FILTHY DIRTY IPA—Because my dad and I have taste

In the downstairs bathtub this morning: two of the meatiest, most massive silverfish ever seen, squaring off with a hefty spider. Suspended above them by an invisible thread: the exoskeleton of one of their mates, presumably tortured to death by the spider.

Damnit, Stephen Harper, keep your pets on a leash.

Damn it, Stephen Harper, keep your pets on a leash.

Of course I wanted to see who would win. But my mother didn’t care. “F**k you guys,” she said, and shot all three down the drain with the showerhead.

That’s the level of enlightenment at LBHQ.

I thought my mother could use a beer but she has an inexplicable resistance to drinking at 7:00 am, and her unwillingness to let me watch the silverfish-spider death match is pretty much indicative of her unwillingness to take any of my good suggestions.

So I had to wait until 5:00 pm to try this new beer in the fridge: Parallel 49 FILTHY DIRTY IPA. And even then I had to fight my dad for a share of it, which felt sort of like being a silverfish versus a big-ass hairy spider. But fight my dad I did, my fellow inebriates, and here’s what FILTHY DIRTY was like:

FILTHY-DIRTY-500x500Ahhh! Let me start with 7.2% alcohol. It had me there, friends, but it was only getting started. FILTHY DIRTY boasts an IBU of 55, the combined effort of Chinook, Centennial, Citra, Simco, and Ahtanium hops—not fighting it out but harmonizing into a piney, grapefruity, bittersweet hopfest with a creamy mouthfeel and a long linger. My dad and I marveled at the various hop contributions; as we savored the IPA we could taste tropical notes and subtle bready malt backnotes. It was totally, totally yummy.

My mum said it tasted like elastic bands and earwax, which is what she says about all IPAs. We called her a philistine and suggested she get into the kitchen and make the family some pizza.

And that, my fellow inebriates, was a lot like picking a fight with a big spider. Don’t even ask who won.

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SEEDSPITTER WITBIER—A better purchase than a Cuisinart oven mitt, but still an unnecessary experiment

My Fellow Inebriates,

Too often, consumers buy crappy products and never say anything. Today we decided not to let Cuisinart get away with selling us an inferior product. But then my mum got lazy about writing a letter, so I did it.

Cuisinart letter

Seriously, I can’t find this product on your site(s). What the hell, Cuisinart? Are you ashamed of this product? (you should be) and/or pretending it doesn’t exist?

cuisinart oven mitt

My mum got the Puppet Mitt for Christmas from my dad. She was as delighted as you can be with an oven mitt and began using it immediately, as its 15-year-old predecessor had a gaping hole. It was the sort of gaping hole that’s fully visible, so you get used to it and adjust your grasp accordingly, and even though she’d gotten pretty strategic at picking hot things up with it, she was happy to have a super-deluxe new Puppet Mitt with Silicone Grip from Cuisinart.

A mere five months later, she was reaching into the oven for one of her god-awful meals with the Puppet Mitt, only to realize her fingers were burning. Yes, the Puppet Mitt had a hole. Not a visible hole of the sort you can work around, but a hole inside it, in the lining interior to the silicone part. And the silicone part, without that fabric lining, just wasn’t enough against a 400°F pan. Of course she yelled “Fuck!” and Dad said, “Hey, do you have to do that with the windows open? Do the neighbors really need to hear that?”

Five months, Cuisinart! That’s how long your stupid Puppet Mitt with Silicone Grip lasted. That’s less time than dollar store oven mitts would probably have lasted. That totally sucks.

We should have learned our lesson after the Cuisinart grind-and-brew repeatedly spewed coffee all over the kitchen.

We should have learned our lesson after the Cuisinart grind-and-brew repeatedly spewed coffee all over the kitchen.

And when the Cuisinart percolator perked our coffee in something like ten seconds, essentially defeating the purpose of percolation.

And when the Cuisinart percolator perked our coffee in something like ten seconds, essentially defeating the purpose of percolation.

I don’t know how much our Puppet Mitt with Silicone Grip cost my dad at Christmas because I can’t find the damn thing on your website(s). That’s why I think you’re trying to cover it up. You’re embarrassed of the Puppet Mitt, and so you should be!!!

