Beer and Pavement

The Game

Posted in Jock Straps by Zac on November 26, 2011

I once unsuccessfully argued in favor of college football on this blog. Since that time, the Tat-5, Nevin Shapiro, Willie Lyles, and Gerry Sandusky all happened, tarnishing what has been a rather tarnished game already. Plus, there’s the fact that college football doesn’t really do higher education any favors.  Still, I’m a fan, specifically of the Ohio State University Buckeyes.

It’s been a rough season for OSU as several key players have been out due to suspensions and injury. Maybe the most successful coach in school history is gone. In his place is an energetic, promising assistant who just isn’t ready for the spotlight yet. The result is a 6-5 record entering the final game (now 6-6) as touchdown-underdogs. Things suddenly don’t look good ethically or athletically at Ohio State.

Thankfully, the season (aside from possible bowl games) comes to an end today. Ohio State played Michigan in what is known as “The Game™,” the greatest rivalry in all of sports. Today was the 108th time the two schools have met, all of it over Toledo. Michigan pulled out the win for the first time in eight years and only the second in ten. So, it’s not all bad.

Ohio State jumped on top early. They put together a pretty good fight and somehow put 34 points on the board, which is a huge accomplishment for a team that’s struggled on offense all year. Still, they came up short and now I have to listen to fans of a team that is batting .200 in a rivalry over the last decade for another 365 days. Whatever.

The game was still important today. My greatest memories of childhood revolve around the game. I remember wins and losses, touch football in the backyard, and candy buckeyes. There was the year the Buckeyes won for Earl Bruce, Eddic George ended the Cooper drought, and the game of the century. I’m not religious, but if I were, my religion would center around the Game.

This year, it let me down. I tried to celebrate the first half lead with a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, but the lead didn’t last long. So, I drowned my sorrows with a 2009 vintage Lagunitas Gnarly Wine. It will be a long 365 days until revenge is ours. So, I’ll wait for Urban Renewal and the basketball team to lift my spirits.

Consider this Saturday filler. The month’s almost over…

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Top 5 for October 16, 2011

Posted in Beer, Top 5 by Zac on October 17, 2011

Another week, another top-5….

1. “Senator” gets the MTV treatment. – Maybe the year’s best single finally has a proper video. Somehow, Malk secured the services of Jack Black to make what must be the song’s narrative incarnate. Office Space‘s Gary Cole even makes a cameo. I really wish the narrative was more fleshed out to represent some of the nuances suggested in the song, but it’s as entertaining a video as one could hope.

2. Black IPA’s vs. Cascadian Black Ale – Really? There’s still a debate over this? Whatever. It’s a great beer style – whatever you call it. Why all the fuss? What I like is how so many can be so different. I had my last Stone 15th Anniversary Ale this weekend as well as a Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet. Both were incredibly different from each other. The Stone beer is so clearly a West Coast DIPA with some dark, roasted malt. The Hoppy Feet has a ton of cola flavor and doesn’t feature the aroma of Simcoe and whatnot as prominently as the Stone. Still, both were good beers.

3. Sports Ball – I planned not to write about Ohio State at all with what was looking like the worst season in 10 years, but they somehow pulled out a win versus an undefeated and raked team on the road…with one completed pass ( a 17-yard touchdown pass in the second half). The Buckeyes’ opponent, Illinois, didn’t score until just over six minutes left in the game.

Even if Ohio State hadn’t won, it’s been fun to watch the St. Louis Cardinals come out of nowhere this season. They were left for dead a month ago before going on a tear that’s seen them catch the Braves for the Wild Card, beat the unbeatable Phillies, and beat the Brewers who happened to beat the Cards for the division race. It’s been a hell of a run and I hope it continues.

4. Homebrew Update – I cracked open a Black Francis and it’s packing hear along with a load of bourbon. On top of that, I can sense the cocoa nibs just under the bitter. I’m hoping the vanilla flavors will emerge as it ages, but I don’t know how long it will be around. There’s also the Simcoe-dependency IPA which I have yet to open. It’s been in the bottle for a week and a day, but I’ve found that waiting at least 10 days insures there will be carbonation. I’ll drink one this week in order to make sure it’s ready for a party we’re attending on Saturday.

5. Gordon-Moore Separation – While some fret over Ashton and Demi’s breakup, I’m more concerned about the separation of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. For completely selfish reasons, I don’t want to see Sonic Youth end over this. Here’s to hoping they figure out a way to still make Sonic Youth work despite their separation. I suspect it’s not that big of a deal as the reality of such relationships rarely matches the ideals many of us hold concerning marriage.

Bonus: I am the 99% and I fully support the #OccupyWallStreet protests. I have chosen not to write about it mostly because I have tried (and sometimes failed) to avoid politics. Still, it’s everything I rail against with regularity on Facebook and Twitter discussion threads. I just hope it doesn’t get co-opted, leaving it powerless.

Top 5 for September 5, 2011

Posted in Top 5 by Zac on September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day, y’all! I wanted to make a labor-themed list this week, but I wasn’t feeling all that creative. Labor Day and unions will get their due in the list, but there are other things to cover…

1. SM on Fallon
I originally wanted to share this show SM & the Jicks put on at San Francisco’s Amoeba Records, but this two-song set on Fallon was too much to resist. The image of all those kids on stage peeing themselves over the awesomeness in front of them can’t escape my mind. All the live videos of material from this album further confirms that Mirror Traffic is the best I’ve heard this year and I doubt that will change any time soon. (I would have embedded the videos here, but NBC’s and Photobucket’s embedding doesn’t seem to cooperate with WordPress.)

2. Founders 2010 Nemesis
Recently, both Draft Magazine and The Hopry suggested that last year’s Nemesis is ready to come out of the cellar. They were right. Gone is the hoppiness and bite. Present is a smooth, luscious black barley wine, aged to near-perfection. I still have two left that will wit for at least another 6-12 months. It should be interesting to see how this beer matures even more.

3. Reckids
I’ve had an influx of records arriving at my house lately (and still more to come). It seems an order of three albums was lost somewhere and finally arrived this past week. I’ve barely had time to listen to Let’s Wrestle, Boat, and Joan of Arc. The Joan of Arc is pretty wicked, though. Also, I ordered a couple records I missed along the way: Eleanor Friedberger’s new solo effort and Wye Oak’s latest. On top of that, I’ve been listening to a streaming Wild Flag all week. So, there’s music about which to write once I find a moment.

4. Beers
There’s always a constant flow of beer in my life. I recently tried and thoroughly enjoyed Dogfish Head’s Squall, which is a bottle-conditioned version of their 90 Minute IPA. This was the same beer without the bite, quite enjoyable. Also, over the weekend, I had the Schlafly raspberry coffee stout. Meh. Fruit in stouts doesn’t often work for me. In this case, the raspberry overpowered everything. Luckily, I have another to age to see if the raspberry mellows.

5. Ohio State is 1-0.
This is all that matters. The Buckeyes had a long, long off-season as wins were vacated, players suspended, coaches resigned, etc. Now, they’ve finally played a game. It was a 42-0 win over outmatched Akron, but it was a win nonetheless. First-time head coach  Luke Fickell starts off undefeated. The defense pitches a shutout (which is a big deal no matter who you’re playing). The quarterbacks looked good. There was a new-found killer instinct lacking in previous teams. They even left at least 10 points on the field, fumbling once inside the 5 and missing a make-able field goal. Now, they welcome a slightly tougher – but still a MAC-rificial lamb – test in Toledo. Hopefully, a week from now, I’m writing that they’re 2-0 and ready for Miami.

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