Tag Archives: polish

A Rebel Yell of Good Times Forgotten Past

“Stepping out into the morning dew Pipe Adams and Brady Taylor Thomas may have well been stepping onto the sands of some distant moon.

A gypsy approached as they made their way through the station and out into the soot. Clutching in its knurled digits some trinkets, which it offered for sale, it barked something neither could interpret as they brushed past; they held their packs ever closer.


“Cappuccino’s, gentlemen?”

Our boys strained bloodshot eyes to see the Kamhoz hostelier Xavier plying them again with sudsy caffeinated tipples.

“Good mourning Budapest,” thought Brady softly into his pillow. He strained his mind’s eye for a return salutation but none came. For this is a city with neither greetings nor salutations. It merely is and exists independently from all other places on earth.

“Good morning Brady,” whispered Xavier.

 


Hurtling through the European countryside and on towards Prague our heroes reposed, filled with a certain indescribable uneasiness having just been witness to the theater of the macabre. Wiping the grime from his can of Hungarian beer, Brady filled Pipe’s small plastic cup. Finishing it all in one gulp Pipe continuously bit the cup, marring its lip with uneven striations.

Brady eyed the anxiety riddled goblet without pity.

“I wonder how Marlo fares in the tropics?” queefed Pipe, lazily.

Brady opened his mouth to say something but words failed him. He took a sip of beer. Looking out the window into the Hungarian hinterlands he wondered not about Marlo…”


A recent foray into the refrigerated section of a local fancy organic supermarket yielded the author a bottle of Rebel, a Czechoslovakian brew. A tour of Eastern Europe in years past with compatriot Bradriot yielded unfavorable reviews of any and all Czech beers. With Marlo continuously reminiscing about his times spent studying in Prague and its remembrance dreamt of delicious Czech brews, it was decided to give this lowly Czech brew another run at the taste gamut. Of course, as it should with the sampling of any Eastern European delicacy, memories of a great hurrah resurfaced, and your author slumpt into his chair, sipping beer and dreaming of good times forgotten past.

Rebel (Czech Beer): alcohol content unknoweth. Syrupy in an average way. Know that it will lead to hangover if not consumed in moderation. Forgetful.

The Blue Sabino:
1 Part Absinthium
3 Parts Blue Malina
Drunk with the crook of one arm covering one’s face as if shielding one’s eyes from the privates of a young gypsy boy.

Confessions of a Pedalphile: Lonely Boy Digest Vol 2: Brooklyn Banyas and Beyond part 2: To steam perchance to dream…

If one pedals hard and fast enough they may in fact reach the land of the Banyas, but if, and only if, they are true and light of heart. Fortunately for you, Ryder Strong is made up of all of these things and more! Beets and teats and soccer cleats!

Sloughing off from Floyd Bennet field, the lonely pedalphile will soon reach Brooklyn’s Coney Island. He need only follow the Belt Parkway bicycle path. Pedal here and you have reached the land of Banyas. Reward yourself with a bagel(for the jewish influence here is strong and the bagels delish) to replenish your calories and prepare yourself for a grueling sweat. Once you reach the general vicinity of Coney Island, you have 3 public banyas within your grasp. There is:

Now, keep in mind that the Banya business can be weird and rough, strange and terrible, and the aforementioned banyas are apt to go out of business, change ownership, move, etc. so that by the time you read this, those weblinks may not necessarily work. A good guide to current Russian Baths can be found here. It has served me well over the years, but it too may vanish at some point. Of course, there is always the promisedland: know that the manboy will do his best to always provide the seeker of steam with the most up to date sweat-related info at all times.

Fair enough.

On we pedal, through the borough of Brooklyn, to 1200 Gravesend Rd. and to the Russian Baths of Neck Road! Nestled betwixt 12th and 13th Streets the baths may at first be hard to spot, as they are tucked away behind an apartment complex and playground, and set back from the road. Find them and venture forth! Do not be afraid, for the staff are extraordinarily welcoming and friendly to the solo wayward adventurer and speak perfect English.

