Thursday, June 30, 2011


My recent trip to Kansas City had me prowling my usual haunts in search of weird and fantastic beers to take home. Mark Starr, “starr” of THE HOPRY beer blog/vlog, gave me the lowdown on the Lukas Liquors Superstore just over the Kansas state line up Missouri way (or as I like to call it, “Missoura”), and I made my way up there to see what treats I’d be able to stuff into my suitcase. So far the big winner is this ODELL “MOUNTAIN STANDARD RESERVE” that I found there. Odell, who are a Colorado brewer whom we’ve feted before on this site, actually sell their wares in Kansas too, where I was staying – but my usual Kansas beer stores weren't carrying this one, so thank you Missoura for getting this excellent ale into your “show-me” state.

You could probably call this beer just about any style you’d like. I hadn’t done any research on it before grabbing it, so I didn’t know that Beer Advocate has it classified as an “American black ale”. You know what I called it in my notes? A Belgian Imperial Amber – that’s right folks, get out your style books because I may have just invented a new one. MOUNTAIN STANDARD RESERVE is very dry, with good strong hopping and rich, chewy malts. Pours nearly black in the glass, but it tastes like a deep & murky amber ale. Some taste of melon, cough drop (the good kind!) and some exotic spicing. Bitter, yet very pleasurable and with 8.5% alcohol, not too much of a belly- and head-buster. I am incredibly impressed with ODELL BREWING’s imperial/seasonal beers, and can’t wait to try the amazing SABOTEUR again. I’d drink Mountain Standard Reserve again in a Missoura minute as well. 8/10.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I’ve been waiting for someone to publish a full compendium of the music writings of BYRON COLEY, the first “rock writer” that ever blew my proverbial reader’s mind with a turn of phrase. After devouring this excellent little volume in the 90 minutes it took me to plow through it, I’m still waiting, of course, as this covers a small smattering of writing spanning 1978-1983. Perhaps this will not only whet the palate of those unfamiliar with Mr. Coley’s prose, but also convince a true publisher of note to get cracking – not simply a tiny Quebecois press like L'Oie De Cravan, who should nonetheless be applauded for putting this together in both French and English, in the same book no less.

I first came across Byron Coley’s writings, as many of us did, in FORCED EXPOSURE, a fanzine I wrote extensively about on my old blog here, here and here. Soon thereafter I started seeing his stuff in more highfalutin places, like SPIN, for instance, and then in back issues of early 80s fanzines that I would hoard like TAKE IT!. I think what struck me the most at an impressionable age was that he held an opinion on pretty much everything, and made no effort to be magnanimous in his reviews if that band or act in question were one he held in low regard. In fact he’d cleverly eviscerate cheapo hardcore bands, goth doomsayers and bland college-rock bands with a severely biting pen – which was fun, even when it was done to bands I dug. Coley seemed to hear every record and could weigh in on them in 4-6 sentences better than anyone I’d ever read before. When he liked something, really liked it, you wanted to go out and buy it – in fact he, and to a lesser extent, his Forced Exposure co-editor Jimmy Johnson had such strong BS detectors that if they recommended it, it almost always ended up ruling once you tore off the shrink-wrap & had it on the turntable. They certainly didn’t invent opinionated rock journalism, but they were far & away the leading practitioners of it in the 1980s.

I was about 18, 19, 20 years old and totally immersed in the Forced Exposure bands and ethos. I personally developed a set of snarky, dismissive opinions about bands that were half faux rock-snobbery and half very learned expressions that I’d still stand by today. This is a stance I almost completely attribute to Coley’s writings and my newfound confidence that I was listening to (and pontificating on via college radio and my college paper) the music that truly mattered in 1985-88. I remember with clarity a ludicrous, over-the-top argument I foisted upon my cousin Doug and our friend Linda in which I savaged The Replacements, a band whom they liked and a band Forced Exposure was routinely taking to task. So certain of myself, I drunkenly pissed off my friends and walked out of the house triumphant that I’d won the argument about whether or not the band mattered. If that was Coley’s sole legacy – champion and summary dismissal expert of underground rock bands for late-teenagers with chips on their shoulders - then 25 years later we wouldn’t have a lot to talk about, would we? Aha – that’s where you’d be wrong, as this book shows us.

