Get In My Beer Belly

Went up to LA for the weekend, and my dear friend took me to this cute little gastropub in K-Town called Beer Belly. They had a decent beer selection, though I wish they offered more IPAs in pint-sized servings:

She started with a Seafarer by Three Weavers Brewing, a Kolsch, and I ordered the East to West IPA by Ballast Point (I know, so original of me – San Diego resident goes to LA for the weekend, and first pick is a San Diego beer). The East to West IPA was fresh, hoppy, floral, light, and citrusy, like IPAs tend to be (pictured above, in the goblet-style glass). It is also a very typical quality for Ballast point – well-balanced, smooth, satisfying. Ballast Point rarely disappoints, of course.

When the Seafarer came, I grew curious, because it was an amber color. I don’t usually get very excited about Kolsch beers, so this unusual color (for a Kolsch) caught my eye. I tasted it and rather enjoyed it. It was malty, fresh, nutty, and had a smoky aftertaste. My friend thought it was actually a bit floral. Well, turns out it wasn’t a Kolsch. Our server brought the Vapor, a California Common by Faction Brewing instead.  So the Seafarer ended up being her second beer, and I got the Vapor the second time around. The Vapor is the darker one on the left, and the Seafarer is to its right:

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The food is also worth mentioning. We indulged in all kinds of health items including duck fat fries, and pork belly chips. No regrets. We ordered two types of wings: buffalo and volcano. Volcano was the spiciest, and my preference, though both were really good. By far the most interesting was the kimchi ragu, which was a kimchi tomato stew that topped with meatballs and an egg in a little skillet. Very interesting and delicious.This place is listed on Yelp as “American,” but it is located in K-Town after all, so I suppose they had to get with the program. This isn’t a food blog, but this one is totally worth mentioning, especially when paired with an IPA (or even the Kolsch, since the flavors in this dish are so strong already).

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Dos Desperados

Happy Friday! I love Fridays (Freedays)! A couple of Fridays ago, we went to Dos Desperados, a fairly recent brewery in San Marcos. I’d been meaning to try this place out for some time, and was happy to finally get a chance to do so. They offer tasters for $2 each, or $6 for a flight of 4 tasters, so the decision was obvious.

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Belgian Trippel: Familiar trippel flavors, smooth, fruity. As with most trippels, it has a higher alcohol content of 7.7%, but doesn’t taste like it. It has a little bit of expected sweetness to it.

Jailbreak IPA: 6.2% ABV. Fresh, malty, smells a bit tart, but isn’t. Nice, full bitterness. Not quite as hoppy as I like them, but a solid beer. Almost an amber color (though that could be the darker lighting in the brewery).

Double IPA: This one was a little too sweet for me, and also not hoppy enough. Nevertheless, I would still say it’s a solid beer. It is quite bitter and smells a bit damp, if that makes sense. I probably would not regularly drink a full pint of this. It’s overarching quality is the bitterness, and it’s hard to detect much else going on.

Vanilla Oatmeal Stout: Deep, full, oatmeal and vanilla, obviously. Smooth and lovely. Chocolate tones, well-balanced. This was one of my favorites from the flight.

Imperial Stout: Took just a sip of this from my friend’s flight, but I thought it was really good.

Overall, would say Dos Desperados does the trippel and the stouts exceptionally well.

A Tail Of Two Cats, And A Lot Of Beer Part II

Ophelia

It’s Friday night. It’s Friday night! Again! Friday nights are always like this. The strangers arrive in waves, and the incessant doorbell chime grieves me. I wish they would stop coming. The weekend always comes again so quickly, and the people appear and here it is again, loud noises, slurring speech, drunken mess in the living room and I can’t get Mum or Dad’s attention for hardly more than a minute the whole night. It’s frightening and crass, these weekend nights. Everyone makes me so nervous, though I don’t know about what. I just cannot relax on these weekend nights.

