Tag Archives: Beer

Story & Review: Dive Bar Shirt Club and The Giant Jackalope

The Giant Jackalope illustration by Henry Chamberlain

It is always a pleasure to review anything that falls within the category of attire or accessory in the geek lifestyle. So, Comics Grinder is very happy to share with you Dive Bar Shirt Club. As the name implies, this is a club devoted to shirts. Each month you get a quality shirt honoring a dive bar chosen for its distinction and originality. A new dive bar design is featured every month and, once that month is up, that shirt is retired forever.

We all seek distinction and originality. It’s another way of simply saying that we are attracted to things that are cool. I was on the road, during a carefree summer in my youth, when I spotted what had to be the best roadside attraction I’d ever seen. It was an homage to the jackalope, that staple of Americana, the cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope. This sucker was huge and it was perched atop a glorious dive bar. It was a warm summer night that seemed to promise adventure. I had to walk in.

Inside the bar, I did a double-take. The place was immaculate. I was expecting it to be a well-worn, musty, and gaudy place. But, no, this place was classy. And there was no carryover of the jackalope theme. Instead, the red leather booths were nicely kept and all the brass piping was polished. There were a couple of gents in suits looking very retro. Again, I was expecting a far more casual vibe. The waitress was a beauty all done up in a vintage dress. All this seemed too formal for a place in the middle of nowhere. I was outside a little town in Texas, not a Vegas casino in the ’50s.

Her name was Sadie. “What will you have, stranger?” she asked with the longest lashes I’d ever had the pleasure to admire.

I’d had a good look at the list of mixed drinks. When I read it on the menu, I had to have it. “I’ll take The Jackalope.”

Sadie just stared at me. Her eyes grew wide. With a tremble in her voice, she asked, “You mean, The Jackalope, right?”

“Yes,” I said firmly, “I’m here for The Jackalope!”

I must have raised my voice because the two fugitives from “Mad Men” turned to have a good look at me. They proceeded to get up from their booth and walk over to me.

“You’re really here for The Jackalope?”

I think I lost it at that point. “I don’t know what you people mean!” I yelled and ran out the front door.

I was heading for my car when it dawned on me. I slowly turned around and looked up. There it was. It hissed and glared at me. Then, with a mighty leap, that monster flew up into the air like the most lucid nightmare. This was followed by a massive thud which was quickly followed by the lightening speed of a creature from hell. And, hell yes, it was distinctive and original!

If you’re like me, you desire that added spice, that distinction and originality. You too can find it in a unique t-shirt from Dive Bar Shirt Club. In the video below, I’m sporting just the ticket. This Dive Bar Shirt Club t-shirt celebrates Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, California. This is one awesome combination of style and comfort.

Visit Dive Bar Shirt Club right here.

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Filed under America, Americana, Beer, Fashion, pop culture, Style

ECCC 2017: Dark Heron, the Official beer of Emerald City Comicon

The Dark Heron from Fremont Brewing in honor of Emerald City Comicon in Seattle

The Dark Heron from Fremont Brewing in honor of Emerald City Comicon in Seattle

For those of you in Seattle, or heading out to Emerald City Comicon, you will want to make sure to visit Fremont Brewing in Seattle’s quirky Fremont neighborhood (1050 N 34th St) and get yourself the official ECCC beer, the Dark Heron. Kick back and get it on tap or in a bottle for later.

Fremont Brewing in Seattle

Fremont Brewing in Seattle

How does the official beer of Emerald City Comicon taste? Well, here are my thoughts. It has what we love about India Pale Ales: that robust citrus flavor and a hint of melon. What would bring me back to this beer is its overall juicy flavor. Bringing in Fremont Brewing’s own mascot into the title of this beer raises the stakes and this beer lives up to its name.

The Dark Heron by Jen Vaughn

The Dark Heron by Jen Vaughn

How about the snazzy artwork? The art is by local cartoonist Jen Vaughn. Dark Heron looks like she can hold her own with any villain. The trading card (nab one if you see one) says that Dark Heron was exiled from her flock for daring to express herself differently from the rest of the group. I’d be totally into reading about her adventures!

SPECIAL EMERALD CITY COMICON NOTE: Jen Vaughn will be tabling at #T15, so come find her for new Avery Fatbottom: Renaissance Fair Detective #2 and some Fremont Brewing label art for Dark Heron!

So, get ready for Emerald City Comicon (March 2 thru 5) and come visit one of Seattle’s favorite spots for beer, Fremont Brewing. It’s a great place to enjoy the lively Fremont scene with its spacious beer garden. Save me a spot and maybe I’ll come by and have a beer and chat about comics with you.

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Filed under Beer, Comics, Emerald City Comicon, Seattle

Review: ‘The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution’

Beer-Ten-Speed-Press-2015

This is one of the most beautiful educational graphic novels I’ve seen this year. And what a subject, beer! It’s a long title but worth it: “The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution.” Inspired, I chatted about the book with my old friend, Roy, at a local pub, Ballard’s own Stoup Brewing, while I went about preparing for this review. “Roy,” I said, ” I am always grateful that, in Seattle, you can literally walk out the door of one’s home and be within walking distance of a first-rate pub.” “Indeed, and Stoup is such an inviting place,” Roy observed. “Ah, to sit back and marvel over all the great things about beer. That’s the life!”

