Monday, December 19, 2011

Bottomshelf Beer Reviews: Icehouse

Merry Christmas everyone

It’s Christmastime in Chicago and it’s fucking cold outside.   I don’t mind the cold weather that much, but I don’t exactly like it when my testicles jump into my stomach every time I walk my dog.  In the spirit of winter I thought I’d review the coldest sounding beer I could find: Icehouse.  I say “the spirit of winter” not “the spirit of Christmas” because from what I remember Icehouse AKA Asshouse is pretty bad and it’s not something I want to associate with Jesus’ birthday. 
Eskimos live in an Icehouse but they drink Busch

In the spirit of holiday reminiscence it’s worth mentioning that Icehouse was actually the very first beer I ever got drunk on.  I stayed over at my buddy’s house and we had a few Icehouses in his mom’s barbershop.  It was the beginning of a lifelong love of beer, even though the beer in this particular instance was Icehouse.  The only problem that night (aside from the Icehouse) was the one dude that was with us.  We weren’t really friends with the guy and then when he got drunk he started violating everyone’s personal space.  The dude’s stories were weird enough without him putting his face about five inches from mine.  It would have been enough if he was a normal dude, but hygiene was not this particular character’s forte and he kept getting his grossness all up in my business. 
"Did I ever tell you about that time I did nitrous and made out with this chick and her roommate?"

The only other real significant thing I can remember about my first experience with beer was the spiral staircase I had to use to go up to my bed.  It was metal and really steep, which was hard enough to navigate when sober.  After five or six Icehouses it was damn near impossible (or in my case three or four Icehouses, but in fairness to me I weighed like 130lbs at the time).  This was further complicated by the goofy platform boots I was wearing in an effort to look “hip” or “dope” or whatever kids were saying at the time.  I remember getting vertigo when I looked down to take a piss at ground level, so bounding up the stairs to go to bed wasn’t in the cards.  I weighed my options and opted to crawl up the stairs, and puke in a sink full of dishes.  I guess I didn’t exactly “opt” to puke in the sink, but it definitely happened.
Like that, but in a sink

I’ve had Icehouse several times since then, but it’s been a long time since I drank Icehouse.  That’s not an accident.  In fact the only times I’ve ever drank Icehouse was when someone else bought it, which they did…a lot.  Icehouse is still pretty cheap, but when I was in my late teens early 20’s Icehouse was going for $10 a thirty pack.  Being an ice beer* it had a higher alcohol content (5.5% ABV) than your standard bottomshelf beer, making it a favorite of high schoolers and frat boys everywhere.  Of course being an ice beer, it also tasted kind of crappy but those particular groups of people aren’t exactly known for their refined pallet.  That being said, Icehouse has won the American-style Ice Lager Gold Cup of the 1996 and 1998 World Beer Cup competitions.  I guess they give a trophy to anyone these days.  The only explanation I can offer is that Icehouse was only competing against other ice beers. Winning a gold medal in an ice beer competition is kind of like winning a gold medal in the Special Olympics.  You may have won, but they will never let you donate sperm.
*For a definition of Ice Beer check out my review of Milwaukee’s Best Ice.
Gabba Gabba Hey!

I was kind of surprised by Icehouse this time around.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered it.  I guess over the last decade or so I’ve been exposed to a much larger sample size, and I have a much better idea how bad a beer can be (ahem, Gameday Ice.)  Icehouse has the stale beer scent of an old sports stadium, but it went down pretty smooth. Ice beer is kind of like the halfway point between beer and malt liquor and that’s exactly what Icehouse tastes like.  I often complain during my reviews that once the beer reaches room temperature it becomes undrinkable.  It wasn’t a problem this time.  My tallboy never seemed to get warm for some reason.  Either I drank it really fast or Icehouse has magical coldness powers.  I hope it’s the second thing; magical powers are much cooler than slamming a tallboy of Icehouse by yourself on a weeknight.
Magical coldness powers; useful both in Kombat and when consuming cheap beer in your pajamas

I guess that’s pretty much everything I have to say about Icehouse.  As far as bottomshelf beers go, you could do a whole lot worse, but I wouldn’t leave Icehouse and cookies out for Santa unless you want to get AIDS for Christmas.  If on the other hand you’re alone on the holidays, give the gift of drinking and split a case of Icehouse with a homeless guy.  I guess if you do that you’ll still get AIDS for Christmas, but at least you did something charitable.  Merry Christmas everyone. 
I don't think he'd give you AIDS, but if you see a bum that look like this I'd walk the other way

I used to live by a guy in a wheelchair.  At least once a week I would see him wheeling himself home from the liquor store with a case of Icehouse in his lap.

