Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 1: Derek Carr and The Giant Claw

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Published on : September 14, 2016

 

 

 

Welcome to my new digs blobs and ghouls! While the last NFL season was spent woozily sprawled out on the couch with the room spinning, this year I’ve decided to take refuge in my macabre sanctuary. A place where I can obsess over the week’s best play as well as the week’s weirdest movie in peace. Without the cruel admonishments of so called “tasteful” film critics.

 

Pull up an electric chair, lay back on the rack, and get comfy as I run the tape.

 

Week 1: Derek Carr Strong Run and Vault For First Down

 

 

Now those familiar with the old Pretzel know that I have a certain weakness for the defensive side of the ball. As such, I was hoping to start the season with a big sack, safety, pick, or crucial stop, but after reviewing all the tape I couldn’t get this one out of my head.

 

It’s a tie game in New Orleans well before the half, and the Saints send a couple of extra guys after Carr on a 3rd and 9. After a quick scan downfield, the Oakland QB scoots to the left and takes off, and while most of the focus rightly belongs on his acrobatic flip-dive for the first, I really like the determined run that got him to that point. Even in slow-mo, the guy’s legs are a blur. There’s something about this play that while risky, also smacks of the irrepressible excitement of football’s return. I’m not saying that Carr wouldn’t be able to repeat such a feat in say week 15, but I am saying that the likelihood of it is rarer than an ex-convict’s first steak out of the joint.

 

Week 1: The Giant Claw

Director: Fred F. Sears
Released: 1957

 

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Val Lewton became deservedly famous for producing a series of fright flicks for RKO that traded in on atmosphere and what WASN’T seen, leaving the scares to your imagination and keeping the production’s budget manageable. But sometimes you just want to see the damn monster, and I want my monsters like this.

 

Behold The Giant Claw: A massive and indestructible flying chicken with the head of a vulture, a beak lined with rows of T-Rex teeth, and a bitchin’ Mohawk to boot. This one fits solidly into that 1950’s commie-hating, nuclear-annihilation-shit-scared, national-security-at-all-cost zeitgeist that gave us wonderful films like Them! and The Thing From Another World.

 

You’re obviously in this one for the ugly puppet, but television vet Jeff Morrow and female lead Mora Corday dabble in some genuinely clever and romantic back-and-forth dialogue that is much better than the usual filler these types of flicks tend to have between action scenes.

 

Behold the trailer!

 

 

And the entire thang for the craven and brave!

 

 

Until next week, gang… Stay creepy.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Conference Championships

Written by :
Published on : January 27, 2016

 

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

Conference Championships: Kurt Coleman Picks Carson Palmer in End Zone After Carolina Gives Up Ball

 That’s so pretty.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

 

All right guys, after these Conference Championships I’m officially excited for the Super Bowl. We’ve got Denver, whose defense threw Tom Brady around the field like a rag-doll all day, against a Carolina offense that racks up points faster than a hobo eating a ham sandwich. Both these games were packed with stellar plays, but one in particular tickled my mercurial fancy.

 

With only a ten point differential in the game, Cam launched a ball he probably shouldn’t have, getting picked off by Patrick Peterson for a substantial return and great field position. He might’ve taken it to the house too had Ted Ginn not been able race back for the tackle. The Cardinals defense had come through to give AZ a much-needed break from the hard charging Carolina offense, and a great shot at narrowing the score gap.

 

But the very next play Palmer gives the ball right back, as Kurt Coleman goes up big for a full extension, two-handed catch that would be one of two interceptions for the Safety on the day. It’s not like John Brown could’ve gotten that ball anyway, what with some excellent Carolina coverage in the backfield. It was a long day for Arizona, and this is just one example of how they were thoroughly manhandled on both sides of the ball. Simply put, Carolina looks like a championship team to me.

 

Conference Championships: A Bunch of Stuff Your Grandparents Drink

 

Your Grandpa called this week and wanted me to come over and help him move the big ladder “back into the damn garage.” I promised I’d come over on Sunday to help him and watch the games.

 

After the minute-and-a-half it took to return the ladder to its proper place we settled in for some well-earned relaxation and football goodness. Your Granddad offered me a drink, and I was much obliged. One lead to another, and soon we were telling tales and getting cheerful. Here’s a recap of what your grandparents keeps on hand for guests.

 

I.W. Harper Whiskey:

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We got things started off right with the hard stuff. He broke me off some ice cubes that tasted like the nasty plastic tray they came from into my souvenir ballpark cup and then poured out a generous dose of the brown stuff.
“Whoo –whe, That’ll get yer ticker started,” your grandfather told me as he slugged a good deal of his back. “When I was a pup we used to make our own, but this grocery store business tastes a might better’n what we was used to.” I thanked your Grandfather and downed my glass, noticing that the telltale bottle of I.W. Harper was from the 1970’s. Tom Brady got sacked, and we both hooted and hollered.

 

It was about that time that your Grandmother came in. She snagged a pack of Tareytown smokes out of the freezer and glared at us. She packed the cigs against her palm, and then lit one up as your grandparents glared at one another. I felt very uncomfortable.

 

“How you doing Roger?” she asked in her thick accent, leaving the room before I could answer.

 

See also: J&B Scotch, Canadian Club, Wild Irish Rose

 

Schlitz Beer:

schlitzisaac

 

When we finished the bottle of Harper your Grandpa said he’d “go to the icebox and grab us some cold ones.” I assured him he didn’t need to get up, but he insisted, shuffling all the way out to the garage, moving aside the tall ladder, and pulling out a couple sixers of Schlitz. I asked your Grandfather why he kept the beer in the garage when there was a minifridge in the living room where his wife kept her cigarettes, but he simply told me to “shut up, and mind my own damn business.” The beer wasn’t the tastiest, but it was cold as the dickens, and Tom Brady was mounting a comeback, so I fixed my eyes on the blue light of the cathode-ray tube.

 

I think we both cheered when New England failed to complete the game-ending two-point conversion. That’s when the trouble really started. You’re Grandma burst into the room, waving a broom at me and shouting at your Grandpa in Italian.

 

“You know I don’t understand no goddamned eye-talian,” your Grandfather informed her. I got up to leave, finishing the last of my Schlitz. They both yelled at me to sit back down in unison. “You too! Sit down for chrissakes, will ‘ya woman?” Your Grandmother scowled at us and left the room again.

 

See also: Grain Belt, Falstaff, Rainier

 

A Jug of Carlo Rossi:

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But a moment later, your Grandmother returned with a jug of Carlo Rossi and two small glasses. Before I could protest she poured me out a healthy belt telling me it was good for my heart. She helped herself to a glass and we all settled in to watch the Arizona/Carolina game.

 

During the commercials your Grandma asked me all kinds of questions without waiting for an answer: “When are you going to have children? Why did that nice girl leave you? When are you going to get a real job?” I was actually quite thankful not to be able to get a word in edgewise. She also kept making me eat these cookies that had really pretty wrappers but tasted like almonds and cardboard.

