Category Archives: Drinks

Beer, soda, and other fun fluids you put in your mouth.

SpikedSeltzer

I’m a beer drinker. I like to drink beer. But sometimes beer is too heavy and I want a lighter alternative. That’s when I go for SpikedSeltzer. SpikedSeltzer is a brand of alcohol-infused sparkling water. It comes in a variety of flavors, each one is crisp and refreshing with a 6% alcohol content and only five grams of carbs per 16oz can. You can drink it straight from the can, but it tastes better over ice. You can even use it as a mixer. It comes in cranberry, lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit.

They can be dangerous because you can’t taste the alcohol. It tastes just like sparkling water. Maybe it is psychological but I feel like it doesn’t dehydrate me. It’s my new alcohol of choice if I want to get a buzz while being active or for day drinking under the sun. The biggest downside to SpikedSeltzer is that it’s not really popular yet. I went to six different stores around my house to find it and didn’t have any luck. I found a twelve pack of it at Target and snatched it up. If you happen to come across it, don’t hesitate to pick it up. It’s worth it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Clausthaler Dry Hopped

So I recently decided to cut back on drinking. I bought a few six packs of non-alcoholic beer to help ease into the transition. The only problem is that I’m used to drinking IPAs and most non-alcoholic beers taste like bland lagers. That’s why I was pretty happy to discover Clausthaler Dry Hopped. It’s a non-alcoholic malt beverage with less than .5% abv, and it’s imported from Germany so it’s classy. They dry hop the beer with Cascade hops (meaning they add the hops to the beer after it’s been brewed and cooled, which gives it a hoppy flavor). The end result is a non-alcoholic beer that tastes pretty close to a craft beer. It’s hoppy with a little citrus and a malty caramel finish. It won’t fool an experienced beer drinker, but most casual drinkers would think it’s the real deal. It’s easily the best non-alcoholic beer I’ve ever had. Not sure how much that’s worth, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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O’Douls

I’ve been drinking a lot lately and my girlfriend was kind enough to point it out, so I told her I would put down the bottle for a few days. Yesterday was the first day of my temporary sobriety. All I could think about was how nice it would be to go to the bar and watch the baseball game after work, but then I remembered I wasn’t drinking. But then I remembered that non-alcoholic beer is a thing. So I went to the bar and ordered an O’Doul’s with a chilled glass.

The bartender came back with an O’Doul’s Amber. I didn’t even know they had an amber, I’ve only seen the one in the green bottles. I poured the beer into my glass and admired its reddish hue and slightly hoppy aroma. It looked like beer. I took a sip. It tasted like an amber, a little rich and sweet with a slight hoppy finish. It had good mouthfeel. I sat there watching the game and making small talk with the other barflies and it felt like any other day at the bar. I just wasn’t getting drunk.

I had one more O’Doul’s Amber before I left the bar. The evening was still young so I got a six pack of the original O’Doul’s on the way home. The regular O’Doul’s is more like a lager. It’s mild with a slightly dry finish. I normally drink IPAs so it tastes very bland to me, but I still felt like I was drinking beer.

O’Doul’s is not fully free from alcohol. It’s less than .5% alcohol by volume. Kombucha is anywhere from .5% to 2% for comparison. They brew O’Doul’s like a regular beer and then they distill the alcohol out without heating or cooking the beer. That helps to retain the flavor profile. It’s not perfect. It’s like eating meatless chicken. It’s almost like the real deal but something is missing. It’s still a good way to wean yourself off alcohol. I say that as I’m currently enjoying my second six pack in two days. It definitely helps keep me distracted from real beer and my typical morning hangover.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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You Need a Valid ID to Drink

I’m a bartender at a corporate chain restaurant and we are required to check IDs when customers order alcoholic beverages. It’s not personal. It’s part of my job description. If you order a drink with me, I have to ask for your ID, and I can’t serve you if you don’t have a valid ID. It doesn’t matter if you’re twenty-one or eighty-one. You need a valid ID to drink. It’s the law, bro.

