened to about eight people that didn’t get in make the same “I guess we didn’t have the right password” joke and then promptly stabbed them all to death.  With a trail of bodies in our wake, we bolted on over to the Brew Works where I had a…here’s where the internet would be great right now.  I had two beers.  One was called Machine sHop and the other was a Belgian ale whose name is eluding me right now.  Damn you New Jersey!  Anyway, they were both pretty good.  I thought the unnamed Belgian ale was a little thin but it was super spicy which made up for it.  The Machine sHop was described, if I am remembering it correctly, as a Belgian with an American hops twist.  Well, it tasted like a super hoppy pale, which was nice.  I didn’t exactly get where the Belgian part came in, but I liked it nonetheless.

Anyway, I am off for Arizona now.  While there I will attempt to take the Southern Sudan route and solve the state’s problems with beer drinking.  If there is a place that could use (and, let’s be real, actually attempt to create instead of destroy) some peace and prosperity, it’s Arizona.  I’ll sit down the with governor for a beer or two.  She should be game, her last is Brewer after all.  And with the greatest joke I’ve ever made and will ever make occupying the previous sentence, I’m out!

Total Beers: 399 (400th beer will be, appropriately enough, drank with my dad who hates this whole endeavor!)
Where I Should Be: 391.780

UPDATE: My flight got delayed by two hours.  I caved.  But in the spirit of not-caving, I'm posting this post as originally written in my word doc.

Friday, May 21, 2010

100th Post!

On such an inconsequential subject! I have to do this quick because I am on the way out the door to a wedding, but last night I had a Weyerbacher Hops Infusion at dinner and then a Sam Adams Blackberry Wit on my in-laws' couch. I wasn't going to have that second beer, but my in-laws' are masters of peer pressure. That's actually why I ended up marrying Liz. Maybe I'll have a 101st post spectacular. No I won't. I'm busy all day tomorrow as well. Well, I'll give you a good 102nd post on Sunday. That I can promise (note I said I can promise, I didn't actually promise it. Semantics!).

Total Beers: 391
Where I Should Be: 383.561

Thursday, May 20, 2010


All right, I'm posting this from the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton in Philly because I am the fanciest lad you'll ever meet.

Bachelor party last night. Good times. But for some reason, everyone (sans me) decided to wake up at 7:30 in the morning. Apparently having a job makes it so you get used to waking up in the morning. I wouldn't know about that. But the end result is I'm going on about seven minutes of sleep and my brain shrank to about half of its size due to dehydration. So with that here's the list of beers I had during my night out on the town in Philadelphia at a bunch of bars whose names I cannot remember: 2 Yuengling Lagers, 1 Yuengling Black and Tan (I am in Pennsylvania, after all), 1 Irish Lager (it was the "house" beer at some bar we went to, it was super sweet and kind of weird tasting), 1 Stoudtz Pale Ale, 1 Victory Donnybrook Stout, 1 Wait Wit (I have no idea what this beer is, but it was at every bar we went to), and 1 beer at this hipster-beer bar that I cannot remember. I remember having a long talk with the bartender about Founders Brewery, but I didn't order a Founders. What I ordered is beyond me. It was the last beer of the evening and I forgot to write it down. So with that, I had eight beers last night. Maybe more but that's all I can clearly remember because I stopped writing them down after the third bar we went to. All right, time to go see if the city of Philadelphia has any coffee. Here's hoping.

Total Beers: 389
Where I Should Be: 380.821

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lamar Odom's Lucky Game

The results are in: last night I had three Greenport Tritans poured out of the growler while watching the Suns/Lakers game. Both the game and beer were pretty gross. The thing about growlers is that you sort of need to drink them immediately, or if not in the next couple of days. Well, due to my finals schedule and what not, I had to wait a week to open the growler. It was pretty good then. Normally Liz and I will finish off a growler in one sitting, but she hates barley wines, and because it is a barley wine, I certainly wasn't going to drink the whole thing by myself in one sitting. So, I had to save the other half till later. So that's what I was drinking last night. A growler two weeks after it had been poured and one week after it was opened. Not the greatest thing in the world to do. But its done and there's no beer in the apartment, which coincides nicely with me being kind of sick. So no beer tonight! But, BUT! I am going to a near and dear friend's bachelor party tomorrow night, and if I am to understand correctly, those things tend to involve some drinking. See you chumps on Thursday!