Mum and Dad forgot to give me the Buspar (anti-anxiety medication) today! That’s what drinking does; it causes rational people to forsake their sense of decency and responsibility, though to be completely fair, I don’t like the medication anyway. But the point stands, as I quite dislike drunkenness, and cannot stand the presence of so many people at such high volumes, so I sit upstairs and watch silently from behind the safety of the banister. I wish Mom or Dad would just come up briefly and say “hi.” It agitates me to no end – oh my, does Mum really need another IPA? Does Dad really need to have that Porter? My god, this is interminable!

When they stay at home, they raise hell all night and grate my nerves for hours until I wonder if I’m indeed an American house cat, or a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. When they go out to bars or clubs, they come home so late, at an ungodly hour, and follow me around the room trying to pet me with their grubby drunken hands. I cannot stand it. They make a big deal out of their variety of craft beers, but I do not believe this is a worthy or proper endeavor of any sort. Grown people voluntarily drinking this abominable stuff, and growing loud and silly. And they think I’m the one with the mental problems. It should not be permitted. Lord have mercy on the individual who invented this devil-juice.

Oh, my god! What was that? Oh, only the doorbell… again….  I just don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. My sister is not supportive at all. She is transparently obsequious, taking interest in the different types of their sinful drinks, making her way from one friend to the next, peering at everyone coyly, nuzzling up to the boys.

She’s disgusting. She’s a disgusting, cheap, little slut, and she’s cruel to me. Her antics have been a severe source of apprehension and even oppression for me. The humans don’t see through her sly charm, but oh but how she torments me heartlessly when they are not around! She’s claimed certain parts of the bed as “hers” and becomes aggressive if I approach, as if she owns the place! Dad originally came to the animal shelter for the sole purpose of adopting me. She was a mere afterthought. He happened upon her and she of course easily deceived him with her saccharine ploys, so he ended up coming home with two cats. Immediately after we arrived at our lovely new abode, she set to work claiming laps, chairs, spaces as “hers.” It’s almost painful to think about it… I know Mum suspects Sister is this way when no one is watching, but alas, it is hard for anyone to conceive of this, as she is so small and delicate, while I’m larger – a bit overweight (yet another source of constant angst for me!)

How they all clearly love my sister, as she moves from one lap to the next. Oh, I’m not at all bitter because that’s not my nature, but it hurts! She lingers in the lap of the boy she likes a lot. She conjures up quite a bit of her malicious charm for him. The blond one turns itchy and red near my sister, but one plaintive look from that brazen trickster and the blond one reaches out to gently scratch her wretched cheek. I don’t understand any of this. Aside from my vulgar sister, honestly, who likes being molested by strangers? Oh, I could die right now. When does it end? 

Blast the IPA’s, porters, and Belgians. I’m going to go hide in the bedroom for the rest of the night.

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A Tail Of Two Cats, And A Lot Of Beer Part I

Fiona

It’s Friday. Mum and Dad’s friends are coming to get drunk and I love it. Mum has an IPA in hand, and I watch her when she answers the door because I want to see which friends are coming. I love the men. They are strong and beautiful and I could watch them and brush by them gently, purposefully, all night. Mum always moves so quickly. She runs to the door sometimes like they haven’t had a visitor in years. I’m watching but it often looks like I’m staring or glaring; my eyes have that kind of intensity, like maybe I am trying to bore a hole into your dark soul with my gaze.

I don’t think she believes in reincarnation, but…well, I’m fairly certain she does not believe in reincarnation, though some people do. It could be that dead is dead, and my little bones and organs will be forgotten, decomposed matter in the ground, ashes floating in the wind. But if Mum did believe in reincarnation, I think she’d want to be me in her next life. I think she’d find herself rather happy being me.

She thinks she is happy now. She and Dad are always talking and laughing. They go out drinking with friends on the weekend and if they go out they come home late, just when I am starting to think they might not be back at all. Their friends start out at our place, drinking lots of craft beers (Coors and Bud are not permitted in this house, unless for beer pong or other drinking games). Sometimes Mum is talked into shots of tequila or whiskey. They go out downtown to clubs and bars, come home loud and inarticulate, and sometimes cook food at 2 in the morning. Their friends pass out on the couch, and everyone wakes up incredibly late.

