Beer Review: Real Ale Black Quad

F

From Real Ale Brewing in Blanco, Texas comes this rather strange brew. Officially listed as a Belgian Quadrupel (four grains – and typically very strong), this one is several shades darker than most and has a higher IBU rating. This beer weighs in at 10.5% ABV, 33 IBU and Real Ale kindly discloses the original gravity – 22 plato. Enough jibber-jabber, let’s get right into this one.

Pours a hazy (unfiltered) opaque dark brown color with a thin ring of head that dissipates quickly. Aromas of fruity Belgian yeast, a slight tartness and surprisingly a bold overtone of dark roasted malt. The taste follows with the typical Belgian flavors of banana, caramel, dark fruit and a subtle tart spice which then gives way to a roasted malt with a dark chocolate and coffee back end. Heavy body, medium carbonation. Definitely a sipping beer with a bit of an alcohol burn on the way down.

If I were to characterize this beer, think of it as half Belgian Quad and half Imperial Stout. It’s a rather interesting, complex blended flavor that I’ve never experienced from a beer. I actually quite like it. Rating: 4/5.

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When Autism Gets the Better of You…

Well, I really, really, REALLY fucked up last night. Like totally fucked up and it might have just cost me my best friend.

If it is one thing I will say I will go to great lengths to defend my philosophical, political and religious/spiritual positions and often times I get a little hot-headed and worked up about it. I am a good debater in general but man I get angry really quickly over some things and when I do I go into meltdown mode in short order. You’d think I’d know when I’m getting to that level and back down but if it is one of my major flaws I don’t know when to just throw in the towel.

So, despite being best friends (and also exes, lo and behold) we have very different political views. I’m a liberal-leaning Libertarian and she is a traditional Republican and as such it’s easy to say we’ll be voting differently. I was going to support Gary Johnson but at this point I might even vote for Hillary and she is supporting Donald Trump (and to be fair, I probably would also if he didn’t take the classical conservative anti-abortion/gay marriage/etc. stance) and we got into it why I was voting against him and she goes “well I’m excited to vote for Donald Trump” and I snapped back with “you do that, but you can forget me coming to your graduation.” Yeah, not one of my brighter moments and she was understandably offended and taken aback.

The backstory about that, she is much younger than me (8 years and 3 months) and is graduating from university this year and she invited me to her graduation, which I said I would do whatever I could to get off work and go. I will admit when I, without thinking, shot those words out of my mouth (or, more accurately, out of my fingertips) I was in full rage mode and not really thinking clearly. Though I am not the most empathetic person in the world I’m not totally devoid of it, so I realize how hurt she probably was upon hearing (reading) that.

This isn’t the first time my rage has cost me a friendship. It’s happened many times before. There’s a reason I have like no friends and everyone hates my fucking guts. Man does it suck being autistic and man do I wish to see a cure in my lifetime. If there was, perhaps my past wouldn’t be littered with so many ruined friendships.

Is this one salvageable? Well, I have no idea. She hasn’t said anything to me since my angry outburst. I hope so, but either way I have to own up to it and accept the consequences. Maybe I should just give up having friends entirely? I don’t know, but all I know is I’m a defective individual in need of repair or, perhaps even better, to be sent to scrap.

Fuck life. Fuck the world. Fuck everything.

One Thing Leads To Another…

OK, so my tattoo addiction is no secret seeing as how this is one of the central themes to my blog (and I hope to be going under the needle again here in the not so distant future – I’ll be sure to show-and-tell when I do! – it’s coming up with the time and money really) but admittedly this is getting somewhat old hat so I’m on to the next adventure: piercings.

Yep, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing facial and/or body piercings now. I figure after having a few tattoos done piercings shouldn’t be a huge deal. Yeah, they go through more skin than a tattoo needle but most aren’t in super sensitive areas (well, maybe except for the tongue and the genitals – but those are absolute no-gos for me), they’re over quickly (unlike a tattoo which can take many many hours) and I’ve had lidocaine shots in the mouth before so I can’t imagine them being any worse than that.

