Tuesday, October 28, 2008

7 Deadly Sins..

To the few who read this, you will find that in my last entry I wrote about my attaining of my own personal Holy Grail, the only known bottle of Yuengling on the entire West Coast of America. This single bottle plagued me with many decisions. What does one do when he finally finds the thing he needs, should he squander it? Savor it? Or dare i say....Share it? Since I got it, the Yuengling bottle has stayed still, not moving at all, until I figured out the best way to use it. Well something just happened which made my decision harder. 

Imagine if you  realized there was not one Holy Grail, but 7 legitimate ones...and you owned all of them. Well thanks to my friend Anna, this is now my reality. The week after Mike brought me a single bottle of Yuengling, Anna, unbeknownst to my own obtainment of the bottle, read online how to transport 6 bottles of Yuengling properly by plane. 
She flew from NY to San Diego, and during this flight she packed each bottle in a bubble wrap and placed them in her suitcase. Any bump, any crash, and these bottles may have ruined her entire clothing line. But she did it anyway for she knew of my longing for the sweet nectar of Pottsville Lager. And because of her effort, I have 6 guaranteed FRESH bottles of Yuengling, as opposed to the one possible skunk bottle. This glorious feat will never be forgotten Anna Wesley of Rutgers.

However there is now even more of a dilemma. What to do with 7 BOTTLES? It reminds me of a joke Louis C.K said about Bill Gates, to paraphrase, "Bill Gates has 53 billion dollars. The man can wake up one day, and have lost 50 billion dollars and still go...I have 3 BILLION dollars." This is how I feel about my babies. Sure, I could have a drunk night one night, open up the case, have 4 bottles and the next morning, I would still have 3 bottles of Yuengling. But that seems like such a waste. So the only fair way to do it is, to create a list, dictating when I am allowed to have these 7 Bottles of Yuengling. 

The list is incomplete, but here are the definites.

1. When I purchase my HDTV and a Couch for the Living Room.
This is a thing that has been a long time coming, it is easy to do but to finally DO it deserves a celebration. And I need to find a quick way to be able to finally have a bottle.

2. To become a Californian Resident. 
I have been living in California for a Year and a half, yet I have not registered to be a Californian, techincally..I am a felon. When I finally bring myself to paying the 400 dollar transfer fee of registration titles, I deserve to be rewarded with my a little help from my Lager Friends.

3.Learn Hindi
With two tasks based solely on organization and money, it is time to make the tasks a little bit harder. One day it hit me that I have never spoken to my dad in his Native Tongue. To learn the whole Language of Hindi will take a long time, but thankfully with Rosetta Stone, hopefully I will be able to have a conversation about how much Sheffield Wednesday sucks with my father. For the kick assness of that, I deserve a bottle.

4. The Eagles making the Superbowl.
This one is pure fate, this is something I cannot control. But for the love of the bottle, and for the state its from, This must sit incase this day comes this season. If the 4-3 Eagles, start kicking ass and gaining ground on the division, it may be a reality. So a bottle will be always there, until January rolls around, and I know for sure if I should drink for joy, or drink for sorrow.

So those are my definite things that will get those 4 bottles of Yuengling opened.  I still need 3 more, and those 3 should have more worth to them. Now is the time to accept any Ideas from you, this task is too hard for one man to be responsible for. If any of you are reading this, please help a young man out in this hard decision. 

Also as a side note, when I started this whole blog, it was out of celebration of my having my 200th beer. Well now ladies and Gentleman,  after my gut has grown quite a bit, I am on beer 291. I only have 9 more beers until my 300th Beer Bash. This is a emotional time for me right now, the beer of my past is in my fridge, and the beer of my future is almost at a milestone. Pray for my liver. And say a prayer to Anna Wesley, the Matron Saint of Yuengling Smuggling. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

To drink, or not to drink.

To the random few who read this, you may recall that over the last few posts I have pined over a certain beer that I have not had in over a year. That beers name is Yuengling, and it hails  from Pottsville Pennsylvania and spreads through the whole state and some surrounding ones. The beer is so popular in Philly that when you go to a bar, all you have to say is "Lager" and they will automatically assume you mean Yuengling. It's that local appeal which keeps Yuengling in the hearts of many people in Pennsylvania. The beer has not really prospered in other states though. It is widely spread throughout New York City, but something about it seems a miss, something less fresh, less nurtured. That may be the reason why Yuengling refuses to ship their product out to any state west of Tennessee(as seen here). So as a person who lives in California, this creates a problem for me being able to drink it. 

