Mixing Things Up!

I popped by Bier Garden last week with a friend after we had dinner. I ordered Mother Earth’s Cali Creamin’, which is a smooth, nutty, ale with vanilla tones. She ordered a Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout. Our bartender filled our pints low by an inch. Of course, my gut reaction normally would be, sacrilege! But I come here frequently enough to know better. Our bartender then presented a small sampler of the two of these beers, mixed together. He stated that if we so desired, he would fill the rest of each of our beers up with the other one. If we did not like the mix, he would fill the rest of the beers up normally.

We both decided to do so. The Cali Creamin’ is great, but I do have it all the time, and it was nice to have a change. Topping it off with the peanut butter milk stout gave it a nice, unique boost of flavor without turning the whole beer into a stout. Plus, I’m not the biggest fan of peanut butter, so that little dash was perfect for me.

My friend’s beer was equally good, though hers obviously contained a higher ratio of the stout. The Cali Creamin’ toned it down a bit and gave it a softer, even creamier finish.

Well played, bartender!

Deschutes Inversion IPA

Deschutes, located in Bend, Oregon, is one of my favorite breweries. They have a variety of great beers, and a number of delicious IPAs, but one I particularly enjoy is the Inversion IPA. This beer is properly bitter, floral, hoppy, and satisfying. Its color can hardly be described as pale, as it’s almost an amber color, but you can’t hold that against it. If drinking during the day, be sure to listen to Sprawl II and Samba de Bencao while imbibing. If drinking at night, Voodoo Child and Stylo.

This is the kind of beer that makes you happy as you drink it. Happier when you drink another. Unfortunately, it makes you a little less happy when you wake up the next morning after having 6 or so.

Another great Deschutes beer is Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Pale ales usually bore me, but this one is notable. It’s citrusy, floral, easy, smooth, and is perfect for hanging out in the backyard in summertime. Its flavors are distinct and confident, but not as arrogant as an IPA. In comparison, some of the hoppier, heavier IPAs can get to be a bit much on a hotter summer day, as they turn warm quickly and take on a dull, syrupy texture.

Hillcrest Brewing

Haven’t been in these parts of town in a while, but stopped by here for a drink recently. “Just the Hop” IPA was enjoyable, though probably not as hoppy as I would prefer. It was a reasonable IPA, but it did not blow me away. I didn’t try the “Banana Hammock,” Scotch Ale, but the opinion on that was that although it was expected to taste strong at 9%, the taste of the alcohol was a little too prominent.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take some time and try their other sexy delights –  “Crotch Rocket,” “Hop Sucker,” and “Perle Necklace.” Service was very friendly here, and they have some outdoor patio seating, perfect in sunny weather.

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Illegal Drinking

The United States has some of the harshest drinking laws in the world, though it claims to be a bastion of “freedom.” When I was in Barcelona, we regularly would pay 5 Euros for a bottle of wine and drink it at a little snack shack in the sand. In the thick humidity of Taipei, it was always nice to cool off at a well-air-conditioned 7-11, buy a Sapporo, and drink it on the street, or drink a Taiwan beer while hanging out in night markets.

In Thailand and Bali, one of the greatest joys was to sip on a cold lager while ocean-gazing. In Prague, we bought some beers at a sidewalk cafe, asked to take them to go, and inquired as to whether it was legal to drink in the streets. The guy laughed at us and said, “Of course. This isn’t the United States!”

Where I live in the U.S., you can’t legally drink in parks or beaches, because the U.S. is a fucking police state. Of course, not being able to drink beer where you want in public is one of the least problematic aspects of police states, but still.

Fuck it. You should still do it. Hide homemade white sangria in your beach bag and drink it on the sand on Memorial Day Weekend, as the cops patrol up and down every hour eyeing people for law-breaking behavior. Bring a flask with you to parks just in case you get bored. Find an area of low visibility in a nearby park and bring wine in your picnic basket. Pack beers into your Camelpak while hiking and reward yourself at the summit. Sneak Stone Cali-Belgique into a playground at midnight with your friends and drink it on the picnic benches. Be sure to bring glasses too, because it is undignified to drink such good beer straight out of the bottle.

Cheers for beers, because life is more fun this way.