My big surprise in reading the collected writing in “C’EST LA GUERRE” was how fully-formed Coley’s stuff was even back in the late 70s. The guy was as good, and as funny then at age 21-22 as he is today. I think I had assumed that his pieces for the NEW YORK ROCKER and other underground papers of the day would suffer from the full-blown Richard Meltzerisms that even Coley cops to in this volume, and that plagued/enhanced (pick ‘em!) his work up until about 1985 or so. You know, the “yr a pud” style of writing, which I thought was so great back then yet which seemed to drive many others bananas. Well, he wasn’t doing that in ’78 – it was an early 80s “phase” of his, akin to other phases that wayward young men go through.

The pieces in “C’EST LA GUERRE” span from a ripping takedown of David Bowie to wild-eyed and erudite build-ups of Devo, The Minutemen, The Germs and many in between. Yes, Devo! The book prints some great letters from Coley to a friend that are a cross between a personal diary and a scene report, and it was kinda cool to see the guy’s musical taste long before it was codified – if indeed it ever was. Psychotic Pineapple & Blondie even get the yeah-hups. His style was one that relied very heavily on humor, wordplay, unorthodox sentence construction, opinion, and at the end of the day and unlike Meltzer, full readability. You read a Coley piece, and if you’re not familiar with the band, you’ll want to be. I never have wanted in any way to cop to having any sort of “style” of my own, as I am by no means a writer by trade and am simply a humble blogger in my spare, non-professional time. But I know I stole from him, in that I try to write my pieces in a “consumer’s guide” manner, with the aim of convincing you that I’m right and why you need to make the purchase. I got that from Coley, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t get that from anyone but himself and maybe just a teensy bit from Lester Bangs.

So it’s about 1991, and I’ve just put out the first issue of my own SUPERDOPE fanzine. I’ve gotten to know Brandan Kearney, then the guitar player from one of my favorite local bands, WORLD OF POOH. Seems that Byron Coley had come to town (San Francisco) and was record shopping with Kearney, who talked him into buying my fanzine at a particular store. Weeks later I received an unsolicited personal letter from Coley, giving me kudos and the old thumbs-up, and even offering to make me tapes from his extensive stash of Flesh Eaters live & demo recordings. It was pretty validating, to say the least. Since that time I’ve been hoping that someone would take the reins of a publishing project of the guy’s work, or even just collecting all the Forced Exposures into a single coffee-table book. We’ll have to settle for “C’EST LE GUERRE” for now – but don’t tarry, they only made 750 copies of this slim volume so you’ll want to start clickin’ and shoppin’ right here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


If ever there was a book that illustrated the “reading at whim” principle elucidated in the last book I reviewed, it would be this one. I did have a complete set of Chekhov’s plays sitting next to my bed, as well as a huge volume of 20th-century Russian history that I’m about a quarter through. But I chose to read the San Francisco Giants baseball team book instead. And really, who can resist the story of these loveable misfits from 2010, am I right? I only suffered for 34 of my 43 years to finally see my team enthroned as The World Champions, and since it may never happen again, I figured I’d get the commemorative DVD (it’s great) and Andy Baggarly’s book that tells the whole goshdarn story from start to finish. You know what? I’m glad I did.