 

Grandpa kept knocking back his Schlitz cans and Grandma kept refilling our glasses. The room was turning blue from all the Tareytown smoke, and I was actually getting a little nauseous but your Grandparents didn’t seem to mind.

 

During the second half your Grandparents were getting loose! They told me all about their experiences during the war, and how they met later in America. They told me lots of funny stories about your parents and they even started dancing with each other each time the Panthers scored a touchdown.

 

On the cab ride home I thought about how much I like your grandparents. You should probably give them a call sometime.

 

See also: Shitty Chianti in a Straw Wrapped Bottle, A big bottle of oxidized Merlot, “I don’t have any wine.”

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Divisional Playoffs

Written by :
Published on : January 21, 2016

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

 

Divisional Playoffs: Thomas Davis Shows Good Hands on Onside Kick to Kill Seahawks Miracle Comeback

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

In this Divisional weekend, we saw the Patriots get lucky breaks even when they didn’t need ‘em, Aaron Rodgers completed two ludicrous Hail Mary passes back-to-back, and grandpa Peyton overcome a handful of sacks to take Denver to the Conference Championships. Not least of all, in the Carolina/Seattle matchup, we saw the ‘Hawks do what they do, in attempting to crawl out of a 31 point hole and make an improbable comeback, like they did last year against Green Bay.

 

Not if Thomas Davis has anything to say about it.

 

I think Detroit fans might feel this, since earlier in the season Calvin Johnson, arguably the most “hands” guy one would want on that “hands” team flubbed one against the Packers. It don’t matter if the guy is a linebacker in his thirties or a star wide receiver: you gotta put the game away.

 

Davis takes a massive hit as he goes up for the catch, so it’s not a gimme by any means. Fullback Derrick Coleman, ploughs into Davis’s legs sending him crashing headfirst to the field. Davis hangs on for the showstopper.

 

 

Divisional Playoffs: Booze That Comes in Bottles Shaped Like Weapons

 

Nothing goes together better than alcohol and weapons. Whether it’s taking potshots at cans off your front porch while sippin’ some Lynchburg Lemonade, emptying your Beretta into the air at your cousin’s christening while chugging Night Train, or wowing party guests with your spiked punch-enhanced knife throwing skills, you know the guns and blades are gonna come out at some point in the night.

 

It’s only natural that spirits providers would get hip to this match made in heaven, and now we’re blessed with an embarrassment of riches in the form of booze holding vessels that looks like our beloved heaters, streetsweepers, and toad-stickers.

 

Tequila That Looks Like an AK-47

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The good folks at Institucional Tequila chose to bottle their 100% agave blanco tequila in a glass bottle shaped like an AK-47. Online providers claim that the product is both “fruity and smooth,” though Institucional prefers to describe the spirit as “dangerously smooth.” Get it? You are going to get lots of attention if you bring this to a Super Bowl party, your grandma’s funeral reception, or a government building.

 

Vodka That Looks Like an AK-47

Ak-47

 

It would be pretty lousy if a Mexican company were the only distiller to use the shape of the famed Kalashnikov. You can’t leave the Russians out. But apparently Moscow’s attitude is “nyet way, Jose.” Kalashnikov vodka is not only named for the famed creator of the world’s most iconic machine gun, but it also has a far superiorly modeled bottle to it’s Mexican counterpart, and comes in a faux-military style weapons crate.

 

Good luck getting your hands on this puppy though, it was a one-off production with a limit of 13,000 bottles produced.

 

Rum In The Shape of a “Buccaneer Pistol”

 

Another export from our Mexican friends, this añejo rum has been aged a respectable ten years and boasts “lots of vanilla and sweetness.” The bottle itself is hand made, and certainly looks like something a pirate would carry around, but holding only 20cl of hooch, it’s questionable whether or not Blackbeard & Co would be trucking around with such a paltry stash.

 

Still, it would make a great gift for that elementary school teacher, elevator operator, or proctologist in your life.

 

Tequila in the Shape of a Pistol

UnFTN

 

Well, there’s definitely a theme here… This tequila is described thusly: “This limited edition tequila is made with quality, prestige and tradition to honor the Villanueva Barragan family, owners of Licores Veracruz. This pistol symbolizes the family’s courage, respect and pride. Hijos de Villa tequila represents the Mexican family in the revolutionary era.”

 

It probably would’ve been better had the family not gone out of it’s way to explain what the pistol means to them as now I’m picturing an estate full of the Mexican version of the Sorpanos, but what’re ya gonna do? This one’s also only 20cl, so you’re mostly paying for a glass bottle shaped like a gun with a little bit of yellow tequila in it, which is generally considered pretty good (think Cazadores).

 

Brandy in the Shape of a Sword

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And straight out of left field comes a glass sword full of Ukrainian brandy thanks to the Albo Group of Companies. I couldn’t say it any better than the company representatives:

 

“A new brand from the Albo group is now available as a gift. Our cognac is considered to have good form and flavor. The new Cognacs of Ukraine come in a souvenir bottle and has been rated as a five-star cognac in a several tasting competitions… The shapes of the bottles are very pleasing themselves, however; inside is where the real pleasure and surprise are contained. Even experts are pleasantly surprised at the quality of the cognac. The taste is classical balanced and the flavor harmonious combined the aroma of fruit. The long and silky final note gives an elegant aftertaste. The noble amber color of the cognac in a vessel of sculptural form will improve any home interior or office.”

 

That’s all for this week, but you can bet I’ll be seeing you after the Conference Championships, swinging my brandy sword, and making obscene shooting sounds with my tequila pistol.

 

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Wild Card Weekend

Written by :
Published on : January 13, 2016

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Wild Card Weekend: The Butt Reception

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

We all remember Mark Sanchez’s infamous Thanksgiving day “Butt Fumble.” Well, be prepared to meet his overachieving little brother the “Butt Reception.”

 

Hope you all had a good Wild Card weekend. I sure did. The Texans got thumped by the Chiefs despite, J.J. Watt and Vince Wilfork trying to push their way in for a touchdown, Blair Walsh inconceivably chumped a game-losing gimme field goal, and bedlam broke out as the Bungles self-destructed in a horrific conflagration of failure.

 

During that strange, dark evening in Cincinnati there were some truly nasty head hits, Big Ben got his shoulder busted, and a couple of shameful penalties stitched up the game in the Steelers favor. Martavis Bryant’s acrobatic reception in the third was the game’s first touchdown and put a serious hurt on the trailing Bengals. Seen in broadcast the catch didn’t look particularly remarkable, but when slowed down one gets a jaw-dropping view of Bryant juggling the ball through his legs as he flips forward in order to prevent it from touching the turf.

 

It’s as good a catch as I’ve seen all year.

 

 

Wild Card Weekend: A Whole Case of Cream Ales

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The first of these I ever had was Genesee Cream Ale, which is not surprising seeing as how Genny is still the biggest name in the game. Smooth, light, and damn satisfying this was a beer made for crushing can-after-can on a lazy football Sunday. As its name suggests, cream ale uses a top-fermenting yeast (making it an ale), but was designed specifically to taste like a lager, and is often chilled during the second phase of fermentation like a lager.