The next morning they complain about headaches and watch internet videos and eat bacon. Usually, Mum and Dad will give me a small piece of bacon too, though they make me do tricks to earn it. I find this inordinately humiliating, as I don’t see why people should have bacon for breakfast as a matter of course, while my sister and I should be subjugated for that small morsel of heaven. It’s particularly difficult for me. My sister is such a sad creature she could not possibly be further degraded beyond her pathetic state in any event, so I doubt it’s any any skin off her back.

If Mum and Dad go out, she always wears small, tight dresses, and I’m not sure how all that beer fits. If drinking at home, she likes yoga pants and T-shirts. Her favorites are a shirt with the Beatles on it and another one featuring a George Orwell quote – “We have always been at war with Eastasia.” Her outfits can be simple, but her closet’s quite obscene. She has several suits for work, more dresses than any woman needs, and certainly more shoes than necessary. Her accessory collection spans an armoire and two large troves. She also has an entire trunk full of costume material. If she was reincarnated as me, she wouldn’t have to be so preoccupied over clothes. She thinks she enjoys it, but I think secretly, she’d be equally happy with just a black coat of fur, a red collar, never having to worry about outfits, color detail, and accessorizing for the rest of her life.

If she were a pretty black cat like me, life would be simple, like she likes it. She could sit and stare out the big glass windows all day without responsibility of any sort, cast her golden, crystal eyes on the lawn as birds dance up and down. She could throw tantrums and look cute doing it. She can’t do that now; no one appreciates a grown woman throwing a fit.

There are about 8 people here now, and Mum’s lighting up the hookah. She was sipping on Inversion IPA again. She’s been drinking that one a lot lately, though it’s one of many of her favorite beers. It was probably on sale at the grocery store. The beers come and go quickly with the conversation. Dad’s favorites are Belgians, but the only Belgian style beer in the beer fridge currently is a Trippel by New Belgium. The blond one loves IPA’s, but recently, she’s on a Porter and Stout kick. She’s having Black Butte Porter, brewed by Deschutes. I cause her to have allergic reactions and itch and sneeze, but she’s still nice to me, perhaps because I am simply that charming.

Dad’s brother also loves IPA’s, but he is currently drinking the Hoppy Lager by Sierra Nevada (from the “Beer Camp” series). The girl with Mum’s same name has brought a 22 ounce of Sculpin IPA by Ballast Point and is sharing it with Mum. Her husband doesn’t drink. He’s a dentist. Maybe he thinks beer rots your teeth. The boy I like a lot used to drink IPA’s along with the rest of them, but he only drinks scotch now. I like him a lot because when he used to live here, he spent a lot of time on the couch, and provided very reliable lap space for my naps. In general, I love all the boys. They have the biggest, warmest laps.

My sister is silently observing us from the second floor, staring down at us from behind the banister like a creeper. She has some certifiable mental problems, that one. She loves to cling to Mum and Dad, but as soon as people come, she hides away like a scared little mouse. She is terribly socially awkward and bores me to tears, so I don’t even pay her mind anymore if I can help it.

They’re all loud and happy now. I wonder if I could have some beer. It smells so delicious, and seems to be some magic elixir of contentment.

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Stay tuned for part II. 

The Beer & Bullshit Show Episode 46

If you have some time (quite a bit of time), check out The Beer & Bullshit Show, Episode 46, hosted by Chris Bennett.

The regulars are Chris, Ruby, Nick, and Jim, while I appeared as a guest. We talked about a number of beer and other alcohol-related topics. Discussion includes Firestone Walker’s Union Jack and Wooky Jack; Mirror Pond Pale Ale, North West Pale Ale, and Inversion IPA by Deschutes; Ciders by Cider Brothers; Nugget Nectar; Sierra Nevada beers; among others.

I brought on Mirror Pond and Inversion, because these are a couple of my favorites, and they both happened to be available in my beer fridge. As discussed in the show, Deschutes pretty much does not make a single bad beer.

