Category: beer review
01/31/07 08:00 - 24ºF - ID#37941
Beer Review #3 - Southern Tier
We wanted to highlight a local brewery which I think is absolutely
fantastic, with some exceptions depending on the variety. For example, they make a Tripel that I really, really dislike. However, I wanted to take two of their Imperials to highlight how quality brewing can mask alcohol content and bitterness, and ultimately makes for deceivingly drinkable beer. To illustrate this, and to get you lords and ladies drunk, we've selected two different styles - the Heavy Weizen and the Unearthly Imperial India Pale Ale.
About the brewery - the brewery is located in a small manufacturing space in the town of Lakewood, NY - about 3 miles from my childhood home in Jamestown. The people that run this outfit are very laid back and hippie-ish - the brewery actually has a small pub in it so Jay and I always make a point to stop by and have a few pints... and usually fill up a growler with their fabulous Porter. God I love that beer - it makes most other porters (to my palette anyway) taste watered down. They are very friendly and tours are available - having toured the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis I think this is a great way to kill an afternoon and learn a little bit about America's favorite drink. Their web site - - gives you a feel about the hip artistic design of the bottles and all the information you'd ever want about the beers themselves.
Before anybody accuses me of homerism - if the beer sucked I'd just come right out and say it. Their beer definitely doesn't suck and at worst it's better than most commercially produced "specialty" beers. Some of their varieties are better than others, and I've tried every single one, so if you have a question about a specific variety of Southern Tier just leave a comment or ask me if you catch me on the street!
Southern Tier Heavy Weizen - Imperial Unfiltered Wheat Ale
8.0% ABV, 38 IBUs - available most places locally in 22 oz. bottles, or if you can find it, it is available on tap as well. I know that as of last
week Heavy Weizen was on tap at Cole's, so if you are out and about you may see it.
This beer is a variation on the traditional hefeweizen (hefeweiss, weissbier, wheat beer, sometimes white beer) that you'll find from brands such as Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Franziskaner and the like. Its a traditional German variety that has a flavor derived from the special top-fermenting yeast that lends its distinct flavor. Two traditional flavors that people associate with hefeweizen are banana and clove, although many beers brewed in this style
have a citrus tone as well. To call a beer a "hefeweizen" is to assume that the beer has remained unfiltered - this leaves the body of the beer cloudy and when poured into a proper glass reveals a unique look. Americans traditionally love to put citrus in this style of beer, although purists absolutely hate this idea and feels it takes away from the head and the citrus tone inherent in the brew. I have a tight-assed compromise explanation on what is proper here, but I will save it for last.
Putting it simply, Heavy Weizen slots somewhere between Blue Moon and a traditional hefeweizen. I compare it to Blue Moon, but Blue Moon is a Belgian-style wheat ale and rather than a German hefeweizen. They are both wheat beers but I promise that if you taste both side by side you'll understand that Hefeweizens are usually a tad sharper in flavor, have more carbonation and have a more consistent golden color.
When you look at Heavy Weizen, it has a dense, hazy golden color with a slight reddish/orangish hue to the center of the glass. If you smell the beer before you sip it, you'll notice a spicy side to the beer that lends itself more towards the Blue Moon side of things. Heavy Weizen reveals more of the hefe side of things as you drink and get into the glass. Bananas, cloves, wheat, yeast and less acidic citrus dominate the muted but very well established flavor combination - this is a very easy to drink beer. Wheat beers in the German style are well known for their refreshing quality in the summertime; in this beer you have that same quality but to a lesser extent. Mid level carbonation, slight spiciness, twice the alcohol content and general mouth feel of the beer make it less so. Despite the alcohol content, there is only a slight boozy quality to the brew; the cleverly balanced flavors and heavier mouth feel (relative to hefeweizen, that is) match up well and only towards the aftertaste to you notice a deceivingly slight kick.
01/30/07 10:52 - 16ºF - ID#37920
My Photogenic Father
I know that I said I was going to go wild like a lumberjack but unfortunately I hate how my beard is shaping up, so I'm very tempted to shave it. I'd take a picture but I broke Jason's camera and have yet to replace it. At least my lumberjack hair is still going well - I told my grandmother what I was doing and she almost teared up right on the phone. I said, "Don't worry grandma - if it looks bad I'll cut it, but if I let it grow out and it looks good you'll like it!"
All of this talk about iPod deaths is really scaring me. Seriously... if I lost my iPod I would just about die. Its amazing how companies can essentially create a need for something that people will eventually not want to let go. If I lost my iPod and were broke, I'd seriously eat rice and beans for a month if it meant that I could replace my iPod.