Just in case you’re wondering why I, a bear who doesn’t even eat solid food or care about the outcome of my mother’s cooking experiments, should be upset about an oven mitt, it’s because I often hang out in the kitchen while she cooks; she likes to have a beer now and then while cooking, and being an alcohol-seeking animal, I like to get in on that. She chops and fries and bakes, and I steal gulps of her beer. Today, for instance, she and I were both stealing gulps of my dad’s beer, a witbier from Parallel 49 called SEEDSPITTER, so I was on the counter near the stove. But here’s the thing, Cuisinart:

If she doesn’t have an oven mitt, what the hell do you think she’s going to reach for when she needs one??? Holy shit, Cuisinart, do you realize how much I RESEMBLE an oven mitt? I’m soft and cloth-like and about the size of an oven mitt. Sure, I have eyes and a nose, and I don’t have a giant orifice that could accommodate a hand, but please try to understand that—if my mum had to make a choice between burning her hand and not burning her hand—she might grab…me. So, just for my own peace of mind, I need her to have a FUCKING OVEN MITT THAT WORKS, okay?

It is not a far-fetched concern, Cuisinart.

It is not a far-fetched concern, Cuisinart.

As for that SEEDSPITTER beer, just in case any Cuisinart staff members are wondering how it is:

SEEDSPITTER just might illustrate the tenet that we don’t have to do things just because we can. We shouldn’t combine watermelon with beer any more than someone should attempt to stick a hand up my ass. Granted, the watermelon is subtle. Let’s back up a bit.

seedspitter_bottlesSEEDSPITTER pours fresh and bubbly, golden yellow. The aroma is light and wheaty with familiar witbier notes such as candied citrus peel, but there’s a lurking vegetal smell in there too—more like tomatoes than watermelon. Yeah, yeah, tomatoes are fruit, as Miss P would remind us while shoving five into her mouth at once, but they nevertheless have a vegetal vibe, and so does SEEDSPITTER.

Those garden-vegetable notes redouble as you sip SEEDSPITTER. The beer is fairly tart, with the watermelon/tomato flavors horning in on the hops a bit; if these flavors were partnered on So You Think You Can Dance, they’d probably get eliminated. As the beer crosses mid-palate to the rear, those flavors transition from candy-like to medicinal, tart to bitter, with pilsner notes frantically trying to catch up, wailing, “I’m a beer, honest, I’m a beer.” The whole sensation is off-putting and strange.

I’m a big fan of Parallel 49; we’ve been repeat buyers of UGLY SWEATER MILK STOUT and HOPARAZZI, to name just a couple. These guys are masterful brewers with a couple of chemical engineers on board, but SEEDSPITTER seems to be an example of an experiment that didn’t have to be conducted. In fairness, we’re not big witbier fans at LBHQ and therefore we lack a nuanced appreciation of witbier characteristics. But watermelon? Watermelon??

Needless to say, I guzzled as much of my dad’s SEEDSPITTER as I could. It wasn’t moving very fast, and I’m an opportunist. Mum is chickenshit about weird beers, so she had only a few sips and declared it “gin-and-tonic time.”

I know you’re wondering, Cuisinart, what this has to do with you. It has to do with you more than tangentially. You see, if my mum starts swilling G&Ts while cooking, the danger to yours truly escalates. A few G&Ts under her belt and she won’t even aim for a proper oven mitt. NOT THAT WE HAVE ONE! Your Puppet Mitt with Silicone Grip sucks, Cuisinart! I wish we’d spent the money on beer (but not watermelon beer).

I don’t want to be an oven mitt, Cuisinart.

Yours truly,

Liquorstore Bear

HOPARAZZI LAGER—Battling the apocalypse, nutjob neighbors, and restricted access to your balls

Balls facebook discussion

Thus was my mother shamed into making a batch of whisky balls. Creeping on my Facebook page, she saw my tattle to Christine and decided there were worse things she could do with half a cup of Wisers.

DSCN2683Scary and I were both involved, satisfying related motivations of gluttony and hedonism. He accidentally got himself punched in the nose by the pastry blender—luckily not the motorized kind or he’d have had no nose left.

“Is that Irish cream?” Miss V asked as Mum poured the whisky.

“Close,” said Mum.

By the time she’s six, V will be able to distinguish vodka from gin from 30 paces, unless Child Services gets her first. “Can I smell?” she asked.

“Of course,” said Mum.

“Mmmmmm,” said my little kindergartner friend. “But they’re just for grown-ups, right?”

“Right.”

“That means I can have two peanut butter cookies instead then.”

