Thursday, April 22, 2010

Weird Watering Holes

Where you drink says a lot about who you are.

So which one of these places would I go to? Well, I'd like to see all of them, except that coffin place which seems to be made from discarded 2x4's and contractor sized trash bags.

But which one might I want to go back to? Has to be the Hobbit House. Why? Because it's just a bar. All those other places have a lot of style, but they seem to be lacking in substance. But those little folk seem to have a well stocked back bar and some decent music, so that's where I'm heading if I find myself coughing up hairballs. I'll take blues and whiskey over spraypainted wheelchairs any day.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Twice in one week and Flinstones (Via @Brookston)

The ever amazing Brookston Beer Bulletin has an amazing post about The Flinstones schilling for Busch Beer.

Sir, you are what we admire most but don't aspire to be, at least in this forum.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Sorry its been a while since I rapped at ya'll. I'm just getting home from yoga with my wife and maybe the 'Namaste' has cleared my mind for more dick jokes.

A lot has been going on of late brewing-wise for me. I've been judging, and blogging about that judging. I'd tell you the link but that would defeat the purpose of this being semi-anonymous. I've made a bunch of beers, but didn't place any of them lately, so I'm a bit grumpy.

I break my silence to bring you breaking news straight from Chicagoist! They've just had a massive snowball session with Dogfish head. It shows a ton of class on their part that they would go ahead and respond to a twitter complaint. This is outweighed only by the naivete of the author who seems to think this had nothing to do with his position as a beer reviewer in a major market. A major market that is 2 weeks away from hosing the Craft *fucking* Brewers Conference! Nice all around, and snowball away. I for one am sorry your extreme beer tasted like grape instead of wood and the Calagiones are a class act. I just hope their new Italian-power Manhattan brewpub doesn't turn into a crowded velvet-rope/scenester pile of pretentious shit like most of midtown. Can New York City support a real brewpub; no, history shows. Can it support celebrity stuff- until TMZ stops caring. If anyone can pull of the conversion it is two of the most X-treme brewers in the country. Thankfully, they can both brew good beers that aren't fermented from a hot air balloon, so their might be room for all.

After all, Penn Brewing has a pale fucking ale out; so anything is possible. I bet Gordon-Bierch's new mild will rock!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

...Need I say more? Well ok, I guess I can link back to last year's post.


Thursday, March 4, 2010


"the rumors of my sobriety are greatly exaggerated" - Keith Richards

Good to hear.  No one likes a quitter, Keef.


On a related note, a few weeks ago, Richard Dicks had an alarming bout of sobriety that lasted almost 48 hours. I wholly supported his effort, but it still failed. All it took was accidentally wandering into some joint called The Hop House. Why he thought no temptation would lie within a place called The Hop House, I don't know. Nice place, though. Good food, good beer, they still let you smoke but it's not too smokey. Looked like some darts and such diversions in the back room. Maybe we'll hit there again this weekend.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wreckless Man

Ok, so this isn't a video.  There is a video out there somewhere of this song being performed live on a back porch at a party full of high schoolers drinking moonshine, and it's completely and entirely awesome, but it's no longer online as far as I can tell.  CMT had it on their site (it was from an excellent CMT program on illegal liquor called "Moonshine Madness"), but they've long since removed it from their site.  I've been looking for a copy of the video for years, but I just can't find it.

However, my latest attempt turned up a recorded version that same band did.  It seems they're called "Virginia Ground" but I think CMT called them "The Back Porch Boys" or something like that, perhaps they weren't officially a band at that point.  This recording is very good, but lacks the neat vibe the video had; just seeing some 17 year old dudes drinking illegal liquor at a party late at night in the backwoods suddenly pull out instruments and go to town.  Still, this might be the closest I get to sharing this without buying a copy of the DVD somewhere, ripping it, uploading it to YouTube, and hoping enough people see it before YouTube takes it down for copyright reasons.  So without further ado, here's Virginia Ground playing "Wreckless Man"

If you ever get a chance, check out the CMT program CMT Most Shocking: Moonshine Madness. Even if you don't like country music at all (I'm certainly not the biggest fan in the world), it's a fascinating look into illegal liquor and covers some topics most of the History Channel programs leave out.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Drink Scotch Like a Man

I don't drink Scotch.  To me- and Ron White would punch me in the face for saying it, Scotch has the same gasoline tang to it that makes me dislike Tequila.  Now, why I dislike that tang so strongly, well, that's another story...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You don't know Jack

Now my favorite whiskey recipe is hands-down a glass with some Jim Beam in it.  But I guess Jack Daniels is ok too.  But Jack with grenadine, triple sec, and orange juice?  Well, it takes all sorts...

