February 2009

As a Netflix subscriber, I usually find the supposedly personalized recommendations I receive generic and underwhelming.  However, today as I checked my queue I noticed the following quartet of recommended films…


Notice the “Films from Italy” section.  Look at all that posterior!  I mean, sure, Italian film, sexually open culture, etc., but to have 3 of the 4 of recommended titles featuring buttocks on the film’s cover art… I’m not even sure what to think if that. To Quote Will Ferrell in Anchorman, “Hell, I’m not even mad.”  In fact, given my limited experience with Italian film, it may even make sense.

Elena and I recently watched a trio of Fellini Films: 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita, and Amarcord, the latter of which we actually were able to see on the big screen at Film Forum.  I really enjoyed the experience, and I’m sure that going forward I’ll explore other filmmakers this way.  I watch a good amount of old films, but this was my first major effort to explore an Italian filmmaker, and particularly in Amarcord, the camera’s fixation with asses–especially in the case of well-endowed middle-aged women–was noticeable, to say the least. 

The encounter with the tobacconist (from behind) in Amarcord

The encounter with the tobacconist (from behind) in Amarcord.

It would be an exaggeration to say that I was surprised by Fellini’s obsession with the female form; “amused” would be a better word.  And I guess I don’t have a bone to pick with Netflix either.  Even if it fails to recommend movies that I want to watch, at least Netflix appears (literally, in this case) to have cultural predilections firmly in their grasp.


I’ve fallen noticeably behind in my search to find great pilsner, and in an effort to keep myself honest I’ve created a tentative schedule for the coming weeks. That said, I feel the need to say a few words in my defense. 

Having recently moved to New York City, I also moved into a completely different beer distribution market.  Therefore, the available American craft-brewed pilsners shifted from New Glarus and Bell’s to Victory and Brooklyn; and the imports have gone from Bitburger and Stiegl to Jever and Radeberger.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, in principle.  Its just taken me a few months to redefine my quest based on availability.

And a couple weeks ago, I was all ready to launch head-long into the NYC edition with probably the most available and highest profile American craft pilsner: Victory Prima Pils.  Literally the day before I was going to buy a 22oz bottle of the Prima Pils, crack it open, and write about it, I stopped for dinner at Back Forty (one of my favorite East Village spots: seasonal food, served unpretentiously, and paired with a small but well-crafted beer list).  As usually happens, my eyes drifted first to the tap handles, and noticed the familiar red “V”, signalling the Prima Pils (or occasionally the ESB).  However, when I saw the menu, instead of “Prima,” it was “Harvest.”

Needless to say I was excited.  And the beer did not disappoint.  I had it with catfish, and I seem to remember some sort of watercress element as well, though I may well be making that up (the menu has changed since then, thankfully, so I cannot verify this hunch).  However, I didn’t feel like taking notes over a great meal, and figured I could find the Harvest Pils again soon… 

Boy, was I wrong!  The beer is only brewed once a year, is served exclusively on tap (which is great!), and apparently moves very quickly.  So, instead of reviewing the Prima Pils, I’ve been searching again and again for the Harvest Pils.  At this point, I’ve given up until next fall, but you can be sure that a review will appear here sometime next winter.

A Great Austrian Pilsner. Hard to come by, however, in New York.

A Great Austrian Pilsner. Hard to come by, however, in New York.


So, without further ado, here is my tentative schedule for the next few weeks/months:

Victory Prima Pils


Dogfish Head Golden Era (a stretch, I know)

New Glarus Bohemian Lager (Unplugged Series)

Dinkel Acker CD-Pils

Brooklyn Pilsner

The Pennsylvania Trifecta (at the suggestion of “the great pumpkin“):

Troegs Sunshine Pils

Sly Fox Pikeland Pils

Stoudt’s Pils

Stiegl Pils (if I can find a bottle)

Clipper City Small Craft Warning (Heavy Seas Series)


Please let me know if you have any further suggestions, amendments, etc. Hopefully this list will help me finally get myself in gear.