Saga is an India Pale Ale from Summit Brewing who says this beer is “Named after the Norse goddess Sága, drinking companion of the God Odin. With a divine tropical fruit hop aroma and clean, assertive bitterness.”saga

India Pale Ales are known to be hoppy or bitter.  There is a measurement scale for beer called International Bittering Units (IBUs).  Saga comes in at 80 IBU’s.  Just for reference, light American lagers rate 8-12 IBUs, and some of the highest ratings are over 100.  I did not like IPAs for a year or so.  A good friend of mine drank a lot of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and I typically don’t refuse any beer that is offered.  I got used to the taste and now IPAs are one of my favorite styles of beer.

Smell: Malt, earth, citrus.

Taste: Pine, medium hop kick holds throughout.  Citrus. Not incredible, but a very good IPA.

Mouthfeel:  Alcohol warmness (6.4%) dry and fairly carbonated.

Appearance:  Light copper.  Not much foam retention (only poured 1/4″ of head so maybe bad on me)

Overall:  Very good beer for the price. One of my stand bys along with Sierra Nevada.  I really like IPA’s and those two are both solid beers in my opinion.  It helps that they are both often on sale at my local shop.

Since I started out with one of the worst beers I've ever had, I might as well follow up with one of the best, Abrasive Ale by Surly, ironically shown here in a pint glass with a Bud Light symbol on it. Served from a can, which, contrary to popular belief, is not a bad way to store beer. It cannot get light struck (overexposed to light), which is what will make a beer taste skunky. Clear or green bottles are bad news. Thankfully most of the beer that is in clear or green bottles should be avoided anyway.  Surly is highly regarded as a craft beer and only produces cans  You used to be able to get a growler from the brewery in  Brooklyn Center, MN until the nanny state bureaucrats decided to outlaw this practice with MN State Law 340A.301 This beer scores a 4.53/5 is at beeradvocate.com, which puts it at #29 on the list.  That is pretty prestigious and the highest rated beer that I have ever bought.  It goes for about $16 for a 4 pack, and is worth it if you like good beer. Smell: Apricot, grapefruit. Taste: Hoppy, but sweet. Citrus Piney finish Mouthfeel: Pretty warm (9% alcohol) Fairly carbonated. Appearance: A cloudy golden. Overall: Very good. The hops are more balanced than I expected for something called Abrasive. Highly recommended.

Since I’m pumped someone actually responded to my blog, and one of them requested a beer review, here we go.  To be honest I’m not that good of a reviewer so it’s probably fitting that I start out with a beer that’s not very good either.  Tailgate Beer IPA.

I found some of this for $6.99 a 6-pack and thought it might be worth a shot.  I was planning on doing some ice fishing, and bottles are kind of a drag out there.  I wasted a clean glass to check this stuff out.

"The Official Beer of Tailgating"

“The Official Beer of Tailgating”

The color was about right (copper), and it smelled way too malty for an IPA.  This stuff sorta tastes like an IPA, but a really cheap one.  Reminds me of malt liquor.  I would not recommend it.  I can drink it, but I’m not real picky.  It DID have alcohol in it after all….about 5%.

Since I could use some work on my beer review skills, I though we’d look to this article by Todd on BeerAdvocate.com to understand what we’re looking for.

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“There are five categories to evaluating a beer with your review:

Appearance – Note the beer’s color, carbonation, head and its retention. Is it clear or cloudy? Does it look lackluster and dull or alive and inviting?

Smell – Bring the beer to your nose. Note the beer’s aromatic qualities. Malts: sweet, roasty, smoky, toasty, chocolaty, nutty, caramelly, biscuity? Hops: dank / resiny, herbal, perfumy, spicy, leafy, grassy, floral, piney, citrusy? Yeast will also create aromas. You might get fruity or flowery aromas (esters) from ales and very clean aromas from lagers, which will allow the malt and hop subtleties to pull through.

