Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Quantum Qorner:

The Science of Tomorrow Applied Today

Good Allan, Bad Allan - The Enemy Within

Absinthe Teleportation Experiment creates bizarre result

Calculation error results in Double Trouble

Special Report by Science Editor Round A.Bout

(Article reprinted from The Grey Town Gazette November 2010 Issue)

Floris Garden, Brussels, Sat Sept 4th:
It's a story that's sure to become as familiar to future generations of science students as that of Schrödinger's cat.

History has shown that many of the great boundary-pushing experiments in science have been conducted by gifted amateur scientists - Darwin, Franklin, et al - and this is no exception.

An adventurous experiment in Alcohol Induced Teleportation(AIT) resulted in a bizarre outcome this weekend. Renowned bon vivant and part time quantum scientist Allan Carter bravely used himself as a human guinea pig in his quest to push the boundaries of man's understanding of alcohol-quantum phenomena by being the first person to try to attempt a controlled absinthe-induced point-to-point teleport.

It's thought that when preparing his Absinthe Allan might have added too much sugar to the fuel-alcohol mix, boosting his drink's energy level and tipping his quantum state over the Drink Horizon. When he re-materialized he was no longer a singularity....but a duality!

Apart from a little additional facial hair, probably caused by a temporal anomaly, the new Allan ('Allan B') is identical to the original ('Allan A'). Well nearly.

Observers started to realize that all was not right, that the two Allans are not quite the same. They have subtly different personalities.

The 'Monster from the id'
During the teleportation process it's believed that Sub Space turbulence caused a destabilization of his Quantum Slipstream and Allan's good side was split from his evil side. The result is a personality-duality with two halves of his id, or inner self, occupying separate but identical bodies.

But although superficially separate they cannot in fact act independently because they are bound sub-atomically as an Entangled-Pair.
In this state the laws of physics mean that they are subject to Einstein's Spooky inaction at a distance, forever caught in a symbiotic causal-loop, with every action by one resulting in an equal but opposite inaction by the other: One Allan relentlessly proffering new and more exotic drinks, the other Allan downing them without hesitation and demanding more

Quantum Qonundrum
But, as is often the case with quantum science, some questions simply cannot be answered. For sure, we now have two Allans: 'Good' and 'Bad'. But the Quantum Qonundrum is: which one is which?

Background: the Science of AIT
The science of Alcohol Induced Teleportation is well established, supported by a mountain of empirical evidence. It's something all of us who live in the real world have experienced at least once: one moment you are happily downing a drink with your mates in friendly bar, then the next moment you open your eyes and find yourself lying fully dressed on your bed with the lights on. Or you might wake up in another bar, perhaps one you've never been in before. Or the back of a taxi. Or worse

In fact. controlled experiments at several monasteries across Belgium have revealed that AIT will randomly follow any one of 4 different patterns:

AIT Type-1. Bar-to-Bar
AIT Type-2. Bar-to-Car
AIT Type-3. Bar-to-Bed
AIT Type-4. Bar-to-Barfroom

This non-determinism is unavoidable. Quantum Uncertainty ensures that it is impossible to predict the type of transfer in advance*. This severely limits the usefulness of the procedure as a day-to-day transportation method, but this has not prevented a growing band of adherents practicing it as a leisure pursuit

The process is of course closely tied to the previously discussed Drink Induced Time Dialation Effect (WDT June 2006 & GTG December 2009), with the speed and distance of teleportation (STD) being proportional to the square of the Alcoholic Index (AI) of the drinks being consumed.

ie. STD = Square(AI)

Absinthe Alcohol Induced Teleportation, or Double-AIT ('Double-Eight') as it is known in quantum circles, is a special variant of AIT and is infamous in the physics community for its unpredictable results. So much so that for several decades the procedure was banned in many countries before being rehabilitated in the light of new discoveries in modern theoretical physics (and better medicare services)

The Memory Paradox
One serious question remains however. Researchers are yet to work out why AIT doesn't teleport memories and cash - they're always left behind at the bar


*update: rumors are starting to circulate that it might indeed be possible to facilitate controlled teleportation. Unconfirmed research suggests that consuming tequila shots along with spicy tomato chasers allows the 'Drink Pilot' to mitigate the alcohol flow and control the jump over the Drink Horizon into sub space. The GTG staff will be putting this to peer review in the very near future.

