Archive for February, 2014

Polestar Left Hand Pils

February 6th, 2014 by Android | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

DISB Rating– 86 – Not bad, but still one of the more disappointing craft Pilseners I have had. Everything about it seems pretty good, the aroma, the color, the head the lacing and then you get to the flavor and it just falls flat. A difficult to discern cracker overpowers a weak sweet grass and the yin of hop bitterness strangles the yang of hop herbal/spicey aromatics in the crib. Despite this description, still pretty decent stuff.
TMTB rating – 86 – Not a flagship and not a truly outstanding example of the style.
Style Rating – 87 – It scores well on the pilsener scale until you get to the most important part, the flavor. While the flavor is not bad, as noted above its front end weakness that emphasizes cracker and extremely muscular backend bitterness denies it the hallmarks of a great Pilsener.*

Aroma – Sweet grass with a little citrus tailing off to a rindy bitterness on the backend; Head – Full slow retreat intermittant clump lacing; Color – straw to light gold; Flavor – Weak sweet grass almost a hint of cracker giving way to a hint of spicey/herbal aromatics quickly overwhelmed by a lingering deep bitterness; Body – medium light; Carbonation – high medium.

* We at Tavernator consider the hallmarks of a great Pilsener to be solid sweet grass flavor from the light malts with maybe a hint of cracker and an herbal/spicey hop aromatic, followed by a lingering moderate hop bitterness.

At Tavernator we love craft Pilseners or Pilsener style beers. Some of us at Tavernator also like Bill Maher, but much like Polestar Left Hand Pils, his thought processes can be very disappointing. The other day he was discussing the movie “Twelve Years a Slave” with his guest its screenplay writer John Ridley. When the issue of Obama’s National security policy of routinely screening any cell phone or ewe-mail correspondece came up. (I say Obama’s policy, because even if it was initiated by George W. Bush, Obama has had sufficient time to reverse it and has failed to do so. In short, dump it or own it.) Bill and Ridley agreed to compare this policy to a modern day form of slavery only cheapens the meaning of slavery because it has, relatively speaking, so little impact on an individuals day to day ability to achieve self determination. The implication was that we should not attack Obama on this issue because modern day slavery is a much more important issue and we should focus on getting him on board for that.

On its face the argument makes sense and sounds entirely reasonable. A slave is someone who has no right and generally no ability to communicate with people without their master’s permission. In modern slavery this means they may never have access to cell phones and e-mail. Ridley gave a number of examples of modern slavery, people sold into sex trafficking rings; Children forced to hawk candy or cookies posing as someone trying to raise funds for his or her school or youth sports team; illegal immigrants forced to work in sweat shops until their “transportation” fees are paid off.

Yes these activities are egregious, but they are not committed or enforced, openly by the government, at least not in this country. Whereas slavery, as described in “12 Years a Slave,” was enforced by our government, much like these security scans of our cell phone activity and e-mails. Yes, very powerful people enforce slavery in modern times, but they do not have the color of right and law that government sanction would give them.

Moreover, while Obama’s government may not utilize this knowledge for the purposes of denying people their right to self determination, the next administration may not be so magnanimous. Even a government by of and for the people is a large and powerful creature and run by people susceptible to their own internal motivations and limitations in understanding the full significance of their actions.

The founding fathers, many rather pompous slave holders, built in checks and balances and the Bill of Rights, some just so they could remain slave holders, to offset these inherent dangers and limitations of this very powerful creature, the government. Nonetheless, with the color of law and right people now have access to information that can be used to deny people their right to self determination and may, by conscious desire or ignorance, actually deny it.

Currently, under Obama’s government, at least two U.S. citizens have voluntarily become political exiles rather than risk facing treason charges for having exposed this activity. (Yes, there is a debate about whether or not these individuals endangered covert operatives lives or otherwise gave away state secrets, but the upshot is that Obama’s government may not be so benign.) Additionally, Obama has still failed to close Guantanamo’s detention center. The “National Security State” is a legal system and mentality under which this nation has labored since the beginning of the Cold War and especially since 9/11. Obama, under the watchful eyes of Hillary Clinton, has consistently resisted attempts to dismantle any aspect of it the “National Security State.” legal system and mentality under which this nation has labored since the beginning of the Cold War and espcially since 9/11.

Additionally the argument implicitly dismisses a debate about the importance of privacy and how corporations for over twenty years have bought and sold our privacy in efforts to shape our self determination to fit their needs. All of this done under the color of right and the protection of the law.

In short the argument that the government’s access, and even the corporations relatively free access to our private information should not be equated with slavery sounds good on its face. Ultimately, it fails to account for how self determination in the future can be eliminated by the constant capacity of limited and powerful individuals, inside and outside the government, to know everything about everyone. It really only serves as an apologia for Obama’s failure to bring about real change in limiting the breadth, depth and scope of the government’s national security operations.

Much like Polestar Left hand Pils, Bill Maher and John Ridley’s position looks good until you really think it through, or in Polestar’s case drink it through.