Category Archives: Beer

Note that this category will address the consumption and review of beers from around the galaxy, both delicious and rotten.

We live as we dream

Where were YOU when manboyinthepromised died?

Were you atop a mountain, alone and stripped, naked to the elements and shaking a fist at the sky?

Were you laying in bed, awake in the dark with open eyes, staring, thinking of things that should have been?

Or were you somewhere in east Texas atop an 80’s superbike, screaming down one of those flat Texas roads that seem to go on forever, with a backpack full of chicken and a case of tallboys riding bitch..?

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…there was fried chicken and beer EVERYWHERE!

DeVeiled: 5.2% “Sharp Cats wear cool hats” Fantastic bottle art reminiscent of Posada’s Mexican skeletons and dreams are dreampt of ol’ Mexico way, guey, and the day of the dead. Spill a lil’, but not too much, for even the dead deserve a day, although they can’t drink. For the time being however, we’re still alive and DeVeiled is a sumptuous treat. Nothing amazing or astounding but a hearty, tasty brew that does not, cannot, disappoint. Reliable. Trustworthy. I expected more though.

Heart of Darkness: 5.7% Dark, smoky. Dangerous? This is a really good brew. Perfect accompaniment for carving up a pumpkin, or a country bumpkin. A smoky, woodsy flavour reminiscent of burnt leaves and the tastes of autumn. Very enjoyable, hearty brew. Great bottle art. Heart of Darkness wasn’t included in the Halloween variety pack and one must question that decision. It’s very Halloweeny.

Seance: 4.4% Saison ale. Whatever that means. “It’s not drivel to be civil” says the cap. A heady pour yields a dark, colorful brew. Tasty. A nutty, woodsy flavour again though without the bite of Heart of Darkness. That’s OK though, because Seance is still a delight. A good brew to put in your camel back while leaf peeping on a superbike. Suckle responsibly.

H.I.P.A. 6.7% I feel like we’ve done this one before and I must admit, a strange addition to the Halloween superpack when Heart of Darkness was a much more apt choice. Upon first pour, the brew is definitely an IPA and yields a grassy, fresh scent. Taste confirms that it is indeed an IPA. Not bad, not great, nothing that might tempt the hands of fate. ABV is high but it does not detract from the taste. Grassy. I’d like to Magic Hat do a bison grass brew.

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It’s gonna be a Brooklyn summer!

Happy Easter y’all

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It’s been a while and I’m sorry about that. Cousin Tommy said I left everyone hanging and indeed, it’s true. One minute we’re in Patagonia and the next…well we’re back in old New York sleeping in our childhood bed, parents yelling from beneath the stairs.

It’s all a bit too much and sometimes the mind drifts. One easter ago Quito was our home, a whole hemisphere away. Good times they were but that was then…

Right now we’re social working it up in ol’ Brooklyntown and assisting the people of Flatbush and Coney Island in reaching their goals, commuting on the century-old LIRR to our quaint lil’ office in Manhattan to type our notes, and getting up close and personal with the big apple.

“It’s gonna be a Brooklyn summer!!” said the hipster to the fly, gliding past in skin-tight jeans and little boots, talking loudly on an iPhone and droning on about all the different types of craft brews he’d be offering at his bday party.

Look, everyone knows that hipsters are garbage and that they’ll do anything to be cool, but this is the kind of shit that would bring out the inner bully in anyone.

Ah but let us not forget that you are a light, that you are a sun. Drift within. This is your body. Did you get lost on the trip? Did you get trapped in memory? Did you forget? What did you do? Virtual mindgame…trivial paranoia… You had to make it a bad trip. Don’t see the light…Do not see right…

In this mirror of confession, what do you see? Your personality… all your goals and your fears? Your ambitions? The chess game of your life; got to check that, you can’t take it on the trip. All those animal impulses that you hide, and keep down below, all this baggage must be checked. You can’t take that on the billion year voyage.

Are you ready?

Then take this chalice, the elixir of life.