Keep in mind that Ryder Strong has his own personal sauna (he built it in his parents’ backyard) and knows what a good steam is, but he still likes to keep abreast of the general state of steam. Of course, it had been a while since he had been to a real Russian banya, so don’t hold it against him that he forgot the entry procedure. It follows thusly: Introduce yourself, stating that you want to partake of the steam. The proprietor will then hand you a plastic baggie, into which you put your wallet and then hand back to him. He locks it up behind the desk and then gives you a key. This key is the key to your locker in the locker room and is to be worn about your wrist. It has a number stamped on it, which functions like a bar tab. If you want a juice, a beer, or a dish of dumplings you simply flash your number and pay at the end. The Russian Baths of Neck Road cost $30 for the day.

As mentioned previously, Ryder Strong, Pipe Adams, and the Manboy know steam. They are the voice of steam for their generation. They know their shit. They have detailed files.

And if one truly knows steam, they know that the majority of banyas, saunas, Turkish steam rooms, etc. are mislabeled and misidentified. You can’t trust anyones description or label, save mine, and you never know what you are going to get when you enter a banya, spa, steam room, or whatever name your place of steam goes by.

That’s fine and you expect it by now. However, what you are looking for is the general quality of the steam, no matter the conveyance. This shit just doesn’t exist anyone like it once did and you take what you can get. When talking banyas, at least in New York, what you will generally encounter are variants of the banya, Finish sauna, and “Turkish” steam room. The banya, or Russian sauna, traditionally consists of a LARGE stove within the bathing area. The stove is heated and water is thrown into it, where there are rocks inside. Once the water strikes the rocks, steam is produced. The Russian banya tends to produce steam of a fine mist like quality. It is an excellent and well thought out way to steam bathe. Out of all the aforementioned steam bathing variants (Finish sauna, Turkish steam room, banya, etc.) the banya, being a thoroughly Russian tradition, will usually bear the most accuracy to its namesake. The Finish sauna, although it has its own variants, generally consists of a small stove within the bathing area. The rocks are external to the stove and water is ladled onto them to produce an invisible vapor-like steam. The majority of spas, banyas, what-have-yous consider the Finish sauna to be a dry heat bath and this is a misnomer. A real Finish sauna will ALWAYS use steam to accentuate the bathing process. The Turkish steam room is an enigma unto itself and they truly do not exist in the states. You will find them in Turkey I hear, but I imagine they are a dying breed. Generally, what is passed off as a Turkish steam here room will consist of a tiled room pumped full of cool, cloudy, vaporous scent infused steam. They are usually weak at best, but can provide some satisfaction should the mood for such a steam strike you right.

The Russian Baths at Neck Road consist of 2 thoroughly Russian banyas, a “Turkish” steam room, and a large swimming pool. The baths are laid out around the swimming pool. The space is generally tight, but an agile hooligan should have no problem getting around. And lest I forget, sorry ladies, there is a fantastic mens-only banya just off the locker room. It is LARGE, and in charge. I would describe its steam quality as superb. And, being that it is quite large, and limited to men only, it is thoroughly uncrowded and quiet. Perfect! It might well be worth a visit to the Russian Baths of Neck Road to check this one out.

Moving on, we encounter our first Banya, located just beyond the deep end of the swimming pool. It is HOT. An observant hooligan noted its temperature to hover between 230 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Doting attendants bounce in and out to splash water on the rocks. Excellent! A powerful steam indeed.

Nextly, we find the second banya between the previously mentioned HOT banya and the steam room. This one is for byrds, boys. The heat is medium. While there was a ladle and bucket of water on the bench, one gets the impression that this is considered to be the “dry” banya, as no attendants came in to spash water on the rocks. Fair enough. A good transition from the HOT banya to the steam room.

Ah, the steam room. Not bad, I would say, as far as steam rooms go. Thick clouds of deliciously eucalyptic and odorous steam obscure one’s vision and clear the sinuses. This Russian Bath’s steam room is better than most, as the steam is hotter here, than most. Be careful not slip however. You have been warned.

Past the steam room, there is a nice indoor lounge where hooligans can watch soccer on quality television sets and take naps. Thumbs up!

All in all, a quality banya worthy of a second look. As noted previously, the staff are courteous and polite, which has become a shocking rarity anywhere. No shenanigans and no hijinks here. $30 and you get a great steam. Ryder Strong left satiated and satisfied, pedaling on air all the way back home.Russian Baths of Neck Road - 1200 Gravesend Ave., Brooklyn.

