Monday, November 29, 2010

Beer and football — week twelve

The game: Patriots at Lions
The beer: Mayflower Thanksgiving Ale
The result: Win, 45–24
The commentary: The Mayflower was the plan for Thanksgiving but it turned out to be a weird day. I ended up watching on three different televisions in three different homes, broken up by two radio sessions in the car. We were finally able to settle in where we'd eventually be eating dinner but much of my wife's extended family was there and I didn't know how they'd react to me pulling out a twenty-two ounce bottle to share with no one. So I had three Ipswich Ales and a Sam Adams, which is not better but rather more distributed. I'm still counting the Thanksgiving Ale for this game though because it's what I bought it for, and it's what I drank Friday around five past noon while I re-watched parts of the game. I thought the ale was pretty good but I wish I'd liked it more because I bought an extra bottle that I forgot to give to my brother-in-law. It's in the fridge.

Regarding the game, it was another one where my team was fortunate to be down only one touchdown at the half, and I felt pretty good about them being able to overcome that. McCourty would be a lock for Rookie of the Year if it weren't for Suh, but timing is everything and them's the breaks. (As much as I like McCourty, anyone who says he deserves to win over Suh is a total, total homer who probably couldn't name the Pats' backup quarterback.) Branch and Welker put on a clinic and the defense, though terrible throughout most of almost every game this season, knows the only way it's going to stop anybody is to force turnovers. And they've been succeeding. I'm not sure how far that will take you (I hear a lot of talk about last year's Saints even though this Pats team is not as offensively dominant) but no one in the league is as exciting—they could get blown out in the first round of the playoffs or they could run up the score in the Super Bowl. What a team to watch.

Up next: Monday Night Football with the Pats and the Jets in Foxborough. I'm excited that old friend Josh McDaniels revived the Spygate talk because the Jets will bear the brunt of it. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beer and football — week eleven

The game: Colts at Patriots
The beer: Tröegs Java Head Stout
The result: Win, 31–28
The commentary: Damn. Damn damn damn. Goddamn if that wasn't a tough win. It's stupid to get so worked up over a football game but I can't remember the last time my heart was pounding so badly (yes I do, it was week seven in San Diego) while I was immobilized with fear. Manning was having his way with the Pats' defense for most of the fourth quarter and on that last drive in particular—a field goal (at least) was inevitable. I was already afraid of what the loss would do to my team, particularly with regards to Brady's confidence in his receivers and the young defense's confidence in itself. I was so deep into this that, out of nowhere (due to some clumsy CBS camerawork), my man Jimmy Sanders makes a remarkable interception—it took me a second to jump up and yell in triumph because I thought it was a replay from some past game. (I scared the bejesus out of poor Chloe and she couldn't flee the room fast enough.)

And just like that, this team could win fourteen games. I don't think they will but every remaining game is winnable. Thanksgiving in Detroit reeks of a closer-than-I-would-like win. Game two against the Jets should be a win (I don't see Brady and Belichick getting swept by them). The Bears are total frauds who will be exposed by the Eagles this weekend and death-killed by McCourty and Chung (plus maybe some more Sanders and a little reckless Meriweather) making crazy athletic interceptions and tackles all over the field. The Packers game will be another shootout (lots of those this season) and could go either way, but I'm glad it's in Foxborough. And the Bills and Dolphins should play tough unless they're more concerned with returning crappy Christmas gifts. We will see. Anyway, I'll be incredibly disappointed if the Pats win fewer than twelve. The ridiculous thing is that the Jets are keeping pace with the tiebreaker currently in their favor, so twelve might not even win the damn division. (Though I was encouraged by something I read this morning: the Jets won't have any lousy teams to get lucky against in the playoffs because all the lousy teams will be home watching on TV. Except for maybe the Bears, whose lousiness might not end their season until the first round of the playoffs.)

On the beer front, the stout was delicious. I drank it pretty fast and it's the only one I had because, as the fourth quarter got rolling, I was much too petrified to fetch a new one from the fridge. Very close to Sam Adams Cream Stout, which has been one of my favorites for a long, long time. Even A. had a sip and liked it, as she has recently taken a strange and wonderful turn toward stouts and porters. What a woman! Anyway, it was a good choice for another outrageous Pats–Colts classic.

