The 2008 Fall Beer Review

Well, I guess it is that time of the year again. The weather has changed from warm and humid to cool and crisp. The sweaters are pulled from the Tupperware containers under the bed and the leaves on the trees begin to show off bright reds and oranges as a sign of their yearly demise. Kids are back at school, college football has begun and the Fall prime time shows are in full swing giving the perfect excuse to dip out of a lame date.  But most importantly, the Autumn beers are out so lets go drink some beer!!!

This is the 2nd Annual Beer Review for Veggiemacabre and I think I will continue it from now on. I have fun doing it and oddly enough it is one of the bigger Google hits on the stat counter. Tonight I am going to start with two beers that I am familiar with. Unlike last year I think I will review a few more but for my liver’s sake and your ability to understand what I am writing sake, I will start with two. So let’s begin.

So here are the first two beers of the season. On the left we have the ol’ standby Harvest Moon from the infamous Blue Moon Co. and on the right we have Broken Rake from the Pyramid Brewing Co. When I saw these at the Wal-Mart in Spokane (*shudders*) they were sitting on a pallet far removed from the open cooler. I am pretty sure these two six packs were meant for display but no matter. They went in the basket and and I tore out of there like I was stealing diapers and baby formula. I think I’ll begin with Harvest Moon. And yes, I am writing in real time.

I love Blue Moon and really, as far as “heavy” beers go, this is as heavy as I drink at a restaurant. It is a great summer time beer and the fact that an orange slice compliments it so well you just have to love it. Nothing in the world will make me more disappointed than a bartender who neglects the orange. It’s as big of a faux pas as forgetting the lime in a Dos X. We are lucky to live in such a forgiving country because a forgetful mistake anywhere else could result in cane lashings or an amputated pinky.

The Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale selection is very different than the summery Blue Moon in many ways. The body is much heavier and the taste is more along the line of an IPA. For those not familiar with an IPA it has a little bit of a bitter bite to it. (say that three times fast) Just a swig and my palate transports me to corn mazes and pumpkin patches. I think it might be the cinnamon which is really noticeable. Unlike the Blue Moon, there isn’t a fruit in mind that will compliment this so you can be free of the snide comments in public about drinking a ‘fruity’ beer. I give this a ‘B minus’ only because I have ruined my beer taste on Michelob Ultra and I have no right to even write a beer review. I speak the truth.

Damn I have some E.T. looking fingers in that picture. “Ooooooouuuuch.”

Anyway, this was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting much since I am unfamiliar to Northwestern beer companies but man, this was awesome. Broken Rake’s Amber Ale far exceeded my expectations and in comparison to the Harvest Moon, it kicked them in the balls. The amber was same in color and body to the Moon but the taste was sweeter and oddly enough lighter in body. A plus! This calls for a celebration in happy beer surprise. (insert Chinese accent there) Let’s carve something!

I tell you what, if you are in a Wal-Mart and you are buying two six packs of beer, a pound of pretzels and a whole pineapple, you are going to get looks. Whatever, I had a mission to accomplish. Originally I was going to carve a potato thanks to the suggestion of Mystie but seeing how I would be drinking and playing with knives, I needed to keep the target a little larger. So this is what I will be hacking up.

I don’t know why a pumpkin has always been the autumn tradition for carving? I have to be honest, pineapples are much easier to carve, you can eat the insides right away and above all else, it doesn’t smell like an old folks home. Yes, I have been to an old folks home that smelled like an inside of a pumpkin. Anyway, I think this will ward off evil spirits just as well and it provides a healthy amount of vitamin C while you are carving.

Awesome! Ruthless Toothless Paul the Pineapple in all his glory. Perhaps I should find this sad that it is a weekend and I am drinking alone while carving fruit. Nah, what else would I be doing? I think I have given these two beers a fair shake and I have to say that I recommend them to anyone who wants to put some buzz into the season. I guess I should put a disclaimer that states not to drink and drive or operate knives and stabbing weapons like I just did. So there you go. Next week I will be reviewing two more and these are my favorites so stay tuned. But for now I will go throw pineapple out in the woods for the wild turkeys or Bigfoot and sit in front of the fire as I finish off the rest of the Broken Rakes.

