Hops. Yeast. BAC. All good things. This blog examines the subculture of fine ale and the discerning, whimsical palette. You don't have to be over 21 to enjoy these postings, but I do recommend you play along at home.


Doppel I Know You From Somewhere?

Aventinus Wheat Doppelbock - Germany - 8.2% ABV

The pour yields a thin, thick head that disappates quickly. The deep amber, almost dark brown, color is pleasing to the eye. Big, spicy aroma is the form a a robust clove smell hits you and you lean in. The initial flavor is must be a ahalmark of this brew, as it complex and unique, delivering hints of chocolate, clove and an undertone of wheat. Excellent, light body with a nice caramel-y thickness in the finish. A very pleasing beer to linger over, even though the body (on the lighter ide, say, compared to a nut ale) and lack of overpowering alcohol aroma does not requite it be a sipping beer. This is a fine, drinkable darker beer with the lightness of a hefeweizen and the richness of an ale. Pilsner glass may even prevent some of the aroma from escaping, but it is a fine vessel nonetheless.

Four Steins


Ale's Well That Ends Well

Maredsous 8 - Belgium - ABV: 8%

This is a dark Abbey Ale brewed in the Benedictine tradition, fermented in the bottle and aged for over two months. Maredsous 8 compares very favorably to some of the other more common Belgian Ales (Chimay), in that it is very drinkable right away and can be had for a reasonable price ($8 @ BevMo). The initial pour delivers a creamy, peaked head reminiscent of lemon meringue pie, but once you get a little closer to it, there is nothing citrus-y about it all. The aroma of alcohol gets you right away, as it is a very strong ale, and then mixes with scents of roasted malt and caramel. Tasting the dark beer is like drinking a handful of warm hazelnuts, steeped in brown sugar, although it is not abundantly sweet. Hops comes out in a subtly bracing way, reminding you this is not maple syrup, but I wouldn't use the word "bitter' to describe any aspect of it. The body is clean and wonderfully light, say compared to a cloudy wheatbeer or heavy nut ale. The finish is perhaps the best part of it, making Maredsous 8 a fine sipping brew.

Four Steins



So I've been completely out of the bloggin' loop lately. But let me take this opportunity to rap about a major new event in my life: karaoke singing. Rolled by the hoppin' joint, Millbrae Karaoke, with a bottle of hooch and seven of my closest. Things starting off when Gibson busted a sweet rendition of "In da Club" and Heloise backed that up with her best Beyonce imopression on "Survivor." By the way, "Survivor" has arguably the unintentonally funniest stanza of lyrics in modern hip-hop (which is saying a alot) when we're cherished with lines about Beyonce's christianity and slamming fools on the internet. I guess her mom raised her not to trash people over email or on blogs. Shiiiiit. I'm bloggin' about blogs, again.

So you wanna know my set-list? OK, here she is:
1. All Night Long (Lionel Richie)
2. Faithfully (Journey)
3. Africa (Toto)
4. Without Me (Eminem)
5. Daniel (Elton John)

I guess after persuing that list you can sympathize with the listeners. Not only am I not a classically-trained vocalist, but I just kinda suck at singing. So next time, maybe I'll try something more in my range, whatever that means.


Return to Prominence

OK. So we're back. And I'm gonna do one of those inane tributes to mundanity and commonplaceness. That's right, I'm bloggin' about BULLSHIT!!!

What's the haps, you ask? Well, I saw "18 Blocks" last night and it was lousy as hell. Not a single punch was thrown, therefore, not a single punch was landed. May a remind you, this is Bruce Willis movie. I like Bruce Willis, seen most of his films and think he's an above-average action hero, but not necessarily an above-average actor. This is probably not breaking news and that's OK. But once again, the marketing team of a big-budget Hollywood vehicle has duped the hard-working, film-going citizenry. (On another note I wanted to see Dave Chappelle's "Block Party" for my Mos Def fix, which would have been a much better route, as Mos' role in "18 Blocks" was lame, one-dimensional and beneath him.) ---///--- What else is going? Apparently I eat Peruvian food, which is pretty awesome. Lotsa g-lac (garlic), a term based loosely on the hyphen of Gilroy, being "G-Roy," but which I affectionately refer to as "The Roy." Thinkin' 'bout goin' to The Roy's G-Lac Festival this summer, that's right. What else is mind-numbingly inane? Well, started a new game at the office, a game that has elicited the ire of a couple of my lady co-workers, Ananda Rong and Heloise Winterbottom. The game is simple but requires three key ingredients: 1 San Diego Chargers "Feel the Power" hacky sack, 1 fondue pot and 1 Gibson-based opponent; in this case, Gibson himself. Think H-O-R-S-E in a very small space, the floor littered with office supplies and thunderous shaking of cubicles as we crash down to Earth after another monstrous jam. ---///---What other bullshit can I blog about? I enjoyed some cannabanoids after "Crap" won the Best Picture Oscar via a bent-up Tecate can at Heloise Winterbottom's crib -- return to prominence, indeed. That's when you know you're out of practice. Y'see, in college, everybody was always blazin, so you better believe we had some sweet-ass water pipes (For Tobacco Use Only, of course) in circulation. (Small digression: the greatest water pipe of them all was Tony Gwynn, a metric foot of pure narcotic narcissism, known for his excellent hitting average. Old or young, tall or short, vet or noob, T Gwynn got you high. One day, the best DJ you never heard of (yet), Noose, decided to smash T Gwynn into a door handle. I haven't really gotten over it and we'll tackle that another day.) Anyway, these days, being an upstanding young(ish) man with a stable job, small dog and comitted relationship, what do I do? I smoke out of a Mexican beer can, that's what. I've come a long way, baby.