Total Beers: 381
Where I Should Be: 375.342

Monday, May 17, 2010

But That Would Be Pointless Because We Live In The Matrix

Even though I'm back on the drinking train, I'm still having trouble jumping aboard the "posting everyday" train. All those days without alcohol must atrophied the portion of my brain responsible for writing, which is bad news because I spent a significant amount of time writing as though my future depended on it (which it did!) during my law school exams. Anyway, I'm back! Hopefully for good! Where did we last leave off? Oh right! Friday!

So Saturday it was super nice outside. Like absolutely gorgeous. Sunny AND temperate. You get maybe one or two of those weekends a year out here. So despite the fact I still had one more exam to go on Monday, I had to get out and about and do my outdoor drinking thing. First stop, Common Wealth out in Park Slope. Not be confused with Washington Commons in Prospect Heights, Common Wealth is a sort of beer bar out in South Slope. I say sort of because they have your run of non-macro macros, such as Newcastle, Smithwicks, et al, but they also had one or two actual micros. I had myself a nice Sixpoint Bengali IPA. Sixpoint is starting to enter the rarified territory of Brooklyn Brewery. Although I'm going to say something controversial to absolutely no one, I'm not a big fan of their Sweet Action, which is almost as omnipresent in NYC as Brooklyn Lager. Also, Common Wealth: kind of expensive. The outdoor area there is ok, but for those prices, I doubt I'll be making the trek out to South Slope for that bar again.

After that we went to, you guessed it, the Gate! We got there around 4:00, the warmest part of the afternoon and I had a beer dilemma. Gate had a slew of rare Stone Brewery beers on tap as part of some Stone event. However, these were all things like Imperial This and Double That. Super heavy, thick, sweet beers. Normally I would jump all over those, but it was warm outside! I wanted a nice refreshing beer like a saison or something. So, do I go with the refreshing beer or the Stone rarity? Well, I split difference and got a Stone Levitation Ale, a nice amber/red ale. It was a nice, full malty beer, but it was sort of low on the APV scale, so it was plenty drinkable. I followed that up with a Rogue Collaborator. This beer was awesome but I can't find anything about it on the internet. Everything I find online says this a Helles Lager that is also called Rogue Markus Brau. Well let me tell you, what I had poured was nothing like that. It poured a dark, ruby red and was incredibly sour. It sort of tasted like Rodenbach and if I had to guess I would have said it was a double Flemish Sour Ale, but I also think I just made up that category of beer. So if you clever internet sleuths can find anything about, please, let me know. Finally, at the Gate, I had a Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, which is Stone's IPA but brewed with a Belgian strain of yeast. Pretty good!

After the Gate, we traversed on over to the Bell House for a quick beer. I had a Blue Point Rastafar-Rye. Blue Point is sort of like a better version of Saranac, so while the Rye Ale was good, it could have been better. Much like some movie example I can't think of now! Anyway, five beers was it for me that day. I was asleep by about 10. Outdoor day drinking will do that to you. Then on Sunday, in another fit of responsibility, I had exactly zero beers. It was still gorgeous outside, but I had to pay the piper and stay in. And here's a kick in the pants: I'm done with finals, the Suns first game against the Lakers is tonight and.....I'm getting sick. I need to be healthy this week for bachelor partying and wedding partying and going to Arizona partying, but man, I just had five intentionally beerless days. Don't do this to me now body! Anyways, I'm on the fence about having any beer tonight. I will leave you with that cliff hanger!

Total Beers: 378
Where I Should Be: 372.602

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Expand My Brain, Learning Juice!

I'm back. In the words of Strongbad, ladies line up to my right for makeouts, dudes to my left for high-fives. Four days. Four long days of no beer. To give you some comparison as to how long that is, that's 345,600 seconds I went without beer. The earth spun on its axis FOUR TIMES since the last time I had a beer. A baby born on the last day I had beer would be FOUR DAYS OLD by the time I had another beer. Finally, from the last time I had a beer to the time I drank one four days later, 192 generations of mayflies had come in and out of existence! That's crazy!

The important thing is I did it. Unlike Homer Simpson's approach to studying, or my approach to studying for the GREs, I went beer free. Three 8 in the morning finals in a row. Astronomical amounts of studying to be done in between. Beer (and, supplementally, all alcohol, I wasn't pounding shots or anything in place of beer) had to go. It wasn't all bad. The first night, Sunday night, was pretty rough, if only for the fact that game four of the Suns/Spurs series was on, and man, it was an awesome game. But I did it. Not one beer consumed while watching the Suns put the last nail in the Spurs coffin. From there on out though, pretty easy. Around day three I was getting the shakes for some beer, but that's because Liz and I ordered a pizza and up until that point I didn't think it was possible to eat pizza without drinking a beer. But after that last final on Thursday, oh man, was that beer sweet.