What do people put on their iPods? For me its about 16GB of music and podcasts. I generally subscribe to the following podcasts - Chelsea FC, The Beautiful Game, From Our Own Correspondant (BBC), 606 (BBC), This American Life (Chicago Public Radio, very highly rated and the way they tell stories is intriguing), Left, Right and Center (KCRW Santa Monica, one of the better political debate shows), Meet the Press, some kind of Buddhist podcast and a cast about the rulers of the Byzantine Empire. I feel like I'm forgetting some, but I am definitely a podcast enthusiast. If anybody knows some good ones let me know!
The title of this journal entry may be confusing to some, since I actually haven't mentioned my father yet, but the phrase is a bit of an inside joke between my brother and I. Dad absolutely hates getting his picture taken.
Nevertheless, my dad is the coolest mofo alive - at least in my eyes. Here is what happens when you mix my father and a Mac at his friends house. Here he is, the Big Kahuna, the hardcore liberal, El Rey, El Matador -
As far as I'm concerned this is the greatest picture of him in existence, possibly with the runner up being -
Dad is a fairly indimidating guy, which unfortunately casts a shadow on his very keen but very dry sense of humor. He insists he's funny, and if you disagree he'll roll you up, light up and smoke you!
In other news of the type that I never really talk about -
Thomas Pynchon, an author who some of you may be familiar with through novels such as The Crying of Lot 49, has released a new novel titled Against The Day. It is nearly 1,100 pages long and supposedly sports around 100 characters. Anybody for winter reading with a flowchart and many annotations? Haha.
I do my best to keep the cynical side of me at bay, but reading some of the reviews of the book just killed me.
Example 1: Thanks to the army of Pynchonites who maintain the "Against the Day" wiki on wikipedia the reader has a wealth of information and reviews available to help in gauging and appreciating this book. However, and I doubt whether this is any coincidence, Pynchon has written the kind of book that leaves every reader out there alone in the middle of the desert, ocean, or sky to make up her or his own mind.
Darn those books that leave you hanging and force you to think!
Example 2: I can't give this book five stars. It does seem that the author has taken on too much, at least for my Updike-trained sensibilities.
What a fucking literary nerd thing to say - I sincerely dislike these kinds of people. Lets name drop another author to make myself look well read - after all, you know, if you think this book is difficult you CLEARLY should have tried Joyce's Finnegan's Wake! I can't help myself guys, these sort of people kill me.
In all seriousness, I look at my bookshelf every day and feel as if I've been ignoring it. I stopped reading Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos about a third of the way through and essentially I have stopped reading any books since then. I recently got some unsolicited mail from a conservative book club but I have no inclination to read 90% of it - for somebody that is supposedly a neocon sympathizer I have a very low tolerance for Ann Coulter, or for that matter David Corn on the other side. In other words, I'm on a search for something new, maybe something that isn't to pretentious that has won an NBA or a Nobel. Hard task, that.
Speaking of the neocon thing, I recently heard of some kind of "neocon meter" where you can take a test and be evaluated on how much of a neocon you are. I'm a little curious so if I can find the test I'll link it - I wonder exactly how far into the negative some people might be.
EDIT: I took the test here - - the page is extremely jacked up and the programmers will hate it.
Here are my results - apparently I'm not a neocon but in truth two of the questions didn't really suit me - my likely answer would have been a combination of a couple of the answers.
- Are guided more by practical considerations than ideological vision
- Believe US power is crucial to successful diplomacy - and vice versa
- Don't want US policy options unduly limited by world opinion or ethical considerations
- Believe strong alliances are important to US interests
- Weigh the political costs of foreign action
- Believe foreign intervention must be dictated by compelling national interest
Historical realist: President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Modern realist: Secretary of State Colin Powell
01/29/07 02:16 - 18ºF - ID#37909
12-year old boy gets sex change
Yep - a 12-year old in Germany got a sex change. The only thing preventing him/her from getting the phallus removed is that by law one must be 18 years of age to undergo the procedure.
There are a number of disturbing elements to this story, none of which involve the complicated psychological issues that this young fella has had growing up.
So then, (e:josh), what is bothering you about this topic?
1. This is being paid for by taxpayers through their national health service because "the condition qualifies as an illness." If this is true, then why does the doctor who is treating the teenager state that the patient is not suffering from an illness? At best, the science at hand has no answer to this question because countries such as Germany are so consumed by political correctness that they are frozen from debate. Regardless, this is something that taxpayers should never have to foot the bill for.
