Monthly Archives: April 2013

Oh You Fancy Huh? Beer is the New Wine

I read an interesting article today from the UK’s The Independent about how beer is starting to outpace wine in the world of fine dining. According to author Will Coldwell, Michelin star restaurants are now creating beer pairings to their exquisite tasting menus, rather than the traditional vino. The article also highlights how you (yes you!) can pick the best beers to pair with specific types of food, using what is called the “Three Cs”.  These are:

Compliment: Choosing a beer that has a similar flavor to the food so the tastes blend (ex: a rich stout and a chocolatey desert)

Contrasting: Pick a beer so removed from the flavors in the food that both distinctly stand out (ex: a sharp lager with BBQ)

Cutting: Picking a type of beer that’s so strong it “cuts” through the flavors of the food (ex: a hoppy IPA with a fatty pork)

I think its fantastic that beer is finally getting some fancy notoriety. Not because I care about the deep, fantastic history of the stuff, but because, quite frankly I hate wine. I’ve never understood why people shell out so much cash for something that, at best, tastes like bitter cough syrup somebody spit in.

One time at an outdoor restaurant, I used my wine glass to smash and collect bugs. This is the only time I have ever been happy I had wine.

One time at an outdoor restaurant, I used my wine glass to smash and collect bugs. This is the only time I have ever been happy I had wine.

Exception: I will drink Arbor Mist, but that is essentially an alcohol-infused Capri Sun (seriously, the third ingredient is high fructose corn syrup).

Need more proof that beer is better than wine, other than my discerning and highly accurate taste buds? Here’s a handy list I made to prove I’m always right.

Beer is cheaper: while its true that some beers can cost up to $100/ six-pack, on the whole it’s a much more cost-effective way to get your buzz on. For $13 dollars, you can get yourself a high quality six-pack of your best local brew, or a wine so shitty that it’s illegal in France.

Beer doesn’t turn your mouth purple: All the fun of getting drunk, without looking like a gel pen exploded in your mouth

At no point do people step on any beer ingredient with their bare feet

Beer can be used in a variety of social settings: Going on a first date? Watching the game with your buddies? Weeping silently in your bathtub? Beer is the perfect complement to any of these situations! The great thing about the craft beer boom is that is has  elevated the stuff from “this will get me drunk enough to yell at NASCAR on TV” to “this is the perfect complement to my endive salad with watercress”.

So next time you’re at a fancy restaurant (and I know that must happen all the time) see if they have a beer pairing menu or suggestions on which beers would compliment your order. If they look at you like you’re crazy, scoff snootily in their faces and say “clearly you are behind the times”.

If all goes to plan, the waiter might cry.

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Snake Dog IPA – Brew Review

Snake Dog IPA

Snake Dog IPA is one of several IPA’s brewed by Flying Dog Brewery. Originally started in Aspen, Colorado in 1990, all production was moved to Fredrick, Maryland back in 2008, which right down the road from where I live (so you can now stalk me. You’re welcome.). Flying Dog beers are pretty easy to point out for two reasons; the trippy label art done by Ralph Steadman (illustrator of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), and the make-your-grandma-faint names like “Doggie Style” and “Raging Bitch”. The brewery has some clout in the beer world as well, and their Doggie Style was named “Best Pale Ale in America” at the Great American Beer Festival in 1991.

What is an IPA?

Yes I have a framed photo of Michael Jordan. Space Jam changed my life.

Yes I have a framed photo of Michael Jordan. Don’t hate.

The IPA, or India Pale Ale, was first brewed during the British colonization of India. The beer sent to the troops would spoil (if you’ve ever had a skunked beer, that’s what they were dealing with), so brewers discovered by adding more hops and alcohol to the beer, both of which have preservative qualities, the stuff would last a lot longer.

In the US, breweries have taken the humble IPA to a new level, playing and adjusting the recipe to create stronger and hoppier concoctions.

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of IPAs or other Pale Ales, because the hops tend to make the stuff pretty bitter. Maybe its my delicate lady taste buds, or my weak female constitution, but they’re a little too strong for me.  However, as far as IPAs go, Snake Dog is a pretty good one.

Snake Dog IPA 2

The color was a bright  amber, with a minimal foamy white head. The smell is bright and fruity, ripe with citrus scents like tangerine and grapefruit, as well as hints of yeast. The taste is sweet and malty, with more citrus, as well as the traditional IPA hoppy bitterness. The ABV of this beer is pretty high (7.2%) so you do get a little bit of that alcohol flavor at the end, but the beer is dry, crisp and refreshing.

Should I Drink It?

The Snake Dog IPA is true to the American style of India Pale Ales and a good choice if you like this style of beer. If you have petite, estrogen-laden taste buds like me, you may want to stick with something a little less bitter.

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Buddy Cups: Now Your One Night Stand Can Be Facebook Official

In a move that might the most ill-advised idea since McDonald’s asked customers to share their experiences on Twitter,  Budweiser is introducing the “Buddy Cup”. This is a drinking implement that, when two are clinked together, automatically makes the users Facebook friends.

Check out this video:

Wowzer! Doesn’t that look like fun? Combing strangers, alcohol, and access to personal information: what could go wrong? But before you start clinking Buddy Cups with every Tom, Dick, and Boozey in your local dive bar, I’d like to share some pros and cons to using one of these beer steins of the future.

