Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Erdinger Weissbrau Hefeweizen pours a hazy yellow with a great deal of carbonation and a lot of fuzzy head. The aroma is practically nonexistent. The flavor is mildly fruity and closes with a slight bitterness, but this mostly tastes like a little bit of nothing. It's been my privilege to enjoy some delicious hefeweizens over the past year, and this ain't one of them.

I'm now up to three movies that I've seen in theaters and not reviewed at this blog. I'll write full on, brief reviews for each of them this week while I can still remember them. I promise. I managed to sit through The Wolverine yesterday, in spite of the desperate need I felt to get the hell out of that theater and stop watching that awful, shit movie. Earlier this year I also saw World War Z and This Is The End and I thought both of them were decent fun that more or less lived up to my slightly sub-par expectations. No complaints with either of them, they both both sailed cleanly over the very low bar I'd set for them. The Wolverine, on the other hand, ran face first into that bar, grabbed it, uprooted it, and used to destroy sporadic plot points that wouldn't have even served the film that well if they'd been left unmolested. It was such an unforgivable mess of a film. I may write reviews of any of these movies later, if the mood strikes me.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I like Blue Point's No Apologies Imperial IPA. It's like a heavily hopped, IPA version of an American strong ale. It pours a hazy, deep peach color with a frothy head, and average carbonation. Rich, malty aroma. The flavor is a woody, sweet caramel that's not overshadowed by the big, tart hop character. This one leans to the malt side in a big way, and it was a nice change after several nights of extra bitter, hop-dominated beers.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ballast Point's Sculpin is a clean, light, tasty IPA. The body is bright tangerine with an average head and light carbonation. Lots of sweet citrus in the aroma; lemon and some melon, too. The flavor is crisp and tart. Orange and a creamy, butterscotch malt. Poured from the bottle right out of the fridge, this thing hit the spot.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Uinta's Crooked Line limited double rye IPA, Cahoots, is a tasty, strong, bitter double IPA. It pours a clear golden color with a really big head and medium carbonation. The aroma is the main presence of rye, I picked up on more of it in the smell than the flavor. Not that the flavor is lacking. It's big and bitter. The malt has the same rich, kinda sweet potato like quality that I've noticed in Uinta's Dubhe black IPA, but the sweetness is a minor note. The huge, resiny bitterness dominates. I liked this.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My son, my stepson and I are in Tennessee. I only see my stepson (by an ex-wife) for a few weeks every summer, so we try to make a trip and have some fun when he's here. This year we came to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to take in the sights and hit the touresty spots, and ride some roller coasters.

Tennessee is a beautiful state, but there is a lot about it that confuses me. This lush, green mountain land gave the world Morgan Freeman, music's Carter family, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, Elvis, and Samuel L. Jackson. But, on the other hand, Tennessee also gave us Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and Ke$ha. As far as I'm concerned, this state owes us three more Arethas just to make up for Ke$ha, alone.

Also, I don't see how the same state could send both Al Gore and Fred Thompson to the Senate, and within a couple of years of each other. Tennessee seems to have identity issues.

And I gotta say that The Volunteers is the lamest, silliest college sports mascot name of all time. Alright, sure, I'm sure there's some badass story behind the name... I'm sure it's something macho and impressive, like the college football team is named after some guys who volunteered to run into a burning whorehouse and extinguished the fire by whomping it with their scrotums while drinking Jack Daniels. But as it is, just on the face of it, the Tennessee Volunteers is only marginally more intimidating sounding than the Tennessee Kindly Old Aunts.

Nonetheless, as tourist traps go, Gatlinburg, Tennessee is as fun as any other, and probably cleaner and friendlier than most. The kids are having a good time. We hit the Aquarium today and walked through an awesome shark tunnel, and then took in the Ripley's "Odditorium" museum, which was a lot more fun than I expected. We laughed and had fun the whole time we were there. Tomorrow it's Dollywoood, which has gotten more and more serious about roller coasters over the years. I expect some real fun there, too.