2. To undergo such a thing, two independent psychiatrists have to "confirm that the child is indeed transsexual" before approving a sex change. By what method could anybody realistically prove such a thing? At some point science and medicine is getting thrown out the window in exchange for sociopolitical dogma.
3. Doctors simultaneously claim that treatment should be pursued as soon as possible in cases such as Tim/Kim (the patients names), yet they also admit that the long-term ramifications of such therapy on a 12-year old is not well understood. This qualifies as medicine in Europe?
4. 12-year olds lack the maturity and sophistication to make decisions on a multitude of things, the least of which are more sobering and final than a sex change. How on earth could doctors have allowed such a thing to occur, particularly with a pre-pubescent? This constitutes an egregious failure on the part of the doctors. What was the reasoning behind the doctors insistence on pursuing a sex change? That to let the patient reach puberty in his state would permanently damage his personality. Excuse me while I smoke enough dope to trick myself into believing such rubbish.
I'm generally a "live and let live" kind of guy - I'm not particularly interested in the sexual diversity of the world outside of the thought that people should be allowed to pursue whatever they like. 12-year olds getting sex changes, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.
01/24/07 01:01 - 27ºF - ID#37848
I would apologize for the length of my journals but I'm not sorry!
For fun the other night I checked out New World Record on the web to see what their staff picks have been. I know, incredibly lazy considering that literally could spit on NWR from my porch, but hey - leave me alone. Anyway, after sampling dozens of albums I came away with a half dozen that I thought would suit me. One of the bands that did not come from a NWR recommendation is called Stars of Track and Field - I know I've mentioned them in my journal before. If you like (or love!) The Postal Service then I would highly, highly recommend this band. You can enjoy Centuries Before Love and War for the time being until The Postal Service releases their new album, which is due out this year.
Do it now if you don't have a passport. If my some miracle you don't already know, the Depts. of State and Homeland Security have implemented new rules for air travel if you are entering the United States from anywhere in the western hemisphere. Canadian citizens - this is true for you as well so be prepared. You can read more about it here -
What is particularly relevent are the requirements that will be implemented next year - if you want to cross the border and return you will be REQUIRED to have a passport. While this isn't finalized yet, you don't want to be the guy or gal that waits last minute and gets royally shafted. I've gone through this process before, and for those of you who are a little unsure about what to do or are intimidated by the process, here is what you do -
1) Get informed - - this site will detail any and all questions about what you need.
2) Complete the application either by traditional methods or by using the Dept. of State online form then printing it out.
3) Collect your birth certificate, photo ID, $92, passport photos (I did mine at Wal-Mart for $10 when I got an oil change once) and the application and bring it to a local passport acceptance facility. Aka the Post Office. A note about the pictures and identification - there are specific rules for the photos and additional information for those who were not born in the United States so be sure to have everything in proper order before you go to the Post Office.
4) Submit your cash and the other stuff for review. They will mail your birth certificate back to you, if I remember correctly.
5) Wait between 4-8 weeks for your passport to arrive by mail
The US government is now issuing e-passports, which look identical to the other tourist passports with one major exception - there is a microchip implanted into the cover that holds a digital photograph that can be compared with your actual face at immigration with the use of facial recognition technology, as well as other things. For more information, check out this link - - the new passport pages are actually really cool looking.
You can expedite your application, like I had to do because of a pressing need to go overseas for work, but generally its going to end up costing you nearly twice as much. If you aren't in a hurry then don't bother with the expedited service.
Cool Web Sites
I have to share some interesting sites with you, if you haven't seen or heard of them yet.
First on the list - Wii Have A Problem - - this site actually has a damage counter that lists various reported personal injuries and/or destruction to property as a result of playing games on a Nintendo Wii. If you haven't played on a Wii before - let me just say that it requires the use of a "wiimote" that must be tethered to your wrist, for the butterfingered fools out there. Some of the personal injury entries are gruesome and amazing - one guy broke his clavicle playing Home Run Derby, another popped his knee, and the absolute best - one guy reached back violently and accidentally punched his girlfriend in the face. What did she do? She posed with her shiner, a big smile and a "thumbs up" - if this were a Foster's commercial, I'd be saying "KEEPAH!" Shattered TVs, broken glass, broken lamps, obviously fake (coughpatheticattemptstogetnoticedonawebsitecough) submissions - its all chronicled here.