Of course, I’d start with earlobes and go from there. I’d do both ears instead of one for sure, and with the help of a friend I already have some nice fake bone/horn/wood earrings picked out that actually look like gauges when worn but really aren’t. These appeal to me because they have a very Celtic look to them and would go very well with my bagpiper uniform.

I’ve also considered going ahead and doing double-piercings in the earlobes for just everyday wear. After all, Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears has double ear piercings and he rocked the look hardcore back in the day (don’t know if he still does as his hair has grown out to cover his ears in modern times):

From there, I don’t know. I’m not yet brave enough to do cartilage piercings (though I might at some point), but I always thought like snake bites looked kinda cool. IDK, maybe eyebrows too? If I were to do a nose it would be a septum. Nipple piercings? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know.

So for those with both tats and piercings, how does the pain, aftercare, etc. compare from one to the other? What should I know before doing ear, facial and/or body piercings? Any information anyone can provide, please let me know.

Song Lyric Sunday 9/25/16 – Cross Road Blues

This week’s Song Lyric Sunday is to post a blues song. My oh my how there are so many options and directions you could go with this, but in my mind when I think about blues I have one particular artist that just sticks out for me – Eric Clapton.

I’ve been an Eric Clapton fan ever since I started learning guitar. I remember wanting to be just like him, and in many ways now my playing style closely emulates his (though I’m obviously nowhere near as good as he is!). As such, it makes sense to choose a song of his.

The song I’m going with is “Cross Road Blues.” The song was originally written and performed in 1936 by Robert Johnson, and though several versions of the song preceded it, it wasn’t until it was covered by Eric Clapton’s band Cream that it really hit mainstream popularity.

Without further ado:

I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
Asked the Lord above for mercy, “Save me if you please.”

I went down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride.
Down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride.
Nobody seemed to know me, everybody passed me by.

Well I’m going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
Going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
You can still barrelhouse, baby, on the riverside.

Going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
Going down to Rosedale, take my rider by my side.
You can still barrelhouse, baby, on the riverside.

You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.*
Run, you can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.*
And I’m staying at the crossroads, believe I’m sinking down.

I went down to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went down to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above “Have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please.”

Mmmmm, standin’ at the crossroad, I tried to flag a ride
Standin’ at the crossroad, I tried to flag a ride
Didn’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by

Mmm, the sun goin’ down, boy, dark gon’ catch me here
oooo, ooee, eee boy, dark gon’ catch me here
I haven’t got no lovin’ sweet woman that love and feel my care

You can run, you can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.
You can run, tell my friend-boy, Willie Brown.
Lord, that I’m standin’ at the crossroad, babe, I believe I’m sinking down
Source: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cream/crossroads.html

Hope you all enjoyed!

Beer Reviews: Wealth and Taste and Pumpkick

So today I decided to do some Papa Murphy’s take-and-bake pizza so you know, it’s a perfect time to enjoy a couple of beers. Good thing for you guys I love reviewing the beers I drink (and lo and behold these have become a popular addition to my blog!) so I’m going to take some time away from slaving away in the kitchen to give you my thoughts.

Beer #1: Wealth and Taste

This rather oddball beer comes to us from the Deep Ellum Brewing Company in Dallas, Texas. It is listed as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale but it has a twist: it is brewed with muscat grapes. It is 9.5% ABV and 25 IBU so it certainly fits the profile, but the grapes sure give it an interesting twist.

Pours a hazy (unfiltered) medium amber color with streaks of red (presumably from the grapes) and a thin ring of head that quickly dissipates. Tart, wine-like aroma with undertones of Belgian yeast. Flavors run about typical for a Belgian beer: floral, fruity and a touch of coriander spice, but these take a back seat to the muscat grapes. The forefront is dominated by a tart, dry muscat sparkling wine taste that actually makes for a refreshing beer despite it ABV. Medium mouthfeel, high carbonation, again not unlike sparkling wine. Easy drinking and chuggable. Despite its unconventional nature I quite enjoyed this beer. Rating: 4/5.