I might have to try an Evil Jack some day.

I have a friend who loves to walk into bars and ask for "two fingers... Jack... neat" just because he knows no bartender under the age of 50 has ever heard those words.  Once the girl behind the bar sadly informed him they were out of Tequila.


I would have laughed my ass off if they hadn't been out and he got a tumbler with a shot of tequila and a shot of whiskey, because he would have gotten exactly what he ordered: Two Fingers, Jack, neat.

But back to that link, some of the recipes talk about adding things to ease Jack's bite.  What bite?  I always thought Jack was a little too smooth and sweet, personally.  Sure, I've had sweeter whiskies like Ezra Brooks, and there's whiskey-based liqueurs like Southern Comfort, American Honey, and Red Stag. 

But Jack, well, people put it in the same category as Bourbon.  I was once at a bar and ordered Jim Beam.  When I was given a glass of Jack Daniels instead, I could tell by the flavor and spoke up.  The bartender said "Eh, Jim, Jack... same thing."  I almost flew off the handle, as I was in a pricey establishment and had paid a pretty penny for a moderately clean glass full of not what I asked for.  But that's how a lot of people think.  Many consider Jim and Jack to be interchangeable.  But would they do the same with Crown or Seagram's 7?  Canadian whiskey is pretty close to Bourbon, people don't consider it to be bourbon.  Nor has it ever pretended to be anything other than what it is: it comes in different shaped bottles, totally different style labels and completely different marketing campaigns.  But just look at that bottle of Jack, all square and bourbony and old-timey.  You get the feeling that on the weekends Jack Daniels puts on a fake mustache and asks its wife to call him "Bourbon" in bed.

Jack seems to have always had a chip on their shoulder about the whole bourbon thing.  And in all honesty, if you fed samples into some sort of chemical analyzing computer thingie (I never took Chemistry in college) I'm sure it would say Jack Daniels and Jim Beam are close enough to be categorized as the same substance.  I won't deny that in flavor, Jack is like a smooth, sweetish bourbon.  But taste isn't how bourbon is defined.

The fact of the matter is Jack is not Bourbon because it's made in the wrong place.  It's not a matter of taste, or ingredients, or licensing and trademarks.  I can't call myself a Dane because I wasn't born in Denmark, nor do I live there now.  So I call myself a Yinzer, because I'm from and live in Pittsburgh. 


A lot of booze is that way.  Mezcal can only come from one town, if it's made somewhere in the same county you get to call it Tequila but otherwise it's just cactus juice.  And everyone involved is ok with that arrangement.  Scotch has to come from Scotland, otherwise Sean Connery shows up at your house in the middle of the night and beats you with a blackjack until you sing Nighean Nan Geug backwards three times.  Those are the rules.

But even going from that argument, I'm sure there's lots of people that would say "Kentucky, Tennessee... what's the difference?"  It's a only a 3 hour and 57 minute drive from Lynchburg Tennessee to Shepherdsville Kentucky.  That's not too long, you can make a day trip from one location to the other.  But to put that in perspective, if you started at the Dewars distillery and drove North, South, East, or West for that same 223 miles, you'd be in the fucking ocean.  So it's not like the Bourbon folks are being dicks excluding Jack, other liquors have just as strict geographic requirements.

Nor am I trying to say Jack Daniels is shit.  It's not shit.  I drank some with Richard a two nights ago (yes, that was a Monday.)  It's a very fine Southern American whiskey, but it is not Bourbon and it's not Jim Beam.  And I know folks love their Jack Daniels; who prefer it over any actual bourbon with it's rotten corn sourness and its rough-around-the-edges, non-charcoal-filtered bite; but to me Jack Daniels will always just be pretend bourbon.  When I want a glass of whiskey I reach for that white label.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Day in Booze: The Double Whammy

I was going to call today's article "This Day in Booze: The Bitch is Dead", but today actually happens to mark two great days in booze history, so I had to change it.

What bitch? Whose a bitch? You'ze a bitch? Where the fuck are my pants?... ...Exactly.

Today marks the death of one Frances Elizabeth Caroline I'm a Bitch Willard.

She was a 19th Century educator and woman's Suffragist, but was most notably known for her role in temperance reform and the WTCU, or as I like to call it Women with Thorny Cunts United.

But she was a suffragist? That's a good thing. To what extent was here role in the Women's Christain Temperance Union (WTCU) that you feel such a need to vilify her so?