I'll pause now because you probably noticed that I drank on Thursday, which would generally mean a Friday post, and it is now Saturday. Well that Friday I decided to just take a day off from everything. Studying. Working out. Showering. And Posting. Besides, Liz wanted to get one more post in before her reign over this blog ended. Speaking of which, how about those posts? Pretty good I say! Turns out that she really liked doing those, and I hope you guys enjoyed reading them, because she'll be posting here about once a week. Or so she says. Consistent blog posting is a lot more work than you might imagine. I say all this so you guys appreciate me. I said APPRECIATE ME!

Anyways, back to beer. Oh man I love me some beer! Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, which is pretty crazy in this place because I was already super fond of beer. So that Thursday I get out of a final. I didn't intend to go to a bar immediately thereafter, but if friends were going, I was going. Given that it was 3 in the afternoon, the bar (City Tavern) was practically giving away some beers like Yuengling, but I couldn't have a plain ol' Yuengling as my first beer back, so I went with their best tap selection, Speakeasy Prohibition Pale Ale. Not a bad way to come back from a four day beer hiatus, not a bad way at all. After that I had a Yuengling (because c'mon, I'm not made of money) and then went back home. At the apartment I had a nice growler of Greenport Harbor Triton, their barley wine, waiting for me, and had one glass of that. Later that evening, Liz and I went to Franklin Park where I had two Founders Lagers. Founders is a pretty good brewery from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but for some reason they are all over New York City right now. I had never seen, or even heard of them, until about two months ago, but now you literally can't find a beer bar in NYC that doesn't have at least one of their beers on tap. They've been open since 1997. I wonder what took them so long to get to NYC and why they are all over the place now.

After Franklin Park, we went home where I poured another 2 Tritons from the growler. That's seven beers in about 9 hours time. Not a bad re-starting of my beer drinking.

Yesterday I had two beers. Two whole beers. I don't know what happened. Oh wait, yes I do. My apartment is out of beer! I had a Magic Hat #9 and a Troeggs Sunshine Pils while sitting on the couch. Then the apartment was beerless, except for some Triton I had left in the growler. The Titon, while an incredibly smooth and drinkable barley wine, is a barley wine nonetheless. You don't exactly pound them while trying to put up numbers, you know, unless you're coming back from a four day drinking hiatus. So I left that in the fridge. Today it's sunny, temperate, and my studying is essentially done. I'm heading out for some beers. I'm glad to be back. I missed you all so very much. And now, hold your breathe, the numbers:

Total Beers: 373
Where I Should Be: 367.123 (still ahead! whew!)

Friday, May 14, 2010

She blinded me

It's my last post for a while!
But that means Ryan will be blogging again soon!
But that means you won't be getting a female perspective anymore.
But you'll get to see Ryan's numbers tomorrow!

Ok, enough! So, last night I took it upon myself to do some scientific discoveries for the blog. And by that I mean I went to the bar and had some beers and then stopped at the bodega on the way home to buy a six-pack.

Side note: Six-packs in NY are awesome. I grew up in PA, a state where you could only buy beer by the CASE unless it was from a bar (and then it was like $16 a six-pack and only of Coors or St. Paulie's Girl). (Side note's side note: Apparently Wegman's Grocery Store is now allowed to sell six-packs and individual bottles in PA and I have no idea how they - and only they - get away with it). Not only are six-packs in NY awesome because, you know, they EXIST, but also because you can make your own six-pack! And that's exactly what I did.

So, I go into the bodega, walk past the obligatory cat, and pick up an empty six-pack holder. I had already had two Founder's Lagers so I didn't want anything that was too heavy or kick-in-the-mouth-worthy. I grab a Magic Hat #9, a Magic Hat Wacko, A Troeg's Sunshine Pils, Saranac Summer Ale, a Bud Light Golden Wheat, and a Select 55.

NOW! I know you think that two of those beers are not like the others. And you'd be right! I picked up those last two beers for scientific purposes only. Unfortunately, I haven't had the Bud Light Golden Wheat yet, so my findings will be saved for another time. I do want to speak on the concept of this beer briefly.

Basically, I think there are four types of people when it comes to beer:
1 - Beer Snobs (will ONLY drink beers they feel are "good" enough for them)
2 - Beer Enthusiasts (generally only drink beers they think are "good" and try to not spend actual money on macrobrews or "bad" beers, but will certainly have a Bud at a baseball game if that's what they've got)
3 - Beer Drinkers (but nothing more. These people drink beer but don't care what it tastes like, how it's made, or what type of further variety is out there)
4 - Beer Non-drinkers (people who refuse to drink beer either because they (a) hate the taste of beer, (b) are too classy of ladies to drink something as manly as beer, or (c) don't drink at all.

