Monthly Archives: June 2012

The ABCs of Beer: A through E

Alright, so it’s time to live up to my name – or rather the name of my blog.  A whole post devoted to beer terminology and things a newbie should know.  Actually, more like 5 posts; this is part 1 of 5.  Suffice it to say that this is the first step in one’s beer education.  For the butch, these are things that I, a beer fanatic, think you should know about – unless you don’t <gasp> like beer.  For the femme, these are things that you should understand so that when your butch says how excited she is to be bringing home a growler full of the Belgian Tripel from Alesmith, you will get it. I cannot tell you how exciting it is for me that the gorgeous fiancé, who doesn’t like beer, has learned so much about beer that she can walk into a brewery or liquor store and know what I will like and what I haven’t yet tried.  Isn’t that what we all want, really? For the one we love to love us enough that she cares about stuff that we care about? I am a luck son of a butch.  Ready? Here we go!

Ales

This is one of the two big categories of beer; lagers are the other.  Ales are “top fermented,” which means that the beer ferments at the top of whatever it is stored in.  Fermenting on the top means that the beer is ready in 7-8 days, which is faster than a lager.  Ales need to be stored at 60 to 75 degrees, and that is probably why ales are so popular in San Diego, and on the West Coast.  The ale yeast produces by-products called esters which are flowery and fruity.  Ales are delicious.

Belgian Beer and, specifically the Belgian Tripel Image

Belgian Tripel:  aka, Heaven. This is my current favorite so I want to give a full explanation of the type. The name “Tripel” actually stems from part of the brewing process, in which brewers use up to three times the amount of malt than a standard beer requires.  Traditionally, Tripels are bright yellow to gold in color, which is a shade or two darker than the average Pilsner. The head (this is the foamy top of the beer, ladies) should be big, dense and creamy. Aroma and flavor runs along the complex, spicy, fruity with a sweet finish. The beer’s sweetness comes from both the pale malts and the higher alcohol. The lighter body comes from the use of Belgian candy sugar (up to 25% sucrose), which not only lightens the body, but also adds complex alcoholic aromas and flavors. Belgian Tripels have high alcohol content, so beware. Here are my favorites:  Alesmith’s Horny Devil (San Diego, USA, see the letter X soon for more on this brewery), Unibroue’s La Fin Du Monde (Quebec, Canada, see the letter U soon for more on this brewery, too) – which I am drinking as I write this post, Brouwerij St. Bernardus’ St. Bernardus Tripel (Belgium), and Brouwerij Bosteels’ Tripel Karmelite (Belgium). My mouth is watering just thinking about these four lovelies.

Cicerone

A Cierone (pronounced, sis-er-own) is a certified beer expert. This is the equivalent of a wine sommelier – only less snooty. The word literally means one who guides sightseers. This is the butch who can tell you everything about beer, how to make it, store it, serve it, what the different types are like, and what kind of beer goes best with that Chilean sea bass you are about to eat. I don’t know the answer, by the way, but I am about to enroll in the Cicerone Certification Program, so I might know the answer soon!  The program is run by these guys, http://www.cicerone.org/, but you can use the word without being certified.  For example, I am an aspiring Cicerone. You will find a cicerone running a brewery or a gastropub – super knowledgeable and hospitable.

Double IPA

This is an extra hoppy take on an IPA, which is many people’s favorite type of beer. ImageI only recently started to appreciate the IPA style.  IPAs are very hoppy (hard to explain if you don’t drink beer, but try one and you will know what I mean), flavorful and bitter.  The Double IPA was actually first brewed by brewers in California, at least according to BeerAdvocate.com, and is like an IPA on steroids.  IPAs are robust, malty, and might just rip your tongue out – they are that strong. The highest rated Double IPA (on Beeradvocate.com) is Pliny the Younger, brewed by Russian River, and the third highest rated is Pliny the Elder. Pliny the Elder is one of the more famous beers – it has been relatively hard to find and so it garnered a mysterious Holy Grail type reputation. I tried this beer a few days ago, and it was good. Not great, but good. Not surprisingly, the gorgeous fiancé thought it tasted horrible. If I hadn’t heard so much about it, I probably would have enjoyed it more. I haven’t tried the Younger version, but will let you all know when I do.