My Neighbor Stumblefoot

Stumblefoot is a small brewery operating out of an industrial park near my house. We usually bike there because it’s a close and flat ride. Every once in a while, we decide we’ll hit it up and see what’s new. They have a few regulars on the menu, but they like to experiment and frequently have several new items on the menu.

We came here last weekend and had a flight.

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Schwarz Black Lager: This is a smoky, smooth, yet light beer. I don’t usually like lagers, but this one has enough flavor and texture to be plenty enjoyable. It’s well balanced and is comparable to a light porter. (If you were looking for a porter, you’d be disappointed, but as a lager, this is a very pleasant surprise).

Vixen Dunkel: This is a dunkelweizen with predictable banana and caramel notes. The description mentions clove, which is not very prominent. It’s another smooth and balanced beer, and smells like a standard dunkel.

Apollo IPA: This is where things fall down for Stumblefoot. If I recall, I do like the Grassyass IPA, but it’s not particularly notable, and the Apollo similarly did not impress as an IPA. It’s fruity, tart, with citrus and Belgian tones (described as orange and passion fruit). It quite honestly has an edge that is reminiscent of a rubber band.

Cascade IPA: Another weird IPA, unfortunately. It has a chemically taste, and does not meet the expected hoppiness level of west coast IPAs. It’s more like a pale ale. It’s again rubbery like its predecessor, Apollo.

Back to Black IPA: This one is hoppy and malty. It’s sort of like a black and tan, and is not bad on the taste buds at all. It’s a little bitter and smoky, but again, if you’re looking for a standard IPA, it’s not the characteristically hoppy kind.

Moho Stout:  One of their better ones. Choclate, caramel, coffee, and smoky. Not very thick or hoppy.

If You Think Intoxicated Sex Is Rape, You’re Probably A Sexist Pig

Rape is a controversial issue, and the definition of “rape” is anything but clear. A reasonable definition for rape necessitates the use of force and/or lack of consent. After all, cajoling someone or playing on their weaknesses to convince them to take some sort of action shouldn’t be criminal, assuming it doesn’t involve injuring any non-consenting third parties.

For example, if a friend purposely drives by an In-N-Out and successfully induces you to break your diet and eat a Double Double, you were not physically violated into eating a burger against your consent. If your buddy convinces you to strip naked and go swim in the ocean against your better judgment, you have not been “forced” to go skinny dipping. If your pal sweet talks you into dropping them off at an airport two hours away against your preference, you have not been “forced” to take them to the airport.

This is because none of these scenarios involved aggression or coercion justifying punishment, and the result does not change if one or both parties were drunk when coming to these decisions. Maybe your friend has taken advantage of your drunken state to talk you into running around naked, eat burgers, or take her to a distant airport the next morning, but it isn’t criminal, because adults are responsible for their actions, even when drunk.

For some, this may seem like common sense; yet, common sense is not always so common. A Slate article recently reported a story wherein a college woman was drunk, but was walking, talking, on multiple occasions fended off friends who attempted to take her home, and told people she was OK three times . After having sex with an equally, if not more inebriated fellow student, she reported him for sexual misconduct. The slate article goes on to explain that universities are “struggling to determine” whether a situation of this type is sexual assault, which frankly, is absurd.  Though all outward appearances, including text message evidence, was consistent with consent, the man was expelled from college.

This is not an isolated sentiment. I attended a freshman orientation program at UCLA in the fall of 2002 that featured a sexual assault presentation embodying a similar philosophy. A speaker stood in front of thousands of impressionable freshman in the incoming class and announced that sex with a drunk woman under any circumstances constituted rape. This appalled me and made me want to vomit in my mouth. I had never been drunk because I was a big nerd in high school, but the idea men were deemed intelligent enough to make decisions when drunk but women were not was just about the most sexist thing I’d heard in quite a while.

The speaker then invited feedback from the audience, at which time, a young man stood up and said, “I 100 percent agree because women are all wonderful princesses and should be treated as such.” At this point, I wanted to vomit not only a little in my mouth; I wanted to spew projectile barf all over this douchebag, the speaker, and humanity. If I had some more balls (ovaries?) at that age, I would have booed or staged a walk-out.