Giving Due Credit to Stone

As if Stone needs my support! It doesn’t, but I’m posting this because Stone is such a longstanding pro, that I take it for granted at times. I’m always on the hunt for new IPAs, new beers, and new tastes, and I forget I can never go wrong with a good solid Stone IPA. Sometimes I go months without touching any kind of Stone, until I realize I haven’t been all that satisfied, and I remember that Stone IPA’s fresh, consistent taste is always a relief after a long day at work. Or after any type of day involving any work. Or any day period – as pictured above, it is quite pleasurable sipped out of its own logo glass, with a canyon view, on a Sunday afternoon. A big plus is that you can get cases of the IPA or regular pale ale at Costco around here for $28, which is a steal.

I’ll resort to the pale ale when they don’t have any other types of Stone on tap, but as far as the easier Stone beers go, Levitation (an amber) is one of my faves, though I typically am not the biggest fan of ambers. And then, of course, there’s the Arrogant Bastard. Arrogant Bastard is an American strong ale that is as awesome as it sounds. It is an amazing, punch-you-in-the-face kind of beer. Beer Advocate considers it outstanding.

It surely is outstanding, and it isn’t cheap either. There used to be a local dive around these parts that served $7 pitchers of any beer until 10:00 p.m. everyday, including Arrogant Bastard (for reals!). At $7 a pitcher, it literally was cheaper than the grocery store. You better believe we abused that deal on many an occasion (boy those were always fun nights). And you won’t be surprised to hear that they no longer offer that deal, which was pretty much a tragedy for me. But it’s OK; I took advantage of it for a good year or so. Even though I can’t get cheap ass Arrogant Bastard, I still have this shirt –


Woah, get your mind out of the gutter! The shirt’s referring to beer… aged in oaked barrels. Duh.

Mother Earth, Julian Casablancas

I have always liked The Strokes. But Julian Casablanca’s solo album, Phrazes for the Young changed the experience of listening to The Strokes a bit for me. Casablancas is versatile, and his style seems to vary wildly, from folksy to poppy to electronic, but underlying all of his songs is a very distinct nostalgia. After Phrazes for the Young, Casablanca’s innate nostalgia seems to be constantly trying to claw itself out through some of those Strokes songs, barely able to make it to the surface for air every now and then. Like unfinished business.

This is relevant to beer, I promise. I was at Mother Earth last night for a networking thing, and couldn’t make up my mind about what I wanted to drink, because this –


They have a pretty good selection of solid beers, so I got a flight. Their flights are no joke, by the way – six 6-ounce tasters.

And now, I’m going to attempt to pair beers with music.

When at Mother Earth, I always like to start with the Cali Creamin’, a vanilla cream ale that sounds boring, but has surprising strength and taste at 5.2%. Its smooth, nutty, richness pairs well with Old Hollywood, glamorous, black and white, zoning out most of the night, where we end up imitating all the ones that we once were hating, men as clumsy violent fools, women a delicate pool of flowers and cobras.

Once you’ve warmed up, you can try a little Kismet IPA. It’s got the expected hoppiness of an IPA, which is a must. It has an abv of 7.2%, and is not quite as a deep and thick as some really stellar IPAs like West Coast or Sculpin, but has a sadder, darker edge compared to Mother Earth’s Boo Koo Mosaic IPA. This goes nicely with Tourist:

Feel like a tourist out in the country
Once this whole world was all countryside
Feel like a tourist in the big city
Soon I will simply evaporate

And when you’re done being a little edgy, it’s time to head over to Ludlow Street:

Everything seems to go wrong when I start drinking,
Everything seemed to go my way last night.
Everything seems so wrong to me this morning,
I know things’ll be brighter later tonight.

Have that one with Mother Earth’s Sin Tax imperial peanut butter stout. For a stout, it’s surprisingly light. You might love that, or you might resent it, but either way, it’s smooth, light, yet no joke with an abv of 8.1%. It has a generous spirit, and you can contemplate a raging night life, fading history, and the invasion of yuppies while you drink it.

I don’t have a Mother Earth beer to pair with the 4 Chords of the Apocalypse, but I love it; it’s beautiful.