Eating

For better or for worse, eating goes along with craft beers.  There are three different types of eating that go well with craft beer, or are commonly found by craft beer aficionados.

Image1. The coolest of these is a gastropub, which is a restaurant that specializes in good beer on tap and in bottles, but also tries to appeal to foodies with a decent selection of cool eats that are trendy and small.  We have a fair number of these in San Diego, and a few of my favorites are: Whisknladle (the best place EVER to eat and drink, even though it’s more of a high-end restaurant than a gastropub), The Urge Gastropub, The Linkery, and The Range Kitchen & Cocktails.

2. Next is a brewpub. A brewpub is a regular old pub that sports a crazy selection of beers on tap and in bottles, and serves pub food… fish and chips, burgers and chips, truffle chips, chips covered with cheese, you get the idea.  The difference between a brewpub and a pub is just the focus on a big selection of interesting beer.

3. The last type of eating that is common around a brewery is a food truck.  Food trucks, popular in large cities all over the country and really trendy, have become very common at breweries because most breweries don’t have the time/energy/expertise to serve food, but their patrons get hungry after they drink. Your basic tasting room, which is what most breweries that are open to the public have, just cannot offer much past a bowl of stale pretzels or some popcorn.  Have a beer or three, and walk outside to get a BBQ pork sandwich, or a spinach wrap. According to my gorgeous fiancé the coolest food truck in San Diego is Miho Gastrotruck. Others that deserve a mention are Super Q (gay-owned BBQ) and Eat at Recess.

Stay tuned for post 2 of 5 soon, where I will cover Flights, Grand Cru, Hitachino Nest, Innis & Gunn, BJCP, and Kona Brewing Company. Until then, study up, future cicerones!

It’s butch to enjoy beer. Be butch.


Cry like a Baby or Grimace like a Butch? Part 2

As a follow-up to this morning’s post, I want to update you on how it went at the foot specialist. If you haven’t read my first post from today, I encourage you to stop now and read that one. Then come back to us when you are caught up. We’ll wait for you – go ahead.

Hi! You’re back. Cool.

So with all of my coping mechanisms in place, we headed into the doctor’s office. First the nurse, then the PA, and finally the doctor came in to see us. The doctor said as he was about to leave the room, that they would get me set up for the Fluoroscopy-guided injection, and then he walked out. I tried to listen to the PA, but, honestly, the tears started to stream down my face. Drat. She grabbed me a box of tissues and I tried to keep it together. Then we were off to the special room with the scary equipment in it, including an “oh shit” bar hanging over the bed. It really warmed my heart to see such a bar. Ugh. My gorgeous fiancé did a great job of distracting me and I got dried up before anything started to happen. The plan was that I was going to focus on her and she was going to tell me about things in Barcelona that we should see next month when we are there. I tried to focus on her, and I did. I can’t tell you anything about the places she mentioned – other than there is a church that is “very big” and some “sort of gargoyle thing we should see.” Also, I am sure that I squeezed her hand way too hard. Good thing she is tough.

The injection hurt. A LOT. Much worse than I remember in my wrists. I am told that the foot is the worst place for a cortisone injection. I believe it. That is the bad side. The good side is that the pain I felt, as severe as it was, only lasted for a few minutes tops. Provided that I get good relief from the stuff, it definitely falls into the category of the pain of the injection being outweighed by the, hopefully, long-lasting relief. We shall see.

In the meantime, I can report that I did cry (maybe not like a baby, but more like a tweenager), and I did grimace like a butch. I know that I was grimacing on the table as the tears fell. So I guess I did both. After the procedure, here is how this butch copes.