Editorial note: the GTG would like to apologize to it's readers for the excessive use of italics in this article

Friday, October 08, 2010

Public Service Announcement - Cure for the hiccups

This is a public service announcement for bartenders everywhere. Hiccups happen to the best of us. Yet it amazes me that so few people know the simple cure.

Last night I was at the Triple Rock in Berkeley, California, and a gentleman at the bar had a terrible case of the hiccups. Seeing a drinker in distress, I asked the bartender for several lemon slices. The barkeep had never heard of this simple cure, but obliged, and the hiccups disappeared after two quick bites of a lemon slice.

Maybe this cure only works if the hiccups are triggered by drink. But I can't be in every bar on every day, so I'm counting on you, Internet, to solve this epidemic once and for all. Spread the word, cure the epidemic. The hiccups you cure could be your own.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

"Tell Me a Story About Chuck Norris."

We've just returned from another successful World Drinking Tour Excursion, and while I'm sure there is much more to write about the entire experience I felt it important to get this one little detail down as quickly as possible.

Skippy and I were at the Delerium Café enjoying a beverage or two at an outside table in the alley. There were several empty chairs around us and, as often happens, random strangers would plop down at the table, exchange pleasantries, and then move on. But one gentleman in a particular seemed to be on a mission.

He was from Switzerland, but that's not his fault. We didn't get his name, or if we did, it was something like Wicky, or Zubriggen or Donders ... but no matter. We'll call him Montreaux (Monty for short). Monty plopped into a chair across from us and introduced himself. We did the same. Everyone was smiles and sunshine and drunkeness and laughter. But then, Monty turned serious.

"Tell me a story about Chuck Norris." he said to me, his eyes filled with a strange longing.

"What?" I replied ... as you will.

"Tell me a story about Chuck Norris." he repeated.

I was momentarily taken aback. What to do? But, the longing in his eyes to hear about Chuck Norris, combined with the fact that I was six mojitos towards the promise land, made the decison all too easy.

Here is the story I told:

Chuck Norris is in a bar getting wasted. As he sits at the bar, he pukes down the front of his shirt. Immediately he breaks out into tears sobbing "My wife is going to leave me. I'm just a miserable old drunk and now I'm going to die alone".

The bartender turns to him and says "It's not that bad. You can get out of this. Take a $10 bill and put it in your shirt pocket. When you get home, tell Mrs. Norris that you had a couple beers and a guy at the bar puked on you. Tell her that he gave you the $10 to pay for the shirt."

Chuck Norris looks disbelievingly at him and says "That just might work. Thank you."

Chuck goes straight home. When he walks through the front door, his wife is waiting for him and she is irate. She takes one look at him and screams "I can't believe it. You're drunk. I warned you but you just don't care. I'm moving out."

Chuck says, "Stop honey. Let me explain. True I did have a couple beers but I'm not drunk."
She says "Look at you! You puked down the front of your shirt."

Chuck Norris says "I didn't do this. A drunk guy next to me puked on me. He put a $10 bill in my shirt pocket to pay for the cleaning. You can see for yourself."

Chuck’s wife reaches into his pocket and pulls out some money. She looks at it, then to him and says "This is a $20 bill?"

Chuck Norris looks at her and says "Oh I forgot. He shit in my pants too".

Monty seemed satisfied. he nodded knowingly, shook our hands and then stumbled away into the night. It's a shame he left so soon. I was hoping he would tell me a story about Renée Zellweger.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2010 Belgian Hop Harvest Declared A Total Loss

Devastating news out of Belgium today as Belgian Beer Association president Monsieur Lapin Drole declared the 2010 Belgian Hop Harvest a complete and total loss. "Devastation of this magnitude is unprecedented. The Belgian Beer industry can never recover," sobbed Monsieur Lapin at a hastily arranged press conference on Tuesday.