Sadness and Confusion

Things are about to get a little serious here. On Friday, February 17, 2006, my Auntie Judine was murdered in her home. She lived in a nice neighborhood in an even nicer North County town of San Diego, where violence that is this shocking and permanent is rare. The suspect was a tenant of Judy's, a 26-year-old "man" who was nabbed by the authorities on Saturday. No motive. At least none that I'm aware of yet. What I am aware of is that her son, my childhood buddy, is hurting right now. I know that my parents, who recently moved back to that same town, were counting on Judy finishing the interior design of their new house, and then sitting down for meal after meal together, enjoying each other's company. My sister will never get the recipe to her famous Yiddish treat, but that was only available if she married into Judy’s family anyway (but we somehow knew Judy would give it up one of these days). Judy beat ovarian cancer three years ago... and some desperate fool killed her anyway. I'm not exactly handling the "death" part of this tragedy well, but the "murder" part of it is unreal. It's like every time I break from whatever everyday activity I'm doing, my mind wanders to Judy and there is an awful pang that then follows. I don't know she died. What she was feeling. What her last thoughts were. Did she feel any pain?

My earliest memories in San Diego had me across the street, playing with Sean in the backyard, while my mom and Judy cooked/chatted/cleaned in the kitchen. Sean was an inventive kid, always making tire swings, wood swords and pulley-things. Judy was a designer, and would always go to fairs and shows, displaying her work -- I/m sure many of her friends and colleagues are touched by her passing. I've thought more about her the last three days than I have in months, when I saw her during a Christmas Day party at my parents’ new house. Obviously, I didn't say "goodbye" to her in any dramatic or spectacular fashion, heck, I'm not sure we even had that meaningful of a conversation. But I know how meaningful she is to me now. I took for granted the influence she had over my earliest years, and now that she's been taken from us, the world is a sadder, lonelier place without her.



Been reading a great series recently. Yeah, I know, it's technically a comic book, so it's not nearly as academic or intellectual as it could be, but as far as comics go, it's pretty edgy, heady and "mature." The book is FABLES and is released by the "mature readers only" imprint of DC Comics. This is the same imprint that brought comic fans Sandman and Hellblazer, so they've been doing this sorta thang for a while. The concept is simple and cool. Fairytale characters have been expelled from thier world and now live, in hiding, among "Mundanes," or as you've guessed it, human beings. Mundanes and muggles, eh? And while we're blogging about Harry P, did anybody have a problem with the Hogwartian boys' hair length in that last film? Did anybody even notice the hair length? How could you not? Is it going to get even longer? Where do we go from here? Check it out on video (good movie, so even if you don't care about teenage boys' haircuts, you'll get something out of the 2+ hour experience) and just look at all the moptops. Totally British. I guess. Stupid wankers. Am I scraping the surface on some hostility here? All I know is, and I don't quite know why, I haven't cut my hair since I saw that movie and i can only pray that it will be long enough in time for the the next film. I may not always now why, but i follow the pack when I know it's time. Go read FABLES!


Street Cred

What does it take to get it? Who awards it? What does one wear or display to illustrate that one has achieved it? Does it ever expire? And if so, can one get it back? If times change, which they do, does that mean street cred of, say, the 1980s corresponds to street cred of today? Does street cred only exist in the urban slums? What about "white flight" from the urban centers in the late forties, did street cred leave with the Prohibition-Era mobsters? If so, when did it come back? If not, why don't we associate street cred with the Al Capones of the world and related racketeering ethusiasts? Is organized crime devoid of street cred? Who decides that a person is no longer worthy of having it? If a rapper moves away from the 'hood and into the hills, but continues to make albums about "tha life" and sport a flak jacket at public appearances, does he or she still have street cred? Is that converted into hills cred? Is that just as good? Is it better? Is street cred merely a state of mind? What happens when we replace all instances of "street cred" in this article with "green beans," "my one-eyed panda," or "shoe leather?" Suprising isn't? Isn't it remarkable that a series of questions can be full of answers?