Since I've moved to L.A, I've tried to find a way to get my daily fix of Yuengling. I've gone to bars, asked them why they couldn't find a way to get a keg or two. Gone to beer stores, to see if they could "import" a case of Yuengling, if they can get beer from the Phillipines, it made no sense that they could not obtain a simple six pack from a dozen or so states away. Knowing that there was no Legal way to get a Yuengling, I then resorted to desperate measures. Begging people to sneak a six pack in their bag when coming from Philly to LA. Asking my
 friends who live there to ship me a whole case of Yuengling and charge it as a business expense or something. Sadly, nothing came to fruition, until last week.

To make a long story short(too late, I know), after my friend Mike came back from Philly and failed to get me so much as a Yuengling Label(thats how desperate I am becoming),the guilt trip I laid on him made him take a pro-active stance. He asked his mom to mail him a single bottle of
Yuengling in the mail. And so a single bottle now sits in my fridge. But this raises a dilemma. What to do with it? 

Would you unearth the tree that grew in Brooklyn? As of right now, to my knowledge, this bottle is the only Yuengling west of the Mississippi River. It can serve as a beacon of hope, to anyone else who feels alone in this west coast land where Yuengling is just a fairy-tale.  But at the same time, watching the Eagles play on Sunday does not feel the same
 without a bottle of Yuengling in hand. Do I find a way to ration out this one bottle for  the remaining games of the season? Or do I save it for a very truly special occasion? 

By this point, the bottle is most likely stale or skunked in some sort of way so I am in no rush to drink it. It was in postal boxes traveling in the tail end of summer, there is no way it could have been preserved at room temperatures. . But that doesn't bother me, to be able to say I am physically drinking a bottle of Yuengling, even if its past its prime is something too good to waste or turn down. So any thoughts? What should I do with it? Any help soon will be of benefit, because if I don't have a set goal, I will probably stumble in one day drunk and down it at 3 in the morning and forget about it the next day, which would suck balls. 

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Great American Centennial

America and Beer, the two go together like ..well, America and Beer. America's beer factories are some of the largest the world has ever seen, and its micro-brews spread throughout all the land From Boston, all the way down to Pasadena.  No matter what state, city, or time zone you are in, it seems that the love of beer is just as American as apple pie. The other day I had my 100th American beer, and it's just in the nick of time too, because something happened that may change the landscape of American Beer as we know it.

Before I talk about the ground breaking development, It is only fitting I take time to celebrate my 100th American friend. Since it was such a milestone, I figured I wanted to make it count, so I decided to go for the lovely taste of a Barley Wine. I went with the Avery Brewing Company's Hog Heaven Barley Wine. Without boring you, lets just say, it was very yummy. It's very rare to find a beer with such hops but at the same time a nice full flavor behind it. Thankfully the Avery Brewing company is located in Oregon, because if this baby was located anywhere near Missouri, I may have not had my 100th "American beer", let me explain further.

So sticking to current events(Yes it happened three weeks ago, but I've been to lazy to write about it), The almighty Anheuser-Busch, Inc. got bought out by the Belgium company InBev. The company behind Budweiser, Michelob, Busch and even...Odoul's, is no longer officially American. But its not just the big names, Anheuser bought out a lot of micro-brews, having their total beer products go up to 105 different kinds of beer. To put this in perspective, Since my 100th american beer, I have drank 4 more. If all of my 104 beers happened to be from Anheuser-Busch, my entire work of drinking those 104 beers, would be in question now as to whether they should still be considered American Beer or not. 

This begs along the lines of the good ol shakespeare question, "Would a rose be any sweeter by another name"(Im totally paraphrasing that..). Would an American Beer be less American if owned by any other country? Think about all those Bud ad's you see, college men being all manly, the iguana's chilling in the bayou, people saying Wazaaaa, all these images that fit the american beer culture(in a negative light...effing Iguanas..), anytime you see one of those ad's now it will have to be ok'd by....Belgium. I personally am happy for this move, because I can't stand Anheuser,  this is almost like the opposite situation of when Michael Jackson bought those Beatle songs. It's like someone is snatching the rights to the devil and overseeing its future. Now will Inbev just let the ship sailing as it is? Or are we going to see a major change in one of America's biggest franchises. 