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Damn son, thank the Gods for Magic Hat and all the hipster nerd beer bullies who sling the Magic Hate at our most favorite brews. More for us to doff and the much maligned Saint Saltan is a veritable treat. The beer police might have you believe that every exceptional brew has to be the equivalent of a fucking carbonated wine with an 8+% alcohol content but this is not the case and a case of Magical Hat Spring Fever offered up this tasty beauty, weighing in at a svelte 4.6% abv. The Manboy motto, more or less, is that a great beer should taste like drinking a glass of delicious bread. Brewed with coriander and sea salt, Saltan is brewed in the “Gose” style (whatever that means) but reads like a pilsner and is indeed delicious. It’s one of the best beers I’ve ever had. An adorable label adds to the charm and Saint Saltan is more God than saint. Bien impresionante…straw colored..remembrances dreampt of Cerveza Austral and the Patagonian hinterlands. In Hat we trust. 

Included along with the saint are a couple of other decent offerings from the Magical Hat spring collection:

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Pistil: Pistil dandelion ale at 4.5%. Label states that such is brewed with dandelion. Indeed, it is possible but taste it me nots. Regardless, it is a tasty enough brew and does not dissapoint. Epa Epa! Wey IPAish. Nothing to write home about but it is Magic Hat man and we do love this shit. 

P1060144Ticket to Rye: 7.1% All access tour ticket to Rye. Part of MH’s “Tour of IPA’s” ticket is a darkish brew with an alcoholic bite. An outstanding ale. The taste is strong, powerful even. A powerful brew. Goes well with green corduroy pants on St. Patricks day, but don’t spill it on them. Be careful!

Just remember that the light that glows so bright glows half the night and stay tuned fans for more entertainment! Soon to come are tales of new bikes and dark nights! 

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The Daily Penguin

Beer in bed

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P1050876Some things change and some things stay the same. Bathing nude in glacial melt and supping seal meat aside, a year and a half on the road and we always seem to end up in the same place: drinking beer in bed and patiently awaiting the end of days. It’s all just a week away they say and we all still can’t just chill out; a pilfered copy of the daily penguin brings tales of woe, brutal muggins and tearful beatings. A world gone mad.

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The final hour.

What will it bring? What does it all mean?

Does it matter?

We’ve breached Chile now, and again, and are chilling out in Punta Arenas. Not a bad place to spend some time, whittle away a few kopeks and cut some whale teeth. There’s something of a craft beer revolution going on here and not since Quebec have we seen such a menagerie of different and delightful brews lining the shelves in the local supermercado. The local brews have got something going on indeed and Cerveza Austral presents with a quartet of impressive entries.

P1050955Cerveza Austral: Zounds, this may be the best Latino brew yet! A true surprise! Costing no more than a dusty Quilmes, Chile’s Cerveza Austral is a steal. A wheaty, meady taste that’s hearty indeed. Why, you could have one for dinner. The best of the lot so far of all of continental South America, it’s a shame we had to wait this long. Like drinking a glass of delicious bread. 

P1060051Cerveza Austral Calafate Ale: Legend has it that any manchild who ingests the prized calafate berry will return to the land of their dreams: Patagonia. Can the same be said for cerveza Austral’s Calafate brew? We’ll just have to wait and see but maybe this is the stuff of legend indeed. A delicious brew at the end of the world? Sure, why not and Calafate Ale delivers. Delicious and delightful, notes of the calafate berry are felt, and blueberry-like is this particular brew. Fantastic. Que rico. Damela. Puta. Ahora.

P1050960Cerveza Austral Dark: Not bad, not bad at all. A dark brew indeed it is, but nothing too impressive. Another round for reppin’ the windblown Patagonian tree, knarled and shaped by the relentless winds which sweep and below across the continent. 

P1060033Cerveza Austral Pale Ale: Not disappointing. Pale aley, nothing more. Not as hoppy as one might imagine. Nonetheless, it’s a real Pale Ale and at the end of the earth no less. To the Austral brewery and it’s delicious brews, and to the end of the world. And to the end…

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P1060043King Crab empanadas abound in Chilean Patagonia

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Maradona Be Praised

Look at that. We might as well be parked on a side street in Manhattan. But it’s not Manhattan because it’s Buenos Aires.

 

Quilmes Stout: An unimpressive dark brew from Argentina’s own Quilmes mas production franchise but one must never forget the set, and setting. We’ve made Buenos Aires, conquered a couple of continents, and come a long way. We’ll remember this one most for the Asian shopkeep who sold it to us and tried to take us for a couple of kopeks, barking at us like we were a dog after questioning the price. We remember the words of Lars. Are all Argentines like this? Every Latino down to the last? In the end it matters not as the manchild turned manking simply exits cooly with bottle in check. She’ll never know, few do. WWMD?