Baggarly’s one of the Giants’ beat writers, and covers the team for the San Jose Mercury News. He also puts together one of three essential Giants blogs, EXTRA BAGGS (the other two are McCovey Chronicles and El Lefty Malo). He really nails how flat-out lucky us Giants fans were in 2010, and how well this team represented the weird, hang-loose spirit of San Francisco. What are the chances that a team so likeable would be the ones to finally win the tile for our city? The past decade was spent under the shadow of the immensely talented but execrable Barry Bonds, to say nothing of Jeff Kent and the fading veterans this team continued to run out of the field, year after year. We kept waiting for some true homegrown talent to make us proud & show us the organization actually understood how to build a team, and until pitchers Matt Cain and especially Tim Linecum, we waited. And grumbled. And yelled. And ranted on talk shows, so much so that when the Giants (finally!) decided to cut Bonds loose, they hastily signed Barry Zito to the biggest pitching contract in history to quiet the baying hounds, a signing that’s been an unmitigated disaster despite the professionalism and good spirits of Mr. Zito.

Then came 2010, the year everything went perfectly. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that the Giants would even sniff the playoffs, let alone win the whole thing. “A BAND OF MISFITS”, breezily and in sentimental fashion, recalls the pieces that needed to fall together to make the magic happen. Dynamite homegrown rookies like Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. Career seasons from the likes of Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff. Deadline signings of castoffs or never-was-ers like Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and Javier Lopez. The incredible Brian Wilson, arguably the "most interesting man in the world". And of course Tim Lincecum, “Big Time Timmy Jim”, my favorite ballplayer, a pot-smoking beanpole long-haired freak who absolute dominated on the pitching mound expect for one (freakishly) bizarre August when he couldn’t dominate anything. Relive the glory, from April to November – it’s all here. At least half the book is a game-by-game recap of those amazing Padres, Braves, Phillies and Rangers series that got us to the history books.

If you’ve read this far you’re probably one of a tiny handful of the already tiny handful of Hedonist Jive readers who cares about sports, baseball and/or the San Francisco Giants. I’ll grant that to spend even a few hours with a book-length recap of the 2010 season is more than most fans can stomach. Not me. I want it by the forkful. We Giants fans are a skeptical lot, and even now, with our team in first place on June 21st, 2011, there’s a lot of teeth-gnashing and talk-show dialing about the “woeful state of the team”. We may never see a year like 2010 again; nay, fans of all MLB teams would have been more than fortunate to have cheered on a team with individual and collective stories this compelling. I think I can say that objectively and at least half-believe it.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Are you a cask-conditioned nazi? A man of the old-school people who storms out of a bar if there isn’t something readily available on the hand pump, and blanches at beer served from a bourgeois tap? I’ve never much cottoned to that whole thing after less-than-favorable results from most known beers served this way, though if there’s a stout on “nitro” I’m all for it. This is when a beer already given to natural creaminess is injected with nitrogen in order to bring said creaminess and smoothness to the forefront, leaving behind just about everything else except for primary flavors. Did I get that right, homebrewers? Well, I now know that nirvana can be and has been reached with regard to this hallowed nitro beer.

No one remembers that I once drank and reviewed a LEFT HAND BREWING “MILK STOUT” except for me. It was in Atlanta, it was a bottle poured into a glass, and I proclaimed it a little more than OK. This is a beer that many have busted a nut over, and one that I can’t get in California. Yet the other day in Overland Park, Kansas, at a place called OLD CHICAGO I had the most a-mazing glass of this stuff. And yes, it was “on nitro”. Never has a more chocolaty, milky, smooth and delicious stout passed before my lips. It quite seriously tasted like a glass of farm-fresh milk that just had the world’s greatest milk chocolate and the world’s greatest stout infused into it. More beer than milk, to be sure, which is as you’d want it, I’d imagine. But I just kept muttering to myself, “Whoa. Whoa. This is great. Whoa.” Ladies and gentlemen, the nitro pour of the century – Left Hand Milk Stout. Don’t let me catch you drinking this out of a bottle. 10/10.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This is an exceptionally edifying little tome about how one might seek to cultivate and nurture a love of book-length reading in our digital age, whether one already has nurtured that love of reading or not. It's author Alan Jacobs' argument - as well as that of many others - that contemplative, lost-in-a book-style reading is at risk of being lost in an age of multitasking, beeping smartphones and the ever-present siren song of the internet, which both promises and delivers so much of what we want, (Thanks for reading my blog on your computer or your phone, by the way). I bought this real-live hardcover book in a real-live bookstore - something that's soon to be an anachronism. Bookstores, as we all note with some sadness, will soon be a place for collectors only, a place in which the only books are used books. The rest of us - and I gladly and somewhat paradoxically include myself - will be reading for pleasure on our Kindles, and whatever subsequent devices displace that one.