Taste – Take a deep sip of the beer. Note any flavors, or interpretations of flavors, that you might discover. The descriptions will be similar to what you smell. Is the beer built-well? Is there a balance between the ingredients? Was the beer brewed with a specific dominance of character in mind? How does it fit the style?

Mouthfeel – Take another sip and let it wander. Note how the beer feels on the palate and its body. Light, heavy, chewy, thin / watery, smooth or coarse? Was the beer flat, over-carbonated?

Overall – Your overall impression of the beer”
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Okay, that makes sense.  I suppose I could get used to thinking about all these things every time I try a new beer.  Though it always helps to have an example to see how the format is put into action.  Here’s an interesting review of Tailgate IPA from VelvetExtract in Massachusetts.
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“Appearance-Pours a hazy scorched orange. Huge, voluminous head. Bubbles rise frm the base of the beer to feed the foamy afro. Thick, sporadic lacing blotches.

Smell-Grimace inducing. Sweet and soapy. Honey and…soap. Oh yeah! There is also an abundance of…honey and soap.

Taste-Holy horseshit Batman! This is one of the worst beers I have ever slurped! Venom! Metal and sickening sweetness with a hint of remedial hops. Like sucking on a penny covered in that frightening green rust. The fact that I bought a six-pack of this makes me want to assault someone. Asswater.

Mouthfeel-I hate you Tailgate. Sticky and clingy.

O/D-In contention for the title of the prestigous “Worst of the Worst” award. Absolutely insulting. Quite easily the worst beer I have had yet. At least the plethora of bad Macro brews aren’t pretending to be craft beers. In terms of this beer: IPA = Imbibing Pungent Asswater.”
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So apparently VelvetExtract didn’t like it much either.  I don’t want to know what asswater is or how he knows what it tastes like, but unfortunately I know what it tastes like because I drank that beer!  Don’t make the same mistake.  I do have a few left which I plan to pawn off on unsuspecting friends who have not read my blog.

lvrMedia coverage of national politics would lead you to believe that there is gaping chasm between the two political parties.  One party pretends to be fiscally sound while the other pretends to strive for a peaceful foreign policy.  If you observe the actions of our representatives and ignore their words, the small degree of difference between the Democrats and Republicans is painfully obvious.  They often argue about issues where the federal government should hold no position. Thankfully most people agree with me on one thing:  the approval rating for CONgress is around 13% right now.  These positions of power naturally attract those who desire control over others.  Some people think that most of our public servants have our best interests at heart.  According to Nobel Laureate, F. A. Hayek, this trust does not stand up to reason.  Here is an except from Road to Serfdom.

“There are three main reasons why such a numerous and strong group with fairly homogenous views is not likely to formed by the best but rather by the worst elements of any society.  By our accepted moral standards, the principles on which such a group would be selected will be almost entirely negative.

In the first instance, it is probably true that the higher education and intelligence of individuals become, the more their views and tastes are differentiated and the less likely they are to agree on a particular hierarchy of values.

It is a corollary of this that if we wish to find a high degree of uniformity and similarity of outlook, we have to descend to the regions of lower moral and intellectual standards where the more primitive and “common” instincts and tastes prevail.

This does not mean that the majority of people have low moral standards; it merely means that the largest group of people whose values are very similar are the people with low standards.

It is, as it were, the lowest common denominator which unites the largest number of a numerous group is needed, strong enough to impose their views on the values of life on all the rest, it will never be those with highly differentiated and developed tastes it will be those who form the “mass” in the derogatory sense of the term, the least original and independent, who will be able to put the weight of their numbers behind their particular ideals.”

When looked at objectively, modern politics is an abhorrent practice.  Those who hold steadfast to their party will admit to this somewhat, but of course it’s always the other side that is corrupt, negligent, power hungry, etc.  In reality both parties are doing their best to polarize the public on trivial differences, while acting virtually the same in all the areas that are most damaging to the future of the citizens of the United States, such as fiscal policy and overuse of military force.