And before we go, hopefully this will make you realize how HUGE beer is. InBev bought out Anheuser for 56 Billion dollars. BILLION. That made it the hugest pure cash transaction in...you ready for this?..HISTORY! Think about anything that can be owned, then realize that Anheuser just sold for more than anything could ever sell. In doing research(and by doing I mean, I got my friend Anna to do it for me..) if you compare this to other recent corporate buyouts, it doesn't even come close.  Youtube. Everyone you know uses it, your mother, your father, your dog.  Well Google bought out Youtube for 1.65 Billion dollars.  For that to equal this recent beer buyout, there would have to be 50 Youtubes, 50! I don't even think I know 50 websites period. To compare it to some physical property though, K-Mart bought out Sears for 11 Billion Dollars. Think of all the Sears you can think of, then think of how many their actually are..now times that by 5, and then you may be close to the huge sale that just happened.

So to put it in perspective, America IS Beer. We may not realize it, or want to, but just a month ago, America had two of the top three breweries in the world. Anheuser and SAB Miller. Now with InBev's purchase of Anheuser, InBev is the biggest beer producer in the world, with SAB Miller a close second, and no one really being a close third. With NBA players now flocking to Europe, and with the most Iconic Beer company, for better or worse, not even being American anymore, it seems like the times are changing. So my advice to all of you is, enjoy your american beers while you still can, depending on what Inbev wants to do with Budweiser, we could be seeing a big change in the beer world. And the only reason I give a damn is because if my beloved Yuengling gets changed in anyway...i'm gonna start dropping H-Bombs. 

P.S Coincidentally, my next few posts are going to be about my recent trip to Belgium. So..thats kinda funny.

Friday, July 4, 2008


So my Beer tales from Europe will be put on hold , because I wish to use this entry to speak about America's Independence Day. Now keep in mind, I am English, so my history of this holiday may not be the sharpest, or even "historically accurate".  So many years ago, a Revolution happened, for some reason the "Americans" decided they didn't need the lovely mannered english gentleman to have a say in their ways.  So a big fight occurred, and the English were scuttled back to England by some dudes on horses holding guns wearing white wigs or something. Then a bunch of guys, one who was named Handpenis or something, went"We look the same as the english, and  we sorta sound the same(The accent was still there I'm guessing, even if it was a more Transatlantic accent), how in the world can we make other countries realize that we aren't cut out of the same cloth?And thus, the Declaration Of Independence was made, a single document that was made to make a statement that "All men were made equal,  but with that said, the British Empire should toss off.." 

Now what does this have to do with beer you ask? Well I too had a revolution myself a while back.  When I started getting into beer as a hobby, I wished to talk about it with my friends, as most people would want to do when they have a new found hobby. However, I noticed people would start staring at me as if I was a beer Junkie and were afraid I was going to beat them up until I got my next fix.  Now, there is a different between an appreciation of beer, and a desire to just have a lot of it. One could be called an Aficionado, the other, and alcoholic. The only way I could really think to prove that I was honestly interested in beer, was to start documenting it and remembering each one I had. The difference between me and a Frat guy would just be, I would remember what I was having and If I enjoyed it or not, rather than just getting drunk of whatever.

So to make a long story short, I've made my own Declaration of Independence. THE BEER LIST, this will give me the mental argument that I've annexed myself from the oppressing group of belligerent drunkards. Come 2am in the morning, I may still look like a Wino, and may act like a wino, but with this document, everyone will know in my hearts of hearts, that I am a true Aficionado. So click on the link, browse around, and use it as a set off point to make your own list if you want. Hope everyone has a fun Hot Dog day, and I will be posting about my Belgium trip as soon as I get the pictures. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

God save the Pub.

THE TOUR OF POURS BEGINS! So the first thing I did when arriving at my parents house in England, was roll the family up and head over to the Cow and Calf. If I have any solid representation to show my growth of interest in pubs, this would be the place. The Cow and Calf is a pub that resides right next to my house, and to this day I am confident that the only reason we live here, is because my Dad wanted to live next door to a pub. This means that almost every other day, Lunch was at the Cow and Calf, and I purely hated every second of it.

The place is a very old fashioned pub. It was originally a farm house, so there are wooden beams everywhere, fireplaces instead of central air, no T.V, no pool table, just an old room, with benches and stools. As I grew up I would start appreciating things more and more about the place, and now, this is my favorite pub in the world. Why would anyone want to go to a bar with no pool, no music, no tv and no hot chicks? Well the main reason the locals come here is because the pints in the cow and calf are the cheapest one in the city (at a stunning £1.20). But the reason I keep coming back is just because of the lack of amenities. This is a place to drink beer, and talk, and that's chuffing lovely.