Well, as one of the originators of the satanic organization (at least that's what I'm told) known as the WTCU in 1874, she was elected the first corresponding secretary. In 1879 she was elected the President of the Women's National Council of the United States (another cult, I am told), and held onto her position there until she finally kicked the bucket. Kind of like a dictator, but with a vagina. She was the originator of the Formed Worldwide WCTU in 1883, but surprisingly was NOT the President of that organization. Well, not until 1888 at least.

During her time with the temperance movement, she set about traveling the Country, speaking to groups, to churches, to schools, to communities all about the evils of booze. So much of her time and effort was dedicated to this cause that from 1874 to 1884 she averaged over 30,000 mile of travel and 400 lectures PER YEAR! One of her biggest arguments against booze was its effect on the home life. Let's just forget about the effect of not being at home for nearly 10 years. That kind of screws up the home life as well. Oh wait, I guess you need a home life first, before you can screw it up. She never married (I wonder why), and it's clear that her real issue wasn't with booze, but with the "Evil Penis." ...hehe, penis.

Now don't get me wrong. I fully support any effort towards women's rights and praise great women like Julia Child and Martha Stewart who have taught today's women how to be creative, more independent, and how to bake a better pie.

Today is extra special because it also marks the signing of the Blaine Act by the United States Senate. Oh I'm sorry, the Blain Act doesn't really ring a bell with most of you. How about I call it by it's other name, the 21st Amendment.

The Blain Act, written by Wisconsin senator John J. Blaine, was the 21st Amendment to the Constitution before it was the 21st Amendment. On February 17th, 1933, the United States Senate Accepted the Act, but it wouldn't become an Amendment until it was ratified by the individual States. A process which the law grants seven years. Fortunately it took less than one, and on December 5th, 1933 it became the 21st Amendment to our Constitution.

So have two drinks today. One for the 21st Amendment and one for Pie.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Taste The Rainbow

Saw this on my iGoogle homepage as the "How To of the Day."

Make Skittles Vodka

Basically it's the same procedure people use to make there own homemade lemoncello, except it looks like a box of Crayola crayons, will make you go temporarily blind from the sugar high, and I'd never drink it.

...ok, I'm really not the person to be saying never. I'd drink it, but I'd say I hate it as I swig down the entire bottle.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

DC Blizzard

Every year the wife and I take a short vacation Sometime between the months of January and March. We call it our little winter getaway. One year we went up to Niagara Falls. Another year we went out to Detroit for the Autoshow with friends. Last year we went down to Bradenton Florida for Pirates Spring Training (please don't judge us). It was the last time we could go to see all the players we like before Nutting sold them off for another 5 year plan. I still like B. James' idea for another Kevin Costner movie.


This year we decided to go down to DC and catch the Penguins pummel the Capitals this Sunday. We decided to make a weekend of it, head down Friday night, and spend Saturday doing museums and watching politicians sin (It never hurts to know where a dead intern or two are hidden).

Of Course we picked the one weekend that a Blizzard decides to ravage the North East like the grizzly bear that made poo out of that dumb hippy.

Well thanks to the blizzard, all the museams and stuff in DC are going to be closed tomorrow. So we're going to rock this hotel room the only way we know how.

It's Motherfuck'n Booze Time!

Once again, please don't judge us and our selection. We did the best we could given our circumstances.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We're Number One!

OK fine, we're not #1, but we are just 67 miles or an hour drive from the #1 Beer Store

(another article on the subject)

It's just a hair north of us in Youngstown, Ohio, but it might as well be in Pittsburgh.  Youngstown, for a long time now has been asymilated into Southwestern PA.  It's as much a part of Pittsburgh as Cranberry or Uniontown or WashPA.  In my travels I've actually met other people who have said they were from Pittsburgh, and when I ask them what part, they respond "Youngstown."  I even have a coworker who commutes every day to work from Youngstown to Monroeville.

Youngstown and Steubenville are like two bastard cities Ohio never really wanted.  Youngstown had mob problems and Steubenville just kind of sucked.  And don't let Steubenville try to fool you otherwise.  They're like the scrawny, hairlipped, humbacked orphan that nobody ever wanted to adopt. 

Years ago, when Pittsburgh was drawing up the official papers to adopt Youngstown, Ohio tried to pawn off Steubenville on us at the same time.  "It's a package deal.  The two get along so well and we'd hate to separate the two of them."

Fortunately Sophie Masloff was too smart for such a ploy.  So we Pittsburghers took Youngstown under our wing as one of our own, and it's been a pleasant relationship ever since.  Of course that hasn't stopped Steubenville from attempting to get it's parasitic little tentacles on Pittsburgh.  They broke free from Ohio about 10 years ago and started calling themselves, and all of Jefferson County Ohio, "The Burb of the Burg."