Pros:

Now you can make sure she’s really a female before you take her home
Someone can finally like your “Game of Thrones” statuses
Finally you can “poke” your hookup on two platforms
Its always nice to make friends
That’s one more instagramed photo of food you can look forward to
Facebook doesn’t share penis size

Cons:

Buddy Cup sounds like a gross sex thing
She can change her relationship status before you get her home
You will clink glass with literally anyone when your drunk
Seriously, anyone
It’s not Twitter compatable. #lame
Facebook doesn’t share penis size

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3 Things No One Tells You About Walt Disney World

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently visited Walt Disney World. To explain my relationship with WDW, you can read this article from  xojane that I didn’t write but sums up my relationship with the place perfectly. It is my Mecca, my Western Wall, my L. Ron Hubbard. In my everyday life I am a horrible, cynical person; I harshly judge strangers for wearing running sneakers with jeans and I fantasize about punching someone in the face at least once a day.

But at Disney, I am transformed. A beam of pure joy encompasses my body and I feel like the world is on my side and it can do no wrong. Colors sing out, happiness radiates from inanimate objects, and laughter fills my ears. Kind of like a mouse-fueled acid trip.

I'm wearing sunglasses to hide the fact I'm secretly weeping from the overwhelming joy

I’m wearing sunglasses to hide the fact I’m secretly weeping from the overwhelming joy

That being said, there are some things about Disney that were surprising, and I’d like to take a moment to share them with you here.

1. The Bathrooms are Just Bathrooms

The thing that separates Walt Disney from other theme parks is their attention to detail. They put so much effort into making sure everything is perfect that even waiting in line is an experience. Hell, there are entire websites dedicated to finding the over 1000 hidden Mickeys,  and despite the fact that tons of people visit the parks each day, people are still finding new ones.

Which is why its upsetting when you walk into the bathroom and see this:

The toilet in the Tommorowland bathroom. The toilet of the future.

The toilet in the Tommorowland bathroom. The toilet of the future.

A bathroom with no more pizzazz than your local Wendy’s, complete with broken stalls and ominous wet spots on the floor. They were clean, yes, but when you come in from a world of magic to the worst part of every bar I’ve ever been to its a bit of an upset.

I’m just saying, if I need to relieve myself in the Norway pavilion of Epcot, I want to do it as the Norwegians would.

I'm just a kvinner with a dream

I’m just a kvinner with a dream

This is an important note because you will use the bathrooms a lot in Disney World because:

2. You Can Drink There

I went to Disney World with my father, because my mom had a conference and my dad wanted to go to the parks without looking like a pedophile.

Drinking Buddies

Drinking Buddies

We went to Epcot our first night there, and I was blown away by the amount of alcohol you can purchase. Frozen margaritas in the Mexico Pavilion. An assortment of wine in the France Pavilion. Disney’s classic Dole Whip with a shot of rum.

And of course beer. At every one of the “countries” there was opportunity to purchase more beer. Not always the finest or most representative (Norway, for example, had Bud Light and Carlsberg) but nevertheless ubiquitous. And it didn’t stop in Epcot, every park except the Magic Kingdom has plenty of opportunities to drink to your hearts content (provided you don’t mind spending $13 per drink).

Maybe it’s because most people go to Disney only when they’re either little children or responsible for not losing their kids in a crowd of 1,000 other kids, but I had no idea the “Happiest Place on Earth” could be happier. Another thing I was not aware of? Beer + any ride with more momentum than “The Haunted Mansion” will result in a strong urge to vomit.

3. It Will Completely Change Your Mind About Kids

Its no secret that Disney World is an immensely popular place, and that they don’t choose who comes into their parks by parenting styles. You will see the best and worst kids in those parks, which is why the experience will change your mind about having kids, about once every 15 seconds.

It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on; you want kids or you don’t, you will question your beliefs over and over again. Example: at the Magic Kingdom, I saw a little girl in a princess dress, completely mesmerized by one of the characters. When they asked her name she said “Cinderella”, and my cold heart melted. I barely had time to turn my head when I saw a frazzled woman pushing a stroller while her six year old hung off the side and repeatedly kicked her in the shins.

Which brings us back to why they sell booze

Which brings us back to why they sell booze

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Brew Review – Shiner Hefeweizen

The weather finally warmed up here last week; mother nature completely forgot a little thing called “spring” and the temperatures went from the mid-50’s to high 80’s over a 3 day span. Seeing warm weather as an excuse to drink more beer, I stopped and picked up a variety 6-pack of Shiner Beer.  (Other things I use as an excuse to drink more beer include: when the weather cools down, when its raining, if I find loose change in the sofa, or if I have just finished a beer)

Shiner Beer is brewed at the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. Their most popular beer is a bock that’s currently available in 42 states. The 6-pack included the Bock, along with a couple other great varieties, but I opted to try the hefeweizen.

Shiner Hefeweizen

Shiner Hefeweizen

What is a Hefeweizen?

A hefeweizen is a wheat beer, the “Hefe” part meaning “with yeast”. It is an unfiltered beer, so if it looks cloudy don’t throw it away (for the love of God, never throw away a beer. Unless it’s Natty Light).  The color is a perky orange, with a thick white head. The aroma is citrusy, with notes of lemon and orange that are also prevalent in the taste (I know this probably sounds redundant, as a lot of things taste like they smell, but beer can be a little trickier). It was smooth and light bodied, with a subtler flavor than other Hefeweizens I’ve tasted.

Shiner Hefeweizen full

Traditionally hefeweizens are served in a special glass that is curvier than Sofia Vergara, but you can drink it from a soup bowl for all I care. Personally, I chose my tall pint glass that I recently purchased at Epcot, where it cost me $11.50 for one beer. I figured I should get as much use out of it as possible at that price.

Should I drink it?

Shiner Hefeweizen is definitely worth a try. The flavor is lighter than most hefewizens, so if you’re not sure about this type of beer I’d say start with Shiner’s.

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