 

 

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From a basic historical standpoint, cream ale came about because most early American brewers were German, and as such they popularized the motherland’s idea of a crisp, clean, and refreshing beer in this country. Ales tended to be fruitier, burlier, more challenging, more English, and sometimes cloying, so the brewers who were working with lots of ale yeasts decided to make their ales taste more like the beers that were most popular on the current market.

 

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Eventually cream ale fell out of vogue when king lager completed its domination of big beer in the latter half of the 20th century, but now with the explosion of craft brewing, plenty of folks are trying their hand at this uniquely American brew style.

 

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So despite the weird sounding name, there’s nothing to fear from a chilly cream ale. Order one up and tell ‘em Roger sent you.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 17

Written by :
Published on : January 7, 2016

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 17: Ziggy Pressures Cutler Who Throws A Pick to Quin, Wrapping Up the Game/Season

CutlerAnsah

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

It’s been a struggle for Lions fans (when hasn’t it?), but at least the blue and silver get to go out with a little joy, with a win over the only divisional rival more pitiable. Cutler has looked good as of late with his interception figures way down, but the Lions got to him here, forcing him into his old ways with three turnovers on the day.

 

Ziggy Ansah has had a mega season, and is certainly one of the more unsung players in the league, as DeAndre Levy was the year before. He does what he does here, getting around the edge and launching into Cutler, forcing the bad throw. Glover Quin is there for the easy catch and then there’s the inevitable scuffle. Not sure why Ansah’s the aggressor here, but I do have it on good authority that Jay Cutler has a withering collection of “yo mama” jokes under his belt.

 

The simultaneous sense of sadness and relief that there will be no more high-anxiety, beer-fueled Sunday mornings is the just the way it goes this time of year.

 

 

Week 17: The Sad Salty Tears of Jets Fans

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I’ve never thought I’d be sad to see the Jets miss the playoffs, but there’s something about the 2015 campaign that made me quietly root for them. Mostly it’s Todd Bowles. Coming into his first season as head coach, this was a team that looked all but dead in the water with some high profile injuries, arrests, and Geno’s broken jaw.

 

It’s not unusual for many an NFL fan to latch onto their favorite stories of the year, and I often gravitate towards the pound’s ugly puppy. The Jets aren’t a perennially sad-sack team like the Browns or the Titans, they’re a solid franchise in transition, with no real reason for an outsider to root for them, but then there are those two little doggies in the window that nobody wanted…

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chris Ivory. These guys were never top-tier Pro Bowl types, but often gained my respect in watching them over the years. Fitzpatrick having officially played for every single team in the NFL, most of them on two different signings, was never afraid to take a big hit on a successful first down run with the play disintegrating. Chris Ivory had, and still has, some fumble issues, but I love his violent run style with feet refusing to stop even when wrapped up by two linemen and a linebacker. They’re two players that made a difference on the field this year, both in terms of performance and perception.

 

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Of course all this lovey-dovey treacle I’m throwing Gang Green’s way is ephemeral, fragile, and easy to say in hindsight. If the Lions had lost to ‘em this season, I’d be crowing at their elimination. And don’t get me wrong, I much prefer the Steelers, and can’t wait to see Pittsburgh in the playoffs.

 

Still, it’s another one of those fun things about the NFL, where team’s structures and dynamics move so fast that a squad you hated, or even just didn’t think anything about last season, becomes a somewhat loveable scrapper. This Sunday, for about a minute and a half, I felt genuinely sorry for Jets fans.

 

Glad that’s over. Time to move onto the playoffs.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘n Brew: Week 16

Written by :
Published on : January 1, 2016

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

 

 

Week 16: C.J. Anderson Threads the Needle For An Impressive TD

 

 He couldn’t be stopped.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

For a guy supposedly fighting an ankle injury, C.J. Anderson shows a ridiculous amount of explosiveness on this touchdown run. A beautiful cutback gives Anderson all the room he needs, and when those legs start popping he dusts four different Cincinnati defensemen on his way to the end zone.

Just shy of forty yards, this play put Denver in the lead for the first time in the game, all the way into the fourth quarter. He gets one good block on the way from Emmanuel Sanders, but most of the credit lies in the back’s excellent instincts and spooky speed.

 

 

Week 16: Vodkas Supported by Rappers

Greetings Pretzelheads! Last week we explored the world of athlete vanity wines. This week we’re continuing in a similar vein with a hard-hitting taste-test of rapper endorsed vodkas. I’m a thirsty boy; so let’s get this show on the road.

 

Birdman for Grand Touring Vodka

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According to Grand Touring they “combine the finest grains from America’s heartland with clean, crisp waters. Column distilled (six times) and filtered through activated stone carbon, Grand Touring Vodka presents unmatched smoothness and quality. The bounty of our labor is in your grasp, so let it pour.”

When it comes to Birdman, the dude is a solid businessman with his label, but I’ve never been much of a fan when it comes to his rapping talents. His vodka clocks in at around $33 bucks, which is more than I’d normally want to pay for a vodka with such tacky graphic design on its label.

Taste Test: Pretty smooth. Inoffensive. Tastes like vodka.

 

Dame Dash for Armadale Vodka

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Armadale vodka says their product is like when “Scottish legacy meets American ingenuity. We handcraft each bottle of Armadale with the unique characteristics of flavorful grains and pure Cascade Mountain water. Then we filter our spirit five times through charcoal and crushed lava rock. Whether you enjoy Armadale straight up or in your favorite cocktails, you’ll experience an ultra smooth vodka thatʼs rich in character.”

Okay, so Dash was never an actual rapper, but I always loved when other rappers had beef with Jay-Z and they would harsh on Dame too. This dude has basically made a career out of hustling in the shadowy business side of the entertainment industry, so a vodka endorsement just seems natural for the one-time Roc-a-Fella magnate.

Taste Test: Inoffensive. Pretty smooth. Clear in color.

 

Lil Kim for Three Olives Vodka

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This is a true vanity product with Kim repping her brand as “a fantastic blend of imported English vodka and the wild juicy taste of frozen crushed grapes. Enjoy Three Olives® Purple as a shot, on the rocks or in your favorite martini.”

I personally like this one. Not the booze, but the endorsement. Lil Kim is rad because she’s never been afraid to be trashy, even as she indulges in the finer things. It’s a quality that feels distinct to 90’s hip hop culture, that sadly no longer applies. Dudes who spit nowadays are considered tastemakers for high end men’s fashion and that’s not much fun. Good on Kim that she shills a nasty ass candy flavored bottle.

Taste Test: Literally tastes like grape Kool Aid with a little (‘lil) burn.

 

Jermaine Dupri for 3 Vodka

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Apparently “3 Vodka is distilled its own way, using a proprietary and time-intensive method, with two separate distilleries employed to protect the secrets of the vodka’s complex origins. 3 Vodka marks the first time in history that soy has been distilled. Made from a delicate combination of soy isolates, the purest elements of the soy plant, and select grains, 3 Vodka gains its signature smoothness from the natural soy itself.”