While scientific authorities have not yet released their report on the massive crop failure, Belgian Beer Blogs are reporting that the following image is to blame.

The photo clearly shows an unidentified Sasquatch type creature running naked through the hop fields of Belgium.

And once this photo has been seen, it cannot be unseen.

Try as you might, and oh yes, you will try, but it will haunt you for the rest of your days.

"The image is burned into my retinas," stated Fesses Velu, noted Belgian Beer Snob and Hop Farmer from Wallonia. "I can never look at a hop field the same way again, or drink a hoppy malt beverage without reliving this horror. It burns my eyes like a venereal disease. Not even the English would buy these hops now."

In related business news, Belgian breweries are being sold at fire sale prices. Belgian brewery Delirium Tremens was reportedly sold to Barry and LeVon for $240 worth of pudding.

Friday, August 06, 2010

World Drinking Tour 2010: "The Gathering "

As the 2010 gathering of the now infamous World Drinking Tour draws near, I felt it was high time to reflect on the past and to attempt - possibly with the utmost futility - to make sense of it all. As is my way, rather than compose an original hypothesis, I’ve decided to do what I do best and boil everything in life down to an obscure pop culture reference. I’m the Ellen Page of 40 year old drunk guys.
So yes, I referred to our upcoming European drunkfest as a “gathering” with a very intentional nod to “Highlander: The Gathering” from 1992. For the uninformed I’d usually spend a few lines here describing Highlander, getting you up to speed, and filling in the gaps where you’ve chosen to shun media references and stock up on “book learnin”. But, too bad for you It’s 2010 so Google it.
The real point is that there are many frightening parallels between the Highlander “Gathering” and ours.
In Highlander, wise immortal, Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez (played by Sean Connery), describes the Gathering to Connor MacLeod in this way: "When only a few of us are left, we will feel an irresistible pull towards a far away land, to fight for the Prize."


Indeed, there are only a few of us left and getting fewer each year. Thankfully none have been pulled away by “The Big Last Call”. No, we’re all still alive. But, some have chosen to abstain for personal reasons, family commitments, budget constraints or the debilitating time zone change between the UK and Belgium … all completely reasonable excuses and all perfectly unacceptable. When you get the call you HEED it. Regret, boredom and the possibility of a longer life to suffer these things are the only reward for not doing so.
You see, the WDTourists, like the Immortals, do not live as a united people, but are scattered around the world and across history. The singular bond between all of us is a set of unwritten guidelines called “the Rules” which are transmitted from teacher to student.

The Highlander Rules are:

• Never fight on Holy Ground.
• Once a battle has begun, another Immortal may not interfere.
• In the end, there can be only one.
Taken as a body of work one could easily transpose the Highlander rules to accommodate the WDT, with a few notable exceptions.

Rule 1: Hmmm, tough one. At our “Gathering” drinking on holy ground is not only acceptable but actively pursued. Some of the best beer on Earth is made by monks in close proximity to monasteries. We not only drink on holy ground, we sin on a biblical scale. There’s certainly Lust (you feel it on the long cab ride to St. Sixtus) and Gluttony is a given. Greed shows up as you relentlessly try to hoard 3 or 4 Westvleteren 12’s in front of you. Laziness is once again implied. Wrath – only rarely, but will often rear its ugly head at last call. And finally, Envy. Ah, who among us has not peered across the table at a proud WDT’er and his perfectly lined up goblets of liquid gold and not wanted a piece of that action?
Rule 2: When a group of us have entrenched ourselves firmly at the bar and have settled in for the long haul - something I like to call “parking the brain” - it is not only against the rules but ill advised for another member of the clan to interfere. If you have to leave - do it quietly. It is okay to leave the game (we all have a wall and we all find it at top speed from time to time) but never to cause its demise. If you want to go buy Dutch hip hop at 2am that is fine too. But when two or more participants are locked in cup combat they are to be left … even encouraged … to see it to the inevitable, horrifying, “I don’t remember eating that” conclusion.
Rule 3: In the end, there can be only one. Well, this isn’t technically a rule in the WDT world but more a statement of fact. Inevitably the group whittles down to a small core of frighteningly food and sleep deprived sociopaths who simply can’t be bothered to, well, stop it. It’s usually 6am or later and as 5 drinkers slips to 4, sloshes to 3 and stumbles to 2 someone eventually has to throw in that final towel. It can be as innocent as a “well, I’ve had enough.” followed by an unskilled slalom back to your room. Or, it can be as complicated as “How am I going to carry this big bastard six blocks across the Leidseplein and still get a funnel of frites?”
A further Highlander/WDT comparison is a phenomenon known as “the Quickening”.