My stepson and I take a selfie in the warped mirror at Ripley's.
My son in the backward baseball cap is right behind us.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I like Schlafly American IPA a lot. It pours a very clear, gold/yellow with a lot of head and an average amount of carbonation. The aroma is sweet and citrus, and the flavor is really sweet, tangerine citrus up front, then you slide into the malt, and then this huge, strong, bitter grapefruit finish. The nose isn’t a big component of the flavor, but there’s so much going on on the tongue, here, that it’s not an issue. I’ll remember this one, and eventually have it again.

Alchemist Heady Topper is a tasty, if mild, IPA. The body is a hazy lemon meringue color, and the aroma has citrus and grassy hop qualities. The flavor has more of that lemon I saw in the color, but it might have been psychosomatic. I also picked up on other sweet citrus, like tangerine and pineapple, and a bready malt foundation. Most of these hard-to-find IPAs don’t live up to the hype the first time I have them, even Pliny the Elder and Bell's Two Hearted underwhelmed me the first time. But the second sampling is always better (Pliny and Two Hearted are favorites now). So I look forward to the day I have another Heady Topper. As it is, this isn’t quite what I look for in an Imperial IPA. Keep in mind, of course, that my palate tends toward the sledgehammer approach of beers from Stone, Avery, etc. I've put my tongue through a lot over the years*, so it takes a lot to get its attention at first. Heady Topper takes a gentle approach. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not what I want the first time around.

*I used to smoke Marlboro Reds.

Monday, July 22, 2013

This is a ramble that kinda grew out of listening to too much Johnny Cash one afternoon.

I grew up with two kids, Shawn and Bobby, who were brothers to me. They had different parents, but they were my brothers. Shawn and I were the same age, Bobby was a year younger. We played together in the playpen. I cannot remember my life prior to knowing them.

One day when I was 13, I came home from school and my mother told me that Shawn and Bobby were moving to North Carolina. Their dad had found a good job there. A few months later I came home from school one day and mom told me that their parents were getting a divorce. A few months after that I came home from school and my mother was on the phone. Something was clearly wrong. You know how, when you're a kid, you can just tell? I could tell. Something serious was wrong. When my mom hung up the phone she told me that another kid had somehow gotten a gun, and the kid had been playing with the gun, and Bobby had been shot and killed.

I literally cannot remember the next three days of my life. I know that I freaked out in English class at some point, but I can't remember what I said or how it was resolved. I can remember going to the funeral and feeling terrified, but I can't remember any specifics. And I can remember standing on the Bobby's Grandmother's front porch, and Bobby's mother holding me, and both of us crying so hard that it felt like the crying would kill us. Like we were crying harder than human bodies could cry without dying. It was like we were crying for every single person who had ever died, and every one of us left behind.

All of that played a role in the adult that I became, if you can call what I am now an adult. I don't get close to people easily. I never seem to think it's worth the risk. When I do get close to people, I become somewhat obsessed with a morbid fear of losing them. Eventually, in one way or another, I always do lose them. That's how life works. It isn't really a good thing or a bad thing, it's just how it works. Life is a combination of good and bad, joy and loss. You can't have one without the other. I know that. I think about it constantly. Because of that, I sometimes avoid forming bonds, and I sometimes obsess over losing the people I love.

I honestly do not know which is worse; living with the inevitability of loss, or living without it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Port Jeff Brewing's Party Boat IPA is tasty. I had a growler of the stuff straight from the tap room in Port Jefferson, and I enjoyed it a lot. The body was hazy golden with some protein clumps. The aroma was a tangy, sweet citrus bitterness, but there was more malt in the taste than the smell implied. Pine and citrus mingled in the flavor's hop character, all overtop of a rich, buttery malt. The malt seemed to grow richer as it warmed. Very nice.