The beer served here is from of my favortie breweries, Samuel Smith. The factory is only 30 minutes from the pub. It is so close that Horses deliver it to the pub, straight up GANSTA! I always know that a new batch of beer is in when I walk to the pub and see tons of horse shit spewed across the street. Now normally, if beer is only $1.20(about 2 and a half dollars), it is a sign that it is going to be pure shite. This isn't the case though, the reason the price is so low is because the bar choose not to have any extra fees. Theres no gaming fee, no TV licensing fee, no cargo truck shipping fees. Nothing. With all those fees away, the bar can just charge beer for what it should be. And with no distractions in the place, the beer can be the best it can be.

Think of a bare bones DVD, a disc where the only thing on the dvd is the movie. It has no extra materials, no poorly put together behind the scenes documentaries, or poorly slapped audio commentaires. The only thing on there is the movie, the real reason for why you are buying the DVD in the first place. All the flashy stuff could be selling points, but at the end of the day, you like, and you want to watch the movie. Thats the same train of thought with this Pub, you come here for the beer, so you will get beer, and since its the only thing in the bar, you are going to get a really good quality of beer. The owners wont have to worry about getting money from anything else in the bar, Beer is the only thing, so beer is going to get the full attention of the staff.

Also, it allows the patron to converse. I still feel the reason people go to bars, is to be social. If you want to zone out and just veg, you can just get some beers and watch tv at home. The event of going to a bar is to meet with your friends, share a drink, and catch up, converse, talk about things. When you have a pub with no distractions, it makes it a lot easier to have fun conversations, because thats the only entertainment of the night. This also allows more chances to converse with strangers, rather than just stick to a group and huddle near a T.V

So the Cow and Calf, a place I used to hate going to, is now one of my favorite spots. It's dependable, I can recommend the beer there to anybody, and i know they will never go on an off night. The brand of the beer is one of the best out there. A nice pint of Pure Brewed Lager after a hard day of vacationing hits the spot like no other. But mostly, its great to know that i've been going here all my life, and I have a feeling that even though managers will change, and new clients will come in, as long as this pub is owned by Samuel Smith, I know there will always be a recluse to enjoy good company, and a good pint.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I left my pint in San Francisco

This past weekend I went to San Francisco and had the fortunate oppurutunity to watch the Phillies lose twice in a row. Now I was hesitant about seeing a sports game in San Francisco. I pictured fans at the ball park not being allowed to drink unless they brought their own bottle of wine from the Napa Valley with them to the game. Instead of Hot Dogs I imagined some sort of hippie subsitute, like Leaf Green Spincah Rolls on a stick. However, the most suprising thing about San Fran, other than getting a tan there, was that it was very friendly and very up to date in the world of Beer.

The first thing that shocked me was that on game day, bars were open at 8am. Since moving to the West Coast, I found sports cities to be...how should I say, pussyish? In Philly or in New York when it was game day, you could tell. People would be walking around rocking jerseys, tailgating, being obnoxious the whole shibang. This was something I had not yet seen in LA,Phoenix or San Diego. The Lakers are the number 1 team in the NBA right now and you would have no idea by looking at anyone on the streets. Well lets just say, San Fran held up.

My friends and I were on the prowl for a bar named Vesuvious which we heard opened at 8am. After walking for about 10 minutes we realized we were lost. Upon asking a 42 year old lady on how to get there, she informed us that we were nowhere near by, but that Fishermans Wharf had a bar that was open at 8am. How a random 42 year old lady knew this was beyond weird to me, but she pointed us in the right direction, and in no time at all we were tailgaiting in bars. The best part was fans were already starting stuff with my friends for rocking Phillies Jerseys. We were trash talking in a bar at 8:30am, for a game that was meaningless. Good times. After that we stumbled from bar to bar on our 2 mile trek to AT & T park. And we would find that more than one bar was open and ready for business.

It was only when I was about 2 bars in did I remember that San Fran has many good breweries nearby. Anchor Steam was the main one, but there was also Speakeasy ales, and then my favorite of them all; Bear Republic. All of these beers were served very fresh and with much dedication. When you are in a bar at 9am, the bartender doesn't really have to do much to keep you happy, so it was really nice to see the bartenders still watch the pour instead of just running the tap and walking away. I got the feeling that people appreciated beer there on the same level as wine, maybe the city got so bored of being wine connaisseurs that they redirected their attention to beer, as is evident with the recent uprising of breweries.