Yes, they are that Ghetto.  True, at only 36 miles away from Downtown Pittsburgh, they are almost twice as close as Youngstown.  But just because the kitchen sink is twice as close as the toilet to the living room doesn't mean you use it instead.  Twice as close?  Is that even proper english?   See, Steubenville sucks so much donkey balls, they are only worth insulting with gramatically incorrect idioms.

Now that I've gotten that little tirade off my chest, wasn't there something about alcohol I was supposed to be talking about.  Yes, back to Youngstown and the Number 1 Beer Store in the World, Vintage Estate Wine and Beer.  That's right.  They are the number one beer retailer in the World according to's 2010 awards. At over 800 craft beers and 1000 plus types of wine, there is little in my mind to deter me from just driving up there in the middle of this snow storm we are in and setting up my own little tent city in their parking lot.  I'll bring the kielbasa and the carcoal grill and will simply just venture into the store if I need more to drink or to use the bathroom.  That is unless there is a sink that's close by.

Now that I've heard of the place, I'm sure I'll be making my way up there at some point to sample their selection.  If you're in the area in late April, the store plans on hosting a massive beer festival called The Big Tap In.  I may just have to go.

And the owners live in New Castle, PA, so yinz can consider the as locals as well.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I wasn't looking too good but I was feeling real well

Bored waiting for a Windows update to install on someone's computer, I opened a browser and sought to entertain myself in a manner that was more-or-less safe for work.  Then I came across a headline that made my heart sink: after decades of making every other drinker on the planet look like a fucking lightweight, Keith Richards is on the wagon!

There's been a lot of trouble lately with The Stones other guitarist Ronnie Wood ditching his wife for a young Russian "waitress" and proceeding to generally wreck everything in his life by drinking alcohol faster than the maximum output of Seagram's.  Rumors were The Stones were going to tour again soon.  They have now officially said that is not the case, and speculation is it's because the insurance company won't insure the tour with Ronnie's drinking problem.  Why is that the speculation?  Because it's happened before. 

Ronnie has thrown his life into such disarray with his drinking, that it has allegedly scared Keith and he quit drinking completely.  He says he's been dry for a few months now.  Seriously, how fucking bad is your substance abuse problem when Keith fucking Richards says "Holy shit, dude, you need to slow down!"?

I find this news kind of sad.  Not just because things are falling apart for Ronnie, but that Keith has gone straight.  Why?  Well, I'm kind of working on that question myself.  Maybe because Keef is a symbol of responsible irresponsibility.  He always appeared to ride things on the ragged edge, but he always pulled through somehow.  He indulged in whatever he desired, but never to the point that things completely fell apart.  Personally, I've always felt abstinence was a sign of weakness.  You need to eliminate temptation from your life because you can't be trusted to keep your shit together.

But now he's not that symbol, and that makes me sad inside.  Not that I thought of him as a role model.  Fuck no!  I mean, you're a cool guy, Keef, and it would be awesome to meet you; but I think it would be folly on a grand scale for someone to pattern their life after you.  Still, it somehow seems like a little sliver of fun and freedom just left the world.  A good friend of Keith's once rhetorically asked "Where were you when the fun died?"  Well, I guess I was installing Windows 7 on some dude's computer at work.

Still, one gets the sneaking suspicion that Keef is mainly doing this to try to encourage Ronnie to get his shit together.  And that is highly commendable.  Think about it for a minute.  How much would you give up to help a friend?  Would you quit your favorite habit or passtime?  Would you quit smoking, or watching football, or whacking it to bestiality porn while your wife is in the shower?  More to the point, would I give up alcohol if Richard Dicks or M. Randolph was acting like Ronnie?

I'd tell them I did. 


Monday, January 18, 2010

God's Cube

Not a video, but I suppose it kind of counts for a Monday Hangover:

Cute, but really... iced cube?  I thought they were ice cubes.  I dunno, people from Ohio are fucking weird.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

This Day in Booze: Judgement Day

No, this is not a prediction into the future. The World will not end on this day in the year 2000-and-who-gives-a-rat's-ass. Nor am I the Governor of California running naked through the streets punching holes in peoples chests.

I'm writing to you because this day was probably the darkest day in the history of the American Alcoholic. Today began the days of Prohibition.

It was on January 16th 1919 the U.S. Congress Ratified the 18th Ammendment. The bill was to take effect exactly one year later on this same day, 1920. What would follow was 13 years of sobriety, bootlegging, organized crime, smuggling, rum running, speakeasies, moonshining, violence... ...actually that sounds kind of fun. Well, everything except fo the sobriety part. Because gunning down treasury agents just isn't the same without a flask of bathtub gin to enjoy while doing it.