For those curious, I put myself as a solid #2.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, I think that this Bud Light Golden Wheat (which I will call BLGW now since the name is so long) beer is interesting. Because sometimes you meet people who are 3's on the list, but think that people who are 2's are interesting. (Like if we go out with 3's, sometimes they order beers to try to fit in or expand their horizons that they would not have ordered had we not been there.) So they order something that isn't a Bud Light or Miller High Life -- but they're a little bit of a chicken. Stella gets thrown in there sometimes, as does the very popular with upper 3's - Blue Moon. Clearly this BLGW is trying to get people who are comfortable with Buds and Millers and Coors to order something more classy. That when it's poured from the tap at a bar, it doesn't look like the thin piss-water of the others and may impress some people. Yet! It's safe for them to try and order because they know Bud and they understand words like "Golden Wheat" better than "Hefeweizen".

Ok, so on to the beer I actually drank for scientific purposes! The Bud Select 55 was created to directly compete with Miller's MGD 64. This MGD 64 is a beer with a 2.8% abv (half the ABV of a "normal" beer) and 64 calories. The new(er) Bud Select 55 has a 2.4% abv and 55 calories.
Now, let's notice that BOTH numbers go down. Literally, they are just adding more of one of beer's four essential ingredients: Water.

I bought this beer for $1.50 within my six-pack. All beers at the bodega were between $1.25 and $2.50. This puts this beer within the normal range of beer prices. Yet this beer is simply a normal beer with more water put into it. I paid beer prices for water. This article sums up the ridiculousness of this "Light Beer Arms Race" quite nicely.

What is the funniest part, I think, is that a regular Budweiser Select has only 99 calories with an ABV of 5%! This means that to feel the same level of relaxation, buzz, or drunkenness, you would have to literally drink more than TWO Bud Select 55's to get the same amount of alcohol from one Budweiser Select, yet that means you had 11 more calories than just drinking ONE regular Budweiser Select!

People. Let's think here. While Ryan did show us that beer is more hydrating after exercise than water, this is pushing it a bit too far. Either you want a beer because you want it to taste good (clearly you don't if you are having this debate) or to feel relaxed/buzzed/drunk, in which case you will consume MORE calories having the Bud Select 55.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Money Can't Buy you Class

So! It's The Wife again, and now I'm going to delve into some girly topics.

As I'm sure everyone knows, the terrible Sex in the City 2 movie is hitting theaters soon. Yah!!! But that's not what I'm going to be talking about. I mean, Carrie was a notorious fan of martinis and fruity cocktails and other things ladies apparently like rather than beer.

So, not only is Sex in the City 2 the talk of lady-town, but so is The Real Housewives of New York! Now, this is something I can get behind!

As we all know, there are some awesome ladies on this show. Bethenny is the lady who was naked on a billboard and just had a baby. Jill is the redhead who likes to freak out at people and has a husband whose face is on too tight. Ramona is the bug-eyed one. Alex is the Brooklyn one whose kids have absurd names. Sonja is the new one that no one knows. Kelly is the insane person who was a model and runs in traffic for fun. And Countess LuAnn is, well, the countess of the bunch.

Now, these ladies try to constantly prove to the world that they are rich and well-off and super special. Kelly, however, is ruining this for all of them! Her drink of choice??? BEER.

Well, this is a problem for these superficial ladies. The media tells us that men drink beer and women just don't. And those women who do drink beer, really only do so because they can get it in lower calorie form. Right now, Miller has a commercial series with the tag-line "Man up" and has the bartender telling men to "lose the skirt" or "lose the purse" when they ask for any light beer and not a Miller (since in this commercial-alternate-universe we're to believe that Miller has great taste). These commercials just push the point home that only a woman would order a light beer that was bad tasting and that a real man wouldn't.

So, back to Kelly. She is ruining the champagne-drinking, bling-wearing, Hamptons-house-owning reputation of this classy group! She drinks beer, and all of the other women comment on how weird it is.

It is understandable that after years and years of being told that beer drinking is a man's game, many women would find it weird to be a beer drinker, but this needs to end. When will there be a show or movie about sophisticated women who drink brews and not bubbly?

Because historically, beer was a woman's game. In fact, (And I LOVE FACTS!) women probably invented beer!!

According to the telegraph:

Women created beer and for thousands of years it was only they who were allowed to operate breweries and drink beer. The drink is now almost exclusively marketed to men - with television characters such as Homer Simpson the epitome of the beer-loving male.