Would you actually like to know more?  If you do don’t go to their official website. After you take the time to fill our your birth date there’s only a single page with a short ad for Icehouse.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bottomshelf Beer Reviews: Crazy Stallion Malt Liquor

When you hear the term “Crazy Stallion” you really can’t help but think about one of rock ’n’ roll’s all time most influential bands.  I’m speaking of course of The Wyld Stallyns.  I have it on good authority that The Wyld Stallions’ music will one day inspire a Utopian society.  If that never happens at the very least The Wyld Stallyns inspired my younger brother and I to play air guitar and yell “Wyld Stallyns!” a lot.  Hopefully Crazy Stallion Malt Liquor will inspire a similar reaction.

Paleface didn't give him a comic book
Crazy Stallion (Stallyn) Malt Liquor entered the market in March of 1992 as Crazy Horse Malt Liquor, deriving its name from Chief Crazy Horse (the guy that surrounded and destroyed George Armstrong Custard and his men in the Battle of Little Bighorn.)  This turned out to be a bad move on the part of the G. Heileman brewing company, because around that same time Americans began to notice the horrible conditions and deep social problems in the Native American community.  Rather than focusing on problems that were hard to fix (75%-80% unemployment; rampant alcoholism; poor education) we did the next best thing and took to the streets to protest Indian Mascots and certain episodes of Looney Tunes.  Thus the Political Correctness movement was born, and by the decade’s end racism was over and all social problems had magically disappeared.
Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony...

In all fairness though, the people that sued G. Heileman were actual Sioux Indians, not cracker-ass college know-it-alls, and they legitimately objected to once again getting fucked in the ass by whitey.  Nine years later the Sioux Nation settled with Stroh’s (whom had previously bought G. Heileman) for (I am not making this up) 32 blankets, 32 twists of tobacco, 32 braids of sweet grass, seven thoroughbred horses, and an apology.  Talk about some Wild West shit.  It seems that everything I learned about “Injuns” from Three Stooges shorts and Encylopedia’s from the 1920’s was completely true.  I assume they became blood brothers to seal the deal.
"Those little red devils...They love toys."

Around the time Stroh’s smoked the peace pipe with the Indians I believe they sold Crazy Horse to someone else.  The whole situation is kind of confusing, and it’s not like they have an official website or anything to explain any of this shit.  All I do know is that Crazy Horse (Stallion/Stallyn) is currently brewed by the same people that make LaCrosse Lager, and at some point (or possibly even right now) the people that made Crazy Horse also made Arizona Ice Tea giving the cans and bottles a similar look.  It’s also apparent that at some point since 2001 the brewers of Crazy Horse Malt Liquor changed its name to Crazy Stallion to bury the hatchet (yuk yuk!) with the Sioux Nation.
I thought of a joke about burying a pork hatchet, but it kept coming out really crass

After drinking a tallboy of Crazy Stallion I don’t see what the Indians were so upset about.  The stuff’s pretty good.  It’s not Cristal or anything, but I think it was well worth the buck and change I paid for it.  It’s still malt liquor, but it’s one of the smoothest malt liquors I ever poured down my gullet.  It tastes a little cheap but it doesn’t have any of the dreaded poo aftertaste you usually get with beers this cheap.  It actually has a sweet flavor, kind of caramel apple-y.  It’d be the perfect malt liquor to give out on Halloween.   In my experience kids love malt liquor.
This Native American is going as a topless woman for Halloween.

In my opinion the name change was a solid move.  Crazy Horse makes me think of Neil Young’s backing band and let’s face it: Neil Young kind of sucks.  He’s like a lame, Canadian (redundant I know) version of Bob Dylan.  In other words it’s a terrible name for a great malt liquor.  Crazy Stallion just makes me think of the The Wyld Stallyns, a superior band in every way.  I guess that’s a pretty good way to end things, until next time be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!