In Highlander, when an Immortal is beheaded, there is a powerful energy release from their body called a Quickening. Actor Adrian Paul explains, "The Quickening is the receiving of all the power and knowledge another immortal has obtained throughout his/her life. It is like the receiving of a sacrament or a massive orgasm.” God help the one of us who “beheads’ Keith.

In our world this “quickening” comes as you put down that last glass of the evening (or early morning) and realize that you have made it to the end of a rigorous session. The WDT Quickening can certainly manifest itself as a feeling of elation, but more often than not it is a strong urge to pass out, throw up, or both … hopefully in an order that doesn’t kill you. Very rarely does it end as a “massive orgasm” and when it does, well … ewwwww.
I think I’ve made my point - as meaningless and oddly irrelevant as it may be - that there is a deeper meaning to what we do each year. Sure, we leave our jobs unfinished, our families angry and bewildered, and we sit for hours on flights to places most people couldn’t find on a map with Waldo in the center. We pack our gear light (it’s an iPod and a bottle of Extra Strength Excedrin for me) but leave a lot of room for the “what ifs” and “what will bes”.
True, we die a little each trip, both from the inevitability of time and also liver damage, but time is not on our side. There are only so many visits to the Café Belgique left. There are a limited number of long nights at Café Delerium Tremons remaining. And, each time we go, we have one less. Think about that.

So as we Highlander wannabes … or “Beerlanders” if you will, gear up for another “Gathering” I’m inclined to once again quote the immortal Ramirez:

“You have the manners of a goat. And you smell like a dung-heap! And you have no knowledge whatsoever of your potential!”

I can’t wait for the 2010 “Gathering” to begin.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Lodge Craft Beer Bar on Hilton Head Island

I'm not going to lie to you. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is not a beer mecca. That fact might skew my review slightly, because The Lodge is so badly needed here.

That said, I do think The Lodge holds it's own as a top quality beer bar. Currently there are 36 taps and about 100 bottled choices (not to mention the cans from Oskar Blues).

What makes this place standout for me is the quality of the taps. Mega tap bars usually bore me, but I enjoyed exploring the selection here. Selling samples is a good idea, and a great way to try out some top quality brews. In the future I'd recommend they sell 5 or 6 samples at a discount, as I think it would further encourage sampling.

I hope they can continue the top quality of their tap selection (and see no reason why they won't, but yesterday was the first day of their reopening as a craft beer bar). I was also tempted by some old favorites on the bottle list, but I resisted because I wanted to focus on beers that were new to me.

Standouts in the current tap list are Foothills' Sexual Chocolate and Coast's Cascade American Pale. In fact I had to take a growler of the Coast home with me. Growlers are another great option here and I expect that will go over very well with vacationers who love good beer.

I loved seeing a variety of Stone beers on tap and in bottle, and I know I'll enjoy them in at the Lodge in the future. And Bell's...I could drink Two Hearted Ale for hours at end...and the Hopslam that Tony opened for a few of us to share really rocked. But I really like their eclectic SC/NC/GA selection...beers you can't find in bottles.