They go on to boast that “3 Vodka is the ultimate spirit.”

Jermaine Dupri had that one song “Money Ain’t A Thang,” but was way more famous for being a producer on Mariah Carey’s brilliantly titled album “The Emancipation of Mimi,” and posing in photos with other rappers. He was also the mastermind behind Kris Kross. Seems a little weird to me that the dude would be repping a soy-based vodka, which while totally chemically plausible, just seems entirely unglamorous and unappealing. Regardless of taste it sounds a lot fancier to say “I use the finest grains,” or “the finest potatoes,” than “the finest crops of those beans you get as an appetizer before eating sushi.”

Taste Test: Eh, tastes like vodka. Inoffensive and pretty smooth.

Bonus: Snoop Dogg for Landy Cognac

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Landy Cognac gets down with a “Fine gold color. Pleasant nose, supple and harmonious. Orange blossom and orange peel aromas. The smell is reminiscent of the taste of freshly pressed grapes. Very soft mouthfeel.”

I had to add this one because while I’ve never had enough money for the ‘spensive stuff that Snoop holds in the photos, the regular old Landy is totally solid and affordable. If you poured it in a Hennessey or Courvoisier bottle it would probably taste just as good if not better. This is easily the best product on this list. Who knew Snoop had such good taste?

Taste Test: Softest mouthfeel ever (eww).

 

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 15

Written by :
Published on : December 26, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 15: DRC Blocks Field Goal, Amukamara Retrieves Ball for Great Position

Dominique-Rodgers-Cromartie

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

It was a squeaker between the Panthers and the G-Men Sunday, despite New York’s dismal showing in the first half. Rodgers-Cromartie’s big block went a long way in adding fuel to a comeback fire that was ultimately put out calmly by Cam Newton and Graham Gano, but in terms of a game’s turning point, it doesn’t get much more “play of the week” worthy than this.

 

It’s not wildly unusual to see a field goal blocked in the NFL, but it is rare to see one go so far backwards. Who better to send the ball flying in the opposite direction than Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie? Gunning around the edge from the outside, he makes a perfect leap for the ball that involves leaving Gano totally untouched. It’s pretty amazing to see how he jumps horizontally across the field instead of vertically toward the kicker. Roger Pretzel Sr. hates it when commentators use the term “athleticism” when referring to big playmakers but it’s hard not to think of that hoary catchall term in this context. Perhaps “freakish” (the new “athleticism”) is what I’m looking for…

 

Bonus: All Kinds of Shenanigans Between Odell Beckham and Josh Norman

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

I love a rough and chippy hockey game. When tensions run high and the players start scrapping, you begin to see a skill set and sport-dynamic that feels so genuinely unique to hockey. However, when it comes to my NFL football, I have no use for the pissing matches and sissy swings that come when the pot bubbles over. It’s simply not needed in a game that is inherently violent enough. As a football player, you’re gonna make a much bigger statement by catching a big pass, making a big (legal) hit, or denying a receiver with outstanding coverage.

 

My sympathies lie with Josh Norman considering it seems like he takes the brunt of the damage as Odell throws tantrum after tantrum. I’m of the mind that the rules make pass defending the most difficult job in the game, as you’re not even allowed to touch these dainty WR’s. I’ve knocked Becham Jr. in this column before for being a bratty diva, and once again he’s back behind the fighting side of my pen. If he really is the NFL’s new darling receiver he better muster up some maturity quickly.

 

Week 15: Athlete Vanity Wines

It’s one thing to shill a product for endorsement money, but you know you’ve gone beyond mere Peyton Manning status when you buy your own winery and put out a vanity label for mass consumption. Like many other celebrities in that hallowed club that contains Drew Barrymore and Dave Matthews, athletes like to unwind with a glass as well.

 

But it always seems like once those egghead vintners take over the production process, the liquid version of that athlete’s soul is lost in the process. Below are the tasting notes of a few famous athletes’ wines, and what variety should actually represent them.

 

Jeff Gordon:
Jeff Gordon Cellars – Carneros Chardonnay 2012

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“This luxurious chardonnay has a deep yellow, almost straw color with hints of light gold. Initial essences of Meyer lemon, vanilla bean and poached pear show through, followed by a wisp of crème brûlée. The wine has a nice, smooth mouth feel with plenty of balancing acids that carry along flavors of green apple, melon and cream. The long, vibrant finish dazzles the palate”

 

This sounds like one soft-ass fruity chardonnay to me. When I hear vanilla bean, poached pear, and smooth mouth feel I do not think of Nascar.

 

What Jeff Gordon’s Wine Should Actually Be: Chablis

 

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I was tempted to go with a dry Riesling for Mr. Gordon because of the petrol flavors they often contain (get it?), but I decided that #24 may stay chardonnay… as long as it comes from Chablis. The region’s flinty soil adds a nervy, raciness to the fruit, and a dynamic acidity that seems quite appropriate for the tight turns, and calculated daring of the speedway.

 

Wayne Gretzky
No 99 Estates – 2008 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

 

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“2008 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the warmth and ripe black fruit flavors of this vintage. It is rich with concentrated black berry fruit, and harmonious blending has resulted in excellent balance and complexity. The use of French and American Oak barrels adds structure to this very drinkable wine.”

 

You might say this wine is a little like Wayne himself in the sense that it’s BORING. But I jest. Let’s not forget that Gretzky is the “Great One,” and as such surely deserving of something more majestic than a lame new-world quaffer.

 

What Wayne Gretzky’s Wine Should Actually Be: Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru (Pinot Noir)

 

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Now we’re talking! This appellation matches Gretzky note for note in elegance and sophistication. The foundation of Gretzky’s legendary greatness was turning hockey into a thinking man’s game, and this here is some truly profound fermented grape juice. I like to picture the Great One counting the money he’s made from No. 99 Estates while sipping a big ‘ole glass of this instead. He’s in front of a fireplace playing chess with Steve Yzerman. Soft hands: soft tannins.

 

Greg Norman
Greg Norman Estates 2012 Shiraz – Limestone Coast

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“The 2012 Greg Norman Estates Shiraz is an attractive dark crimson red color in the glass. On the nose, rich chocolate and coconut mocha notes from the oak maturation underpin distinctive black cherry, mulberry and blackberry jam aromas. The medium bodied wine is soft and elegantly structured showing a spectrum of rich dark fruits including cherry, mulberry, blackberry, and boysenberry flavors on the palate. These flavors meld with fine cedar and chocolaty oak adding persistence on the long finish.”

And sometimes you just nail it.

 

What Greg Norman’s Wine Should Actually Be: Greg Norman Estates 2012 Shiraz – Limestone Coast

 

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Yup, Greg Norman actually puts his money where his mouth is and plays golf just like he makes wine. Growing up “The Shark” was the first celebrity I was aware of having his own line of wine, not to mention his own line of clothing. And coming up in the ‘burbs in the late 80’s and 90’s you were more likely to see that goofy rainbow-patterned shark outline on some old dude’s polo than you were to see any teenager with a pair of J’s.