And the beer love goes beyond the sporting world. At night we went to a trendy spot in North Beach, and found that beer was very much alive there as well. While it seemed all the restaurants advertised Wine Wine Wine, there were some bars that were big into the beer and spirits. One I can't remember, but I think it was called Tonka. It was a neat Soda Inspired Bar and there was a good mixture of cocktails being made and beer being kicked out. Across the street from that was the Vesuvious we were seeking ealier. It had a great feel of just a socializing place where you could kick back with a drink and just chat. I gave San Franscico less credit than I thought, thinking it was going to be this prententious wine town, I found that its a lot more laid back, in a non hippy sense.

There is one thing I must warn you about San Franscisco though. When you get there you realize you can walk around the entire place since its built like a city in the east. Bar Crawling becomes a possibility, unlike in LA where you would always have to hop in a car afterwards, making it very hard to bar hop. Now, like all bar crawls, the walk back is always the harder part of the journey, normally because you tend being near to piss drunk. In San Fran, this is murder. If you are ever there, and you decide to bar crawl, just remember your route. Those pretty hills you walked down on the way to the bar, you will now have to walk up, and when you have been drinking since 9am, walking up the hills can easily be the hardest excercise you will end up doing in the year. So people with Beer guts, know that San Fran is open to your folly, but the gut doesn't help anything when you have to walk back to your hotel.

On a side note, I am taking a two week vacation and heading back to the Land of Beer. I'm going to be hitting up the pubs in the U.K, and then travelling to the holy land of ales, Belgium. So be on the lookout for the Perishing Thirts International Tour of Pours!(How lame was that?)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Inflation at its worse.

I never took Economics. Nor did I take that much Math to be honest,( and based on my grammer in recent posts, English classes was something else I sorta missed out on). With that said, this post may be filled with rather ignorant statements and questions, so if you have a problem with that then.....suck it?

When I started driving and found that gas went from 3.20 to 4.06 a gallon, I didn't really get pissed, i just accepted that, it was something that needed to happen. When gas prices went down to 3.20 I was a very happy trooper. Suffice to say, Prices are up again. Now I believe the reason is a mixture between supply and demand, and inflation, but once again I don't know. One thing I do know is that, Tonight was the first night I was sick of the rising prices, and decided I wouldn't stand for it anymore. Oh and if your wondering why I'm talking about Oil in a Beer Blog, I'm not. The price raise that sickened me today was when I saw that a cup of Beer was 9 freaking dollars.

Now we all know that Venues make most of their money on concessions, people need to eat and drink, they will buy it no matter what the cost (I think thats actually supply and demand,no?). Today I went to a show at the Gibson Ampitheatre, and was shocked to find a cup of Beer in the 9 dollar range. The rising of prices has become such a serious issue, that when Artie Moreno bought the Anaheim Angels in 2003. The first change he wanted to make was nothing to do with the Roster or Staff, but to lower beer prices in the stadium.

But its not just in venue places. In New York for instance Yuengling can be up to 5 bucks in Brooklyn, and 7 bucks in Manhattan, as opposed to the 3 dollars in Philly. Now I get it costs more to ship it to New York, but is it really 2 dollars more from Brooklyn to Manhattan? And the quality of this beer isn't even good, its not like I'm paying more because they've specially delivered the beer from Pottsville to New York and are taking good care of it. The beer normally sucks, your paying 7 bucks for a stale crappy beer. Damn you New York, if you're going to over price me, you should at least make the Yuengling taste the way it should.

Theres a movie theatre chain in LA called the Arclight, It charges about 3 dollars more than your average theatre, but with that you are getting fine projection, good patrons, proper maintenance. You are paying more to get more. So the whole idea of not even knowing if you are getting a fresh beer, or stale beer, when you are dropping down almost double digit dollars, is rather absurd to me. It's Russian Roulette with my liver, and my wallet.

If beer is now in the 9 dollar range, I think its time we set some rules as to why it is, and what we as consumers should expect back in return. If people started going into stores and buying moldy bread for twice the price, you think no one would complain? I fear that just cause the current demographic in question is full of Beer Drinkers, the companies can do whatever they want because they feel we are too juvenile to care about it. Well if Wine connoisseurs can be taken seriously and respected, then dammit...we should be too. Eff 9 Dollars for a pint of beer.

P.S, It may be obvious that this entire post may have been written just bec ause I am going through a Yuengling withdrawl. It should not detract from the main point at hand though. God I miss Yuengling.