Republicans claim to be light on taxation and public spending.  Under Reagan, the constant threat of the Cold War greased the skids for big spending on national offense.  Reagan’s tax cuts also were nothing of the sort.  The following except is from a Murray Rothbard article:

“The much-heralded 1981 tax cut was more than offset by two tax increases that year. One was “bracket creep,” by which just inflation wafted people into higher tax brackets, so that with the same real income (in terms of purchasing power) people found themselves paying a higher proportion of their income in taxes, even though the official tax rate went down. The other was the usual whopping increase in Social Security taxes which, however, don’t count, in the perverse semantics of our time, as “taxes”; they are only “insurance premiums.” In the ensuing years the Reagan Administration has constantly raised taxes – to punish us for the fake tax cut of 1981 – beginning in 1982 with the largest single tax increase in American history, costing taxpayers $100 billion.”

The now famous “Read my lips: no new taxes” lie by George H. W. Bush is a great example of the myth of tax busting Republicans.  Though his son, GW, was relatively easy on taxes, the increase in the rate of debt accumulation under a new president had never been greater since LBJ.  The failed “No Child Left Behind Act” cost tens of billions.  He passed MediCare Part D, a program obviously targeted at getting the votes of elderly citizens.  The estimated cost of this program has far exceeded the estimate by the Congressional Budget Office.   This kind of underestimate is not an uncommon occurrence.  As a despicable bonus George junior uttered the phrase “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.”  What kind of BS is that?  I’ll tell you.  It’s the same kind of BS that says we have to spend massive amounts of money to cure a problem that is the result of spending too much money.

Democrats are not historically peace makers as they are purported to be.  Woodrow Wilson got us into World War I, and it is his pro-imperialist example of foreign policy which is getting us into trouble today.  Franklin D. Roosevelt knew about the planned attack on Pearl Harbor and basically let it happen so that the public would consent to entering World War II.  More recently, Bill Clinton approved missile launches on a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory that resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives of innocent civilians.  He got the U.S. military involved in a questionable intervention in Kosovo, sent some bombs to Iraq, and presided over sanctions that killed an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children.  When his Secretary of State, Madeline Albright was questioned about this figure, she estimated that the price was “worth it” to keep the previous CIA lackey, Saddam Hussein, under their thumb.  Obama holds the distinction of being the first president to ever order the death of a US citizen and his 16 year old son.  Hundreds of innocent children have been killed by drone in Pakistan and Yemen.  No doubt, terrorists commit horrific acts.  I only argue that killing innocent civilians with a drone is no more civilized than with a suicide bomb or IED.  Obama claims responsibility for getting us out of Iraq, when in fact, GW committed to that date during his term when he was pressed by Iraqi officials to do so.  Both have poured resources into Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires.

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”  -H. L. Mencken

What I propose is that we figure out how to live without the state wherever possible.  We really can’t afford to let the parasites in fancy buildings live off of us any longer.  Unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, and public pensions are around 200 trillion dollars.  That means we would have to come up with that much right now, and earn around 5% on it in order to make all the payments that are promised.  This debt will be defaulted on through inflation or other, more direct means.  There is no other way around it.

The budget for the military is larger than the next 10 countries combined.  I hope everyone can agree with me that this is insane.  I think most would agree that “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is a great command to live by.  Is it the large scale of war that supposedly makes murder a heroic act?  For the most part, citizens of other countries are just over there trying to eke out an existence…same as you and I.  Unfortunately there is one group of psychopaths who claim to be in charge of us and another set of psychopaths who claim to be in charge of them.

Politics is definitely a dirty business.  What is seen could be compared to professional wrestling.  What is unseen resembles the dealings of organized crime.  The real two parties are them and us, and it’s the us party that is getting raked over the coals while they live the high life.  This is not democracy, it’s plutocracy.