We all know the popular laments about bookstores and print - but what about reading? That sort of meal-skipping reading you did when you were a teenager, devouring Steven King or whatever, three hundred pages in all night? I was that sort of teen, anyway, and yeah, I read King's "The Stand" three times and still have fond memories of it. There are many who will tell you, with some evidence, that this sort of reading is in danger. Alan Jacobs' "THE PLEASURES OF READING IN AN AGE OF DISTRACTION" certainly highlights the danger, but this is no anti-internet, anti-Kindle screed. (Jacobs, in fact, strongly purports that the Kindle may in fact save contemplative, uninterrupted reading). It's a series of light admonishments for how to capture or recapture the sense of reading for pleasure, and the understanding & contemplation that goes with it.

Key among his recommendations is to first and foremost read what you want to. No "1,001 great books to read before you die" and the attendant pressure that comes from trying to read what others think you should. There's no master curriculum that can be tailored to every reader. Furthermore, Jacobs recognizes that at best only 30% of us are going to be true, avid book-readers anyway - in this age, in past ages and in the future. This is when we need to recognize the sad but inviolable law that 50% of the world's population is of below-average intelligence. (Shocking!). Gnashing our teeth over why more people aren't reading does nothing to make it better, as there are finite limits to who is actually going to pick up a 400-page book and read it start-to-finish, for pleasure or for edification. Jacobs thinks we should focus on our own wavering impulses toward reading, and make "whim" our guiding principle in choosing what to read: "Ulysses", a graphic novel, a crime noir potboiler or a Jane Austen period piece. Or whatever.

He's certainly convincing on these counts, as he is with the sort of self-coaching that's necessary to ignore the phone, the TV and the myriad ways to access the internet in favor of books, which obviously bring a mode of learning that affects the brain in deep-seated ways. I personally am trying to use my smartphone - Twitter, blog readers, sports scores and everything else - only in times that call for it, like when I'm between things or in transit. I'm trying to carry a book - or at least my Kindle- with me at all times, and as mentioned before on this blog, I've got an audiobook going in the car every time I drive. Somehow, I feel the better for it. This small book only helped to reinforce this self-discipline and I'd recommend it to any one of you thirty-percenters who might be interested in honing your own reading moxie.

Monday, June 13, 2011


When I'm out there on the road, workin' and bringin' home a paycheck, I tend to make the centerpiece of every trip a visit to the area's most heralded brewery. I've made many such trips to Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas, yet I've never set foot in BOULEVARD BREWING - mostly because they don't really have a brewpub and a place to sit & sample the way others do. They have tours, but they're during the day - and as I might have mentioned, during the day, I'm workin'. So I've settled with buying their rare 22-ounce seasonal ales, as well as those from locals or nearby breweries SCHLAFLY, ODELL and GREAT DIVIDE, and stashed them in my suitcase where there's room.

This time I knew as well that I wasn't going to go to Boulevard, but what about this FREE STATE BREWING I've heard about in Lawrence? Why, back in 1993, when I was the "road manager" for CLAW HAMMER on their '93 North American tour, "we" played in Lawrence in an out-of-the-way dive called The Outhouse, and the whole evening was fantastic. The locals were great, the town was clean, funky & interesting, and hey, I guess I just wanted to go back. So this past Friday night I drove out there from Overland Park, Kansas, where I was staying, and painted the proverbial town in Lawrence. FREE STATE BREWING was my destination, and Free State Brewing was where I arrived.

