Beer Retard Now Pursues An Idiot’s Delight

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2011 by thebeerretard

It’s time to put The Beer Retard out of its misery. I’ll keep the site up in case I change my mind, but it’s pretty much done. You’ll still see an occasional piece from me over at Seattle Beer News, but my enthusiasm for “beer blogging” isn’t what it used to be.

I do have a new project called Idiot’s Delight, which is a showcase for my extreme OCD. The idea is to document every new beer, movie, record and book I experience in 2011. I’m having a lot of fun with it and I hope you check it out. There’s also Every Bar in Seattle, which I hope to attack with a vengeance after a long lapse at the end of 2010.

Ten Beers I’ll Be Drinking at OBF Next Week

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2010 by thebeerretard

In less than a week, I’ll be on a train to Portland for the Oregon Brewers Festival. It’ll be my third time down and I’m looking forward to it. Sure, lately I’m more likely to be drinking cans of Hamm’s in a shitty dive than sipping pints of craft beer in a swanky beer bar. But that doesn’t mean I can’t muster some beer geek enthusiasm for a festival pouring 81 beers from 81 different breweries. If that isn’t enough, there will also be a “Buzz Tent” with special beers that’ll have beer douches squealing like little girls and running across Waterfront Park to get a taste.

I’ll admit that I may walk briskly to get a few buzz beers (Ballast Point Sculpin), but I’ll mostly be sticking with the regular lineup. Of the 81, here are the ten I’m most excited to try:

Caldera Hibiscus Ginger Beer – These guys made a beer with rose petals that I loved, so it’s a good bet they’ll pull off some magic with hibiscus and ginger, too.

Rock Bottom Oud Heverlee – A Belgian-style beer with unusual ingredients like dried tulips. I wanna try this even though the description on the OBF site uses the word “umami,” which seems like the height of beer pretension.

Upright Reggae Junkie Gruit – I’ll try anything these guys do. Herbs and spices instead of hops in this one, including bitter orange peel, hyssop, lemongrass and Sichuan peppercorns.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA – I’m a sucker for single-hop beers. It’s a good way for IPA freaks to learn which hops they favor. This one features Citra hops.

Lucky Lab Summit IPA – Another single-hop beer.

Widmer Captain Shaddock IPA - We all know that hops in IPAs can taste grapefruity. This one has actual dried grapefruit peel added.

Flying Fish Exit 4 – A hoppy tripel from New Jersey that’s won a bunch of awards.

The Bruery 7 Grain Saison – Of all the beers I’ve tasted from this brewery, the saisons are the best.

Collaborator Sunstone Pilsner – Created by a Portland homebrewer, this German-style pilsner tweaked with the inspiration of farmhouse ales will be one to drink if the weather heats up.

Surly Bitter Brewer – I’ve had this from a can, but not on tap. At 4%, it should be the perfect go-to beer for sobriety management.

White Elephant Blogathon: Strange Circus

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2010 by thebeerretard

Why do I do this to myself? A few months ago, I volunteered to take part in the White Elephant Blogathon, a film blog event based on the “white elephant” gift exchange idea. For those unfamiliar with the concept–each blogger chooses a movie (often a really horrible one) and then is secretly assigned someone else’s pick to watch and review.

I signed on for this despite the fact that I haven’t written about movies for years and feel even more uncomfortable writing film reviews than beer reviews. Not sure what I was thinking, but I guess it’s not surprising. I make bad decisions.

My plan was to watch the film on Sunday afternoon, write about it that night and polish it up on Monday to meet today’s deadline. Genius that I am, I went out on Sunday afternoon for a couple beers and had way more than a couple. So here I am on Monday, tired and hungover, having to watch and review a mindfuck of a Japanese movie called Strange Circus.

I knew I was in trouble when the first thing that appears is a quote from Joris-Karl Huysmans’s Against the Grain. My lady is a fan of decadent literature and Against the Grain is her favorite book. I’ve never read it, but from what I know of it and Huysmans’s writing in general, the use of the quote reaffirmed my belief that this was gonna be a challenging watch. Maybe I should’ve had her watch the movie and review it.

One thing I will say about Strange Circus–if you put aside all the surreal imagery and ping-ponging back and forth between what’s real and what’s imagined, there’s a story isn’t that hard to follow. In the first part of the film we’re introduced to a twelve-year old girl whose home life goes beyond dysfunctional. She’s locked inside a cello case and forced to watch her parents have sex, is raped by her father and then beaten by her mother because Mom’s jealous after learning that father and daughter are screwing. This shit is pretty disturbing to watch.

Luckily, the film shifts gears and we’re introduced to a wheelchair-bound writer who’s penning the tale we’ve just seen. From this point on, the movie becomes a sort of mystery where the viewer is left to figure out the true identity of the writer and distinguish between reality and fantasy in the story of the young girl and her parents. Along the way, there’s a lot of bizarre stuff going on  (like the recurring strange circus of the title, frequent nosebleeds, a spaghetti freakout) and I’m sure a lot of it is symbolic or metaphoric or something. Maybe I’m just too intellectually lazy to figure it out, but it seemed like sometimes it may’ve just been weird for weird’s sake.

In the end,  Strange Circus kept me interested even though I’m sure I didn’t “get” everything that the director was throwing at me. It may be one of those films that’s more rewarding with repeated viewings, but I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. Evidently, it’s part of a modern resurgence of the ero-guro (erotic grotesque) movement in Japanese film. Ero-guro traces back to a literary and artistic movement in Japan in the 20s and 30s that mixes themes of sexuality and horror. I’m not sure if this genre is really my thing, but it is a welcome change from Asian horror’s overreliance on the young girl ghost theme.