Kudos to Coast Brewing for producing the best beer brewed in South Carolina. Folks in the bar thought I was a Coast rep the way I was talking it up ladt night...and I think the Cascade Pale is going to be a big seller here. I thought their Harold stout was only average (sorry but Terrapin's Wake N Bake wax significantly better and Sexual Chocolate rocked my world...whatever the hell that means).

I also have to give a shout out for Coast Kolsch. As a style, I've always thought Kolsch to be a waste of time. Let's be honest, if you're drinking Kolsch it usually means you're 40 kilometers away from the Alt beer that you'd rather be drinking. That said, the Coast Kolsch tasted pretty good to me last night, so now I can only imagine how good an Alt would taste. I mean I'm starting to obsess about it. I've started scheming to figure out how I'm going to manage another
trip to Dusseldorf. Who's with me? Save me Coast...don't tease me with your Kolsch and leave me lusting for an Alt!! I can't book a trip to Dusseldorf every time I have one of your beers!!!

But I digress...The Lodge is easily the best place for good beer on Hilton Head. Tony seems to be working hard to bring in quality beer, and it is an extremely impressive start. The bar staff, especially Troy, seem to know their beer. Plus it's a great environment for drinking beer...and meeting interesting people. I look forward to my next visit.

Note...the kitchen is not open yet, so I can't comment on the food yet. That said, the Sexual Chocolate does drink like a meal.

Give a hand to my band, Sexual Chocolate.

Skippy has left the building...with a growler.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2009 Drinking Tour Update: The apéritifs are sorted

There's some buzz in the UK this week about the release of the UK's strongest beer.

Clocking in at 18.2%, the BBC points out that a single bottle contains twice the recommended daily limit.

Ah ... to live in a nanny state and have both the state and people like the Auntie Beeb looking out for you.

Truth is, we know that BrewDog is just using this as a publicity stunt, and that's good enough for us. We need a first official drink to start off this year's festivities, and it's got to be BrewDog Tokyo.

Arrangements are being made to get enough BrewDog Tokyo to Poperinge for those who are making the whole trip. If it's complete crap, at least there will be 100 different beers to wash away the after taste...

Thanks Keith!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

World Drinking Tour 2009 - Poperinge, Westvleteren and Brussels

Yeah, I've done a pretty crap job at keeping this blog up-to-date. I can't believe I didn't file a trip report about the Belgian beer bar in Grenoble (Freres Berthom) ... or the 2009 tour planning session at the PorterHouse earlier this year. For that matter, where's the report on the late spring scouting trip to Brussels, where we've identified a few more great bars to go to when the Delirium and Floris are overrun during the beer festival?

But I'm here to make up for all that. After all, who wants to hear about things after the fact?

This year's Belgian Beer trip will be one for the ages.

Next week, Keef turns 60.

And you know what that means ... yes, that's right, it gives us an excuse to justify another Belgian Beer Weekend trip to Brussels.

We're calling this year's trip, 60 Beers for 60 Years. September 2 - 7, 2009.

But it's more that that. We're talking about Keef here ... the man, the myth, the legend ...

The man who slept in a bunker on the golf course outside of the Skimmington Castle.

The man who drank 14 Westmalle Tripels and was still able to get up the next morning and supervise the unpacking of a trade show booth.

The man who drank the lifetime limit of Kasteel Blondes in a single evening and still made the trip to St. Sixtus at Westvleteren the next afternoon. (In case you're curious, it is only possible to drink 12 Kasteel Blondes in a single lifetime. Beyond that your body will simply not accept any more. I've watched Keith try on several occasions, but it always ends up a nasty mess. You have to admire his determination though.)

To belatedly celebrate Keef's 60th birthday in September, it is only fitting that we pay a visit to the St. Sixtus Monastery in Westvleteren, Belgium. (And I believe St. Sixtus is the patron saint of sixty plus year old beer drinkers.) With enough participants, it should be easy enough for the group to enjoy at least 60 beers at St. Sixtus ... after all, I was there with Keef, Dale and Allan several years ago when the four of us ordered 14 in a single round. That was the night we broke the sofa in Keef's room and almost burned down a hotel in Bruges ... so this time we should probably stay in Poperinge.