Texas Abortion Laws Force Abortion Clinics to Close, Liberals and Conservatives Both to Blame

By definition, freedom is the is the power to determine action without restraint; alternatively, it is the exemption from external control, interference, or regulation. The definition itself is straightforward, yet its application in politics is anything but. Conservatives want to protect people with oppressive laws and militaristic police from “the illegals,” “the terrorists,” the Muslims, drugs, and other various bogeymen, but feign a concern for “freedom” when it comes to economic issues. Liberals might not be quite as rabid about immigrants, Muslims, or drugs, but want to protect people nanny-state style, with equally burdensome laws from banning cigarettes/sodas/fatty foods, to forcing people to buy health insurance, while paying lip service to social freedoms.

In other words, everyone wants to pick and choose the freedoms they support, which is ultimately an untenable position.

Conservatives, who cheer on laws regulating sodomy, gay marriage, drugs, among other things that are no one else’s damn business, should not be surprised (yet for some reason, always are) when they find the government has inflated to an unmanageable size, and has continually extended its reaches into healthcare, private businesses, and other aspects of peoples’ private lives.

Liberals, who cheer on high rates of taxation, ostensibly for the purpose of the “greater good” and “general welfare,” should not be surprised (yet for some reason, always are), when they find their taxes have been spent on endless war, the most bloated military on the face of the planet, militarized police, and a growing police state.

The most recent example would be the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling on a Texas law, which severely restricts abortion clinics. One key provision of the law requires that physicians performing abortions have hospital admitting privileges. This aspect of the law was upheld by the 5th Circuit last week (see here). This undoubtedly will limit access and availability of abortions across Texas. But wait, there’s more!

Another provision of the law, already in effect, mandates that abortions be performed in facilities equivalent to an ambulatory surgical center (see here and here). This has resulted in the closing of about half of the abortion clinics across the state of Texas, which should be unsurprising (see here).

Obviously, one motivation for the law was to limit abortions. However, that was not the stated intent. Lauren Bean, of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, explained, “This decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women” (see here). Sound familiar, liberals?

When one exchanges a few verbs and nouns, it becomes clear that this law, designed for “protecting the health and safety” of Texas women, is really identical to the countless other laws, regulations, and restrictions in existence in every other area of healthcare.

The law requires that every abortion (which is a surgical procedure) be performed in a facility licensed as an ambulatory surgical clinic. Every doctor performing an abortion should also have hospital admitting privileges. Arguably, the law sounds reasonable on its face. Why shouldn’t a doctor performing a surgical procedure do so in a licensed ambulatory surgical center (which isn’t even a full-fledged surgical facility)? And why shouldn’t such a doctor have hospital admitting privileges for performing surgery? Surely, this will be a reasonable form of quality control and protect women from “dangerous” abortions. In fact, it’s very similar to any of the following laws:

  • Every prescription for medication X must be written by a licensed physician
  • Every procedure X must be performed by a provider licensed to do X
  • Every procedure X must be performed at a hospital licensed to provide X
  • Every medication X must be purchased only at dispensary/facility with permissible licenses to do so
  • Every device X for disease Y must be tested by the FDA under A,B,C requirements before being made available to any member of the public

I doubt most liberals have a real problem with any of the above, because certainly, those laws were passed to “protect” the idiot populace from greedy doctors, Big Pharma, scheming hospitals, and other horrible capitalists, and are completely justified. In the absence of those regulations, doctors will be colluding with Big Pharma to prescribe cyanide for profit, and hospitals will be killing patients, because, profits and stuff!

It would behoove liberals to acknowledge that for the most part, protecting people from their own choices does far more harm than good. Just as Texas’ recent abortion laws are designed to “protect” women from from a host of imagined dangers, but severely limit access to abortion, and indisputably increase the costs thereof, so do the the myriad of healthcare regulations already in place similarly decrease access, and increase prices in every other field of healthcare.

Abortion clinics are closing their doors across Texas, which will create monumental obstacles for women seeking needed services. Conservatives are certainly to blame, but liberals are not entirely blameless either. After all, they usually support all kinds of government regulations and interventions in a wide range of other healthcare issues. This particular intervention and restriction upon abortion is just one of many logical consequences of such support.

I’m not about to limit my beef to liberals, though. Stay tuned for the inevitable circumstance wherein conservatives find that their love of big government similarly has come back to bite them in the ass.