 

Beer and God

Beer is the food of the Gods.

Ben Franklin said that beer is proof that God loves us.

Well, now please remember that although old Ben has his face on the $100 bill, that he was never president. That qualifies him as an asshole in my book.

Well, maybe not, but maybe beer is God.

You don’t know!

But know this: Beer is good. This is a fact.

Take this fact, that beer is good…as a general rule of thumb. General I say, because, some beers are terrible. But general I say, because some beers are divine.

Forget alcoholism and all that jazz. People are going to be people and some people are going to be alcoholics or drug addicts or whatever.

But know that it is an amazing thing to taste God on your lips in the form of beer! Being in the right frame of mind, with the right people, and at the right time, also helps in bringing about the divine experience. Beer is similar in this fashion to LSD. They are in fact synthesized from the same chemical!

All beers have their place in today’s society, even Natural Ice and Bud Light. Please note however, that Bud Light is an awful creation and is in no way representative of a just God. It is because it is and will always be. A certain part of the poplation consumes Bud Light. They can generally be trusted. Generally. Trusted to a degree.

Cheap beer is cheap beer. We’ve all had cheap beer and we all have our reasons and our favorites. There’s nothing wrong with cracking open a PBR or a Bud after working some shitty job all day.

In fact, know that there may be nothing better!

Know that you are human and that you are not alone.

But, know that if you have also cracked open your third eye, you will always know that you are drinking the equivalent of victory gin.

Everyone loves big brother, even the most hardened of the hard, and there may always be the slightest, if even the tiniest bit perceptible, hint of satisfaction in popping the top of a Coors Light.

However!

The food of the Gods exists and is real. Good beer is indicative of the plight of the REAL human, who bucks the norm and creates merely to create! The battle between good and evil rages on, always, in many forms and many dimensions! A line has been drawn in the ethereal sand: the caring thoughtful brewmaster fights tooth and nail against the profit-driven maga company.

Well, whatever.

This can be metaphysical or not. Lets say not.

I love beer and during my travels I will be consuming it in varying quantities. I will be opinining on the beers that I drink.

There is not a single type of beer that I dislike. I appreciate all beers. Therefore, I will not let my analysis be ruddied by my own personal beer preferences and in this way I hope to be a just and thoughtful critic. All beers can be appreciated at varying times and that one perfect beer may not be so perfect if sipped at any other time. But we all have our favorites.

The greatest beer that I ever had was a Polish honey beer called Mi0dowe. I drank this beer at a peirogie bar in Warsaw after backpacking through Eastern Europe in January with Bradrian for two weeks. It was like drinking bubbly alcoholic honey straight out of a bees asshole. Just thinking about it makes me smile and gives me a boner.

Simply divine!

There may never be(e) another beer like it.

Perhaps on a mountaintop in Patagonia?

We shall see…

Henceforth, this site shall be devoted to the consumption and review of all noteworthy beers sipped whilst traveling-ling.

Portrait of the Artist with Miodowe

Miodowe: Warsaw, PL

Miodowe: A Polish Honey Beer described by some as like, “drinking bubbly alcoholic honey straight out of a bees asshole,” this beer was had in a peirogi bar in Old Town Warsaw, PL in January of 2007. Described on its label as non-pasteurized, it appears this beer has its own facebook page under the name: Ciechan Miodowe. Check it out sometime if you dare. You can’t find this shit in the states! Or can you? Let me know if you know where one can get their grubby little paws on it. Beyond Decadence!

Lord Chesterfield Ale

Lord Chesterfield Ale: I am including the aforementioned Ale in this post if only for the description of its taste provided by Gary. Technically it was sipped while traveling as I was at a conference for mentally ill persons far away in the upstate New York hinterlands. While driving to the conference I stopped at a beer place and was intrigued by the fact that this ale was both created by Yeungling and was on-sale. The shopkeep gave this brew a thumbs up for its taste. “Not bad at all,” he said. We drank every last can of the 30-pack, although Gary noted that the taste reminded him of “apples and assholes.”