Nearly 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Sumeria, so important were their skills that they were the only ones allowed to brew the drink or run any taverns.

And in many ancient societies beer was also considered to be a gift from a goddess, not a male god. (although, of course, the Greek god Silenus is the most known beer god and is a male...but I digress. This parenthetical is simply a preemptive strike against poster Greg.)

Between the eighth and tenth centuries AD the Vikings spread terror by rampaging through Europe, fueled by women-made ale.

Women were the exclusive brewers in Norse society and all equipment by law remained their property.

And Ancient Finland also credits the creation of beer to the women, with bear's saliva and wild honey the apparent first ingredients.

In England ale was traditionally made in the home by women. They were known as brewsters or ale-wives and the sale of the drink provided a valuable income for many households.

But, by the start of the late 18th century and the Industrial Revolution, new methods of making beer meant women's contribution slowly started to decline and be forgotten.

So! Kelly, while she may be an insane person who loves to run in the middle of Fifth Avenue while cabs honk at her to get out of their way, is a beer drinking role model for us all.

Or something.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Interrupting cow who?

Well, hello! This is Liz, or as I am called on this blog, "The Wife". Ryan's off studying for finals, so I thought I'd keep this thing alive and kicking! Yeah!!

I am still trying to think of something amazing to write about that will just blow all of Ryan's posts out of the water, but until that day, I'm going to write about something that I have been looking at a lot recently.

Ask me what my three favorite things are. DO IT, I dare you.
Ok, since you asked, they are (in no particular order) Brooklyn, subway train facts, and beer. Well, this post is about two of those things. And NO! It's not about this (obvious) fact. No, it's about how awesome home-brewing is and how Ryan and I are weirdly not participants in this awesome thing! ("beer" and "Brooklyn" were the correct answers)

One of my favorite things to do on a sunny Saturday in spring and summer (alliteration!) is go to the Brooklyn Flea Market. It is a great place to go wander and spend some (money) time in the beautiful weather. They have amazing food, great artists, cool junk, and amazing stuff to wear and fill your home with.

One of those items is an attractive home-brew kit. Now, attractive is important when living in New York City, where the average size of an apartment is less than 850 square feet. No one wants a huge 10-gallon plastic contractor's bucket with clear tubing running to other buckets and whatnot filling your entire kitchen and/or living room (and in NYC, it's more often the "and" since it's all the same room. So let's add bedroom to that list too).
NO. This is the biggest reason why I have always said no to home-brewing. With space so limited (although not this limited), every item put inside your home matters. I have worked really hard to make our apartment spacious yet cozy, attractive yet functional ... and having 1/10 of our square feet taken up with unattractive and messy-looking home-brew things was just not going to happen.

So, let me tell you how excited I was to find this!

A couple in their mid-twenties in Brooklyn quit their jobs to sell 1-gallon beer kits in attractive blown-glass containers. The amount of beer made is great at just one gallon (so many kits have you making 5-10 gallons at a time!) and it will look good on our counter too!

They sell lots of different kits (and are constantly changing them too) and can be found at the Brooklyn Flea every Saturday in Fort Greene or online here.

I know this is starting to sound like a testimonial for a product I don't even own, but I love that two people saw a need in people's beer lives and started a business (and are successful!) to help people with their beer needs.

I am writing this for many reasons: 1) I wanted to write about something and haven't been inspired with my amazing blog entry topic yet, 2) I think people following their passions and being successful doing so is awesome, 3) I like to tell people about the awesomeness of the Brooklyn Flea any chance I get, and 4) I am hoping that after writing this post Ryan and I can go get one of these and brew this summer. I am simply trying to help Ryan out with getting more material to write about on this blog. I really am only trying to help.

Ok! Last Name Out!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Horror, The Horror

This is the end. This is the end, my only friend, the end. Not the end of this blog, just the end of beer drinking for the next four to five days. The next time you hear from me, I may be crawling out of a deficit. We all knew this would happen at sometime, but that's what the lead is for.

Yesterday I had three beers. I had a Sixpoint Apollo Wheat at Bark with dinner. Sixpoint's wheat beer is a pretty heavy/dark wheat beer. As a point of reference, you could not tell the difference between the beer I got and Liz's Sixpoint Bark Red Ale. I thought it tasted kind of tangy for some reason. Liz said it tasted like it had a bite to it, and then she proceeded to make the world's worst joke, "My beer's got the bark, yours has the bite," and laugh to herself for about forty-five minutes. And here we almost made it to a full year of marriage, but some things I cannot abide.