The other day I was at work and an elderly British couple came up and ordered a drink. I asked for their IDs. The husband had his ID, the wife did not. I told them I couldn’t serve her. The husband said I was being ridiculous, that she was sixty-three, she’s clearly of age. I said I was sorry, it wasn’t my policy, that I would serve her if I could, but she needs a valid ID to drink. At this point they became irate and started to raise their voices. They asked if I carded everyone else. I told them I did and my other customers confirmed it and backed me up. Their voices got louder and I started to enjoy watching them make asses of themselves. I showed them the piece of paper that my manager gave to every single employee that says we are required to check IDs when someone orders alcohol. I showed them the email he sent to every single employee about checking IDs. They still argued and got louder and louder while I fake-smiled more and more until they stormed off to find another bar to go to.

They found my manager on the way out and complained about me. He came up to me and thanked me for doing my job. My other customers tipped fat and offered me verbal consolations for enduring their rant with a smile. Everyone had my back. It’s not my fault that a grown ass adult didn’t have a valid ID. They should know better. They were a miserable couple anyway. I’m glad I inconvenienced them. I hope I ruined their vacation. A small victory still makes me a winner.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Smartwater

Glacéau Smartwater is a brand of enhanced bottled water. It’s enhanced because it’s distilled water with added electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It’s water with benefits. That makes it healthier by definition. You might recognize Glacéau as the same brand that makes VitaminWater. That’s water with added vitamins and sugar. They pretend like it’s healthy for you but it’s like mixing water with Pixy Stix. It’s candy water. Glacéau is owned by the Coca-Cola Company so I don’t trust Smartwater as being a better alternative to actual H2O. I don’t want to be duped. And I always feel like a dumbass when I buy Smartwater.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Budweiser

Budweiser is a beer. It’s the only beer for a lot of people. Brand loyalty goes a long way and I know a lot of people that prefer Budweiser over water. My feelings on Budweiser are mixed. It’s too popular, it’s too bland, and it’s too pretentious. They call themselves the king of beers. They’ve even temporarily relabeled themselves as America instead of Budweiser as part of some bizarre marketing ploy. They proudly admit to being made partially from rice. Rice is nice but most beer lovers prefer hops and barley.

Budweiser is drinkable though. I have to give them that. It has a consistently crisp and refreshing taste. It doesn’t really get skunky. It’s my preferred tall boy for beach days because it’s cheap, it’s not too heavy, and it comes in twenty-five ounce cans. Most tall boys are twenty-four ounces. That extra ounce means you’re getting more bang for your buck.

I prefer to drink craft beer when I’m at a bar or at home. I like IPAs and sours and the occasional stout if the weather is cold. Whenever I buy a six pack of something nice I’ll still pick up a tall boy of Budweiser as well. I drink the good beer until I’m nice and toasty and then I’ll switch over to Bud when I’m drunk. That way I won’t waste my good beer when I’m too fucked up to enjoy it. That’s not alcoholism, that’s using my noodle. Budweiser is not the best beer. I wouldn’t even call it a good beer. But it’s beer and that’s enough reason for me to drink it.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Basil Hayden’s 

Basil Hayden’s is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It’s closely related to Jim Beam, but it’s a classier drink to order. It has more rye than most whiskeys and has a spicier finish. Once upon a time it was aged for eight years but it has since been rebranded as “artfully aged” so I’m sure they are skimping somewhere on the production line. It’s 80 proof which gives it a 40% alcohol by volume content, pretty standard for a bottle of bourbon. 

Basil Hayden’s is a lesser known bourbon despite some mainstream support. If you’re at a bar that carries it, you should take advantage and order a shot. I only became aware of it in the last few weeks because it was the whiskey of choice for my friend Josh. He’s no longer with us, but I’ve since tried it and must admit that he had good taste. I’m going to sip it, enjoy it, and remember a great person that was taken too soon. Try Basil Hayden’s. Do it for Josh. And don’t tell me if you hate it because I don’t want to hear it. 

