Kids! It has apparently been several months since I filed my first post at The Ferm, and I'm still waiting for that check. Ad revenue must be low. No worries kids, I'm filing this one on credit.

I just finished watching perennial powerhouse Duke knock off the Baylor Bears in the 2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament. Deviant mascot aside (last time I checked, more devils than bears reside in Waco, TX), Baylor still made a good run and I congratulate them on their courage throughout the madness that is the month of March. Baylor played with a bunch guys that didn't get much of a sniff from bigger schools during their high school years. But personally, my favorite part of this year's Baylor team is that they made it through the year without a teammate murdering another teammate.

A lot has changed for me since I checked in with you guys last. I recently sold my daughter's Toyota Prius and replaced it with a used LR4. The biggest difference in the old and new rides? Reliability. To offset the larger carbon footprint, we switched to a utility company with renewables in their portfolio and to single-ply toilet paper. It was a totally even trade if you ask me, and we now have slightly less of a chance of her driving the car through a wall and totaling it, thus turning it into a huge piece of trash in a scrap yard. Make no mistake, she still complained of the change, but I advised her to also consider giving up her iPhone and laptop to help save the planet. This suggestion ended the argument, and as an added bonus I was also able to reintroduce two-ply toilet paper without opposition (seriously folks, there are some situations where less is not more). Another score for Crawford!

Speaking of scores (half scores at least), last Friday was my ten year anniversary at my current job. Ten years of explaining what we do to our salesman, managing project managers' mismanagement, and proofing reports from young Engineers before they get to our customers. Is technical writing even taught in school these days? Seriously, I caught a "cause" the other day instead of "because."

Because last Friday was also "Make Your Own Holiday Day," our witty HR department decided to throw a potluck lunch, something of which I am not a fan. Potlucks are always the perfect storm for the most unbalanced meals. They also combine my two worst ideas for lunch: 1. Lunch with a bunch of chatty people and 2. Having to prepare my own food. Among an inglorious spread of spaghetti, deviled eggs, some sort of raison-y fruit salad topped with whipped cream, a loaf of bread, a bucket of fried chicken (must have been a project manager), countless side dishes involving pasta, and three types of lettuce salads, I suffered through conversations of tee ball, Sandra Bullock, health care reform, Dancing with the Stars, what happens to coffee beans when you freeze them (interesting actually), and something called Farmville. No synergies were to be found at this event. Sorry corporate.

My dish received oodles of compliments, however, and was gone by the end of lunch. I told everyone my wife made it, which basically got me double credit for the dish (you see, they think my wife is great and therefore think that I am great because I'm married to her). Genius… I know. The real story behind the dish is that I slipped out of work around 10-ish and picked up a Spinach Salad with Figs and Feta Cheese at Whole Foods. While I was waiting for the deli guy to transfer the spinach salad into a Tupperware-type bowl that I picked off the shelves, I couldn't help to notice how many customers were gravitating toward a refrigerated display of 2-for-1 sushi. Discount sushi? I'll pass, kids. I prefer paying full price for raw fish. If that organic mango-pear juice or soynut trail mix doesn't clean all those hippies out, that cheap sushi should do the trick. Plus, what bargain hunter shops at Whole Foods anyway?

Readers, allow me just one tangent. Recently the local liquor superstore has been running commercials about their products being "cheap." But they do not just casually mention cheap prices, they say "cheap" ten or more times in a single commercial spot. "CHEAP! Cheeeeaaaaap. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap." From one business man to another, I'd like to tell them that "cheap" is a word with a negative connotation. Cheap implies poor quality (e.g. "cheap beer" or "cheap clothes"). The word they are looking for is "inexpensive." "Discount" or "affordable" will work too, but I prefer "inexpensive." Often the former two still imply that the item is not high quality. I even emailed that liquor superstore about their commercial and I received the following response:

Our brand communicates that fine wine can be bought at a reasonable price. Our customer ranges from a novice wine drink to a sommelier. So we are trying to communicate across a broad spectrum of drinkers in that, no matter who u are, u CAN afford to buy something fantastic! After all, life is too short to drink bad wine!
But life is too short to drink cheap wine too… or discount sushi, for that matter… just saying.

After the good people of Whole Foods packed up my spinach salad, I swung down the beer aisle. I was in somewhat of a hurry to make it back to work before people wondered where I had disappeared, so I had no time to create my own mixed six-pack today. I picked up a sixer of Samuel Adams Boston Lager and a 4-pack of Oscar Blues Ten Fidy. I'm a big fan of Oscar Blues' other beers (all canned) and wanted to give this one a try. Ziggy the checkout dude rang me up... $55! How much was that salad?! It turns out that 4-pack of Ten Fidy is (no not $10.50 but) $14.29. Is it possible for a canned beer to good enough to justify that price tag? I broke it out later that night after the rest of the family retreated to their rooms for bed.

Man alive, this beer is great. I typically pour my beers into a glass for a proper tasting. However, this being a canned beer, I wanted to enjoy the beer in its (intended?) canned form. The can itself has a wide mouth, which is good for pouring it quickly into your mouth, which is what I did, which was not the best idea, which I'll get into in a minute. Ten Fidy is incredibly drinkable. The 9.5% ABV is hidden nicely by the choco-malty nose and smooth feeling in the mouth. Clearly by accidentally chugging the first can, I drank the beer much too cold for its style. This was the beer drinking equivalent of putting a few dollars into those claw machines at the grocery store only to have that weak gripped sorry excuse for a claw thing slide right through the targeted bear without even making it budge. It was time to give Ten Fidy a proper taste.

The second can was poured into a beer snifter. The appearance is pitch black and pours thick with a huge head that took quite a while to dissipate to a level where I could drink it without getting a face full of foam. Ten Fidy has a very rich and roasty aroma, but nothing overwhelming like some of its peers in this style. My notes kind of trail off after this point. Apparently the chugging the first can caught up with me somewhere after a few sips of the second can. I can tell you that this beer was more enjoyable from a taste and aroma perspective when it was a little warmer. I highly recommend you pick a 4-pack up from your local beer retailer, but please note: Oscar Blues Ten Fidy is not cheap! Until next time kids, imbibe that!

  1. Jay Zeis March 31, 2010 at 8:40 AM  

    I was actually at the beer store last night and went to grab a 4 pack- then I saw the price.

  2. SirRon March 31, 2010 at 9:15 AM  

    I think the brewery missed a golden opportunity to price it at $10.50... just saying.

    This post raises a good (and maybe unintended) point, is there a tipping point for beer price vs. quality of the beer? Does that price point shift with container type? I bet if I calculated $/oz of my purchases I am much more likely to pick up an expensive 750mL than I am an expensive 6 pack of bottles (even knowing that the margin on larger bottles is set intentionally higher by breweries).

    Hmmm... Dollars per ounce per Rate Beer Rating (rating/100)... I smell an assignment for our science guy, JR :)

  3. J.R. Ewing April 2, 2010 at 5:29 PM  

    I think everyone does the DpOpRB (\Dee'-pop-rib\) when they shop. One day I came home with Heineken, and Sue Ellen (that's my wife) asks "you never drink that". My reply..."Shiner was $14.99 a 12 pack, this was $10.99, it's usually opposite". Picked up Sam Adams this week on the same premise...cheaper than its comps.