Stoup Brewing in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle

Stoup Brewing in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle

You had me at beer. What “The Comic Book Story of Beer” does is provide you with everything you ever wanted to know about beer in a pleasing full-color, lushly illustrated graphic novel. We begin with a young man bumbling along tasked with getting beer for a special occasion. Once inside an upscale specialty supermarket, he is lost among all the microbrew options. A helpful store employee pops in and conveniently begins our story. From then on, we are on a rollercoaster of information, often colorful and intriguing.

Aaron McConnell The Comic Book Story of Beer

How did beer play an important role in everything from the rise and fall of Ancient Rome, the Dark Ages, the Age of Exploration, the spread of capitalism, and the Reformation? Well, without fear of overstatement, beer is something of a wonder drink. In this clear and concise narrative, Jonathan Hennessey and Mike Smith weave a most compelling narrative on the health benefits and motivating powers of beer as well as guide you through beer’s robust history. It’s really an exciting story that finds a perfect home within comics.

Beer-Hennessey-Smith-comics

This book does yeoman service in the name of presenting information in an accessible manner. I really admire the artwork of artist Aaron McConnell. I had the pleasure of reviewing his artwork for “The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation,” also with writer Jonathan Hennessey, which you can read here. For this book on beer, McConnell masterfully brings to life abstract subjects like pasteurization, “original gravity,” and “lagering.”

Co-writer Mike Smith adds another layer of authenticity as the beer expert that won over Jonathan Hennessy to the idea of writing a beer book in the first place. It all began when Mike gave Jonathan a tour of Mayflower Brewing Company in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The wealth of information that Mike shared with Jonathan was just too good to pass up. It makes its way into a book that will win you over with its insider insight. For example, our main story is paused by intriguing beer profiles like the one on Belgian Wit and how it was single-handedly saved by a milkman from Flanders. No doubt, this is a pleasing book to behold and easily makes for the perfect gift for anyone into comics and/or beer.

THE COMIC BOOK STORY OF BEER is a 180-page trade paperback published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and is available as of September 22nd. You can find it at Amazon right here.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, History, Penguin Random House

Web TV Review: ‘Brown Bag Wine Tasting’ with William Shatner on Ora TV

William Shatner and Wil Wheaton on "Brown Bag Wine Tasting."

William Shatner and Wil Wheaton on “Brown Bag Wine Tasting.”

I really like William Shatner and I know I’m not alone. He’s a great talent and quite energetic. It would be a challenge for many of us to keep up with him. One project that he’s doing is entitled, “Brown Bag Wine Tasting,” a new web series from Ora TV where Mr. Shatner asks willing participants to blindly taste wine and describe it in terms of what they do. It’s a clever premise. I got a chance to check out the show and it lives up to what it promises to be.

It’s a breezy and light-hearted conversation that actually takes its subject of wine seriously. In a recent episode, it’s William Shatner in conversation with Wil Wheaton, actor and host of “Tabeltop.” Wheaton starred as Welsey Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” As in every episode, it begins with some chatting. Shatner proves to be a genuinely interested and playful interviewer. We learn a little bit about the immersive quality of video games and the two speculate on life in other dimensions. Perfect themes to go with wine. And then Wil is challenged with describing his unidentified wine in terms of what he loves to do, brewing beer. It all runs for only a few minutes and I can honestly say that it holds its own among similar mini-webisode shows.

The latest interview on “Brown Bag Wine Tasting” with Wil Wheaton is live now. Go to Ora TV and you’ll see other episodes too ready for viewing. I checked out one with William Shatner interviewing Ray Isle, Executive Editor at Food & Wine magazine. And it also proved to be very informative and entertaining. New episodes premiere Wednesdays, 11am PST/2pm EST. Check it all out right here.

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Filed under Ora TV, Star Trek, William Shatner

BALLARD COMICS #11

Editor’s Note: While any place of quality is welcome in the Ballard hub, we have a soft spot for any business that finds a way to authentically integrate itself within the culture. The Noble Fir is a fine example of thinking locally. It is a tavern with an eye, a mind, and a heart, to being part of the community. You’re looking for something unique and refreshing? You want to feel like you’re really still in Ballard? Then visit The Noble Fir.

Ballard-Washington-The-Noble-Fir

Maybe a place like The Noble Fir would have seemed just a bit too luxurious in the past. Maybe. But then again, Seattle has maintained a long love affair with microbrewies and can boast at having some of the best in the world.

Why not have that level of excellence, and even elegance, amid the industrial and mechanical fixtures of old Ballard?

The-Noble-Fir-Ballard-Seattle

What we all wish to avoid is The Planet Hollywood treatment. If a place has no real connection to anywhere, then it contributes to diminishing that place. Not to put down Planet Hollywood but I think you know what I mean. So, yeah, The Noble Fir, and other fine establishments like it, are what we want to see: something that enhances the character of Ballard and actually fits.

These sort of ponderings take time but we have plenty of that. And, once a good mood is set, perhaps with a fine ale, in a good place, we can settle in and find all sorts of stories to tell.

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Filed under Ballard, Ballard Comics, Comics, Seattle, Webcomics