And that is about all I have. I've nearly exhausted the subject on prohibition in many past posts, which you can check out.

The 21st Amendment

I know it's kind of a let down as this should be the big one. But I'm not feeling up to it. The truth is, if you read yesterday's post, I kind of went out for that one last drink last night. And that last drink led to another drink, which led to another drink, whiche led to another, which led to homoerotic flirtation with B James and McPaddy, which led to a busted lip and me washing the urine off the side of my car this morning.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This Day in Booze: One Last Drink

January 15th 1920. Last day for a legal drink in the United States before nearly 13 years of sobriety. Raise a glass to those poor souls who had to endure it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beer Swap: Part 2

I hope everyone had a happy New Year. Mine was good. McPaddy and his wife threw on a great spread with much food and booze.

Over the past few days I've taken some time to sample more of the beer from my Christmas Beer Swap. Figured I'd continue to share my opinion with you and see if anyone else has anything to share about these particular beers.

Here is a quick recap of that which has been sampled already. If you don't agree with me on something let me know, because I can be fairly blunt. I know what tastes good and I know when someone is trying to pawn of shit by riding a reputable name. Which leads me into my first review from last week. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale was nothing but hops water with red food coloring. Despise this obvious fact, it seems to be in everyone's list as one of the top Winter/Chrsitmas beers (blunt enough for you?). Clipper City Brewing Winter Storm "Cetegory 5 Ale", being an Imperial ESB, was an attempt to be a little different from most of the other winter brews out there. I appreciate the effort, but don't think they quite succeeded. I think this beer could be much better if they really put some effort into it. It was good enough for me to call it a typical seasonal beer. Sitting at the top of my seasonal list, I reviewed the Anderson Valley Winter Solistice. I was thoroughly impressed. Expecting another dark chololately beer with tons of hops, like most other christmas beers, this was deep and rich but well balanced. I love the proprietary blend of holiday spices, the balance between the hops and malts, and the smooth caramel finish.

This time around I've got three new beers to review.

The first beer isn't exactly a seasonal beer, but that's one of the great things about beer swaps, the unexpected. The beer was a Strawberry Wheat Beer by Lancaster Brewing Company. The only wheat beer in the case, I wasn't expecting great things when I popped open the bottle. Perhaps it was the description on the beer label that said "Wheat Beer with Strawberry Flavor Added". That's right. They brewed a wheat beer and then added strawberry flavoring to it after the fact. Truth be told, it wasn't terrible tasting, but it was kind of bland and weak in flavor. This wasn't a surprise, since wheat beers typically are more mild in taste, with the true nuances coming out usually in citrus or banana flavors. But this isn't one of those beers. It's perfectly drinkable and the strawberry flavor they added was just enough to give it a light fruity sweetness (perhaps too tart). But I don't think I'll be buying anymore of it.

Magic Hat Howl. Eh...It didn't exactly live up to my expectations for something from Magic Hat. As expected it had the aroma and flavor of roasted and chacolate malts. It isn't an ale, like most winter beers, but a dark german lager (schwarzbier). So it's a heavy beer but lighter in flavor. I think the hops pairing was off on this one. For the style of beer, I think their choice of hops is too overpowering. Not that it had too much hops. On the contrary, it had about the amount of hops I typically like in a dark seasonal brew. However, The hops they choose masked the true flavor of the beer itself. M. Randolph might be able to provide more insite into this since he is the most qualified.

Lastly is Erie Brewing's 'Ol Red Cease and Desist. I'm not entirely sure if I like this one or not yet. I hate to give a review prematurely, but I just can't get my mouth wrapped around this one. Yes I've set myself up perfectly for your homo-erotic comments. That's OK. If you're commenting it at least means somebody out there is reading this crap. Back to the beer. At over 10% ABV it definetly fits in with the spirit of a winter beer. It's a nice deep DEEP red scottish ale, though some years the bottle apparently says "wee heavy" instead. Same thing (prepared for the backlash). It has some of the standard characteristics a would assume with this type of beer. A mouth full of caramel malt on the front end with some fruitiness as well. But something just seemed off. I can't tell if it was the bitterness. In my quest to get a grasp of it I research a little to see what other people thought. One person on beeradvocate might of touched on it when he said the beer was "considerably metallic, like licking stainless steel." I'm not sure if I'd go that far. But there definitely seems to be something there. I'll guess I'll just have to suck it up and crack open the other two bottles at some point to delve deeper into the mystery of 'Ol Red. I'll try to give a followup when I do my next round of reviews.

All-in-all the Anderson Valley is still at the top of my list.