 

Shiraz fits Norman like a driving-glove with its new-world jazziness and robust fruit flavors. I feel like every time Norman suits up in the clubhouse before 18 holes he tips that weird hat and winks at himself in the mirror. That’s basically what a good glass of Shiraz is.

 

Mike Ditka
Mike Kitka Wines – Coach’s Blend 2011 – The Champion

 

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“The Mike Ditka 2011 “The Champion” Coach’s Blend has remarkable flavor intensity. It’s well-balanced, with flavors of blackberry and cassis, with a hint of cayenne pepper; lingering tannins, leading to a persistent finish.”

 

In reality, Mike Ditka is to wine what the current Chicago Bears are to winning, but I get it: the dude owns a line of steak houses and you gotta crush something besides chilly domestics when you’ve got the porterhouse in front of you. Still, the big guy should be ashamed to front a Napa blend of mostly merlot and cabernet sauvignon under his name. This time around it’s the coach that needs to show more hustle.

 

What Mike Ditka’s Wine Should Actually Be: Zinfandel

 

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Stop beating around the bush, Mike. You wanna make this steak dinner the real deal? Then you gotta start serving a wine that actually reflects your character. Say what you want about Mike Ditka, but the dude has never been mostly merlot, noble and august as that grape may be. Ditka’s the grinder. Ditka’s the snarling heart in the depth of a windy Chicago blizzard. Ditka is zinfandel, and he’s California zinfandel at that. Huge, burly, and mega-fruity, this is the real wine of second-class steak joints with delusions of grandeur.

 

Try it out, coach. Then hit me up.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 14

Written by :
Published on : December 18, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 14: Mario Williams Smothers Sam Bradford for Big Loss

 Nobody wants to see this guy running towards them.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Sam Bradford gives up a huge chunk of yardage under pressure as he scampers backwards only to be tackled by the four-time Pro Bowler, who looks a lot like a heat-seeking missile on the play. Bradford completely fails to get rid of the ball, rolling out right at the first signs of trouble, but the big fella’s gotta eat, and Williams takes the Philly QB to the turf with a flying open-armed tackle.

 

The play happens on 3rd and 6, murdering that drive for the Eagles in what turned out to be a great game full of other highlights. But you know me; I always want to see that big sack. No innuendo intended, thank you.

 

Week 14: The Best Cocktail Ever

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This Sunday I thought I’d treat myself to the best cocktail ever. It exists. It’s a thing. It’s not a subjective concept but an objective truth. Written in stone, hallowed in the deepest archives, and sung about by the oldest bards: when one reaches for the Platonic ideal of a perfect cocktail that can mean only one thing… a well-made gin martini with a twist of lemon. In this week’s brew portion of the column, I share my recipe for the ultimate mixed drink.

 

This is how I get down with the galaxy’s greatest combination of spirited beverages:

2.25 Ounces Plymouth Gin (eyeballed)
0.75 Ounces Dolin Dry Vermouth (eyeballed)
One dash orange bitters (optional)
Stirred with ice. Strained into champagne coupe. Peel of lemon squeezed over top.

 

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I like Plymouth gin because it’s a little softer than a London dry style. If you want a sharper, more robust flavor, by all means go for the London dry. I like Tanqueray because I’m gross like that. There are also a lot of fun new American gins out there to experiment with too. These tend to be more in line with the Plymouth flavor profile, with a non-juniper aromatic, usually some sort of citrus, taking precedence over the old familiar Christmas tree taste.

 

So you know how everyone always wants a “dry” martini? That means it doesn’t have much (or any) vermouth in it. Part of the reason why that became so de rigueur is that for decades there wasn’t really any good vermouth being imported. Given the chance, vermouth and gin can be best friends, and they really should be. Trust me on this one. I like Dolin Dry. It’s cheap and delicious. Hell, you can drink it on the rocks and it’s great on it’s lonesome.

 

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You’ll notice in the recipe I say “eyeballed” in terms of the gin and vermouth. When I make a cocktail I always use a jigger to make sure the proportions are correct. It’s just easier, and you know your spec will turn out correctly if you do so. That rule goes straight out the window when I make a martini. It reminds me of this Ray Bradbury short story where some little old auntie has terrible vision and a horribly unorganized kitchen even though she’s the best cook everybody in her family knows. The family tries to be nice, and they buy her a new pair of glasses and organize her spices and ingredients. Big surprise: her food tastes like shit until she goes back to her old haphazard ways. When it comes to making a martini, I feel like you’ve just got to use the force and free pour that bad boy. It keeps a little bit of the mystery involved in the process too, and ultimately you’re going to consciously or subconsciously make a drink more in line with your current mood/mindset.

 

There you have it, and if you’re reading this and your spouse, parent, stepparent, grandparent, dominatrix, landlord, best friend, worst enemy, first cousin, town alderman or local cobbler yells at you for wasting your time reading the sports pages, you can make them the greatest cocktail under the heavens and tell ‘em that you actually learned something!

 

Until next week, gang.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 13

Written by :
Published on : December 11, 2015

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time. This is Review ‘N Brew!

 

 

 

 

Week 13: Jameis Winston Runs, Fumbles, Recovers Own Fumble, and Clod-Hops For a First Down

It wasn’t the prettiest thing but it got the job done.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

You know how they have that “World’s Ugliest Dog” contest every year? It’s weird, and it’s fun, and when the nastiest pooch is crowned, one feels a distinct sense of admiration for the winner. There can be a strange beauty in ugliness and that is exactly what this NFL play is all about.

The decision to run by Winston is calculated desperation on 3rd and 19. He’s hoping to escape the pocket and find someone open downfield, but with grass in front of him, why not go for it and try to reach field goal range? Winston achieves said goal just before he’s creamed by two falcons defensemen, one in front, and one in back. The ball comes loose, and from the tape it looks like Winston has to recover his own fumble by wrenching it free from the pile.

That’s when all that gorgeous ugly comes into play as Winston spins right and with the awkward, wobbly steps of a newborn faun churns it past the marker. His knee never goes down and his goofy run to a big first down is as amusing as it is impressive.

 

 

Week 13: Bizarre and Nasty Dranks From Around the World

 

The world is a wonderful and horrible place, and getting loaded doesn’t end with a can of Bud and a shot of Early Times. Let’s expand our horizons and get turnt up in some of the wackier ways humanity has come up with.

 

Kumis

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I don’t usually think of fermented horse milk when I think of party, but that’s how some folks in the steppes get down. It’s kind of like that yogurt drink kefir, but with booze. Buzzkill warning: Kumis only has a tiny amount of alcohol in it, a measly 0.7 to 2.5% ABV. So if you want to get twisted, you’re gonna have to try the gallon/hour milk challenge with this potion.

 

Chicha

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This one doesn’t sound too weird at first since it’s essentially beer made from corn or cassava. One method of making it is similar to regular old beer production: you germinate the corn to get some malt, boil up a wort, and then let that bad boy ferment. No biggie. The other way’s a little gnarlier. This more traditional method of achieving a similar chemical change in the corn involves chewing the hell out of it in your mouth and spitting out chunks of the stuff to dry before fermenting. Irresistible!