1. Get driven safely home by someone hot and sexy, and not on Ativan. My gorgeous fiancé handled this one for me, so check!

2. Stop to take your favorite “butch lunch” home. For me, this is a spicy chicken melt sandwich on jalapeno bread. It’s delicious and so, so very spicy. It makes me feel extra butch. Don’t forget a chocolate milkshake. Hey, I would give one to my kids after a morning like I had – why can’t I use the same approach? Besides I don’t want to mix a beer (my milkshake of choice) with Ativan.

3. Lie on the couch and relish in the fact that I made it through! I am butch, so no need for anyone to be with me, and I sent the gorgeous fiancé back to work stat. There may be times when I would want her here with me if I wasn’t feeling well, but this is one that I can handle myself. All is well here on the couch, with my pillows, my water, my PS3 controller, the remote, my tablet, and my laptop. And I know that for later, a nice La Fin du Monde, my favorite Belgian style tripel brew, waits for me in the fridge.

What do you know? Blogging made me feel a little better before the procedure and its making me feel a little better afterwards too! Thanks for reading!

It’s butch to take care of yourself and it’s also butch to admit when you need a little help. Be butch.


Cry like a Baby or Grimace like a Butch? Part 1

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Today, I am off to the foot specialist where I am to get, most likely, a cortisone shot guided by an X-ray into the newly discovered arthritis across my mid foot. Yea!

I am happy to get a treatment that by all accounts should all but remove my pain for some period of time. However, I’ve had cortisone injections in the past. And they hurt like hell. So, I’m extremely anxious. Extremely.

In these moments, I don’t care about being butch (gasp), I just want to get through it. Here’s my strategy:

1. Take Ativan. This numbing pill is wonderful in situations like today. Check! Slight concern is making sure to take enough to help without turning into a bag of goo who needs to be poured back into the passenger seat for the ride home. We’ll see.

2. Support System. Bring the gorgeous fiancé and empower her to distract me and help me through anyway necessary – even so far as to remind me to be butch. Check! The time for sympathy is after the shot…perhaps when she’s pouring me into the passenger seat.

3. Focus on writing. Perhaps write a pithy little number about my anxiety. Oh, wait. Check!

Stay tuned for details on how we did. Whether I cried like a baby (ok in this situation), or actually grimaced like a butch.

It’s butch to ask for help when you need it. Today I need it. Be butch.


Shopping with the Hulk

My gorgeous fiancé and I went shopping today, and I noticed a few things worth mentioning to you.

The Dude Sofa: I spend a lot of time sitting on sofas while she shops. When I am not with her in the dressing room, I tend to find a place to park it while she browses. Most clothing stores have some sort of sofa or chair. Our most frequent shopping haunt offers a very comfy sofa that we have named the “dude sofa” – as in, the place where dudes sit while their girlfriends and wives are shopping.  And, butches. I really appreciate the dude sofa. I can “guy out” in a super comfy way with a game of Angry Birds while she peruses. Here are a couple “dude sofas” that I have parked it on recently.

           

The Butler: Obviously, as the butch, I carry all or most of the shopping bags. As I have said before, my gorgeous fiancé is always happy to carry her bags, but I don’t let her. Only when my hands are full, does she get to carry a bag or two. I also frequently end up holding her purse so she has two free arms to use while looking through clothes. Now, let me note that I am very happy for her to carry a purse, because as I’ve noted in the past, she carries my butch crap in it. However, when I perform this important community service, I feel odd holding a purse (what if someone thinks it’s mine!?), and she tells me that I hold it as if it were a snake about to bite me. I think this means that I hold it away from my body with two fingers. It may bite – what do I know? Interestingly, I’ve noticed that my father is completely fine with holding my mom’s purse. Perhaps as an older butch, I will become more secure in my butchulinity, and it will not bother me. My dad is obviously advanced and I admire him.