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Ordering “Beer” at a Bar

I bartend at a tourist trap in San Francisco. That means I deal with a lot of people that don’t know how to order drinks. At least twice a shift I will ask a customer what they want to drink, and they will respond with “Beer.” I just shake my head and explain to them that this isn’t Hollywood. This isn’t a movie. You don’t just say “Beer” and get a beer. Do you want bottle or draft? Do you want something imported, domestic, or a local craft brew? Do you want a lager, an ale, a stout, a porter, a wheat beer or an IPA? You have to be more specific. If you want a Budweiser, then order a fucking Budweiser. I don’t have time to hold your hand and walk you through the menu. I’m too busy helping people who actually know what they want to drink. The next motherfucker who asks me for a beer is getting a glass of O’Doul’s and the middle finger. You wanted a beer, you got one. Now fuck off. 

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Moscow Mule

I normally drink beer but I’ve been drinking a lot of vodka lately. I’ve mostly been making Moscow Mules. It’s a simple drink. Vodka, lime juice, spicy ginger beer, and ice. It’s crisp and refreshing, and it gets you drunk without much of a hangover the next day (provided you use a decent vodka). There are a few recipes out there but mine’s been working for me. I’ll pour two ounces of vodka into a twelve ounce glass (copper mugs are ideal, but I don’t have any on hand). I’ll squeeze and drop in three lime wedges, add ice, and top with ginger beer. Give it a quick stir, then sip and enjoy. Add more vodka as needed. But the trick lies with the ginger beer. Ginger beer is harder to find than ginger ale, but it adds spice and zing and is worth searching for. Reed’s, Bundaberg, and Gosling’s all make great ginger beer. The lime is also a key ingredient and often overlooked. Most recipes say to use lime juice. I think it’s important to use an actual lime. Squeeze that shit and drop it in. Let the lime rind release its oils and flavors into the cocktail. Enjoy the zest. Thank me later.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Cutting Six-Pack Holders

I drink beer but I care about the environment. That means I take the time to cut plastic six-pack holders. I don’t want any fishes or small animals to get caught in one. They shouldn’t suffer because I had a cold one. Cutting six-pack holders is a quick and easy way to make Captain Planet proud. It’s up to all of us to save the world. And it’s a lot easier to cut plastic six-pack holders than it is to stop drinking. I did my part. Hope you did the same.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Aunt Sally (Beer, Not the Relative)

Today is my day off and I decided to celebrate with a little day drinking. I went to the corner store and surveyed their beer selection for a few minutes before deciding on a six pack of Aunt Sally from Petaluma, California’s Lagunitas Brewing Company. It’s described on the label as A Unique Dry-Hopped Sweet Tart Sour Mash Ale, and that’s precisely what it is. It’s a good introduction to the world of sour beers. 

It pours a pale goldish amber color with a moderately foamy head. The aroma is of citrus fruits, green apple, and floral hops. It tastes sweet at first but turns tart and sour on the tongue. I get bursts of lemons, limes, maybe some pineapple, and hops. It’s crisp and seductive, the type of beer that cider lovers and wine aficionados can enjoy. 

Aunt Sally is a great beer for day drinking. It has an alcohol percentage of 5.7. It’s stronger than a Budweiser but lighter than most IPAs. It’s very drinkable and reminds me of sipping lemonade on the front porch at grandma’s house in the country. And my grandma didn’t have a porch or live in the country. Drink this beer if you’re lucky enough to get it.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Sour Grapes (Documentary)

I’m in the restaurant industry and I’ve always been suspicious of self-proclaimed wine connoisseurs. They always seem so pretentious and full of shit. Last night I watched Sour Grapes, and it appears that my suspicions have been confirmed. Sour Grapes is a 2016 documentary about Rudy Kurniawan, a con artist who made millions of dollars by selling bootleg bottles of wine to rich suckers. It’s a cool crime story involving forgery, counterfeiting, manipulation, and wine. I won’t even discuss what Kurniawan did, how he did it, or who he did it to because I want you to watch it. It’s on Netflix. It doesn’t even matter if you like wine or not. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t like wine because it’s fun to laugh at other people’s misfortunes. Watch it. Or don’t. It’s really up to you.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Drunk Food

