January 27, 2013 - Home, Hearthside - HB Light Rye
Today is my 45th Birthday.
Here I am. Another year, another fire, another beer, another monkey card (this time from my son)...
Over the last year, I’ve been diligently chronicling beer’s outsized role in my life.
I thought it would be fun and informative to chronicle my relationship with beer. I was looking to aggregate my activities so that I could look back at points and gain a larger perspective. I was also looking to create a timeline I could look back on with fondness and affection. I accomplished that there and then some.
First the statistics. I recorded 418 ‘first’ beers. Of the 366 days encompassing the project, I recorded entries on 300 days for a respectable 81.96 on base percentage. By source my choices leaned Microbrew (52.9%) then Homebrew (26.3%) then Commerical (20.8%). I downed a staggering 7,263 ounces of beer, or nearly twice my weight at 454 pounds. I drank beer on three different continents. I drank beer in 58 different cities. I drank 227 different beers. I drank beer in 110 different bars. I tried 84 different beer styles. I enjoyed nearly every drop. If you’re interested in the whole list you can find it here - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...VZEV184SFh3bVE
If you take any time to review the above list you’ll realize that there was a lot of beer in my 45th year. Whether there would have been as much beer if I weren’t focusing so much on beer is up for debate. Regardless, I’m dumbstruck by the depth and breadth of it. Yoman’s work by any stretch of the imagination, but it all makes perfect sense. So many great brews, so many great times - to me it’s the measure of good fortune. How great do I have it?
Ultimately, I blame the Irish for my proclivities. Pub culture (and beer is a big part of it) is all about opportunity and welcoming and offering and equality. Walk up to the bar, state your need, have it satisfied - repeat. Farmer, doctor, tinker, priest - all queue up and all are served. Where else but The Local do things shake out so evenly? Where else do we willingly stand between booze-hound and barrister - happy just for a spot? Pubs and bars are the last fair places. The beer and the want of it makes us behave, forces on us our better selves (right up until it doesn’t). How cool is that?
My favorites of the beers I tried this year (in no particular order):
-Imperial IPA - Captain Lawrence
-Pliny the Elder - Russian River
-Hop Stoopid - Laugunitas
-Outrage IPA - Crossroads Brewing
-Finest Kind IPA - Smuttynose Brewing
-Leatherlips IPA - Haverill Brewing
-The Kind IPA - Three Heads Brewing
-Heady-Topper - The Alchemist
-Sorachi Ace - Brooklyn Brewing
-Hop Session Ale - White Birch Brewing
-Hoptimus Prime Double IPA - Ruckus Brewing
-Resin Imperial IPA - Sixpoint Brewing
-Abbot Ale - Green King
-Hoptimum Imperial IPA - Sierra Nevada
-Big Daddy IPA - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
-Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale - Sierra Nevada
-Zombie Dust - Three Floyd's Brewing
-Daymark Pale Ale - Rising Tide Brewing
-Portland Lager - Bull Jagger Brewing
-Monkey Fist IPA - Shipyard Brewing
-Belgian Style Yeti - Great Divide Brewing
-Hanahpu's Imperial Stout - Cigar City Brewing
-Flower Power - Ithaca Brewing
-Centennial IPA - Founder's Brewing
-Storm King Russian Imperial Stout - Victory Brewing
-Harvest IPA - Brown's Brewing
-Harvest Ale - Founder's Brewing
-Old Man Winter - Southern Tier Brewing
-Creme' Brûlée Stout - Southern Tier Brewing
-Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck
-Vertical Epic 10.10.10 - Stone Brewing
In the interest of full disclosure, at the end of this year I find myself two stones heavier than when I started and my recall seems to have suffered a half-step (what was I saying again?). Beer gets bigger and bigger all the time and if you seek out beers eventually the beers you find will be bigger and bigger. It takes all the wit you can muster just to keep your head above water. I've never been to Belgium, but I imagine it must be very walkable.
That being said, I still consider myself better for the effort. At times it was a chore, at times it was a push, but it was never boring and it always showed me a good time. There was always another style to try, another beer to chase. I still have a full bucket-list, still have so much left to seek out. The dream endures...
By my good fortune I’ve ended my 45th year as I started it; out for a pint with my best friend.
It’s been a great year, I’ve had a great time and I end the project as I began it - lucky in all things. And if that luck holds out, my kids will always remember that I like monkey cards.