 

Pruno (AKA Prison Wine)

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I’ve never been in the pokey, and as long as nobody discovers the bodies buried in my backyard, it’ll probably stay that way. But if it ever comes to it, and I’m allowed to watch the Detroit Lions lose from prison, at least I’ll have this salve to balm my wounds. The ingredients are basically some peeled fruit, fruit cocktail, and a hell of a lot of sugar. The best part is that you add ketchup at a certain point in the fermentation process to nourish the yeasts with vitamin C and more sugar.

Anybody got a spare plastic bag I can borrow?

 

Sourtoe Cocktail

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Apparently you can go to a joint called the Sourdough Saloon way up in the Yukon and order the “sourtoe cocktail.” Traditionally the drink is an amputated salt-cured human toe in a glass of champagne, though it appears these days that a shot of liquor is the more popular medium. Once you throw back the drink the toe is returned to its preservatives and reused for each successive drink. Unsurprisingly over the years a few folks have accidentally (or not) swallowed the toe along with their beverage. But be warned, doing so comes with a $2,500 fine.

It’s a fun little local challenge that comes with the steadfast rule: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow – but the lips have gotta touch the toe.” I’m a pretty depraved dude, but this one grosses even me out something powerful.

 

Snake Wine

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Compared to spit-corn beer and horsey drank, snake wine doesn’t seem that unusual. You just kill a beautiful creature and preserve it in either rice wine or grain alcohol, and voila, ancient Chinese medicine! I add this one last however, because this is the only bevie on the list that I have actually drank.

The bottle I tasted from also had a scorpion floating around in it, and was decidedly of the grain alcohol variant. Unsurprisingly, it burned the crap out of my mouth and left my tongue with a truly revolting flavor that would just not quit. It’s hard to describe, but it was a heavy, musky, taste, akin to what I would imagine roast rat or pickled muskrat to taste like.

I certainly didn’t feel any healthier after drinking it, that’s for sure.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Weeks 11 and 12

Written by :
Published on : December 4, 2015

 

All right gang, this week you get a two’fer seeing as how I take off the entire week of Thanksgiving every year come hell or high water. After the belt is loosened, the naps slept, and the leftovers properly sandwiched, I’ve got fat reserves a-go-go to bring you the greatest plays from the NFL’s weeks 11 and 12, respectively.

 

 

Week 11: Matt Hasselbeck Flips to Ahmad Bradshaw for 7 Yard TD

Bradshaw for the TD!

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

If you’re gonna pull a comeback it needs to start somewhere. This time, the Colts three point victory over the Falcons got off the ground thanks to an old familiar face. Ahmad Bradshaw turns to Hasselbeck, as the replacement QB is about to get run-over under pressure, and catches the quick shovel pass. It ain’t too difficult for Bradshaw to take it seven yards to the house with two big blockers and a lot of green in front of him.

 

It certainly doesn’t look like a planned screen to me, and regardless whether or not it was, it took some quick reflexes and smarts on the part of both Hasselbeck and Bradshaw to pull it off. If Bradshaw can remain a viable back, it certainly takes some pressure off fellow old-timer Frank Gore, and would give the Colts a more successful running game down the stretch.

 

 

Week 12: Chris Ivory Refuses to Be Tackled

He won’t be stopped!

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Chris Ivory has always been a beastly downhill runner, and he really lives up to his rep with this diehard effort. The play doesn’t look great to start as Dolphins linebacker Neville Hewitt bolts through a hole in the line, but Ivory manages to elude Hewitt, making him whiff on the tackle. Ivory gains a few, and by all rights should be stopped as the Jets back runs afoul of three linemen attacking from three different directions. Inexplicably Ivory twists out of this and gets free. Throw in one more missed tackle by linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and you’ve got a Review ‘N Brew worthy highlight on your hands.

 

Of course Ivory deserves all the credit and respect on the play, but there’s something troubling in the listlessness shown by a defense that some thought would be an elite squad at the beginning of the season…

 

 

Weeks 11 and 12: A Ceramic Mug of Congealed Turkey Gravy Melted in the Microwave

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Another sweet sweet Lions win in the books, and a blowout on Thanksgiving to boot! Every bite of turkey tasted like an eagle, and every mouthful of fluffy mashed potatoes like Chip Kelly’s fragile dreams. That night I gave thanks to Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Matthew Stafford, and especially Ziggy Ansah. There was even room in my heart for Joique Bell and Stephen Tulloch. Commensurate to the room in my belly for pumpkin pie (whipped cream, please.)

 

On Thanksgiving, that most pigskin friendly of holidays, I ate and drank my fill. Fine wines and side dishes, brewskies and desserts: all traveled merrily down my gullet as I celebrated with friends and family. I didn’t want it to end. I never want Thanksgiving to end.

 

One of Calvin’s three touchdowns on Thanksgiving

 

That night I couldn’t sleep, as I was unsurprisingly afflicted with indigestion. I crept downstairs and watched highlights from the day’s games. Poor Tony Romo. Bears win at Lambeau! I opened the fridge, but I wasn’t hungry. I was now possessed by either the spirit of the holiday, or by the ghost of a vengeful Native American exiled from his homeland after lending a helping hand to the pale-faced new arrivals.

 

I pulled a tupperware of gravy from the fridge and a spoon from the drawer. The cold gravy, once so warm and velvety, had now become the texture of jelly as the turkey grease congealed around the flour and mushroom chunks. This wouldn’t do. Not one bit. I looked for an appropriate receptacle and came upon a ceramic coffee mug. Inspired, I started spooning gobbet after gobbet of the meat slurry into the cup. 30 microwavable seconds later the gravy had returned to its former glory, with the mushrooms proudly floating atop my beautiful brown elixir. The aroma of rendered fowl fat was intoxicating.

 

I drank and I drank. I sucked up that damned gravy in one go. Sated, I hit replay on the day’s Lions highlights, smiling with joy between grimaces brought on by chest pains. Tomorrow would be a rough one, but right now everything was just as it should be.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 10

Written by :
Published on : November 20, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 10: Crezdon Butler Breaks-up Crucial Packers Two Point Conversion

A once in a quarter century game saving play.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Amidst the ruins of the smoldering slagheap that is the Lions wasted 2015 season, I am pleased to come up with at least one Detroit play worthy of the Review ‘N Brew. Sure, it was nice to have our first win at Lambeau since 1991, and I good-naturedly ate up all the horseshit little news pieces about what was going on in ’91 to show just how long it’s been. That was a cakewalk however, compared to the obvious truth that it wasn’t exactly a resoundingly successful win for the Lions. They gave an imploding Green Bay squad every chance to steal the game away, until Mason Crosby said “enough is enough” and squibbed the ball when he should have been trying for a field goal.

 

Teryl Austin’s defense finally made an appearance this season, showing up in a big way against a division rival. They were the most successful force on the field all day, and new kid on the block Crezdon Butler made the big play after just being signed; a week ago he was washed-up and watching the NFL from his couch.