Scenes from an Argentinian Spring: Coming from the brutality of the Bolivian Altiplano, it should be noted that the first day spent in Argentina was the first day spent at an altitude of less than 11,000 feet in 6 weeks. The dichotomy between night and day was smaller, less pronounced, and one that we were familiar with. All scenes remind a body of the fatherlands, the Promised Lands of the American West. It’s all desert along Ruta 40 in the Argentinian West, cool and dry in the springtime with lots of cactus and scrub and striking scenes of desert beauty. Red and brown are the colors of nature’s choice and the nicely paved Ruta 40 takes one south, all the way south if you desire, without need for maps. Best to leave it for later as we’ve got business to attend to at the Bonbonera. IMWT. And we trust no one, never.

Can you blow me where the pampas is?

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¡Vamos a tomar un poca de chicha! ¡Ahora!

Vamos Vamos…

Live update from the Sacred Valley…

Ah, you know anything that comes out of a mud jug with an Incan woman sitting next to it has got to be quality stuff.

Supposedly ubiquitous throughout Andean Peru, the Chicha house is designated by a red flag, or t-shirt or rag or whatever, hanging from a pole outside of someones house. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled but this is the first one I’ve seen during nearly 3 months in Peru. Chicha is a fermented corn drink, made from crushed and boiled maize and left to ferment in clay pots until it reaches an ABV of about 3%.

And the verdict?

Si, esta bien. ¡Dame mi chicha, puta! ¡Dame la, ahora! Pero, recuerda que es mucho mejor para tomar en las sombras de los sitios antiguos de las Incas, esperando por el fin del todo tiempo.

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Easter Island

…great waves crashed and hammered all around them, but the little raft rode the crests and dipped the troughs with aplomb and its own sort of wit, rollicking about like a cork out on the open sea. All one could do was laugh at seeing the little craft coast into the open harbor at Hanga Roa, composed entirely as it was of logs culled from the Peruvian balsa jungles and strapped together with homemade twine, a 1975 Honda motorbike lashed in the center with its captain on top, swearing loudly and doffing some unknown substance from a ceramic Moche penis mug, which next he held aloft and then brought down thunderously upon the rocks below, smashing it to bits and declaring yet another victory and another land for the great American road trip. 

Easter Island.

Rapa Nui.

Isla de Pascua.

…and we shoulder on, discerning the secrets of the ages as the Great American Road Trip leads us out into the Pacific. The most isolated place in the world is more accessible than one might imagine, and thrice weekly flights from Lima will deposit a body on the rocky volcanic shores of a mysterious land once thought only to be spied from dreams.

Claim to Fame: Giant stone heads dot the land. Large and always in-charge the heads, dubbed Maoi, are thought to embody the souls of departed chieftans and what-nots, though no one really knows for sure. Placed atop ceremonial platforms called Ahu, many of the giants can be found sporting delightful red hats or topknots, themselves weighing many tons and carved out of volcanic stone.

15 Maoi stare out and watch the moonset over the Rano Raku head quarry as dawn emerges. Many Maoi lie fallen, as legend tells of a brutal civil war between the long ears and short ears which brought about an end to the head cult.

Candid shot of Ranu Raku crater, the quarry in which the Maoi were milled.

The landscape is visually stunning, indeed even haunting in places as the ocean stretches to infinity, a constant reminder that this is the only speck of land for thousands of miles in a vast blue wilderness.

A little museum on the island yields some real gems. What the hell is that first statue supposed to be? It’s a female Maoi indeed, but with an oddly shaped head. The above pic shows another strange head, discovered inside of an ahu and likely never to be found save for the fact that a tsunami blew the ahu it was hiding in apart in the 1960s. The ancients may still have a few tricks up their sleeves, eh?

It should be noted that Easter Island is a pretty modern place, with a definite bend towards tourism, which pretty much makes up their entire economy. As such, though small, it approaches first world status and is literally a world apart from the rest of Latin America(technically it is part of Chile). Hot water showers and drinkable tap water rule the roost and the island even plays host to a microbrewery.
Mahina Pia Rapa Nui Pale-Ale: Magic Hat-esque. What a weird surprise, though nothing should surprise anymore. Internet connections and an artesinal brewery on God’s loneliest outpost. What surprises most is that the beer is actually good, delicious even and the best beer I’ve had in Latin America. Mellow fruity undertones at the end of the world make a body forget its painful swollen leg recently crushed beneath a top-heavy dirtbike on a visit to the topknot hat factory. Unfiltered and unfettered, Pia Rapa Nui would be at home in any Magic Hat summer series. Although one point of contention is that the bottle art is pretty shitty and uninspired. Cmon, slap a better picture of a Maoi or something on this thing. Eh, it’s all good bro.
Mahina Porter:Dark, black…scary! Yo tengo miedo! Ha, a delight en serio. No es bien impressionante…but passable. The Pale Ale reigns supreme as a gift from the Gods!

