Friday, June 18, 2010


in fact, i'm sipping an Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA (7% ABV, 80 IBUs) right now. lifting this glass towards oklahoma, toasting my old friend, mr. andrew botsford, who helped me cut my beer teeth on plenty of red stripe and rogue dead guy back in south kansas city. here's to the beauty of ya, sir. them were good and overdue chats tonight.

* * *

these scratches about Hop Ottin in my little pocket ledger make no sense. i'll type them out exactly as i sketched them a few nights ago:

in this bottle, the aroma is hidden. with persistence, i smell the color red. funny, because the ale pours a dark orange with heavy white lacing. there maybe an aroma of hearty homemade bread. first sip: magically balanced. loads of "hard working hops" and a backbone of stiff malts. i'm thinking of anti-pesto on bruschetta the way this ale puts the floral and citrus forward, held on a firm bed of brown-crusted malts. this beer is a flipping side item! loads of bread! almost a rye flavor due to spiky hop flavors.

i'm not sure what half that jibberish means, but, as i'm sipping it again, i agree with myself about the heavy bread balance of malty heart and hyper hoppage. reminds me of what Jesus said about building your house on the rock: that joker'll stand. and this IPA stands on a multitude of tree-trunkish legs.

prepare for slow sipping on the Hop Ottin. due to the concreteness of flavor and the high alcohol, i would not recommend Hop Ottin for gushing refreshment or backporch lounging. Hop Ottin would pair really well with a good medium rare sirloin and a baked tater. maybe with a serious game of backgammon or a Robert Rodriguez film. i'd like to take it on a roadtrip: not to sip at the end, but along the way. there's longevity in this bottle.

ps. i listened to tracks from Metallica's . . . AND JUSTICE FOR ALL while writing this review.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


yesterday morning i jogged 2.5 miles. woke up at 6:30 (on a saturday, no less), left the house at 7:20 (had to work a few things out first), and jogged over to marky-mark pepe-guzman's house. pepe keeps chickens. has a brood of them in this fancy little 5 star hen resort on the side of his house. i told pepe i'd let the chickens out of their roost in the mornings. that's why i jogged over there yesterday, to let the chickens out. they chattered their hen-pecked gratefulness in little circles around my feet.

i'm making a big deal about this jogging thing because it's the first time i've done anything of the sort in nearly 2 years. so 2.5 miles, straight out of the coop, made me feel pretty good. what did not make me feel pretty good was the 150% humidity levels at 7:50 AM. i sweated two gallons of hamsterian salt-waters before breakfast. i don't fancy mornings that feel like afternoons or sunrises that blister with the same needle-flecked boiling dusk breeze as sunset. and, Lord knows, south texas produces summers as infamously brow-melting as those in north mexico.

go figure.

so praise Christ for cold beer! and praise Christ for this blessed season of light, crisp summer ales hitting shelves just in time for my sweat-soaked post-jog breakfast!

and, as an extra praise Christ, i think i have just found this year's #1 summer beer: Widmer Brothers Sunburn Summer Brew.

there are several things i like about this beer. hazy bright orangish-yellow sunlight bends through a constant ascension of halo-lacing hallelujah bubbles. the aroma is soft and haylike, reminiscent of a german kolsch, though with a bit less grass and a bit more blonde ale citrus. the citrus forwardness of the aroma ebbs on the tongue, revealing a malty sweetness that never drags thick in the mouthfeel or the aftertaste, keeping a crisp focus on hops and a subtle off-stage, alcove present fruitness. also, a low ABV (4.3%) means that sunburn is a safe kicker-backer lawnchair ale comparable with real ale's fireman's #4 blonde ale, one of my top three favorite texas beers.

Widmer Brothers Sunburn Summer Brew is a great blonde-ish ale for all us outdoor athletes on these blazing summer days, especially when you want a wee more flavor than Pabst or Miller Lite have to offer. not to mention, finding Widmer's Sunburn was rather redeeming after the tragedy of their Deadlift Imperial IPA. let a brother know what you think.

ps. i wore homemade jorts and listened to Queens of the Stone Age while writing this review.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


here's a true indicator of a beer's worth. watch this, it's right here:

you're driving home from a long day at work. it's not been the best day, but not the worst either. you started out the morning at the dentist office, your jaw unhinged for two straight hours like a freshly fileted salmon. then class didn't go well, and probably because you weren't going well. repeatedly, for three full hours in class, you check and re-check and re-check the clock, thinking about driving home, about kicking your shoes off, about watching an ellen page film, about pouring a nice tall glass of beer. but then, suddenly, you remember what beer you have at home in your fridge, your countenance drops, so you turn around, drive to the store, and get another kind of beer.

yessir, i just lived this scenario. and the beer i drove away from this afternoon, that i chanced to repeat with something finer, was this here widmer brothers deadlift imperial ipa. honestly, to this day, i don't know if i've ever driven away from a beer. i might need to jot this event into the diary i one day hope to hand off to somebody kids, maybe mine -

June 9, 2010

Shit day. Turned the X-Terra around and drove away from shit beer. Gas costs $2.45/gallon. Community college girls wear rainboots when the sun's out and flip-flops when it rains. Whitesnake is still on the radio. Something ain't right about any of this.

before slamming this deadlift imperial ipa, i'd just like to say that widmer brothers is a great brewery. established by two beer guzzling brothers back in '84, this portland brewery produces one fine hit after another. i've even counted their broken halo ipa and their hefeweizen as two of my new favorites. also, word from sharif riad said that the widmer brothers prickly pear is so bizarre that the uniqueness alone makes it a beer to hunt and devour. widmer is one of those rare names in beer that you can fully trust to deliver big, full-bodied beers worth revisiting many times over.

until this one.

first off, the bottle says that this deadlift imperial ipa is an imperial ipa - meaning big ABV, big IBUs, big hops, big flavor, big BIG. however, the charts on this thing read 8.6% ABV and 70 IBUS. that's pretty weak for an imperial ipa. not to mention, all those low numbers show up in the flavor and the mouthfeel of the beer. this is a thin beer, barely registering on the palette as a ipa, let alone an imperial ipa. the only thing doubled in this beer is the miles i drove out of my way to find another beer to drink this afternoon.

again, if the label says widmer brothers, pick it up. take it to a friend's house. impress your corona drinking neighbors with these fine oregonian ales. but if the label reads deadlift imperial ipa, back the truck up and grab a sixer of PBR. then record your beer-ific virtues in a ledger for future generations.

(ps. i listened to Flatt & Scruggs with Doc Watson - STRICTLY INSTRUMENTAL - during the typing of this here review. get on it!)