A person does not lose the capacity for volition or consent by being drunk per se, because impaired judgment (caused by drinking or otherwise) in and of itself is not something that should absolve people of personal responsibility. Of course, if a person is unconscious, he/she is physically incapable of any intent or consent, but otherwise, being drunk in and of itself should not negate volition or consent. Accordingly, when an intoxicated individual commits assault (or any other crime) it is no defense to claim he/she was drunk, and therefore not responsible for their actions. On the other hand, if a unconscious person rolls off a bed and hits someone, there clearly is no intent or volition.

Sex and rape are sensitive subjects, but  countless other examples indicate impaired judgment does not and should not negate volition or consent. Stupidity impairs judgment, but unless the victim is literally mentally disabled (or is a child!) it is not a crime to have sex with dumb people. Stress and sleep deprivation impair judgment, but people cannot escape the responsibility of valid contracts by claiming they had a bad day/didn’t get enough sleep and therefore did not truly consent to the terms. Money impairs judgment, but it wouldn’t seem fair to allow someone to claim rape after the fact in such a fashion – “I was impressed with her wealth, which impaired my judgment. If I hadn’t been swayed by money, I wouldn’t have had sex with her, so I was raped.”

People also don’t get out of contracts by claiming drunkenness. Very relevantly, Lucy v. Zehmer was a case wherein a bunch of drunk people were having a grand old time, and one of the drunk people, Zehmer, jotted down on a restaurant receipt, “We hereby agree to sell to W. O. Lucy the Ferguson Farm complete for $50,000.00…” Zehmer later tried to claim he was drunk and didn’t mean it, but the court upheld the contract, finding that the outward appearances pointed to a valid contract, even if Zehmer had imbibed quite a bit of alcohol.

Like with drunkenness, on the extreme end of the spectrum, there may indeed be a complete lack of consent if someone was so anxious as to be mentally ill and incapable of consent, or so tired they were actually unconscious. But until it approaches that point, the mere fact of impaired judgment in and of itself does not negate consent if outward appearances, or objective factors, indicate there was consent.

This is not to say there aren’t areas of gray, as intoxication and unconsciousness span a wide spectrum, and many situations will require a case-by-case determination. However, if someone gets drunk and is convinced into having sex, it is not rape unless there is actually some physical force or objective lack of consent. I.e. As Lucy instructs, the inquiry is not how drunk either party is; the inquiry is whether the outward appearances indicate it was consensual. As consent is not negated by impaired judgment alone, objective factors such as aggression, violence, threats, and refusals by the victim are key to the inquiry. Admittedly, consent can be difficult to define, but instead of attempting to set parameters, people have become hung up on this false belief that drinking alcohol, which is a voluntary act undertaken by adults, somehow negates personal responsibility.

To compare – people who are born stupid cannot escape contractual obligations they have made with smarter people by claiming the smarter person “took advantage” of their lower IQ. Regardless of the intelligence differential, a person attempting to avoid contractual duties is held to the same contractual standards as the rest of society. People born stupid similarly cannot claim rape when a smarter person has sex with them (thereby “taking advantage” of their “impaired judgment”). That being the case, people should not be able to deny responsibility when they make impaired decisions after voluntarily ingesting alcohol.

The fact someone regrets it the next day doesn’t mean he or she objectively refused consent the night before. The fact he/she wouldn’t have consented if sober is also irrelevant (again, see Lucy). People do all kinds of things when drunk that they otherwise wouldn’t do – that’s kind of part of the fun (and danger) of being drunk. Many people regret the frankly horrifying binge-eating they engage in with friends after a hard night drinking, but that in no way means their friends violated them and forced food down their throat.

The use of mundane examples of eating burgers and swimming naked in the ocean was not an accident. Much of this discussion revolves around the widely accepted assumption that sex is this big fucking deal. If sex were seen as an experience similar to burger eating, skinny-dipping, or contract-making, no one would be trying to argue that getting drunk negates volition/consent, or that the end result of drunk people having sex should be a prison sentence. In fact, this discussion likely would never even exist. It is for the very reason that sex is placed on a pedestal that people have found the need to create twisted logic and nonsensical rules when it comes to sex.

