Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 1000th Beer: Wherein I Drink My 1000th Beer

I want to start this post off by saying that I am horrible, just absolutely horrible with remembering names.  I mean seriously, I am awful at it.  People, movies, beers, you name it (pun!): I have a hard time remembering names across the board.  I say this because I am going to mention some people by name in this post.  Some people, I know their names because they're either my dad, my wife, or my friends.  Others, I know their names because they signed it for me (we'll get there) or someone handed me a piece of paper with the name written on it so I could make sure I remembered it.  I say all this for one reason: the woman that kick started this whole shocking party, the woman that played an absolutely central role in all of this, and whose contributions I both vividly remember and wildly appreciate, well, I can't for the life of me remember her name and I have been feeling seriously bad about since I got home that evening.  Also, there are some pictures of me in here.  I'm the guy with the striped sweater that you'll see drinking a beer.  It's the second to last post here and I just don't care anymore.  With that said, let's get back to the story, already in progress.

So Liz sees the note on the chalkboard pictured in the previous post.  I see it and think, "Awesome!  How'd they know I would be here?"  I later deduced that I had been tagging the Gate in all of my twitter posts about the event, so they must have seen it there.  Anyway, I figure, awesome, some local recognition!  When I go up to order my thousandth beer, I'll let them know, hey that's me, they'll say awesome and that'll be that.  Well, next thing I know (this is still around 4:45ish), the woman whose name I now forget (again sorry!) goes and changes the chalkboard.  I think she's updating the draft list, but instead I see she puts up an even BIGGER welcome notice, pictured above and to the right.  After I see that, I go up and introduce myself as the 1000 Beer Year Guy.  We chat for a few a minute or two, talking about the past year and all that, then she goes back over to the bar and I think, "Man, that was super nice of her to put that up there," and again think that will be just about all the fanfare associated with the event.

Around 4:45, my friend Mike shows up with his dog and a super awesome sign he made for me to commemorate the event.  That's the sign to the left there, as modeled in my apartment.  It was displayed prominently (and awesomely) that evening on a mantle in the Gate, book-shelfed by two candles placed there by the woman from the Gate, giving it a cool, important atmosphere, but you couldn't really read the lettering in any of the photos I have from the night.  So there it is!  Additionally, Mike thought it would be cool if everyone who came out for the evening signed the back of it (hence where I'm pulling some names from), which was a great idea!  Thanks Mike!  After the sign goes up on the mantle, I see the woman from the Gate (we'll just go with TWFTG for now, sorry!) talking to Pat Fondlier (whose name is signed on the board, hence why I remember it).  I've seen Pat at the Gate a bunch of times, and his beard is the stuff of legends, but I've never actually met him before.  He's the "beermeister," as the above linked article describes him, at the Gate and he also works for Smuttynose which is pretty awesome.  If you've ever been to the Gate, you'll instantly recognize him in the photos below.

Anyway, he comes over and starts talking to me about the whole 1000 beer year project.  Apparently he's read this here blog before, which just about floored me on account of I didn't think anyone but my parents and in-laws actually kept track of this thing, much less actual beer industry people.  We're also talking about why I chose the Gate as the location of my 1000th beer, so here seems like an appropriate place to talk about that.  The Gate may be the best bar in all of New York City.  Not only do they have one of the best tap selections in all of New York, but they also have the best atmosphere in all of New York.  It's kind of weird, I've always thought of the Gate as sort of a destination bar, because the tap selection really is amazing and it's not really in my neighborhood, but it really does have the quintessential "neighborhood bar" feel to it.  Imagine that your neighborhood was filled with really great people that all loved really great beer but weren't in any sense snobby about it.  Well, this is the bar that would be in your neighborhood.  Also, another huge plus is that it has a ton of space.  I've never been there and not gotten a seat.  The Gate is already my favorite bar in the city, but add to that that I wanted a bar with enough space to sit around and talk with my family and friends, and, well, the Gate just had the perfect combination of ingredients.  Also, everyone working there seemed legitimately excited/honored that I'd chose their bar.  I mean this place has some of the biggest beer events in New York and they were excited that some dood with a seldom-read blog was having a beer there.  Amazing.  Also, and I wasn't aware of this before that evening, but the Gate is the type of place where apparently nights like the one I had there can happen, which is always, always a plus.

So we take some pictures in front of the sign (way more picture taking than I anticipated took place! Also, here's where I'd like to thank Dennis Flynn from Stone Brewing for sending me pics he took that evening, including the one up there. And yes, that served two purposes. 1) To legitimately thank Dennis, and 2) To drop that someone from Stone Brewing was at my 1000th beer.  Sue me.  I was excited!) and Pat says he wants to buy my 1000th beer for me and asks what I was thinking of getting.  At this point in time I was down to two options: 1) A 50 oz magnum of 2005 Anchor Christmas Ale or 2) A pint of Wells Bombadier Cask Ale, one of only two casks of that beer in the US, both rare and perfectly worthy beers for the occasion.  Pat says go with the Anchor Christmas Ale, which I was already leaning towards because 1) I could share some with Liz and my dad and that would be nice and 2) It would take a while to drink so people that showed up late could still partake in me drinking the 1000th beer.  So Pat goes over to get the magnum (pictured left) and then TWFTG (again, sorry!  When I'm back at the Gate next time, I'm getting your name, immediately tattooing it on my arm so I don't forget it in transit to my apartment, and going back and putting it in this post), tells me that the owner of the Gate, Bobby Gagnon (I had Pat write his name down for me so I wouldn't forget it, as I am wont to do), told her a few days ago that, while he couldn't make it, he wanted to personally buy my 1000th beer for me.  They were selling that magnum for $35, which would have easily been the most I ever spent on a beer, and Bobby Gagnon buys it for me.  Amazing.  Seriously amazing.  I'll say it again later, but I'll say it here now, thank you, and I mean thank you Bobby Gagnon and the Gate for seriously hooking me up.

