Monday, October 3, 2011



Back in my Bay Street Daze, if you had asked me to recommend one beer, I probably would have answered,
“I don’t know. But if you’re only going to have one beer, you might as well make it six Mickey’s”.

I didn’t know Diddley about beer back then. Like every stupid male, I probably thought I did though. Truth is, I knew less about beer than Bo knew about hockey.

To be honest, if you had asked me in 1982 what the best beer was, I probably would have said something like, “Heileman’s Special Export”.

Uhp! I was an idiot! But ‘Heileman’s’ still stood half a degree higher than the Coors Light that Nappy and the other League members generally drank.

Nowadays, Nappy and I both consider ourselves to be something resembling ‘beer connoisseurs’, which is just a ten-dollar way of saying “suds snobs”. We would no sooner touch a can of Coors Light or Heileman’s Special Export as touch your Grandma Gertrude.

So when people today ask me to recommend a beer, I usually say: “I won’t say unless you pay”.

I mean, come on! I spent a lot of money over the years and suffered through a lot of bad beers to achieve my extensive knowledge of beer, and why should I pass all that “extensivisity” on to others free of charge? Isn’t it enough I would save your taste buds from the bad-beer-experimentation process without asking me to do that for nuttin’?

Alright, alright, leggo my arm! Stop twisting it! I’ll say, I’ll say!

The beer-judging template that many adhere to these days goes like this: Look / Smell / Taste / Feel / Overall. So I will keep up with the Joneses by using the same format.

Today we’ll be rating Prescott Brewing Company’s ‘PONDEROSA I.P.A.’ (psst… I.P.A. stands for India Pale Ale, which is a particular type of ale). And here’s my take on it :

Look – It spills out of the can into the glass like a drunken blonde falling out of a limousine, and it forms a large, tightly curled head with the height of a 1975 afro. It’s a deep copper color, the shade of a four-times used but still unflushed urinal. As you consume the ale, the head leaves layers of heavy lacing, reminiscent of your Grandma Gertrude’s bedroom at the trailer park.

Smell - As you begin the pouring process, your nostrils are caressed by a scent best described as a damp dog on an Autumn day, wrapped in a moist wool blanket and left for 30 hours in the closed garage. The middle section reminds me of something smelled but not heard, and toward the end of your whiff, the odor softens out into that intoxicating convalescent home aroma of old flesh and ‘Evening In Pasadena’ perfume that excites your nasal cavity.

Taste – Up front, I noticed heavy notes of Yngwie Malmsteen followed by a hint of chuckberries and Bing cherries, culminating in a trace of Charlie McCarthy woodiness. There’s an astringent undertone of lima bean and things heard but seldom seen. This ale was unmistakably brewed with a generous portion of Harvey hops which gives it that bitter pill to swallow front-end bite, but in the middle I detect the tell-tale signs of mashed potatoes and gravy leftovers. It finishes clean but sharp, like a bullwhip to bare buttocks, with a faint lingering aftertaste of “penumbras, formed by emanations from” undigested bits of corn. For an IPA, it’s a little too balanced with the burnt Sherwood Forest marijuana, but it had “a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor; heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness.” (Although “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘piquant’ is.”)

Feel – The mouthfeel has the usual 40-weight chewiness we’ve come to expect from ales of this style, but despite that, I was left with the impression that there’s no ‘there’ there. It also has a unique hair-on-the-back-of-the-throat sensation that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The carbonation was fizzy but NOT too fizzy, and NOT not fizzy enough. In other words, it had just the right amount of carbonation fizz, but it could have lasted a second or two longer in the mouth which would have improved this ale’s tongue presentation – you know, like, tongue presentation?

Overall – As I clearly said above, this is an excellent India Pale Ale! It could have been improved only by less hops/marijuana balance, a little more ‘there’ there, and an extra second or two of fizz on the tongue. This is a brew that would go great with a hamburger or just a football game. Keep some on hand for when company calls or for when you’re done beating your wife for the day.

_   _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _

I hope you enjoyed that. But here’s the problem with satire:

You can’t make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you’re doing is recording it.
~ Art Buchwald

As a writer I’ve come up against a kind of wall that is starting to exist in America, which is that . . . there’s hardly anything left to parody. Almost anything you try to do satirically comes true within a few months.
~ Cathy Crimmins

If you think those quotes are incorrect, read some of the critiques of beer you’ll find by clicking the links I’m providing below. These are REAL beer reviews, and many of them are scarcely less exaggerated than the “parody” I composed above. I was attempting to be as ridiculous as possible, and yet the pretentiousness of these “serious” suds suckers is hardly any more over-the-top than what I wrote.

Here are the links, but even if you don’t Click ‘N’ Read ‘em, please be sure to scroll down further, as I have mo’ words to pour out into the glass of this subject:






In all seriousness now, I want you to know that my brother Nappy and I both think that Prescott Brewing Company’s ‘PONDEROSA India Pale Ale’ is one of the best IPAs on the market today. Over the last 6 months we have conducted two blind taste tests, matching ‘PONDEROSA IPA’ against 6 or 7 similar high-quality microbrews, and both of us, both times - with eyes closed - picked out ‘PONDEROSA IPA’ as the winner.