 One of the best things about getting drunk is getting drunk food. Drunk food is a complete meal you can eat with your hands that fills you up and is served quickly. Certain foods taste better when you’re inebriated. Pizza is always good, but it’s so much better when you’re drunk. A drunk burrito in between bars keeps your night going. Stumbling across a street vendor selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs will make you believe that God is real and wants us to be happy. Drunk food provides you with the much needed fuel to keep on drinking. It makes the party last longer. You know you had a good night when you find an empty pizza box on the counter when you wake up the next morning and no recollection of getting it. I’m not promoting binge drinking, I’m promoting eating food when you’re binge drinking. There’s a slight difference I’m sure. 

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Half Frozen Bottle of Water 

 I’m a big fan of ice cold water. It’s refreshing and invigorating and thirst quenching. I found a pretty useful life hack online a few months ago that allows me to have ice cold water whenever I want it. All you have to do is take a used bottle of water, fill it half way, lay it sideways in the freezer, and leave it alone for a few hours. Once the water is frozen, you open the bottle and fill it up the rest of the way. If you do it right, there will be ice on one side and water on the other. The ice makes the water cold instantly and keeps it chilled for hours. No muss, no fuss. I keep a half frozen bottle of water in the freezer at all times. It’s a cheap and easy way to impress thirsty guests when they come over. They think I’m smart and clever for coming up with it. I don’t tell them that I stole the idea from the internet. It’s not lying. It’s deceiving. There’s a difference.
  

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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That Wasn’t My Water 

 I was starving at work today, so I ran into the break room to eat some food real quick. I took a few bites of my burger and took a big gulp of water to wash it down. Then I realized that it wasn’t my water. I didn’t even have water. I chugged somebody else’s water that they left behind. I felt sick. I felt violated. It’s pretty horrifying to discover that you drank some random person’s drink. It was disgusting. And it didn’t even have ice, so it was lukewarm and gross. I wish I didn’t do that. Now I’m going to spend the next few days worrying about catching strange diseases. That’s not how I wanted to spend my weekend. I’m going to dwell on it for a while. Woe is me. 

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Guayakí Brand Yerba Mate

 I used to drink a shitload of Energy drinks back in the day. Then I switched to coffee for a while. Now I’m starting to drink yerba mate, specifically Guayakí Brand Yerba Mate. It claims to have “the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate.” I don’t know about all that, but I do know that it provides me with a quick pick-me-up. It’s refreshing and more hydrating than most standard sugary energy drinks and it doesn’t leave me all jittery. It come in bottles and cans with a few different flavors, but I suggest that you try a can of Enlighten Mint as your first foray into the world of Yerba mate. It’s crisp and delicious and you shan’t be disappointed. Guayakí Brand Yerba Mate is gaining in popularity and it’s about to blow up and become super trendy. You might as well jump on the bandwagon now. You don’t want to be accused of being a loser later.

 Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Cheers Tap Down

I drink beer and I drink socially. That means that I usually do a toast or cheers a few times a week. I’ll go to the bar with a friend, order a couple of beers, and will raise our glasses to one thing or another. I’ve noticed that every time I clink my glass against another, I tap the table with my glass before I take a sip. I can’t help it. It’s built in. It’s an automatic reflex. I call it the Cheers Tap Down. Maybe you have a better name for it. Good for you. You should write a blog post about it. Maybe I will read it.

I don’t know when I picked up the habit of tapping my glass down before I drink it. I might have gotten it from my European friends (do they do that in Europe?). I might have gotten it by mimicking cool people. Either way, I do it now instinctually. It feels weird if I don’t do it. I like to think of it as a way of wishing for good luck, like knocking on wood or something. Cheers to you, one for the homies, and a sip for me. The Cheers Tap Down. Try it once and you’ll never go back to normal toasting again.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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