The reason it is a big deal is probably because as progressive as people pretend to be, a lot of them are still clinging to antiquated, oppressive, and downright stupid notions of sexuality. Monkeys fuck. Cats and dogs fuck. Goats and donkeys fuck. Cows fuck. Llamas fuck. Bugs fucking fuck. They do it to reproduce and spread genes. But when it comes to human beings, there are all these fucking rules (pun intended), and most of all if you’re a woman.

If you’re a woman and you don’t fuck anyone at all, you’re a boring old prude. If you fuck too young or fuck too many, you’re a fucking slutty whorebag. A slutty whorebag is pretty much the worst thing a woman can be. It’s much worse than being a jerk, a dick, or an annoying person. A slut/whore is like the worst thing ever. You bring shame to your family. Other women hate you. Men fuck you but think you’re disgusting (which makes zero sense by the way – if someone is so repulsive, why in god’s name would you put your dick inside?). You’re pretty much the lowest scum to ever walk the earth, reviled, denigrated, and scorned along with murderers and rapists even though you’ve hurt no one – in fact, just the opposite – you’ve probably made plenty of people quite happy.

People who drink too much or shoot too much heroin “have a problem” and are in need of therapy, sympathy, support, and love, but god forbid you fuck too much – clearly, you are an immoral, soulless, wretch.

Wait, actually, the rules are not that simple. If you fuck a ton, but it’s all the same penis, you are totally cool. However, if there were many different penises involved, then you are a horrible, deranged human being. Well, if there were like 5 penises total, over a period of like 10 years, you are probably good to go. But if it was only 5 penises, but it involved two Eiffel Towers and a one night stand, you might still have a problem. It’s very, very, complicated.

This is not an excuse for false rape accusations, which are unforgivable. However, it does provide context to explain why people come up with absurd ideas like, “drinking alcohol negates consent” and “there is no such thing as consensual drunken sex.” It also isn’t surprising that if society beats into women the idea that only degenerate and terrible women are slutty or aggressive about sex, women who were drunk and made a poor decision  might have this sort of thought process: “Wait, I did what? But I’m not a depraved, abominable person! I wouldn’t have done that normally… I must have been tricked/drugged/raped…”

Slut-shaming causes women and men to make sex a big fucking philosophical/moral deal when it need not be. We are all a bunch of human beings trying to spread our DNA and our petty genes, just like cats, dogs, goats, and fucking bugs. It’s actually quite base and puerile. This is to say nothing of the fact that assuming a man has the capacity to rape when drunk, but women have no capacity for consent when drunk is paternalistic, condescending, and downright insulting to the intelligence of women. We are sentient, adults, not babies or animals. Anyone who supports the infantilization of women through culture or law in this manner is by definition sexist.

So get over it. If you drank too much and fucked some gross dude, own it. Laugh about it the next day, chastise yourself for making a poor choice if you so wish, see a doctor, and get on with it like a man would. Write about it in your journal and make him a fictional character in one of your short stories. It’s a trivial matter in the grand scheme of things, because self-respect doesn’t come from the number of dicks that have or have not been in your vagina.

If you are a man and your sister or daughter got wasted and had sex with someone beneath her, get off your judgey, Victorian, caveman-like high horse and ask yourself whether your dick, or your soul, is so clean and perfect. If you are a woman and think sluts are everywhere around you, try not to be a mega-bitch because it’s none of your fucking business anyways. If someone you know truly is having so much sex with so many people that it’s literally a mental illness or a severe problem (learn about nymphomania symptoms here), then treat them the way you would a person with any other addiction, not like an immoral waste of life.

People get drunk and do stupid shit sometimes, and some people do stupid shit all the time when sober. That’s life, and there isn’t always a rapist involved.

New England, Part II

This post was delayed quite a bit due to the duties and responsibilities of my real job, but….