Prescott Brewing Company’s ‘PONDEROSA IPA’ has a distinctive, very pronounced burst of hop bitterness, but it’s not taken to the “xtreme” as are some microbrew IPAs on the market today. In my opinion, it has a slightly too-heavy aftertaste; I would prefer that it finished more cleanly, not lingering quite so long. I have come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as “the perfect beer”, however, the ‘PONDEROSA IPA’ comes about as close to that impossible standard as any I’ve found. Buy Prescott Brewing Company’s ‘PONDEROSA IPA’ wherever good buzzes are sold!
From ‘Forgotten But Not Gone’ :
FRASIER CRANE: “Dad, tell me if you think this is too subtle for my listening audience: This delightful offering is infused with the brooding, almost dangerous, presence of . . . vanilla”.
MARTIN CRANE: “No, that’s not too subtle . . .  unless you want them to know what the hell you’re talking about”.
FRASIER: “Well, you don’t think it’s clear that I enjoyed the wine?”
MARTIN: “I don’t think it’s clear you’re talking about wine”.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


  1. This was one FUNNY blog... even though I don't know squat about beer. I've never even tasted one, though I once kissed a girl that had been drinking one. Does that count?

    Your satire is excellent, climbing along with subtlety but then dropping over into Monty Python territory with lines like: "It finishes clean but sharp, like a bullwhip to bare buttocks"

    As we've discussed, I agree that Frasier is the funniest sitcom in history. You guessed that I would agree with you about that when you first met me. And that oenology episode IS one of their great ones!


    >>...even though I don't know squat about beer.

    You mean "Diddley". You don't know Diddley about beer. But thanks, Brotherman! I'm glad ya enjoyed this.

    I think some people tend to forget that F-FFF, although first and foremost a political blog, is also a place for product reviews. And it sometimes serves both functions simultaneously, like when I'm posting a book review for, say, "The Creature From Jekyll Island" or "None Dare Call It Treason: 25 Years Later", etc.

    And, yes, "Forgotten But Not Gone" was CLASSIC FRASIER. Nappy and I quote from it often - lines like:

    "Those people don't care about ______! (fill in the blank)" / "Not like you and I do!"

    Or, "Well... there's something to be said for the parliamentary system."

    Or, "Are you gonna let your brother play?! Are you gonna let your brother play?!"

    Or, "Oh...she did things to me. Bad things.", etc.

    This great episode was loaded with quotable lines.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  3. That was some fine writing about beer. I never did get those reviews about wine or beer, much less taste what they're talking about. Not once have I ever tasted wine and thought, "I taste a hint of leather." If I did taste that I wouldn't be mentioning it as a compliment about the complexity of the taste.

    I drink beer on occasion, but believe me I'm no connisewer about it. I guess my preference would be Corona, but it's usually a matter of what's on sale or what people are offering me. If I were given the blindfold taste test I mostly couldn't tell one from the next. Maybe I need more practice.

    Tossing It Out

  4. >>...Not once have I ever tasted wine and thought, "I taste a hint of leather." If I did taste that I wouldn't be mentioning it as a compliment

    Ha! Thanks, BOIDMAN!

    And right you are! You certainly got what I was going after in this blog bit. Yeah, those sorts of reviews are SOOOOO silly – everyone’s trying to sound like a poet who knows it, and they just come off looking Crane-Brother-Pretentious.

    So, I figured I would try to do a spoof of that pretentiousness, but as I stated in the blog bit, it’s difficult to make a satire of something that is so over-the-top preposterous to begin with.

    One of the reasons I linked this to some “Deans Brothers” brews is because one of the Deans Brothers is my Brother-In-Law. And although their beers and ales are, in fact, very good, when I read reviews of them including descriptions like bready, nutty, caramel, red apple, floral, honeyed, woody, earthy, tobacco, underripe pear, orange oil, and tea-like astringency, I can only shake my head and laugh.

    I know the Deans Brothers, and I assure you it would come as a surprise to them to learn that the flavor of all those ingredients can be found in one of their brews!

    As for me . . . I can tell you which beers and ales I like and I can tell you - in plain language – why I like them, but these poetic reviews get ridiculous.

    Corona is pretty much a bad beer – essentially a Mexican version of any mass-produced, cheap, American beer. So, yeah, you’re right, in a blind taste test, it’s quite possible that you would not be able to discern the difference between Corona and, say, Miller or Coors. But you would be surprised at the difference you’d note in a blind taste test if the offerings were Corona or Miller and Ponderosa IPA, a Deans Brothers beer, or any other good microbrew. The difference would be unmistakable; you’d notice it immediately. And you would perhaps even say that you liked the Corona or Miller better, but that’s only because it’s the taste you’ve become accustomed to.

    Drink good beer for a year and you will never go back to that watered-down urine again. I guarantee it! You know me, I’m hardly the high-falutin’ type, nevertheless, I suggest: Drink good beer or none at all.

    Expensive beer and cheap women – that’s for me!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’


All submitted comments that do not transgress "Ye Olde Comment Policy" will be posted and responded to as soon as possible. Thanks for taking the time to comment.