Secondly. SongMeanings - - this is a site that I occasionally use to read what some peoples' collective takes on what song lyrics actually mean. This is a virtual treasure trove of verbal cockfights between people who consider themselves superfans of one band or another, and as a result the arguments and the "I know more than you about this band" approach some of these pathetic nerds are guilty of perpetrating are nothing short of explosive and very comedic. You'll no doubt run into one of these kinds of scenarios if you search long enough, but the site is useful if you've ever wanted insight into a set of lyrics. Over 26,000 artists are catalogued.
01/23/07 11:42 - 28ºF - ID#37834
Something (e:ajay) wrote as a comment in (e:paul)'s latest journal - - startled me.
The days of Windows are numbered? I'm not an IT guy, but I can't help but think that Windows will never go away. It has a ridiculously large marketshare that, IMO anyway, will take longer than 10 years to whittle away. Business applications are one thing, but home use is another problem entirely.
I would love to instigate (in a good way) some chit chat about Windows vs. Linux.
Linux has a number of hurdles to clear before it will ever be used as a replacement for Windows. Firstly, the stigma that Linux is a "geeks only" type of OS that is difficult to use has to be cleared away. If it doesn't install software, run and is as easy to use as Windows is, Linux will never catch the attention of average computer users, and I question the ability of hardcore Linux advocates to be able to see the issue from the side of the people who are not at all technically savvy. Even the most user-friendly Linux distro is going to have components that even average Windows users, who feel that they know what they are doing around a PC, are going to cause confusion. No command lines, period, under any circumstances, for any reason. Any frustration experienced, any little thing that made life easier but doesn't work exactly the same as Windows did, etc. - these are factors that will eliminate the opportunity for Linux to gain market share.
Secondly, the graphics capabilities for Linux are extremely poor - if gamers cannot play the most popular PC games through a Linux platform that gamer will *always* have a Windows partition, even if they are the most enthusiastic Linux user. Thirdly - plug and play. I find it ironic that Linuxheads refer to Windows PnP as "plug and pray." Fourthly - comfort level - this cannot be understated. Abandoning Windows for Linux is a huge step for a lot of people, and Linux has to generate enough of an appeal to encourage Windows users to take the leap. All the free software in the world isn't going to mean anything to somebody who is experiencing trouble with Linux and has an XP install disk in the other hand.
IT people that know what they are doing should be running Linux anyway... its a more secure OS and for that reason alone businesses should consider using a flavor of Linux on servers. I actually quite like Linux - for everyday use, as far as I'm concerned, its a superior product to Windows... if you know what you are doing. Linux is not ready to be mass marketed to the general public quite yet. Sure, many Linux distros have made fantastic leaps in the past 5 or 6 years and many of the problems that I'm highlighting are being worked out, but since Linux is not perfect it will not eclipse Windows and its massive market share. Nothing short of an OS that operates exactly, precisely like Windows (gaming and ease of use/installation included) and adds the appeals of free software that is 110% compatible with Microsoft products will create a wave large enough to make a dent in home usage share. Server side - IT people know what they are doing and therefore do not have much of an excuse.
If I'm wrong, and in 10 years Microsoft is out of the OS business, I'll buy steak dinners (or if you are not a meat eater, whatever you like).
Apple - never have been a particularly big fan of Apple products outside of the iPod. For years they were generally inferior to IBM clones (theres an old term for you!) and Apple's only great and consistant calling card has been the appeal from artist types, who have always been loyal to Apple. I was impressed with their latest offerings though. I am 75/25 on making a MacBook my next computing purchase... such an amazing product! For home computing purposes, if I were getting into computers now rather than 20 years ago I would strongly consider an Apple product. Without a doubt they are the innovators at the moment and their products are the slickest.
01/24/07 11:59 - 27ºF - ID#37820
(e:paul) - how much testing have you had to do for multiple browsers in the past for work-related projects? If you are frustrated about that kind of thing, my brother could deluge you with stories. I can understand the frustration but ultimately if you elminate browser choices, that would be to the detriment of the site. In any case, next time you feel this frustration break out the sticky green and then proceed to log on to (e:terry)'s WoW character and delete all his gear.
Only kidding (e:terry)! Speaking of which, our 60 paladin with MC/BWL gear is rotting.
Per the Linux/Apple discussion in my previous journal - VERY intriguing idea (e:ajay), concerning the possibility of expanding into Apple clones. Steve Jobs is utterly reluctant to separate hardware and software, but seriously, OSX is a better OS than XP and if he were supremely confident about his software he would try to strike out and make deals for clones. I have to admit that it would be intriguing to see what would happen. Server side, when you look at these massive datacenters that costs hundreds of thousands if not millions, specifically the ones that are marketed on TV by the likes of HP, Dell, IBM, etc. - what OS do these usually have installed on them upon receipt? Is it relatively common if servers come with Windows pre-installed that they simply wipe the disks and start over with the OS that they want?