Karaoke, Beer and Bowling

I have to admit that even though I rip on the culture here in Idaho it has really increased my desire to write about some of the absurdities as if I was Crusoe keeping a journal. My phone is full of various pictures and notes that have to be seen to be believed. I actually sat next to an older couple the other night and the lady took out her teeth to smoke a cigarette. She told the bartender that she just soaked them before they came out and she wanted to keep them white. Fuck a duck! To be honest, they did look pretty white on a bevnap sitting on the bar. Had I been drinking more I probably would have put them in her ashtray when no one was looking because, well, I’m an asshole like that.

I know the picture above is blurry but this is where I was on Wednesday night. It was karaoke night at the bowling alley and more importantly it was “no smoking night” so I could give my jeans and shirts a break from having to practically burn them when I get home from the wreak of smoke. Notice that it is a David Allen Coe song? Yep, that little ditty was played no more than 30 times. And no one appreciated KISS’s “Strutter” either.

All in all there are some pretty good singers here in Idaho. HA! I can’t even type that with a straight face. The whole night sounded like a third grade trumpet recital. If I didn’t no better I would believe a gaggle of geese where circling over head confused on whether to fly south or mate on the cars in the parking lot. The real funny part is watching all the people support one another as each person butchered the song of their choice. I witnessed a few standing ovations and some “I just want to thank my Mama” speeches.

I really wished there was a Milo there.

By the way, what do you think he has in his pockets? My theory is Milo is packing dinner rolls from the “Singles Potluck/Karaoke Night”. It is plausible.

Anyway, did you know that zucchini grows larger here too? The bartender showed me her award winning zucchini and I have to tell you, i now feel a little inadequate.

Make sure you come back because this weekend I am doing my 2nd annual Fall Beer Review. It’s a great excuse to get loaded, carve something and possibly go to the emergency room. I’ll be back tomorrow. Me with 10 toes and 9 fingers.

The X-E Halloween Countdown

I am so sorry things have been so nuts here in Idaho and I haven’t really posted very much. There I go again, apologizing about something no one probably even notices. But anyway, I think most of my friends and family have become resolve to the fact I have been eaten by something by indigenous to the Idaho forests since I haven’t been able to talk on a regular basis. Soooooo, hello. I am still alive.

(I actually found this picture. No, I didn’t make this. In case you are wondering)

That being said I wanted to take a quick second to tell all my blog pals about the 6th annual Halloween Countdown at that Matt Caracappa puts on. It is very entertaining (hence the name) and he is the only one I know who can write 3,000 words about wax vampire lips and teeth and make you generally excited about it. He posts everyday from now until October 31st so please stop by and say hello. I can’t imagine the fall without it.

W.B. Yeats Don’t Know Idaho

    • O you not hear me calling, white deer with no horns?
      I have been changed to a hound with one red ear;
      I have been in the Path of Stones and the Wood of Thorns,
      For somebody hid hatred and hope and desire and fear
      Under my feet that they follow you night and day.
      A man with a hazel wand came without sound;
      He changed me suddenly; I was looking another way;
      And now my calling is but the calling of a hound;
      And Time and Birth and Change are hurrying by.
      I would that the Boar without bristles had come from the West
      And had rooted the sun and moon and stars out of the sky
      And lay in the darkness, grunting, and turning to his rest.

by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) He Mourns for the Change that has Come Upon Him…

This poem has always been near and dear to my heart and every change of direction I make in life, this piece of literary art takes center stage in my mind. It is melancholy but like most of Yeats’ work, it wouldn’t be same if it were without some sadness. I guess that is a direct symbol of change. There has to be some mourning of the past to take on and accept the future. I miss the comforts of old, the people and my family. The sun has set on that day and the cold, lonely darkness of night is here but I can faintly see the purplish hue of dawn. A new day; my future. And it will be bright and warm with endless possibilities.