I'll get this out of the way so we can move on and never speak of it again: this might surprise you a bit - it sure did me - but when you're in Lawrence, Kansas, you probably shouldn't order Mexican food. There aren't, like, any Mexicans for one. The black bean and cheese quesadilla I ate at Free State was one of the unquestionably worst meals I've had in some time, and I satisfied myself with the beer and the Canucks game on TV and tried to not think about eating again for some time. Atmosphere was lively and fun, and service was first rate. Just your basic well-run college town brewpub with bad good and great beer. Oh, the beer? Yes, let's talk about that:

FREE STATE - "LEMONGRASS RYE" - Now here's a curveball of a summer ale - a lemony ale liberally dosed with rye, low in alcohol and easy to drink. Bravo. Very light and citrus-fruity with a nice tang. Hops are  faint, lemon is not. Summery. And it's summer. I liked it. 7/10.

FREE STATE - "MEUSE RIVER IPA" - Of course it wouldn't be a trip to a brewery for me without getting the lowdown on their IPA, and this deep-orange model did not disappoint. Tingling hops, piney bite and rich malts, all balanced well and perched halfway between a single and a double IPA. 7.5/10.


FREE STATE - "WHEAT STATE GOLDEN" - Actually had this one a little earlier in my visit and was my impetus to visit the brewery in the first place ("if their humble golden ale is this solid, how might the rest of their beers be..."?). This is a classy, unassuming fruit-forward golden ale. You could drink a dozen of 'em. Very satisfying going down, and gave me zero discernible buzz. 7.5/10.

Next time you're in Lawrence you oughta get yourself some BBQ at another restaurant and then head over to Free State for some good times. Tell them the 'Jive sent you - they'll know what you mean.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


The LEE HAZLEWOOD bender continues. I bought this CD collection of songs that Hazlewood wrote and/or produced – usually both – in the 1960s and 70s, and am now a better man for it. His psychedelic cowboy weirdness is all over this collection of disparate songs and genres, even when it’s R&B, rockabilly or blues. Something about the way Lee Hazlewood turned a phrase about hippies, rebels or even housewives was unique to history; the man was a true bard of the 60s. He often created a lush, strings and horns-laden sound that also defines the musical 60s for me. That sort of orchestral cheesiness was rarely heard again, but placed in its context, it sounds wonderful.

“CALIFIA – THE SONGS OF LEE HAZLEWOOD” does a lot of genre-hopping and can be as sparse as a Duane Eddy twanger or as rich and soaring as a duet with Nancy Sinatra (the awesome “Ladybird”, which opens this collection). Though Hazlewood produced and arranged a ton of instrumentals during the 60s, every track included here features vocals. I’m partial to the work he did with female singers – Mr. Hazlewood was a notorious lover of women – and so the standouts for me are heard and previously-unheard tracks like “Sweet Ride” by DUSTY SPRINGFIELD and “Need All The Help I Can Get” by the Swedish chanteuse with the nom de plume of SUZI JANE HOKOM. (I wish they had included Hokom’s version of “Home (I’m Home), which was the B-side of her 45, and which CRUD CRUD blog posted a couple months ago). It’s ANN-MARGRET’s crazed “You Turned My Head Around” that you’ve simply gotta hear, which is why I’m posting it for you below. As in “Bye Bye Birdie”, famously satirized during Season 2 of “MAD MEN”, she can barely sing and gets away with it beautifully – and even more so on this one, which features grinding fuzz guitar noise swirling all around her, as well as bells, strings, chimes and general chaos. Brilliant!

Another big winner was from a project the liner notes say Hazlewood really suffered through – DINO, DESI & BILLY’s “The Rebel Kind”. These were Dean Martin & Desi Arnez’ kids (and their pal Billy), and they were studio prima donnas who happened to cut a fantastic teen-fuzz pop anthem under Hazlewood’s steady hand. I’m posting it for you here. Like I said, there are also some R&B and girl-group knockouts, including three from DARLENE LOVE spinoff bands and a scorcher I’ve heard before by THE SHARPS called “Have Love, Will Travel” (not the Sonics song). This compilation exceeded some pretty high expectations and is another one to put on that Lee Hazlewood tribute mantle you’ve been building.