No such negotiation had taken place, but who could argue with such lawyerly logic?

This is how we ended up making our whisky balls:

  • Two-thirds of an overbaked marble cake we’d forgotten about in the freezer, bashed into crumbs with a pastry blender
  • Some pecans, also bashed
  • Some milk chocolate chips, melted with a tablespoon of whisky and two tablespoons of corn syrup (the recipe called for three, but we were affected by The Omnivore’s Dilemma, so we used only two)
  • ½ cup icing sugar, more or less
  • ¼ cup cocoa plus some that fell on the counter
  • ½ cup whisky minus the tbsp cooked with the chocolate

From somewhere Mum produced a melon baller, used it, cursed it, and abandoned it, then hand-rolled a bunch of cute little balls.

DSCN2695

It was immediately apparent we hadn’t used enough Wisers; fresh whisky balls should set your fur on fire their first day, and these were only slightly redolent. Then again, maybe the smell lacked intensity simply because we’d used a cleaner spirit than rum.

grinch

Nah…they needed more booze. But it would have been foolish to use more; we need that Wisers for drinking.

Meanwhile the neighborhood has gone apeshit with Christmas decorations. Light shows, sleighs, Santas, Grinches, Scrooges, Bumbles, Rudolphs—you name it and its inflatable likeness is swaying in one of our neighbors’ yards (and lying flaccid on the lawn in the morning, when the kids actually pass by).

Amid all this relatively secular mayhem is a house with a large manger scene out front—Mary and Joseph gazing downward at the infant Jesus, who looks freaking cold in his loincloth. Speaking of Child Services, such nudity may be comfortable in the Middle East, but Langley is at latitude 49.10348. Holy or not, that kid needs some swaddling clothes.

That aside, I felt bad when the family came home from school today and mentioned they’d seen a police officer visiting the owner of that house. We have no idea why, but my first guess would be that someone messed with the nativity display and the owner called the police. Which makes me sad, because obviously, if you’re going to put an overtly religious scene in your yard, it means something to you. And it’s really not cool for someone to vandalize it.

Crazy christmas lights

Not our neighbor’s house…but similar

Then again, my guess about the police visit could be totally off-base. Maybe the manger-scene dude called the police about the light show across the street from him, which features so much nutjob ornamentation that the owners must need to rent a storage locker during off-season. A giant Grinch, a family of snowpeople, a hundred candy canes, gingerbread men, all blazing with lights. We can only hope they turn it off before midnight so the neighbors can sleep without having flashbacks of sordid motel overnighters. I could picture a war breaking out between these two neighbors. Maybe Manger Dude asked North-Pole Dude to tone it down a little. Maybe North-Pole Dude ran across the road and put a flashing, sequined baby blanket on the Savior. Who knows? Maybe this has been going on for 20 years. One thing’s for sure—the new LBHQ is situated in interesting territory.

hoparazzi_bottlesScary and I can’t get at our balls right now, so we’re staring out the window psychoanalyzing the neighbors. Between us is a HOPARAZZI lager from Parallel 49, a curious choice on the part of my dad, especially with winter so close. (Scary says winter won’t come, ever.) My dad never buys IPA for its own sake. It might ride along in a sampler pack, but generally he doesn’t like a fierce hop shitkicking, and neither does my mum. Dad makes an exception when the hop factor is nuanced and citrusy, as it is in HOPARAZZI. Pale gold and sparkling with fizz, the Pacific West Coast hops’ berserker potential is mitigated by crystal malt, resulting in a well-behaved almost-IPA with an incredibly full mouthfeel and refreshing summery kick. Weighing in at 6% alcohol and 50 IBU, HOPARAZZI isn’t a misnomer; to enjoy it, you have to like hops, although you might not like all hops brewed by all breweries. HOPARAZZI doesn’t kick your ass with hops—it just taunts you a little. Sort of like hanging out with Scary all day when he’s too hungry to make a hostile move.

He is talking apocalypse, though, and with only 16 days remaining, his current theory is volcanism. Yes, my fellow inebriates, Scary figures we’re overdue for a cataclysmic eruption like the one that happened in India 65 million years ago, busting out a quarter-million cubic miles of lava and wiping us out the way he says it did the dinosaurs. The amount of chlorine-bearing compounds unleashed on the ozone layer will turn our little blue marble into a hothouse. We’ll need refreshments. Better stock up on HOPARAZZI.