I've gotten a little ahead of myself ... but here's the plan ... in honor of Keef's birthday, you have 5 days to enjoy 60 quality Belgian beers with Keef.

And if you've never met Keef before, what better way to make his acquaintance.

The first part of the trip is an excursion out to the Westvleteren monastery where we'll debate the merits of the Westvleteren 12 against the under appreciated Westvleteren Blond. Then we'll convene in Brussels for the Belgian Beer Weekend ( Hopefully you can make the whole trip ... but if you can't ... consider joining us at least for the beer festival in Brussels.

The tour starts in Poperinge on the evening of Wednesday, September 2. Some of us will be meeting at the Brussels Airport to catch the 15.30 train that will deposit us in Poperinge at 18.00.

There are two bars in Poperinge that have over 100 beers ... Café de la Paix on the Grote Markt (, conveniently just a few doors down from the hotel ... and the bar in the Hotel Palace ( which seems to have the reputation as being the best beer bar in Poperinge ... I look forward to comparing them for myself!

We plan to spend Thursday, September 3 at the In de Vrede Café, across the street from the Westvleteren monastery ( Join us in the café and wallow in the Westvleteren 12 and Blond ... be a glutton ... order them 4 at a time if you're so moved (seriously, the service is a little slow, so you might at least want to double up ... even if you don’t double up the double ups).

I can almost taste the Westvleteren 12 right now.
Actually I might start with the Westvleteren Blond ... what could quite possibly be the best summer beer ... (ignore the reviews that don't rate the Blond that high ... it does not travel as well as the 12 ... the 12 improves with a little age ... the Blond should be drank fresh).
My day is shot now ... I can't concentrate any more.
At the end of the day, taxi back to Poperinge ... have a meal ... maybe forget that you just had a meal ... and have another one. You're on vacation (quite possibly a mental vacation at that), so it's your option.

On Friday, September 4, we'll train back to Brussels for the weekend.

The plan is to arrive in Brussels early enough to pay a visit to the Cantillon Brewery ( They close at 17.00, so we're going to try to make it by around 15.00 or 15.30.

Then it's time for another Belgian Beer Weekend ( on the Grand Place in Brussels.

As usual, we'll stay at the Ibis Off Grand Place ... be sure to make a reservation! (

We've done a research mission and found a few great alternative destinations for those times when the Delirium Café and Floris Bar are too crowded.

Of course, if you've yet to make this trip, the Delirium Café and Floris Bar will be your new home away from home. (Well, actually some days it can be a challenge to get out of the Hotel Ibis bar, a true home away from home.)

To whet your appetite, here are some past trip reports:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Belikin Stout ... The World Needs more Summer Stout

Maybe my taste buds are feeling deprived. Actually no maybe about
it...Belize is not a beer tourist destination.

However, it is a great and diverse country with many sites to
see...from its coral reefs to its caves to its Mayan ruins. But we're
not here to talk about that...we're here to talk beer.

Belize has a virtual beer monopoly with one brewer that controls the
market with local brews and some international brews under contract.
Most are forgettable ... another bland tropical lager that quenches
thirst ...

Maybe 9 days of drinking Belikin Stout has clouded my judgment, but
it's actually a pretty nice beer. I'm not sure it's a
favorite stouts are the bottle conditioned Cooper's Stout from
Australia and for draft the PorterHouse brews out of Ireland (proudly
served at their branch in London Covent Garden). I like a good draft
Guinness...but if I'm in Dublin I hit every PorterHouse before
returning to the hotel bar for the Guin. Oh ... and don't get me started on imperial stouts ... that would be a nice nightcap right now as I sit on the beach.

Anyway, the Belikin Stout is a lighter stout but has some depth to the
flavor...I question whether or not it is a true stout, but let's call
it a summer stout. A darker beer that drinks well under the hot
sun...the world needs more beers like that. I'd gladly drink a Belikin
Stout back home by the pool.

America needs a good summer stout ... Belikin has done something
right ...


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