Play Ann-Margret, "You Turned My Head Around"

Play Dino, Desi & Billy, "The Rebel Kind"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


As mentioned previously, I’m deep into this massive tome called “POSTWAR” by the recently deceased Tony Judt which seeks to tell the complete tale of Europe from 1945 to 1989. It’s a tall order for sure, but the book is utterly fascinating and goes to great lengths to explain how a ruined Western Europe made its way so quickly into prosperity and peace within twenty years, while the equally ruined East was further humiliated under Communist rule for two generations. The book at one point talks about the austerity measures that took place in Great Britain after the war, and that imposed a humdrum ordinariness on England where nothing was flashy, no one complained and everyone did what they could to get through the day. This was the popular recollection, in any case, and Judt mentioned in particular a short documentary film called “Family Portrait” by Humphrey Jennings that he said captured the austere mood of the early 1950s quite well.

I figured this was my chance to dive back into a Britain we’ll never see again. The dynamic, multi-ethnic and confident UK of 2011, financial issues notwithstanding, is a far cry from the era that survived the war and then survived the peace. Jennings, in his short films, did justice to these people - who they were, what they fought for, and how they kept that legendary British resilience alive through tough times. I downloaded a collection of his films called “LISTEN TO BRITAIN” from Amazon Video On Demand, and gobbled up the three hours over the course of two nights. Far as I can tell, the only way to see these films right now is to do what I did and get them from Amazon. (Correction – you can rent the DVD on Netflix too).

Truth be told, what Jennings was making during WWII were propaganda films, plain and simple. They were produced by the Crown Film Unit for the purposes of documenting the war and stirring the people. Rather than being invective-filled rants about the “dirty jerries”, though, Jennings turned his camera and his attention inward, into the essential Britishness of his subjects. The first film in the collection, “London Can Take It”, is perhaps the best. It has a Canadian journalist doing voiceover about the nightly pounding London was taking from German planes, and how the citizenry were daring and brave for picking up the pieces of their shattered city with resolve night after night. It’s quite moving. The many scenes of destroyed London blocks and row houses, with stoic people trudging by them on their way to work or cleanup duty, is pretty jarring. Similar films mine similar territory, both before and after the war. “Words For Battle” is another good one, but “I Am A Fireman”, about the men who put out the nightly fires from German bombs, goes on far too long and far too often wordlessly to keep the viewer engaged. At least an American viewer in 2011.

“Family Portrait”, the one I rented this collection for, is an ode to the British people in 1951 – their achievements, their empire (though this is only hinted at), their survival in the face of WWII, and their future. It’s really something to watch. In 24 minutes, the imagery rushes by, but with a minimalist, almost poetic narrative that never gets in the way. In fact, it reminded me very much so of Terence Davies’ 2008 documentary film “OF TIME AND THE CITY”, which we reviewed here – just more full of hope and pride, looking at Britain’s losses squarely in the face, and then moving on. It’s what the British people did so well during this era, and what these valuable films convey so exceptionally well.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Since this blog's been active for well over a year now, but there's a good chance you haven't been reading it for over a year, I thought I might put together my first backward-looking links post - this one to our many book reviews. 2010-11 has frankly been a bellweather season in my reading life. I finally tried to elevate actually books above my 7 magazine subscriptions, the daily paper, the free alternative weeklies and the many things to be found on the interweb. It's sort of working, and somehow I'm not giving those things short shrift either.