A few days after New Year’s Eve, our friend took us on a beautiful drive into the mountains of New Hampshire. On the way up to Bretton Woods, we stopped by the Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Company in North Conway.

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I’m not typically a fan of fruit flavored beers (lambics are probably an exception), but the Miss V’s Blueberry Ale wasn’t bad. It was pleasant with just a subtle flavor of distinctive blueberry. I could see this being quite nice on a summer day. Their regular house beers included the following:

The Czech pilsner was buttery and smooth. Not usually a pilsner drinker, but this was more interesting than most.

The Bone Shaker Brown was nutty, and smelled like Fat Tire. Hints of maple and hazelnut. Smooth.

The Smoke House Porter was interesting in that you could definitely taste the smoke, which is fitting for a BBQ joint. It was chocolatey with some distinctive bitterness.

The Square Tail Stout was similar in style and taste to the Smoke House Porter, but thicker. It was similarly smoky and smooth.

Then, I had a few others (the ones listed in green on the menu) which were seasonals. These were actually quite a bit better than their regular house beers, as they tended to be more flavorful and assertive, but I wasn’t taking notes because at some point, you have to just concentrate on the drinking.

New England and Some Beers

We went to visit a dear friend in New Hampshire for New Years. I definitely had some serious beers while there, because I have long been spoiled by southern California weather, and if I hadn’t resorted to beer jackets, I would have been like,

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We arrived early evening on December 31, and headed over to the Thirsty Moose Taphouse in Portsmouth. They had a gigantic beer list, so things were off to a good start. I opened with the Dogfish Head 61, after being warned that “IPA’s are not the same here.” I have always loved Dogfish Head beers though, so this was an easy decision. The beer was smooth, a little sweet, and hoppy, but not arrogantly so (even though I do love a good arrogant-tasting West Coast IPA). There was a smell of maple, which became more apparent when the beer got warmer. This beer did not disappoint.

Next was an IPA by Smuttynose (Portsmouth, New Hampshire). It tasted more like pale ale, with typical IPA coloring. It had some citrus and tart tones, and was notably un-floral. It’s on the mild side for me, being used to West Coast IPA’s. It smells pinier/bushier than it tastes. Though my review for this IPA is somewhat lukewarm, Smuttynose does make a bunch of other really good beers.

Beer number three was the Green Flash Soul Style IPA, because I had two New England beers in a row and wanted to switch it up. Plus, I hadn’t yet tasted this particular gem from Green Flash. This was hoppy and typical of Green Flash, with a floral and fresh feel. It had a thick head for an IPA, and almost had a buttery scent. Smooth and lovely.

After beer number 3, I lost interest in taking notes, and after beer 4, I took a shot of whiskey.

I thought I’d taken pictures of all these lovely beers, but I guess not. I may have been distracted by the crazy bitch that came to our table trying to hit on me and steel beers from our table that night. New Years Eve is the best because of good times with friends… and watching the crazies in all their glory.

Beers at Wine Bars

We recently met up with some friends in San Clemente and hit up a couple of wine bars. I tried a flight of wine tasters at San Clemente Wine Bar, They were all great, but after that, I moved onto beers. First up was the Oskar Blues G’Knight Imperial Red IPA (See picture above). It was hoppy, nutty, smooth, flora, and light. It had the scent of apples, but did not have a strong IPA smell to it. A fresh, solid IPA. Beer Advocate considers it “Outstanding.”

We then moved on to The Cellar, another wine bar (which has a fantastic weekend brunch with live music, by the way). There, I had the No Name IPA. It was nutty, with mild hoppiness (mild by San Diego standards). It was on the lighter side of what we’re used to on the West Coast. It had a thin head, and a bit of a metallic smell. In reading its Beer Advocate page, the lack of characteristic hoppiness is explained by the fact that Cody, the brewery, is located in Massachusetts. East Coast IPA’s tend not to be quite as hoppy.  This is going to sound awful, but occasionally, it had the scent of wet dog. To be fair, I asked everyone else at the table to confirm, and they did not perceive this wet dog scent, so maybe I’m just a loony toon.

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