Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Stealth Opener

Gather 'round, friends - I'd like to introduce you to a new tool in the Review's arsenal of bottle liberating devices, what we like to call the "stealth" opener. When consuming your favorite bottled beverage outside of your home or local establishment, there are often many impediments you might encounter; such as the prying eyes of law enforcement or misguided citizens. To help alleviate these problems, the fine folks at Vaughan U.S.A. have developed a technologically advanced new (circa 1950) tool - the "Quad Fold."

What is the Quad-fold, you might ask? It is the worlds first folding bottle opener, with dual bottle cap and can-punch implements. It ingeniously folds at the middle, converting to a compact and inconspicuous "stealth" mode. Where are the other three folds referred to in the name? Well, they are too subtle for even us two well-trained and seasoned bottle opening veterans to discern. (1)

(1) Bonus shout-out to any reader that can find them hiding in there somewhere.
Two pieces, two tools, one hinge - four folds? You do the math. 

Being the intrepid reviewers we are, we decided to put the "Quad Fold" to the test in some real-world situations. The natural choice for this was to bring our own refreshments to the budget theater, and try out this opener's mettle, while using the sounds of explosions and gunfire to mask our mischief. The feature film chosen was Joss Whedon's The Avengers.

"There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people, so when we needed them, they could fight the battles that we never could..." Or perhaps open the bottles we never could? Our night at the budget theater would have been incomplete were it not for the Quad-fold. It was our gateway into another universe of movie-watching experience: one that included Dave's BrewFarm Matacabras Ale.

"His secrets have secrets." And our stealth opener ushered us through the one hundred forty odd minutes of opulent action scenes and quip-cracking one-liners with the clandestine touch that only a folding bottle opener could make. This whisper-quiet opener was essential for keeping up with Joss Whedon's Gatling gun dialogue and gliding camera work.

"You put those people together, you can't expect what's going to happen..." Despite the Quad-fold's power to open beers discretely, it could not account for your humble reviewer's hulkish feet kicking over empty bottles, sending them clattering underneath two rows of seats. So much for secrecy.

The "Quad Fold" performed even better than expected, easily dispatching four bottles in quick succession, with only the dim light of a cheap projector to guide it. It folds up and fits perfectly in the change pocket of a pair of jeans, and no-one but us was any wiser to the action taking place off-screen - although this might have more to do with the ineptitude of the movie theater staff than our stealthiness.

Despite its misleading title, and obvious age, the "Quad Fold" is a worthy companion on any excursion. The cap removal is swift due to the extended leverage provided when you unfold it, and it has the additional advantage of having a can-punch, in case vintage flat-top cans start to make a come-back to appease the hipster market-share. All-in-all, we give it a resounding 5 out of 6 bottle score.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Kingdom of Norway

For today's Review, we will be taking a (metaphorical) trip to the Kingdom of Norway.
This bottle opener was a gift from Courtney's mother, and it's origin, brand, and other identifying information are all unknown. All we do know about it is that it has what appears to be a bone (perhaps whale bone?) or horn handle, inscribed with the word Norge (Norwegian for Norway), and decorated with an idyllic scene of a small hut against the backdrop of a misty mountain.

Opener in action
What we lack in history for this tool, we make up for with first-hand experience. This opener has a pleasant heft and using it conjures visions of salty seawater spraying across the bow of some old wooden fishing vessel as we wield the only tool available to us against the impending storm - a hearty brew.

While on the face of things, it may seem that this is merely a novelty souvenir, or tourist trap fare, we choose to believe that this is an ancient heirloom - passed down from generation to generation of broad-shouldered viking descendants, perhaps from Harald Fairhair himself.

But we digress. The important thing about this tool is that it opens bottles! Perhaps not so spectacularly as our description so far might lead you to believe, but nonetheless well enough to dispatch our beers for the evening; Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial Pale Ale, Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout, and Rogue John John Ale. An eclectic bunch, if we've ever seen one.

Beers of the night

To accompany our historic opener, and the assemblage of beers we used to test it, we crafted a decidedly un-vikinglike meal of sauerkraut, pineapple, peppers and barbecue sauce pizza AKA When the Cubs Win the Pennant Pizza (1).

(1) The toppings of this pizza were inspired by a trip to Cubby's Bar in downtown Downsville, WI where the owner makes pizzas behind the bar and freely recommends a sauerkraut, pineapple, and bacon pizza. We left out the bacon, but kept the craziness - hence the name. 

The resulting pizza was smoother than a Whitest Boy Alive lick, (2) and lick our fingers we did. Let's start from the top: red onions, pineapple, and pickled peppers riding a wave of fresh mozzarella with sauerkraut and barbecue sauce lurking below the surface. All atop a hand made crust, from dough raised, relaxed, and baked earlier that day. The kind of crust with a crisp that invited you to take another slice and crack another brew.

(2) The author spent the next fifteen minutes watching Whitest Boy Alive videos, the smashingest of which you can see here:

We at the Bottle Opener Review attest that the best beer is one that is freely given. And while each beer consumed this evening had it's own mass, the one with a planet's worth of gravity and a celestial body to boot was the Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout, which was a gift from a seasoned couch surfer who biked to Menomonie the weekend prior. This brew followed the pizza dinner in a manner that was fitting for a few travelers returning home to the hearth, with a warm oaky aroma and plenty of sweet-tart cherry.

When all was said and done, the night was a success, and no-one was thrown overboard. The Norge opener did a fine job, and will remain in our arsenal, and the pizza was some of the finest this town has to offer.

As far as the opener; the Norge scored points in our book for it's style, and imaginary history, and on top of that - it opens beers. Overall we give it a score of 4 out of 6 bottles.

We'd like to thank everyone for joining us on the journey to Scandinavia tonight, and hope you'll make it back for the next one. Until then, keep it classy.