Redhook Winterhook #31Wednesday night, we went to a party. It was Festivus, so the children competed for the adults' affection by airing various grievances about each other throughout the night. The adults, meanwhile, competed in feats of strength by seeing how many slices of cured meats we could eat before vomiting. The answer is more than 30, at least for me. I had a few beers over the course of the night, but I only took a picture of the Redhook Winterhook #31. Redhook makes some good beers, so I trusted them when they described this one as "bold and dark." They failed to explain that it was hoppy. Fuck hidden hops. There's my grievance.
Name: Winterhook #31
Brewery: Redhook Brewery
Location: Woodinville, Washington
Good for drinking if: you find yourself raining blows upon another man and think to yourself that there has to be another way
Rating (out of 5 stars): 3.5 stars
Pipeworks Santa Vs. UnicornChristmas Eve, we went to the burbs to my mom's house, ate some food, had a few laughs, and then headed back home. After putting the kids to bed, we wrapped the shit out of some presents. For Santa, we left two chocolate chip cookies, one frosted sugar cookie, a small cup of milk, and a bomber of Pipeworks Santa Vs. Unicorn. I like Pipeworks a lot. It's a local brewery that cooks up some crazy beer concoctions, my favorite being their Hey, Careful Man, There's a Beverage Here White Russian Imperial Stout. Santa Vs. Unicorn is deemed an "American Barley Wine Style Ale," which means it's strong as hell. Unfortunately, it was a little too hoppy for my tastes, but still okay.
Name: Santa Vs. Unicorn
Brewery: Pipeworks Brewing Company
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Good for drinking if: you need something to help you come down after the rush of putting together a goddamn train set
Rating (out of 5 stars): 3.75 stars
Arcade Winter SlayerChristmas Day was a whirlwind. After opening presents at our house, we headed to my brother's house, where my family managed to get my kids more presents than they received from Santa and us. We then headed back home, where I hooked up my new Blu-ray player. You see, fair readers, my old Blu-ray player did not play Blu-ray discs. It played DVDs just fine, but not Blu-ray discs. And why would it? I have had the Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV-VI), and I have been wanting to watch them before seeing the new one. So, Daughter, Lollipop, and I sat down and watched Episode IV (their first viewing) on Christmas Day. Jesus would have been proud. That night, I kept it local again, going with a bomber of Arcade's Winter Slayer, while I watched Bad Santa. Winter Slayer is described as an "oat wine style ale," and this was what I was expecting Santa Vs. Unicorn to be. It's a good barleywine. While the IBUs are high, it didn't taste too hoppy to me. All in all, a good beer for relaxing after a day of excitement.
Name: Winter Slayer
Brewery: Arcade Brewery
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Good for drinking if: you're kind of disappointed you didn't get another remote control helicopter, even though you know you would have broken it in less than 15 minutes by ramming it into the ceiling -- again
Rating (out of 5 stars): 4 stars
Flat 12 Glazed Ham PorterOn Boxing Day, we headed to Jester's parents' in Indiana for some more present opening. But first things first: IU was playing in the Pinstripe Bowl against Duke. Before the game, I went to the local liquor store to pick up some beers. I was looking for a winter beer made by an Indiana brewery, and I found Flat 12's Glazed Ham Porter. It was really good. As you may know, I like porters, and this was delicious. It doesn't taste like ham at all. Unfortunately, the game itself ended poorly for the Hoosiers. It was exciting, no doubt. IU missed a 57-yard field goal at the end of regulation. In overtime, Duke kicked a field goal in its possession, and then IU kicked a field goal in its possession. Or at least that's what it looked like. The ball sailed over the right upright but just within it, which should mean it's good. The ref standing under the right upright apparently wasn't watching the same game as everyone else because he said it was wide right. Because the ball crossed the uprights over the uprights, it was not reviewable, and IU lost 44-41. That's pretty much a microcosm of IU's season. That said, I think the Hoosiers had a relatively good season (especially by IU football standards) and should have beaten four Top 15 teams. Hopefully, those who are returning will use all of these near misses as motivation. I expect nothing less than a Rose Bowl berth for the Hoosiers next season. It's time.
Name: Glazed Ham Porter
Brewery: Flat 12 Bierwerks
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Good for drinking if: you want to drink a beer made by an Indiana brewery, while you are in Indiana, while you are watching the State of Indiana's flagship university get absolutely fucked by a referee who can't tell the difference between a good field goal and a bad field goal
Rating (out of 5 stars): 4.5 stars
Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of ChristmasLast night, we were still in Indiana, staying at the sister-in-law's pad. Most of the afternoon and evening was spent watching football, as I was in the finals in two fantasy football leagues. I had clinched one win by the time the afternoon games were over. In the other league, I was up by about 23.5 points going into the Sunday night game, and my opponent -- one of those tall, lanky motherfuckers -- only had Vikings kicker Blair Walsh left. I thought I wouldn't have to fret, but Walsh kicked five field goals and four extra points, to get 22 fantasy points. Thankfully, he missed an extra point in the second quarter, which turned out to be the difference between my greatest fantasy football season ever and my second-greatest fantasy football season ever. While all this was going on, I was drinking beer. My winter selection was Thirsty Dog's 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale. This is a great winter beer. It's strong, and it has a lot of good winter spices, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and honey. If you consider honey a spice. I don't, asshole.
Name: 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale
Brewery: Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Location: Akron, Ohio
Good for drinking if: you'd like to personally thank Julio Jones, Brandon Cooks, Allen Robinson, Jordan Reed, and the entire Texans' defense.
Rating (out of 5 stars): 4.25 stars
Jack Daniel's Sinatra SelectA few hours ago, I got the news that Lemmy Kilmister had died after a short bout with cancer, just days after turning 70. It didn't seem right to drink a beer tonight, given Lemmy's affection for Jack and Cokes. I don't have any regular Jack on hand, but a few weeks ago at Costco, I was sucked in by the packaging of the Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select, a special version of Jack to celebrate what would have been the Chairman of the Board's 100th birthday. Based on the internet search I just did, apparently I should have bought several of these because Costco's price was significantly less than what it's going for at other places. It's fantastic, by the way. But I digress. Lemmy was true rock icon and an original. There aren't many more recognizable people in the metal world than Lemmy. After being a guitar tech for Jimi Hendrix and being a member of space rockers Hawkwind in the '70s, he formed Motörhead, which he has fronted since 1975. He played the bass like a lead guitar, his voice sounded like he smoked three packs of Reds a day (which he probably did), he laid thousands of women, he loved playing touch screen video games at the Rainbow in LA, his songs had valuable life lessons, and from everything I have seen, he was a genuinely nice and humble guy. I'm glad I got to see Motörhead live a couple years ago (where some dude raw dogged a chick in the bathroom), and I'm even more glad I dressed up as Lemmy for Halloween three years ago. It's not often that I dwell on rock and roll deaths, but this one was different. I honestly thought Lemmy was never going to die. If you haven't seen his documentary or read his autobiography, I highly recommend both. And in the meantime, have some Jack.
Name: Sinatra Select
Distillery: Jack Daniel's
Location: Lynchburg, Tennessee
Good for drinking if: dead men tell no tales.
Rating (out of 5 stars): 5 stars