Later that night Liz and I split a growler (I had two beers worth) of Chelsea Brewery's Showers and Flowers Wheat, another pretty heavy wheat beer. You've heard my rant about the whole "Tastes Great Less Filling" ads. Well, this beer might be an exception. It was pretty tasty, but super filling, as in I felt uncomfortably full after drinking it, that's how thick it was. It didn't taste super heavy, but man, this beer was like a meal. Could have been worse though. We have a growler of a Greeport Harbor barley wine that I'm going to have to drink by myself at some point because it turns out Liz doesn't like barleywines. I'll probably do that next Thursday in my triumphant return to beer drinking. Till then, I might post a link or two here, just to make sure this blog doesn't atrophy, but until then, happy drinking and I hope you all get to enjoy some tasty beers in my absence.

Total Beers: 364
Where I Should Be: 350.684

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Goran Dragic

I have been derelict of my duties. Its now Saturday afternoon and the last beer drinking I discussed took place on Tuesday! Tuesday! Ok. So here we go. One thousand posts in one!

Wednesday: I had three beers (Victory Whirlwind Wit, Major Tom's, and a Simpler Times Lager) which watching the Suns dismantle the Spurs while wearing the Los Suns jerseys. It was awesome. I don't have a big venue to talk about sports or politics (you know, like this huge platform I have here), so I'll make this point here. The Arizona immigration law is stupid. Every sensible person knows that. Boycotts of Arizona and Arizona products? Whatever, I think doing that is both a good idea and a really stupid idea. But here is what I think is just crazy. Everyone in Arizona who thinks this law is a great idea also thinks boycotting Arizona is a stupid reaction to not liking the law. That's fine. But these same people are boycotting the Suns for showing displeasure in the law? YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. You can't say out of one side of your mouth, "You don't like Arizona's new law and Arizona's citizenry's vocal support of the law? Fine but boycotting Arizona is not the appropriate response," and say out the other side of your mouth, "I don't like your vocal opposition to this law, so I'm going to boycott your economic enterprise." Well you could but you would be a STONE COLD HYPOCRITE. That is literally the only interesting thing I think I have to say about this whole ordeal.*

Thursday: Thursday was a light beer day in as much as I took a take home final during the day, which, you know, entailed not drinking. Come on peoples. I finished that up around 7 at night and then finished off the two beers we had left in the apartment (Victory Whirlwind Wit, Major Tom's) over the course of four hours while studying and watching some TV. For you math geniuses, that's one beer every two hours.

Friday: Hey, a day where I will talk about beer! It was gorgeous outside, just gorgeous. I hadn't intended on this being a big outdoor drinking day wasn't! You just got soooo psyched out. I did drink one beer outdoors. I had been studying/running all morning when I get a call from Liz to see if I want to have a beer outside at Washington Commons. Figuring I will be cooped up inside for the next week and a half I accept. I get a Great Divide Collete Saison Farmhouse Ale. I love me some saisons, also known as the quintessential summer beer, but for some reason haven't found and American version I liked. Well, this one I loved. I don't know how else to describe it except for summer in a beer (and if you generally think of things like Bud Lime as "summer in a beer," well, you're an idiot). After that we walked out to Bierkraft to get some sandwiches for dinner and, quite obviously, had a beer there (I had a Victory Golden Monkey, a pretty awesome Belgian Triple that, for reasons I'm sure I'll explain later, reminds me of my college graduation. Ok, I'll explain those reasons now. Really it's just one reason. I drank a lot of it the night before my college graduation. That's how beer legit I am).

Bierkraft might be the greatest store on earth. It's a craft brew store where you can also get delicious sandwiches and specialty cheeses and stuff. What makes it so great though is now you can pick a bottle of beer and drink it right in the store! Crazy stuff. It's like a bar but way cheaper and with more selections. While there I also bought a bottle of Ommegang's new Triple Perfection, their new limited release belgian triple. By now you should know that Ommegang does all things belgian to perfection, and this was no different. It recently won some award for something at the World Beer Cup. I think the WBC is kind of stupid, for reasons I'm sure I'll explain later (Ok fine. I'll explain them...not now. Psyched out again!), but at least deserving beers are winning! Liz and I split the bottle while once again watching the Suns dismantle the Spurs. Suffice it to say, it was an awesome night.