 

Much credit belongs to linebacker Josh Bynes who rushes straight through both lines, making Aaron Rodgers throw early. Still, Davaonte Adams has space on the quasi-fade pass and jumps for it… until Butler gets a solid hand on the ball’s nose sending it scoreless to the oft-commented on lush grass of Lambeau Field. It should have been a game clincher but in true Lions heart-attack style the next 30 or so seconds would be nail-biting misery until the fat lady finally sang.

 

 

 

Week 10: Really, Really Expensive Scotch

 

It’s no secret that I am a man who enjoys the finer things in life, and when I drink scotch I want my wee dram to be from a bottle that costs roughly as much as the down-payment on a house. To celebrate the Lions unlikely win, I lit the lamp and headed down into the depths of my private cellar, returning with three very august bottles.

 

Glengoyne 35 Year-Old Single Malt

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As the aroma wafted up into my schnozz from the opened bottle, I knew I was in for a treat. The elixir in my palm-warmed snifter gave up scents of vanilla, almond, honey, and old-man balls. Whetting my tongue ever so slightly, I was impressed that the flavor of elderly gentleman scrotum was both subtle, yet undeniable along with hits of cooked fruit, and dried peat. A lingering note of geriatric testicles made for a sublime tasting experience.

 

Pro tip: This Glengoyne pairs particularly well with a milder cigar, particularly one that tastes like the taint of a middle-aged construction worker.

 

 

Port Ellen 14th Release 35 Year-Old Single Malt

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The Port Ellen was next up. As I uncork the bottle I feel joyous and warm, both from the Lions’ victory and from my previous snoot. Perhaps a little hastily, I dove into this one without lingering too long on the bouquet. This little gem proved smooth and honeyed, with loads of soft smokiness to spare and a heady dose of geezer nutsack. I regained control of myself and slowed down, noting the bourbon, grandpa gland, and maple elements. I cleansed my palate with some table water crackers and took another sip. “This is some expensive shit,” I thought pleasurably to myself as the bold flavors of the balls of old gray kings danced across my tongue. Let’s try one more before bed I thought…

 

 

Lagavulin 37 Year Old Single Malt

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Ah Lagavulin, what a trusty friend you are! I keep a bottle of the 16-year regularly stocked in my personal bar, but today is a special day, for the Lions have defeated the Green Bay Packers for the first time in 24 years at Lambeau Field. While I certainly appreciate the 16-year, it cannot compare to the 37 in the complexity in which the flavors of old duffer gonads mix with the rich malt and sherry. I’m getting sleepy and curl up with an old volume of Byron as I take tiny sips. The poetry on the page is worthy of the poetry in my glass as I savor the essence of ancient dude-berries in a hairy and weathered sack attached to some venerable old general.

 

My glass is now empty and I fall asleep in my easy chair with the fire raging. What a wonderful day it’s been.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘n Brew: Week 8

Written by :
Published on : November 4, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 8: DeMarcus Ware Strip-Sacks Aaron Rodgers For the Safety

John Kuhn tries to recover the fumble that eventually became a safety.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

The Broncos defense makes its second Review ‘n Brew appearance of the season with another stripped ball, this one leading to a safety.

It’s not like Aaron Rodgers never gets sacked, but it’s quite rare to see him make a mistake under pressure. This time DeMarcus Ware jumps past the offensive line and gets to the QB mid-bootleg, resulting in the pigskin bouncing on the turf. Danny Trevathan makes the smart play to push the ball into the end zone, and Packers center Corey Linsley and tight end Richard Rodgers make a noble effort to get the ball back out, but ultimately Rodgers trips in the end zone surrounded by four or five Broncos D-men.

 

Week 8: All Those Gross 40’s You Used to Drink in High School/College

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Freshman year of college, I drank a lot of beer and malt liquor in forty ounce bottles. In retrospect, I can’t really figure out why, but I guess it was kind of the perfect portion for an inconsequential amount of cash. By the time sophomore year rolled around I had upgraded to better quality beer and cheap red wine sold in enormous jugs. I couldn’t imagine drinking any of these today, but here are their rankings based on my gloriously intoxicated memories.

Olde English “800” – C+
In preparing for this piece I was interested to notice the “imported” claim on the Olde E label, but as far as I can tell, it’s imported all the way from the Pabst Brewing Company. When you’re young and dumb I feel like this is the most well known malt liquor, but it actually tastes kinda nasty. It’s got that fruity sweetness that sticks in the back of your throat, making for what feels like a thick gullet film that hangs on for a while. People love this shit, but it was never for me.

Balantine XXX Ale – B
I love how this is touted as “America’s largest selling ale.” I fell hard for the Balantine when I first discovered it, but then got burned out on it quicksville. It does have the benefit of being a real-deal ale as opposed to a malt liquor, and has a very pleasant robust taste as a result. However, it also has the craziest, most intense, aftertaste you’ll ever find in a forty-ounce beverage. Basically drinking a pot of this is a battle between how delicious it starts and how gnarly it ends. Pro tip: crack one at the beginning of the night and then move onto something a little milder as the evening ends.

Colt 45 – A-
This here’s the belle of the ball. Sure it’s a malt liquor, but the flavor is pleasant and light in comparison to its colleagues. It’s cloying, it’s sweet, and lord preserve you if it gets warm, but out of all the drinks in this ballpark, its the least likely to make you gag. By the end of my forty phase this was the only one I could regularly stomach. Its mellow profile reminds me a cheap lager, and it also reminds me of linoleum floors, cruddy dorm furniture, and the couple friends I made that year that I’m still pals with to this day.

St. Ides – D+
Oh man, this one will hurt you. It’s the monster under your bed. It’s every lie you’ve ever told. When you stare into the St. Ides, the St. Ides stares back into you. It’s also barley wine strength at an 8.2% ABV so it will royally fuck you up quick without you noticing it. That’s why hobos drink it. It is a hellacious sauce that I would have given an “F” to, but I realize I would probably still drink it if it was the only thing available on a desert island. Therefore, this should be the official beverage of the 2015 Detroit Lions.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 5

Written by :
Published on : October 16, 2015

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.
 
 
 
 

Week 5: Nick Foles Pops a Little Flip to Tavon Austin for a Speedy 5 Yard TD

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

The St. Louis Rams are getting really fun to watch, and I’m a sucker for any successful trick play. You don’t see many of ‘em in the NFL because defenses are generally too good at reading perceived trickery, but Green Bay gets caught here as Foles puts the lightest touch on the ball, forwarding it into the hands of an accelerating Tavon Austin. The decision to cut inside instead of pushing outside towards the pylon is a gutsy one that pays off. As the play takes off it’s simply way too late for safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who realizes the situation with a half-hearted tackle attempt. Unsurprisingly, the Rams couldn’t pull off a win against the behemoth that is The Pack, but they’ve snagged some good upsets so far this season and I’m definitely starting to develop a crush on them.
 