Orongo crater and the seat of the Birdman cult. Sometime after the end of the Maoi era, Easter Island played host to the Birdman cult, which was still in full swing up until the dawn of the 20th century. Participants would race down the outside of the Ranu Kau crater into the sea and swim through shark infested waters to garner a sooty tern egg from a sacred islet a mile off shore. First to make it back up with an intact egg would become the Birdman for that year and rule all of the land.

Ahu Vinapu and its master stonework have led some to question a possible American influence on ol’ Rapa Nui somewhere in the mists of time and prehistory. Indeed, while not as megalithic as their Cuzco brethren, there is no mistaking the similarity in style between the facing blocks at Vinapu and stonework of the Incas.

I’ll always be a wordboy, better than a birdboy. 

-The year of our Lord 2012. 

Tales From the Cockpit

Cuzqueña Dark: First impressions are always deceiving. Maybe it was the death roads that got me to this special place, or maybe it’s part of the bundle of emotions that come with finally making Peru, or maybe Cusqueña is just a decent beer. Tasty, en serio. Not bad at all. A dark brew that conjures up memories of a Bohemia Oscura sipped so many moons ago on a beach down old Mazunte way. Not too syrupy, not too sweet, but just right. Although, wouldn’t want to push it and have more than a bottle or ten. Best sipped tentside behind a gas station in Peru as a celebration of conquering death roads.

Culled from the journals of one Ryder P. Strongstrom, some time ago, upon entering Peru. Indeed, border crossing days are most always a stressful affair, even on the days when they aren’t, and one can always expect to be found rounding out the day with an ice cold beer, or tipple of some sort. But that’s neither here nor there and we’ll get to it soon, in due time. But now, let it be known, that after a year on the road facing life’s great challenges on a vintage Honda twin, we’ve finally made it to Lima. And here we are, kicking back in a hostal of sorts and doffing a pint of Pilsen Polar out of a thousand year old penis-mug lifted from the Museo Larco’s erotic ceramics gallery.

And after 9 months in Latin America, I was finally able to horn in on a cockfight and truth be told, no great Latin American adventure would be complete without witnessing one. My first ever. They’re against the law in the states, although illegal immigrants are constantly getting busted for running illicit cockfights out in the sticks. And yet, one wonders if it is worth all the hassle for 30 seconds of glory.

Would you sacrifice your cock on the altar of despair?

Really, that’s it. 30 seconds is about all these things last. One rooster just kills the other one, almost immediately, as soon as the first kicks are landed with the help of a 2 inch long razor sharp blade that’s tied to its leg. A lot of folks dismiss the gallant pastime of sportcocking as a cruel and unusual affair that is both barborous and mean to animals. That’s fine, but I never really had any feelings one way or the other going into this thing and I don’t really have any now. The roosters don’t care, or even have any idea of what’s going on. And they die really quick. But is it better to die destined for the dinner plate or to slug it out in the ring for fortune and glory. Is one end more dignified that the other? Either way, they’re just being used by people for their own selfish means.

…but it’s not like chickens are very dignified animals anyway.

Uh, we report YOU decide.

Cockmanager in the process of strapping knife to the leg of the rooster as proud owner holds on and eyes up the camera. Minutes earlier the owner had come to the ring in a silk cape with the rooster hidden beneath, revealing both in a flashy display of showmanship.

Tres Cruces: Look, don’t ever get your hopes up in Peru. Coming in a fancy bottle and costing a few more Nuevo Soles than what the other beers on the shelf cost, it was assumed that this little sparkling number would yield something above average, something pleasurable. Again, our hopes were never really high, because we’re in Peru. “Cerveza Premium” dice la botella. Meh, methinks Cerveza General is a more apt description. Tastes like every other bottle on the shelf, yet with a whiff of pretentiousness.

One day in Lima makes a hard-man humble.