Up next: The Pats travel to Detroit for a slightly annoying holiday game. Annoying because I don't know if I'll get to watch the whole thing—we're traveling to Connecticut, and transit time plus dinner time might not allow for three solid hours of television time. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beer and football — week ten

The game: Patriots at Steelers
The beer: Cisco Whale's Tale Pale Ale
The result: Win, 39–26
The commentary: After such an ugly loss you've gotta go with what you know. Whale's Tale is quickly becoming one of my favorite beers, and when I saw a twenty-two ounce bomber in a store in Danvers I had to get it. (There's a great pub around the corner from my office called Mr. Dooley's and they have it on tap. On a related note, whenever I'm there I end up getting plastered while forgetting to order dinner.) So I'm glad I picked up a great beer for a great, important game.

Like last week's shitstorm it was not as close as the score indicates. (My boys at Patriots Daily made me laugh out loud when commenting about how the prevent defense needs to be careful loosening up with a big lead because "when you loosen your belt, you don't take it off and throw it into an incinerator.") It's always fun to beat up on the Steelers in their home—a fine tradition over the past nine seasons—and Sunday night's game brought back some marvelous 2001, 2004 and 2007 memories. The Rooneys, however, always get the last laugh as they roll around in giant piles of money, waiting to be pinched awake from the dream where an entire fanbase spends up to $35 on towel-related merchandise.

Up next: The Pats host the Colts in the annual Nielsen Bowl. It's in Foxborough for the first time since 2006, thanks to the NFL's straightforward scheduling formula that somehow confounds casual and/or stupid Pats and Colts fans alike. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beer and football — week nine

The game: Patriots at Browns
The beer: Samuel Smith Organically Produced Ale
The result: Loss, 34–14
The commentary: Wow. Let me say that I'm worried about my relationship with Samuel Smith right now. I had a Taddy Porter the night before our Block Island trip (see week two against the Jets) and tried to counter the loss with a Nut Brown Ale the following day. Samuel Smith hovers over both losses so far, which is a concern because it's the brewery that kicked off this whole adventure. No idea what I'll do in two weeks because I usually reserve their Imperial Stout for Colts games—will I skip it this season? Frightening times. On a completely unrelated note—since there's nothing worth discussing about the horrid Browns game—I watched Harrison Ford on Letterman last night. He can thank Star Wars for his entire career and can't shit on the series fast enough with every opportunity. I'm sorry it's not all Six Days Seven Nights.

Up next: The Pats visit Pittsburgh for what should be the first of two pretty fucking great games in a row. This is the one with those silly yellow towels. Cheers!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beer and football — week eight

The game: Vikings at Patriots
The beer: Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Ale
The result: Win, 28–18
The commentary: As unacceptable as it is to feel sorry for athletes/starlettes/sensations who sleep on giant piles of money every night, it's clear to me that Randy Moss is instantly regretting his decision to jump ship from New England. I disagree with his criticism of Childress because they should have gone for that touchdown before the half—Peterson had been unstoppable to that point. But Childress was a pure fool for challenging Tate's bobbling catch—it's almost like he was saying "Hey Bill, here's how you win a challenge." I have never seen such a glaring inferiority complex in sports (and I was a Sox fan for years before 2004, for crying out loud). Regardless, a good win for the hometown team. Fox's coverage sucked because they barely showed any costumed fans—sure, they can come back from commercials with that jacked-up, pumpkin-headed robot but otherwise couldn't be bothered with Halloween. Would it kill Troy Aikman to wear an orange tie to go with his orange face?

Anyway, the Pumpkin Ale started out just alright but either it got better the longer it sat or I got used to it. I tend to like pumpkin ales (Cambridge Brewing Company's "Great Pumpkin" is my favorite) so I was a little disappointed—I suspect it was more of a wheat beer than I normally go for. Meanwhile I'd like to thank the technology gods for inventing DVR because around 5:30 I had to start getting up to hand out candy. Was Super Mario the costume of the year or what? I had three of those plucky little greaseballs. Much better than the plain teenager who, when questioned, told me he was dressed as a chaperon. It was a good answer so I gave him a Twix.

Up next: The Pats travel to Cleveland to visit the house from A Christmas Story and drop forty points on a local JV squad. Cheers!