What's losing out? Hmm...let's family, my health, my job - nope, I think it's music obsession and podcast listening. See, at least a third of the year's books were audiobooks. I even bought one of those AUDIBLE subscriptions where I get a download a month for $15, which is a pretty square deal in my eyes, when most audiobooks are listing at the hardcover price or higher. Anyway, podcast listening has suffered and "This American Life" and "Mike and Tom Eat Snacks" episodes are stacking up big-time on my iPhone - and  yeah, music still gets listened to in the car, but not when there's, say, an amazing 43-hour audiobook like Tony Judt's "POSTWAR" to get through (and which I am now 17 hours into - so look for that review around Xmas).

Here are a few things that got read or listened to around here the past 14 months or so:

"NIXONLAND" by Rick Perlstein
"HITCH-22" by Christopher Hitchens
"WE NEVER LEARN" by Eric Davidson
"THE BIG SHORT" by Michael Lewis
"ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE" by Bethany McLean & Joe Nocera
"JUST KIDS" by Patti Smith
"WATCHING THE DOOR" by Kevin Myers
"LAST CALL" by Daniel Okrent

Saturday, June 4, 2011


You'd think modern brewers had run out of trends to mine or piggyback on. Just when experimentation with new brewing styles and hybrids had hit its all-time peak, there's been a backslide focused on rediscovery of abandoned styles or recipes from 100 years ago or more. Now me, I wasn't around back then, but I have to think that most beers brewed at the turn of the 19th century to the 20th were vastly inferior to what we can get today. Certainly it's the case with every other form of gastronomic delight - the innovation, technological and hygenic curves move ever upward in search of better and better recipes. But if some brewers wanna dabble in a couple of ancient English pub recipes, who am I to stop 'em? Let's try a couple that recently hit the shelves and see what we think.

DE MOLEN - "1914 PORTER" - This is made in exceptionally limited batches, and my bottle was numbered 224/672. Just like the records I used to snap up in the 80s, that sort of thing hits the same nerdtastic pleasure centers in my brain. This is a 1914 recipe from England apparantly, but I taste a ton of Belgium in this thing as well. This porter is hoppy, for starters. Some yeasts too, and a tangy aftertaste. Not roasty, not chocolate - just a chesnut-flavored Belgian porter, supposedly based on an English recipe from the olden days. From a brewer based in the Netherlands. Oh - and it's excellent, too, and very worthy of the coin you'll need to throw down to get one. 8/10.

PRETTY THINGS BEER & ALE PROJECT - "NOVEMBER 5th, 1901 KK" - Let's go all the way back to 1901 for this one. A dark, dry and yes, somewhat hoppy ale from London. Dark bittersweet cocoa and a strong malt backbone. I kept thinking how I was going to rag on this one and yet every sip transported me to a pub in the UK, sheltered from the drizzle with pint after pint of this to lift my spirits. As I am with just about everything from Massachusetts' Pretty Things, color me impressed. 7/10.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


OMG I could just die if I don’t get at least one blog post in a week here. I’m busy, but you people have a right to be entertained. So let me tell you about a beer I had last week. It’s called “MARON ACIDIFIE” and it’s one of those beers that you plunk your shekels down for now, and ask questions later. I paid too much money for it, but what are you going to do. I mean it’s THE BRUERY for godsakes, the Orange County magicians of barrel-aged beermaking, collaborating with Tampa, Florida’s CIGAR CITY, that hot upstart barrel-aging superstar of the tropics – whose brewmaster, incidentally, is named Wayne Wambles. Awesome name. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
MARON ACIDIFIE is a wonderfully rich sour ale, and is barrel-aged as you might have expected. I probably could have thrown some years on this thing before drinking it, but I’m an impulsive, impatient baby. It tastes of grapefruit and unripe plum at times, but still has a delicious sweetness that easily overcomes the puckering sourness. Low carbonation and a nice thick mouthfeel. For such a monster from two monster brewers, it’s quite approachable. On a difficulty scale, with some of the Russian River Brewing sours at the top of the chart and, I don’t know, Michelob Light at the bottom, I’d put this around a 6. As far as the Hedonist Jive scoreboard goes, let’s assign this one an out-of-this-world 9/10 and hope these guys have a long, fruitful sour beer partnership in years to come.