Week 5: 1989 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia

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This beer is really weird for a lot of reasons. First, it’s not carbonated. Second, it’s a deep purple color. Third, it cost a couple hunney just for the one bottle. Still, I’m a journalist and it’s my job to be there for you, the reader, and experience the world so you don’t have to. No, I don’t work for Vice, but yes, I am fearless and have a certain amount of cred when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Do you feel me?

As Tavon Austin crossed the plane I pounded my first glass of Barolo. My palate was immediately assaulted with the raging scent of red fruit and violet flowers. I then enjoyed a velvety mouth-feel and texture that lingered as it traveled all the way down to my crap-factory. I grabbed a handful of crackers and smeared a generous portion of Delice de Bourgogne on them, wolfing that shit down like I was a pissed-off lumberjack at breakfast. The cheese provided a beautiful compliment the faint vanilla note I was getting from the beer.

 

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I was a little weirded out that I was supposed to drink this stuff at room temperature, but as I took a deep belt straight from the bottle, I started to appreciate the soft fruity flavor. Hell, soon enough I was feeling so warm and good that I was even laughing at those Direct TV ads with Andrew Luck mumbling in his thick caveman voice.

Even though I’m an armchair scholar in spirited beverages I’d never had anything quite like this before, so I decided it was time to get to the bottom of it and ask a real beer expert about this bottle of Barolo I had just finished. I reached out to Serge DuVernier, one of the premier tasters in the field of beers and beer offshoots. Below is a transcript of our interview.

 

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Roger Pretzel: Why are the Lions so terribly bad this season? Huh? Answer me that genius… (Inaudible mumble)… Gimme another glass’a that shtuff ya jerk…(gulping noises)… Will you hold me?

Serge DuVernier: Barolo is one of Piedmont’s most well known and most appreciated wines around the globe. It ages very well and is comprised of 100% Nebbiolo.

RP: Whash Nebbiolo?

SDV: Nebbiolo is a classic Italian grape.

RP: I need to lie down. D’you wanna get shom buffalo wings? Here’s a ten shpot…

So there you have it. In my travels around the globe I’m constantly delighted to find myself learning new things everyday. This week’s fascinating takeaway is that people give grapes names. Until next week, I remain your faithful imbiber.

-Roger Pretzel

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 4

Written by :
Published on : October 10, 2015

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.
 
 
 
 

Week 4: T.J. Ward Strips Bridgewater for the Show Stopper

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Is there anything more anxiety inducing for both teams than a final minute drive with the game on the line? The answer is no, not really. No. ‘Ole Pretzel’s highlight this week comes via a stout Denver defense that stood up to a potentially dynamic drive and sealed up the game for goodsies.

Prior to this play Bridgewater connected with a sharp 17-yard pickup, but shortly thereafter Denver releases the hounds as T.J. Ward rushes in for the strip to make all of Viking fandom gasp in terror. This game winning play is particularly impressive in that it proved to be a team effort as Brandon Marshall sprawls out, pushing the bouncing pigskin back towards the Denver line and into the waiting arms of (who else?) Von Miller who covers it up for good. In a matter of seconds the Vikings’ drive ends with a showstopper on the backs of three baaaaaaaaaaad men.

 

Week 4: Cabin Still Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

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As the Lions fall to 0-4, partially due to a badly blown call (sound familiar?), a broken man’s fancy turns from the frivolity of beer to the darker sanctuary found in hard corn liquor. What better way to drown one’s sorrows with a high quality, yet cheap as sin whiskey? Friends, I bring you Cabin Still. So maybe the “high quality” claim is a little overblown, but for my money this is the best bang for your buck if you’re gonna go dangerously discount. Sometimes you can find it at barbeque joints, and occasionally at dive bars, but in my opinion it’s always worth keeping an eye out for.

One time I was driving through Kentucky back in the day when I shouted words in a crude facsimile of singing for a band. We had to stop for gas, and so I ran across the highway to a liquor store for the novelty of buying bourbon in Kentucky, which I would argue, we needed for our travels anyway. We were in a hurry so I had to move fast. I scanned the well-stocked aisles but couldn’t find my favorite yellow label.

I ran up to the old pot-bellied counterman and asked about Cabin Still. The man laughed with a hideous cackle that I prefer to remember as a charming southern chuckle and said: “Sheee-it boy, we ain’t stocked Cabin Still in but the longest time.” So I just picked up a bottle of Ancient Age instead, which lasted us all the way to St. Louis.

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It was fine, I guess. Certainly no Cabin Still that’s for sure.

Alright young’uns, until the Lions get a win, you can find me on the porch with a generous slug of granddaddy’s cough medicine. I’ll check in with you next week.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘n Brew: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : October 2, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 3: Steve Smith Sr. Makes Big Catch, Breaks Tackles, Takes it to the House

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Old man Steve Smith certainly lives up to his “senior” suffix, but damned if he’s still not one of the most fun receivers in the league to watch. A gutsy move by the Ravens offense to go for it on 4th and 5 leads to Smith pivoting back and saving the drive for a first down. But Senior wasn’t done yet: he then twists away from Reggie Nelson, pushes past an Emmanuel Lamur hit, evades a diving tackle from George Iloka, and guns it past Dre Kirkpatrick who can only manage to bring down Smith past the pylon. No way Kirkpatrick was gonna catch gramps when he’s got his blood up like that. Later on in the game the cameras showed Smith getting some IV treatment on the sidelines, because he’s more machine than man now. It’s a shame that this play of the week came on a losing effort, and it’s even more of a shame that Smith has announced his retirement at the end of the season.

 

Week 3: Bartles and Jaymes – Various Flavors

 

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Woo-wee! After that much excitement I needed to wet my whistle, so naturally I reached for a peach flavored malt beverage cooler made by the biggest names in the biz: Bartles and Jaymes. Ah, that sweet and fruity drank was just the thing to get my Sunday off the ground. Pretty soon a bunch of guys in board shorts and white blazers showed up along with a bunch of girls in bikini tops, cut off jeans, and flip-flops. My living room started to get a little crowded. A guy wearing sunglasses and a puka shell necklace handed me another B & J, this time it was a “Classic Original” bursting with flavor!

 

B and J classic

 

There was only one thing I could do to take this impromptu party to the next level. I picked up my trusty saxophone and let out a huge bellowing note. Cocaine exploded everywhere out of the instrument’s horn-end and the crowd went nuts.

 

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Next thing I knew, I was sharing an “Exotic Berry” flavor B & J with a guy named Larry Sapperstein who claimed to be a lawyer. Sure enough he was a lawyer, because he gave me a business card that said so. I learned a lot about offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.

 

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As I watched the sun dip below the ocean horizon on the beach, I had a nightcap of “Orange Sunset” flavoring and passed out.

 

I woke up on my living room floor with a terrible headache. The couch and carpet were littered with empty Bartles and Jaymes bottles and my wife was really mad at me. There was no evidence of a party. I don’t even own a saxophone. I sheepishly cleaned up the bottles. It had all been a dream. Or was it? Later on I found Larry Sapperstein’s business card in the pocket of my swim trunks. Stranger things have happened when the B & J gets unleashed.

 

 


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