I'd like to say that my updates will much more frequent and back to their normal pace from here on out. Unfortunately, that's just not going to be the case. Every year I have to be a real law student for about two weeks (finals week and the week before it). Well we're in the middle of that now. My time is a bit more monopolized and my beer drinking will certainly be down. That's just the way the cookie crumbles. But fear not. I'll be by here occasionally and once this week is over there's a lot of fun stuff going on like a bachelor party in Philadelphia and a trip back home to Arizona. So this will get more interesting. That I can promise.

Total Beers: 361
Where I Should Be: 347.945

*I lied. That wasn't interesting.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Don't Steal The Air I Breathe

If Al Sharpton were drinking a microbrew in that photo, that picture would essentially encapsulate my life. I made a little bit of a push last night, three beers on the couch (1 McSorley's, 1 Major Tom, 1 Simpler Times). I also made a little bit of push tonight, which I'll talk about tomorrow. I thought about not posting, but I really wanted to get that photo up there.

Total Beers: 353 (palindrome!)
Where I Should Be: 339.726

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Get Knocked Down, I Get Knocked Down Again. You're never gonna knock me down!

Numbers, meet earth. Sunday night I had one Victory Whirlwind Wit on the couch.

Second verse, same as the first. Monday night I had one Whirlwind Wit on the couch.

I sort of did things in reverse here. I had a pretty hard drinking week and needed to tone it down over the weekend. Responsibility is my middle name. Monday/Tuesdays...I have a good one about women in the beer industry, but I want to save that for a time when I actually feel like writing. So until then...OUT DOOR BARS!!!!!! I've been to some, not all, I'm sure I'll hit more this summer. When I do I will let you know!

Total Beers: 350 (hey look at that!)
Where I Should Be: 336.986

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Back On Track!

All right, time to tidy up the loose ends of the past week. So we got through the beer drinking of Thursday (mentioned briefly at the end of the Africa post). On Friday I met up with the wife at Franklin Park for a sunny summer afternoon beer (Defiant Lager). Then we went back to the apartment and went to a new beer bar in the neighborhood Hot Bird. I'm sort of loathe to talk about it on the extremely off chance that anyone else in Brooklyn reads this thing. The thing is, it's kind of hidden (not in a douchey speakeasy sense but in a not-very-obvious kind of way). I don't care about it being hidden qua being hidden. I care about people not knowing where it is because it has a SUPER DOPE OUTSIDE PATIO AREA that isn't super packed like all the other bars with outdoor space. It's not a secret bar and its intent isn't to be a secret bar. It's just new and kind of in a place where no one would look for a bar. In Prospect Heights, there are a bunch of buildings with giant ads for a long defunct restaurant called "Hot Bird." Here are some pictures:

Well, it's in the side of one of the buildings with a giant sign on it. Here's another tip. It's in a building that isn't getting torn down by Ratner. Happy hunting! While there I had a Pretty Things Jack D'Or and a Kostwitzer Shwartzbier. After that we went home where I had Ft. Collin's Brewery Major Tom's Pomegranate Wheat on the couch. Saturday a had a whopping total of one Victory Whirlwind Wit (which is quite possibly the most refreshing beer on the planet. So let's do the numbers!

Total Beers: 348
Where I Should Be: 331.506

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Celebrating Peace and Prosperity

On Wednesday, as I mentioned, Liz and I took a trip to Africa. After we got back from Africa, we drank three beers that my magnanimous uncle Chris sent me from that very continent: Sierra Porter (not to be confused with Sierra Nevada or Sierra Dorado), White Bull Lager, and Tusker Lager. We drank them in that exact order, but for dramatic purposes, that's not the order I am going to talk about them in. You'll see why.

First up: Sierra Porter.

Here's the note that Chris wrote about this beer for me:
Sierra Porter - Microbrewery in Nairobi, you won't find this outside of Nairobi. They make a Porter, an Amber, and a Blonde. I only like the Porter - the only porter I can find in eastern Africa.

Googling Sierra Porter, the first thing you find is the facebook page for someone named "Sierra Porter." It would be amazing if she was named after the beer, but unfortunately for her I doubt her parents are that cool/in-the-know about east African beers. If, like me, you had no idea what a microbrewery in Kenya would look like, well, it essentially looks like every microbrewery in the United States, if not way fancier than most you'll find here. Looking at the brewery's website, it reminds me a lot of Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. in San Francisco.

The Porter itself is okay. Not the greatest in the world, a little thin and watery, but also not bad either. It certainly is pretty drinkable. To contrast it with my actual world travels, it was certainly better than any beer I had in Korea. Interestingly enough, Sierra's website makes a big deal about following Germany's brewing purity laws, so that's kind of cool. I think the main thing I took away from this beer was that citizens around the world want quality craft brew. I wouldn't think you'd be able to find a microbrewery in Kenya. I'd be wrong.