Beer #2: Pumpkick

I always enjoy fall seasonals as they just seem so festive in a way (spiced, pumpkin, etc.). This pumpkin ale from New Belgium in Fort Collins, Colorado is no exception. This beer comes in at 6.0% ABV, 18 IBUs and has several unique ingredients that make it a great example of the style.

Pours a hazy red-golden color (unfiltered? I’m not sure) with a frothy head that dissipates to a thin ring and laces the glass. Spicy aroma upfront featuring cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Pumpkin undertones and a soft, faint malty beer smell. Flavors follow but bring the pumpkin more to the forefront: sweet pumpkin with maybe even a hint of cream. Spicy finish that follows the nose with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. A soft caramel malt and hop undertone support the flavor. Medium body and carbonation. Drinks smooth and slick. Good stuff all around Rating: 4/5.

 

A Case for Estsblishing Body Modifications as a Protected Class

​Due to recent negative reactions to an op-ed I wrote for the local paper regarding widespread discrimination against bodily-modified individuals in the workplace and my recent rejection of a job offer due to the potential new employer’s policy on visible tattoos and piercings, I’m now going to write a defense in favor of introducing a legally protected class for those with body modifications. 

I can see the main objection now: “Body modifications are a choice and therefore should not be protected.” The fact of the matter is that most states currently establish smokers as a protected class. That is, employers cannot refuse to hire someone solely based upon the fact that the person is a smoker. Smoking is 100% a lifestyle choice, yet it is correctly listed as a protected class. I fully support protecting smokers (and tobacco users in general) as tobacco use is not an accurate representation of the quality of work the potential employee could deliver to the table. 

In the same way, body modifications are not an accurate representation of the qualifications of an individual or his/her quality of work. The reality is that there are blank canvases who are qualified for little more than working at a gas station and heavily modified individuals who work at the highest level of STEM fields and are world-renowned for their research or results. I can guarantee you that you aren’t going to care whether or not your doctor is body modified if you are in a life-or-death situation. Think about and chew on that.

In addition to the above, it would probably be illegal to discriminate against someone who has just plain old scars or other anomalies on his/her body. Although these anomalies can be a result of medical conditions beyond one’s control (which then it WOULD be illegal to discriminate), many of them are the result of life or other choices that caused injuries (case in point – I have a scar above my left eyebrow because of my own sheer stupidity, yet to be turned away for a job based upon that is probably not legal). 

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that certain body modifications are rites of passage in some religions or cultural practices. As it is already illegal to discriminate based upon religion and courts have continuously upheld the mandate that employers accommodate religious articles of clothing, long hair, etc.; it only makes sense for body mods to be covered under freedom of religion. 

Due to the fact that some life choices are already protected classes and that these life choices do not impact an individual’s quality of work, it thus makes sense to introduce protected classes in order to defend the rights of individuals who engage in these activities. Since it is also illegal to discriminate due to anomalies in appearance already (probably under the ADA) and expressions of religion, it only makes sense to extend protection to those with body modifications. It therefore should not be permissible for employers to force employees to cover tattoos, remove piercings, etc. unless one of two conditions are met: 1) the work uniform already covers them up and no “special” clothing would be required and/or 2) piercing rings would be an occupational hazard and need to be removed for safety. Other than these two situations, there is no legitimate reason to disallow body modifications in the workplace and thus bodily modified individuals should be a protected class. 

Beer Review: Lakewood Temptress

From Lakewood Brewing Company in Garland, Texas comes this big brew. Cream/Milk Stout meets Imperial Stout in this very tempting beer. She weighs in at a heft 9.1% ABV and 56 IBUs for a great drinking experience.

Pours a dark brown almost opaque color with a  frothy tan head that sticks around all the way down. Aromas of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and a subtle hop astringency. Flavors of deep roasted and caramel malt, dark chocolate with undertones of raisin, vanilla and coffee. Definitely on the sweeter side of the spectrum. Slick mouthfeel with soft, subtle carbonation. Very easy drinking and masks its high ABV well. Overall a big and complex yet smooth and deliciously sweet stout that makes this one of my favorites. Rating of 4.5/5.