What is SHE Smoking? Today, the woman who normally helps us was not there. My gorgeous fiancé and I both love her. She knows my girl’s style and she accepts and likes us as a couple. So a different woman helped us today, and after we had gathered a few things, she says to me, “I’ve seen you two in this department quite a few times shopping for her (nodding toward my fiancé). When is it your turn?” We were surprised for a split second, but then I politely answered, “Oh, I don’t shop here – I shop downstairs in men’s.” File under duh, right? Oh, well, she’s nice anyway.

Hulk Smash!  It’s funny for me being there in the ladies’ section with my gorgeous fiancé – particularly when she’s shopping in petites. I mean, I am a woman, but does someone actually expect me to wear these tiny clothes? Even when I’m at my goal weight – soon! – nothing in either the regular or petites department would come close to fitting me – unless I were shopping for belly shirts and daisy dukes, which is basically how women’s clothes fit me. I have huge shoulders, I’m 5’10” and wear size 10 in men’s shoes. I’m just not built to fit into women’s clothes, not that I mind. I don’t want to wear them anyway. But generally when I walk around the ladies’ section, I feel like the Hulk. I hold up a tiny shirt on a hanger for my girl and stare at it confused, wondering why it’s so tiny, tilting my head back and forth – Hulk like. I try to navigate through the racks of clothing without running into anyone or anything, and wonder if this is what the Hulk would look like trying to navigate his way through a Waterford crystal shop. Hulk Smash!

Why is that Dude in the Dressing Room?  Given my size, mohawk and general appearance, women appear alarmed when I walk back to the dressing room with my gorgeous fiancé. Yes, men, be jealous. As a butch, I get the privilege of going into the dressing room with my girl. I promise you that it is much better than sitting on the dude sofa watching NASCAR. In the dressing room, there is sometimes kissing! Plus, I get input. “Do you like this, Butch?” Why, yes I do. You look hot. I also volunteer to hang things up. She loves not having to do it, and it speeds things up quite a bit so we can get out of there and go to lunch. Hulk hungry.

Aren’t Those Shoes for Whores?   I am good at picking out clothes for her, but I suck at shoes. Really, she always buys at least one or two of the clothing items that I select for her. But shoes? That’s another story. Take today, for example. We walked by our fifth shoe store of the day (ACK!), and I pointed to a pair of shoes in the window and said, “Wow, those are whorey” at the exact same time that my gorgeous fiancé said, “I love those shoes!” Well, my friends, I am sure that you know where this is going. In the store, we went. Right up to those whorey shoes. She tried them on and loved them. And, you know what? She looked hot, hot, hot. Not at all like a whore. I’ve decided to let her take the lead on shoes.

A Butch’s Reward:  I am frequently rewarded by my girl after a long day of shopping with a little something for me. My girl surprises me with a shirt or butch bracelet from a store she was in while I was on the dude sofa, getting a Starbucks, or whatever. This is funny and endearing. I don’t need her to reward me for shopping with her. Where else am I going to be if not with her? But, still she does it sometimes, and it always makes me smile. It is a lovely little token that says thank you for doing something with me that is not comfortable for you. Thank you for putting yourself in a situation where you feel like the Hulk. Thank you for hanging up my discarded clothes and holding my purse. Bring it on! This Hulk likes surprise shirts and bracelets.

In an arena in which I sometimes feel like a dude, I am also keenly aware that I am not. I like helping her shop. I like being in the dressing room with her – especially for an illicit kiss or two. I like the little gifts she gives me. I am not looking for a way out. Are there things I would rather do? Yes. But if this is what my girl wants to do, then this is what we will do. And tomorrow we will play 18 holes of golf and hit a brewery after. I always get my turn, too.

It’s butch to shop with your girl. Afterall, she might buy you something nice – be it for you to wear or her (meow). Be butch.


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