Next up: Tusker Lager

Chris's note: Ok, you can find this in NYC. It'd be macro (kinda) but it is so quintessentially Kenyan that I had to include it. It's also quintessentially blah - enjoy!!

It's quite possible many of you have had Tusker before. I actually haven't seen it in NYC, but I did have it, on tap no less!, in Blacksburg, VA at the Rivermill a couple of years ago. Prior to the arrival of the beers from Chris, I actually couldn't name a beer from Africa outside of Tusker. In contrast to Sierra, and in the grand American macro-brew tradition, Tusker uses adjuncts! The bottle lists the ingredients as "barley malt, corn starch, sugar, hops, CO2, and water" (weird that it doesn't list yeast as an ingredient). Here's where I respect Tusker, and I guess by extension African macro brew, more than Bud and other American brews. Tusker has the common decency to let the consumer know they are using adjuncts. None of this Miller Lite "triple-hopped" bullshit. Don't be fooled. Your Buds, Bud Lights, et al are made with corn. You know how Coke and Pepsi use corn-syrup because it's a cheaper substitute for sugar? Well, macrobrewers use corn instead of actual barley or wheat for the exact same reason. And much like corn syrup, it makes the quality of the brew plummet and contributes to corn making up 90% of the average American's diet. So if you're one of those people trying to avoid consuming corn syrup, you should avoid macrobrews for those exact same reasons (and many others)!

I actually think Tusker tastes better than most U.S. macrobrews. I don't know if it's a cognitive bias or something, but given the choice between a Tusker and a Bud, I will take the Tusker every time.

Finally: White Bull Lager

Chris's note: From South Sudan. Actually, a pretty crappy beer I think, but hey I doubt you'll find another bottle of this in the Western Hemisphere (actually, anywhere outside of Southern Sudan). And you have to love the motto "Celebrating Peace and Prosperity." That's what beer is for!

Chris is right, you can't find this anywhere outside of Sudan. It's not even rated on and they have ratings for everything (including the two previous beers). Believe you me when I say that I really, truly appreciated being the first person to drink this beer in the United States. There aren't really too many opportunities I'll have to be the first to do anything beer related. Being the first person to drink a beer, and this specific beer no less, in the United States, was a really humbling experience.

I don't know how much you know about Sudan. You probably have heard that it has had a pretty violent and unsettling past. You've probably heard of the Lost Boys of Sudan. America has recognized the conflict in Darfur as a "genocide," and, as is evident from even Obama tap-dancing around calling Turkey killing over one million Armenians in World War I a "genocide," that's not a term the U.S. throws around lightly. Between the 1970s and now, upwards of 2.5 million Sudanese citizens have been killed in one of the many different conflicts involving what is now Southern Sudan. Suffice it to say, Southern Sudan has had its troubles.

It's with that back ground that White Bull Lager becomes a phenomenal beer. White Bull Lager first launched in 2009, less than four years after Southern Sudan signed its comprehensive peace agreement with Sudan, as Southern Sudan's first domestically produced beer. Normally, press releases about new beers don't get me misty-eyed, but you'll excuse me if White Bull Lager's press release gets me a little choked up. "Our product's motto means more than just Celebrating Peace and Prosperity. It is a snapshot of the collective will of every Southern Sudanese we've met. An emerging and diverse community like Southern Sudan has had its challenges, but what's important is that there is an intense set of common ambitions throughout the country: a desire for peace, prosperity, a need for celebration and most importantly a strong hope in our future."

The country recently emerges from an intensely bloody civil war and what does it do? It makes beer. Not only that, it makes a beer free of adjuncts. Elsewhere in the press release, White Bull Lager states that it not only wanted to make a beer, but a beer that could stand toe-to-toe with any beer in the world. While the beer was what you might expect it to be, I would still prefer it to any American macrobrew (not only because it's made without corn, but also because I thought it genuinely tasted better).

While this beer might not end all of Sudanese problems, one can only hope White Bull Lager brings some people together and gives them something to celebrate. Because, as Chris so wisely noted, that's what beer is for.

(Thursday night I had 3 beers, two Simpler Times Lagers and 1 McSorleys while watching the Suns put an end to the Blazers. Yesterday I had some beers at some bars. I'll talk about those and do the numbers tomorrow. I think I'd rather just have this post stand as it.)

What Have I Done Wrong That I Should Be Sorry?

You might notice that it is "tomorrow" and the African beer post isn't up yet. Sorry. It got serious. Real serious. I'm not going to short change it.