But then I was driving to campus and I passed this:

Hey Yeats! Got any poems about Idaho? I didn’t think so. Dick.

Edit: One more thing. There are somethings that are too good not to be shared. Please read. I almost had an “episode” in the library.

Back from The Mountain

I know, I know…I have been a shitty poster. Actually I have an excuse and a good one at that. You see, I live on a mountain now. No really, I live on a mountain and the closest neighbor I have is over two miles away. It may take a week to get the Internet hooked up so I have to drive to the valley to use the great wide world of the web. But I don’t mind it. For the past two weeks my life has been anything but normal and I’ll fill you in on some very random shots and even more elusive explanations that will have you piecing together your own conclusions. Let’s begin shall we?

This has now become normal to me. No longer will two fifty year olds wearing purple silk pants and fishnet stockings on a motorcycle be blog worthy material. I have become completely desensitized. I don’t even know if a mime playing the bagpipes on a segway will cause me to pause anymore. Regardless I did take the picture and did so very cautiously. I make it a point in life to never get my ass kicked by a dude in purple pants.

Living in hotel rooms for weeks on end is not only very expensive but it completely sucks. If I had to audit my sleeping time in life I would bet that a year and a half has been spent in a Holiday Inn Express. So, when I came out here I made it a point to find a spot to rent as soon as possible and left it in the hands of Vista Management Co. I sent them a background form and $50 so they could process me in and find a one bedroom place as quickly as possible. Well, this is what they had. A Bavarian crack house.

You can’t quiet tell from this picture but the windows had blankets over them for makeshift drapes, people were looking out the windows checking me out as if I were a poorly undercover agent for the DEA and I swear I heard Cheech and Chong singing “Beeners” from inside one of the rooms. Oh, and built onto this complex was a tattoo and piercing parlor called The Blue Rose.

Well, to grossly understate this, I was a little disappointed in Vista, myself and Idaho. I went back to the management office and the moron lady asked what I thought as she smirked. I said in a very nice tone that if it could suck any harder it would turn inside out. I dropped the keys on her counter and walked out feeling great that I blew $50 and an hour out of my day. I think I may ask Allison’s husband Matt if he could write a nasty letter to them.

But every time it seems that life leads you down a path to no where, a random tether ball hits you in the back of the head, forcing you to look in a new direction. (Jesus Mary and Carpenter that made no sense.) What I mean is that I found some luck and was able to stay with very nice people until I found a place worthy of my snotty taste. And to my surprise they didn’t chop me up and serve me in chili. It was a win win. They even had two cute dogs,

The one on top is Teddy and below is Missy. Both are very sweet but as far as cuteness goes I have to lean towards Missy. And that is only because of her under-bite. Actually now that I think about it, Missy looks kind of like Dee Wallace in the movie The Howling. It was when she turned into a Shitzu at the end. See it?

Well, not before too long I found a place that met my needs and was reasonable in price. The only catch is that it is secluded. And what I mean by secluded is that it is up a mountain and the nearest neighbor is over two miles away. I think by mid November when the snow starts to fall these posts my start sounding like Jack Torrence and be in various shapes and stanzas. But for now it is warm and I love it. Check out the kitchen!

And here is the view from the back window:

Until I get my stuff put together that is all I can show for now. It’s out there but I think this will work. Funny thing is the city-boy in me really comes out because the other night I came home to find 5 wild turkeys walking around and the first thought that popped in my head was “I wonder if they bite”. Luckily a dear friend of mine assured me that they don’t. But I still have my eyes open.

Internet will be up soon and I’ll stop having to come down to the “valley” every time I need to post something. But for now I am hanging out next to a poster of Brandy Norwood in a major University library. She is encouraging literacy as she sports a copy of The Cat In The Hat. That’s the book I would have chosen too.

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