Horror stories abound but look, we’re not in Tegucigalpa.

Lima is turning out, at least on first glance, to be a refreshing break from the in-your-face awesome brutality of the rest of Peru. Somewhat laid-back, surprisingly clean, witty and urbane. Even the widely bemoaned ‘garua’ mists that blanket the Peruvian coast this time of year and cast a gray pallour over all are a welcome respite from the awful hot-cold cycles of the highlands. Cool and comfortable, it’s easy livin’ here in Lima. There’s even a Starbucks and a Dunkin’ Donuts.

And there’s EVEN a museum with an entire wing devoted to centuries old erotic ceramics.

Chucha grande!

Under the blanket, ftw.


Lots of unattractive people and everyone’s wearing a helmet.

Aia Paec and a woman:

“Another less common portrayal of the god in the act of love takes place, not in an arbor as in previous vessels, but in an open field. There is a small dwelling with a cripple on the roof in a watchful pose. His lips, nose, and feet have been amputated and he carries a warrior’s club in his hand. Sitting in front of the house at the door is another cripple. The god has lifted himself up while in the middle of ceremonial intercourse and with his raised left hand is making a gesture that can be interpreted as threatening or as administering justice. A bush sprouts from the woman’s genitals. Its branches are laden with oval fruits with central lines, thus closely resembling female genitalia. In the branches some monkeys are picking the fruit of the bush, which has been fertilized by the god himself, and collecting it in bags. Opposite Aia Paec is a stirrup-spout bottle. There is also a box that seems to be intended for the fruit of the symbolic plant; it looks like a two-headed serpent with ears. The box is repeated three times in the scene. Two men and a woman are proceeding towards the god, one behind the other. The first is a carrying a little dish and a bag is hanging from his neck. The second is also carrying a receptacle, but instead of the bag he has a human head hanging from his neck, or a bag representing a human head. The third person is the woman and she too has a small receptacle. On her shoulders she is carrying a child and she is followed by a laden llama. All three have their arms raised as if they were presenting offerings or making an invocation.”

Go ahead and read into the symbolism all you want but the Moche were into some heavy shit. What stands out is the gent with the severed feet, nose, and lips. Pure barberism baby and this theme would be repeated over and over again.

Spectacularly cruel form of punishment depicted on water bottle(?) which depicts prisoner tied up and left to have the ravens pluck his desiccated eyeballs out.

Similar scene to the one above but this time the bird is ripping off the guy’s dick (wtf?).

Also on display were some trepanned Incan skulls. The procedure carried out on the skull to the left likely caused death, as no healing is evident around the hole. But the one on the right…well that guy lived many moons thereafter and one is almost certain that a productive wonderful life it was.

Lima Bonus Track: Just down the street from the hostal is an ancient pyramid that’s over a thousand years old. Weird, because it’s right in the middle of the city and it’s surrounded by modern, concrete dwellings. Lima used to be full of these things and some, like this one, even survive but most have been built over or destroyed. For many years, this one used to play host to a shanty-town, although now it’s all legit and a team of archaeologists are working to restore this little gem to its former glory. Interesting to note that several mummies have been unearthed here, with the last three interred in supine positions, Egytptian style, which is not the norm at all for South American mummies. They’re, the mummies, also big. Much bigger than most mummies of the time, which leads one to suspect that they’re Spaniards…or something else entirely. A delightful surprise was that one of the mummies was on-site, and that I was able to jack a glance. Impressive indeed, and one waits with rapt attention for the big reveal.

Pilsen Polar: This would be like if Budweiser came out with a dark beer, but it seems even more puzzling here whilst sipping on a dark brew in Peru of all places. Latin America is the land of the straw colored pilsner and it’s nearly always a treat to try something out of the box. Pilsen Polar is alright I guess. It’s not good. Well, per se, but it’s not terribly bad either. There’s a cute picture of a polar bear on the bottle. Get out, in Peru!? Si. Tastes exactly how you might imagine a Budweiser Dark to taste, if it even existed. Which would be not good and not bad. I think at this point it’s safe to say that I’ve given up hope on finding a delicious brew here in South America, and the fear creeps in that even upon a trimphant return to the states my beloved Magic Hat will taste to me like a Tecate. Is there no hope but to become a trago addict, to wonder the backstreets of Lima shoeless and alone with a penis shaped goblet of trago in one hand…and a loaded revolver in the other?