Hiatus & New Project

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2010 by thebeerretard

As a drinker, my Seattle Beer Week was a raging success. Twenty-seven events attended, countless beers downed and a lot of time with friends. As a writer, though, I failed miserably. All I could manage was one lousy post.

Obviously, I’ve lost my fire to write here, but I’ve got a new project. Inspired by the San Francisco Bar Experiment, I’ve made it my goal to drink at every bar in Seattle. Whether I’ll actually live long enough to accomplish it is up for debate, but I’m definitely excited and commited to the project. Meanwhile, the Beer Retard is going on hiatus.

I still plan on doing some kind of wrap up of Seattle Beer Week here and I’ll most likely have the occasional piece on Seattle Beer News, but for now I hope you’ll check out Every Bar in Seattle. And if you live in Seattle, maybe you’ll help me in my quest.

Seattle Beer Week: Day 1

Posted in Uncategorized on May 17, 2010 by thebeerretard

This isn’t gonzo. It’s not even very entertaining or informative. But I’ve fallen behind and need to get something up here.

  • My Seattle Beer Week got off to a rocky start. I found myself intestinally-challenged and arrived almost 90 minutes late to the Opening Night Kickoff at Hale’s.
  • Beer highlight of the day was the delicious DAB Dortmunder (I had several) at Prost at the end of the day. I also had beers at Hale’s (SBW Double IPA), Shultzy’s (Snoqualmie Kolsch), Naked City (Fleur d’Elise Saison) and more beers on the Hale’s bus.  And then there was that citrus/spice infused whiskey at Prost. Probably didn’t need that.
  • Armed with an archaic recording device, I captured sound bites from the evening. The highlight: “I wanna grease that guy up and see what he’s made of.”  There were also Michael Jackson (The King of Pop not the Beer Hunter) jokes and a brief interview with a vagabond knife sharpener outside Shultzy’s.
  • In the picture above, two Seattle Beer Collective members declare Link the official dog of Seattle Beer Week. This happened at the end of the night at Prost, so I’m not sure how official it really was.

Flying Under the Radar at Seattle Beer Week

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 by thebeerretard
Anyone interested in Seattle Beer Week knows about the big events: Sour Fest, Back in Black Stout Fest, the big beer dinners and the opening and closing night celebrations. Even though I plan to go to some of those, I’m just as excited about a lot of the smaller events. Here’s a list of events (one per day) flying under the radar that are well worth your time:
5/13: I’ll be hitting all three stops of the big Kickoff bash, but if you don’t like crowds and drunken revelry you may want to check out Seattle’s Newest Brewers Nite at the Park Pub. Good stuff from Fremont and Odin will be on tap.

5/14: The Ave Rat Malt Liquor Release and Back in Black Stout Fest are musts, but I’m also looking forward to the Heavy Metal Beer Bash at Galway Arms. I’ll be really surprised if I see any beer douches at that event.

5/15: Way too many things to choose from on Saturday. I think I’ll be starting my day at Naked City’s Over The Mountains We Go, a showcase for Eastern Washington beers that we rarely get the chance to drink here.

5/16: Sunday’s another day of too many choices. One thing I plan on making it to is Allagash Night With Rob Tod at The Whiskey Bar. Rob is one of the nicest guys in the industry and he makes great beer. It’s also a chance to visit The Whiskey, which is underappreciated by Seattle beer geeks.

5/17: This one isn’t under the radar at all, but how can I not go to the Old Wooly Vertical at Big Time? I did a similarly-themed Old Sol vertical here last year and it was one of the highlights of the week.

5/18: Portland has a bunch of good breweries and Upright is up there with the best of them. The Dray will be hosting Upright for a night of limited edition draft selections.

5/19: Firkin-Firkin at Elysian is the draw of the day, but you can’t miss the IPA-A-Palooza & Frito Pie Cook Off at Duck Island. Bonus: Baker and Younts from the Seattle Beer Collective will be judging the Frito Pie contest.

5/20: Today is all about Sour Fest, but if you want to drink some good stuff and deal with a much more manageable crowd, I’d suggest the Cask Festival at Latona Pub.

5/21: Somehow I let Geoff Kaiser of Seattle Beer News talk me into playing in the Brewers 9 Ball Tournament at the Tap House Grill. I can shoot some pool, but haven’t played much 9 ball lately. I hope I don’t make an ass of myself.

5/22: I’m not sure I’ll have anything left in the tank by Day 10, but I think I’ll be able to drag my carcass over to Big Time’s IPA Fest and down a few pints. Over the years, Big Time has made some of the best IPAs in town and they’re gonna have a mess of ‘em on tap at once.

Seattle Beer Week Is Upon Us

Posted in Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 by thebeerretard

With only a few days until the start of Seattle Beer Week, it’s time for me to come out of blogging hibernation. Last year, the Seattle Beer Collective put together a pretty impressive inaugural SBW with only a few months of lead time. This year, they’ve gone balls-out to orchestrate a ridiculous 10 days of local beer celebration. To honor their work, I’ve decided to tackle this year’s SBW Gonzo-style.

While I don’t have it in me to channel Hunter S. Thompson by taking tons of drugs and reporting via stream-of-consciousness, I am pledging to attack the festival, attending as many events as possible (hopefully more than anyone, besides the four organizers) and documenting my experiences with no punches pulled. If I drink a lousy beer, want to punch an annoying beer douche or engage in dangerous acts of public urination, you’ll read about it in my daily reports.

For the next three days, I’ll be lying low–getting eight hours of sleep, eating well and taking my vitamins. I’ll also make sure to have two or three beers a day to keep my tolerance up. Some say that I should forego beer until the festivities begin on Thursday, but I strongly disagree. Abstinence before a period of bingeing is a fool’s errand.

See everyone at Hale’s on Thursday….

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