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Charles' Top 5 Drinks of 2013!

Rainier's this beer from Seattle. You've probably never heard of it.
Rainier's this beer from Seattle. You've probably never heard of it.

When I first started writing this list, I was worried that I didn't drink enough to populate it. That turned out not to be the problem. No, I drink (and drank) plenty. The problem then became that fact that when you're a recently graduated journo moving to a major city for your first real in-industry job, you don't have much money to spend on booze. I was worried everything I drank during my Seattle sabbatical would be too boring to include on a Top 5 list.

That also became not the problem, because apparently when I had to choose between heating my apartment during the Northwest winter and alcohol, I chose alcohol. (This also turned out not to be a problem, because only one of my drinks is Seatown exclusive.)

So, without further ado and for your enjoyment, my top five drinks of 2013.

5. Crooked Belgian Wit from Two Beers Brewery

The front one! An aside: Can we stop using Mason jars yet?
The front one! An aside: Can we stop using Mason jars yet?

The Crooked Belgian Wit from Two Beers Brewery is the best beer I have ever had in my short life.

When it comes to food and drink, I do not use the word "best" lightly. I stared at the best french fry I had ever eaten for a good five minutes after I had taken a bite (They were from Haven, and, malherusement, they're not as good the second time around.) The best donut I've ever eaten? (A Chinese ballon donut from Koi Palace in Daly City) I was speechless.

After I took a sip from the Belgian wit, I had a mini panic attack. It kind of freaked out my dining partner.

The Crooked Belgian Wit is a clean, crisp beer with a middling flavor. It's not particularly light, it's not particularly heavy, it sits right in the middle. While, I'm writing all of this on months-old, five-hundred-miles-removed memory, there's one thing about the beer I can't forget -- the effervescence. Crooked never failed to make me feel like I was floating, and it lifted every single thing I ever ate with it. Oh, what I would give for a bottle.

Two Beers Brewery isn't distributed out of the Pacific Northwest just yet, but I have hope. Please Hi-Times? Pretty please?

4. Yoju (Or Really, Any Soju Cocktail) at The Past Memories

Better with soju!
Better with soju!
Photo by Dezzawong

Yoju is this wonderful mix of Asian yogurt drink and soju. The yogurt drink, most commonly Yakult, is sour and sweet and inoffensive. It perfectly cuts the cloy present in many sojus, and The Past Memories, my favorite Korean bar in Garden Grove, sells yoju by the (large) bottle.

You could mix it yourself too, yeah, but how are you supposed to get Korean barbecue before hand? Or free Korean Funyuns?

If you've never had yoju before, make sure you do it right: For relaxing times, make it The Past Memories time.

3. Rye Old Fashioned at Little Sparrow

I don't have a photo of the old fashioned, so here's a drink Jefferson made me once
I don't have a photo of the old fashioned, so here's a drink Jefferson made me once
Photo by Gregory Yee

Rye Old Fashioneds are my go-to drink, and now that Jefferson doesn't work at Memphis anymore, my favorite Old Fashioned out of Downtown Santa Ana is Little Sparrow's. Less sweet than many, theirs is more mellow, more graceful, and more.. whiskey-y.

That being said, everything that makes it on the drink list there has been superb, so if you don't know what to get, let them pick for you.   2. Cafe Sua Da at Café Lu (Or Anywhere That Serves Vietnamese Coffee)

Get it!
Get it!
Photo by Yun Huang Yong

I've been spending a lot of time the past few weeks in Vietnamese lingerie coffee shops for reasons that you will soon be privy to (it's not just for the girls, I promise.)

If you want to spend $6 dollars to have an iced Vietnamese coffee served to you by a half-naked girl without getting lung cancer, go to Lu. If you're okay with foregoing the half-naked girl and saving a few bucks, feel free to head to any Vietnamese bakery or restaurant, but always make sure to let some of the ice melt, because if you don't, you might lose your fine motor skills for a few hours.

1. A Lot of Beers at The Anthill Pub

A good night at the Anthill
A good night at the Anthill

This one is for the UCI students.

A few things have been changing over at The Anthill lately that, in my opinion, didn't need to be changed. I want all of you to know that that pub is a campus treasure and is one of the most unique parts of the nearly nonexistent UCI campus culture.

Go there. Support it. Drink lots and lots of craft beer (but not too much for UCIPD or Administration). There's no better place for a neophyte to learn about beer than where some of the best beer in California can be had for basically $3 a pint. It's where I used to drink (Still do!), and it's where I'm proud to say my name hangs on the wall with hundreds of others.

So, anteaters, drink on, and zot, zot, zot.

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