(e:ajay) - as per AG Gonzales. My god, a Baltimore paper that is more left wing than the Sun - bravo! I am with the wackos on this one. Habeas corpus has a 200-year established legal precedence and will likely not have its meaning changed because of clever wording. If you can suspend a right, there must be an implication that there is a right in the first place. I'm actually insulted by the suggestion, so imagine how Arlen Specter felt having been face to face with the guy.
Where the rest of the article goes horribly wrong, and of course you know I cannot let this stuff go, are in the following -
1) The Constitution does grant the executive branch broad war powers, but IMO anyway neoconservatives are reaching too far at times with respect to interpretation of law. I find the complaints by the author a tad funny considering that he likely supported the legal Twister game that morphed into Roe vs. Wade.
2) The incessant attempts at bringing non-citizens into the American legal fold are absolutely frightening, and thanks to Speaker Pelosi, who knows that such a thing would result in no less than the guillotine for Demos in '08, this will never happen.
3) The problem with guys like the one who wrote this article is that there is absolutely no understanding of the fact that military courts or tribunals meant to handle suspected terrorists' cases are NOTHING LIKE civilian courts. They aren't meant to be, they shouldn't be and they never will be.
01/19/07 02:52 - 30ºF - ID#37779
01/17/07 01:15 - 23ºF - ID#37744
So, in other words, If you love lemons you should be prepared to pay quite a bit more for them, or that at the lemony flavor is firmly planted in your mind so that you don't forget.
01/16/07 09:05 - 14ºF - ID#37728
My Personal Favorite
Lord Jeebus I'm in love. This is MILF with the emphasis on "ILF!" Seriously.
01/16/07 10:26 - 19ºF - ID#37715
24, my nerdy TV habits and PETA
If its not 24, or select Sci-Fi shows, or sports, or something cool or interesting on the History or Science Channels, or possibly the Discovery/Times Channel... oh to hell with it. I can't say that I don't watch a lot of television. I watch quite a bit more than I used to, but at least I'm not watching reality TV! My nerdhood gets certified every time I watch a special about unmanned space exploration of the solar system, or specials about ancient Rome, or specials about world events.
Discovery/Times is a fantastic channel. I saw a pseudo-documentary about North Korea that was chilling. It was about a generation of hundreds of thousands of orphans that are utterly neglected by the state, yet the government of North Korea denies that they are neglecting any children. One brave guy, who braved live and limb to cross the border to China, repeatedly risked his live and went back over the NK border with a camera and recorded some of the most sickening, chilling... I am running out of adjectives. I'll just say that there are some brave souls out there that are sticking their neck out and recording what is going on in North Korea that the rest of the world needs to see. The truth about North Korea is more shocking than most people could imagine... which in itself is a pretty bold statement.
I was amazed - orphaned kids picking up grains of rice off of muddy ground, and the adults around them paying absolutely no mind. Troops stationed at the border ready to shoot and kill any civilian that tries to cross the border into China. Political prisons, where many North Koreans who have managed to escape the country claim that family members were kidnapped and taken. The capital, Pyongyang, where only the children of the elite are allowed to be educated and participate in staged political events. No true freedoms of any kind. Cities with no traffic that look like ghost towns. So much for Marxism.
On the brighter side of things, apparently Fidel is circling the drain, which as far as I'm concerned is fantastic news for the people of Cuba. I'm told Raul is worse than Fidel as far as viciousness is concerned, so we'll see.
On to PETA. While I may wholeheartedly disagree with an organizations politics and ideological view, I defend their right to be whatever they want to be. I once dated a girl that jammed a fistful of PETA propaganda in my hand and asked me to promise to never eat at KFC. I kept the promise! Not because KFC may or may not practice animal cruelty, mind you, but simply because if you want good chicken there are better places to go.
You can easily guess what I think about PETA. I will not, however, let this get in the way of my love for the flair and creativity through which their pursue their aims. Check out this story -
This is nothing short of magnificent! PETA activists "performed in protest" in front of a Burberry store in Hong Kong, with the aim to get Burberry to quit using fur as a component in their clothing. The best part of the event - part of their "performance in protest" was dressing as cave people. I think PETA are wackos, but I can't help but love these wackos at times.
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