So now its 4:55ish, a few others have shown up, more are coming soon.  I've got a note written on the draft list, a giant plaque displayed on a mantle, and a 50 oz magnum of Anchor Christmas Ale which has been cellared from 2005, courtesy of the Gate, waiting for me at the bar.  If you've ever seen a happier man in your life, well, that man must've been pretty damned happy.  I'm waiting till 5:10ish to open that thing, another test of will power, just to make sure everyone who wanted to be there for the 1000th will be there.  At 5:10, the crowd is as follows: my dad, Liz, Mike, Amy, Brian, Dave, Emily, Eric K, Ben, Ali, Larry, Pat, Dennis, and TWFTG, which is about 10 more people than I had anticipated being there.  So, with a crowd (partially pictured above) assembled, I'm ready to do this thing.  I'm going to break it down in slow-mo for you here.

First, Pat comes and opens the magnum 2005 Anchor Christmas Ale.

Then, he pours it in to the mug Liz had made for me for the occasion (it has My 1000 Beer Year 2010 engraved on it, but you can't really see that in the pictures.  But the mug is awesome.  Thanks Liz!) and into a few glasses they brought over for others (my dad and Liz each drank a glass, the other two?  You know it was this guy.)

I make a short speech (not pictured, and largely incoherent.  I'll make a longer and more coherent one both in this post and the wrap-up one).  After the speech, well, there's nothing left to do but drink my 1000th beer!

I take my first gulp and get a nice round of applause from the people in our group.  After that, TWFTG makes an announcement to the whole bar, explaining to them what's going on over there, and I get another round of applause from the whole bar which was pretty cool!  The 2005 Anchor Christmas Ale was delicious.  As anticipated, it took a little while to drink, but not that long, as by that time, all milestones aside, I was pretty thirsty for a beer.  While I'm drinking, a whole host of other people show up including Jessica, Crystal, Eric H, Sam, Christina, Lisa, and Kate.  Check out the plaque with all their signatures!

After about an hour (okay, a little under an hour, in case you haven't noticed, I like drinking beer), I announce my last gulp, receive a nice "here! here!" and proceed to finish off the magnum.  I did it.  I drank 1000 beers.  I know it sounds like a really dumb thing to feel really accomplished about, but I did it, and it felt great (I'll get more in to that in my actual final post).  But yeah, that's the story of my 1000th beer.

To recap, let's compare what I thought the evening was going to be like with what it turned out to be.

What I thought it would be: Me, my dad (and even he was late game addition), Liz, maybe three friends, sitting at a table, me dropping $35 on a beer, quietly drinking it with the few people at my table, patting myself on the back, and absolutely zero fanfare.

What it turned out to be: A party with over 20 people, an amazing beer and unexpected fanfare courtesy of the Gate and Bobby Gagnon, and really, one of the more surprisingly and, frankly, touching nights of my life.  I was always a little nervous about the night of the 1000th.  It seemed like it would be one of those New Years Eve/St. Paddy's Day types of deals where because it's supposed to be a big party and a ton of fun, the hype always ends up making the actual party disappointing.  I didn't want to hype up the 1000th all that much because I didn't want it fall under the weight of expectations.  Well let me say, the night exceeded even my highest of expectations.  I seriously did not expect anything like that.

There are a million thanks to dole out here (Side note, this list of thanks is specifically directed at the people who made the evening.  A more comprehensive list of thanks for the year is coming in the next post, so don't feel left out!)  First, I need to thank Liz, because she was the one who kept on getting on my case about actually setting something up.  Also, thanks to Liz for just about everything else you'd thank a wife for after spending a year drinking 1000 beers.  Second, I need to thank my dad who flew all the way out from Arizona to be there for the 1000th.  He literally flew in at midnight the night before and left the very next morning, all for the culmination of an enterprise that he has supposedly been against all year, and that, as you can imagine, meant a whole lot to me.  Check out the two of us sharing in the 1000th (the glass he's holding has some of the Anchor Christmas ale in there)!

I want to thank all my friends that trekked out in the cold for this event.  I know that most of you still had school and work stuff that you were in the middle of, and that it wasn't in the most convenient location for a lot of you, but I really appreciate you all coming out and making the party what it was.  It really meant a lot to me.  As my dad noted the next morning, I've got a really great group of friends,  Check out a few of you (sorry to those not pictured, I've literally put every pic I have of the evening up here, if you have a pic of you at the event, send it my way and it'll go up here!) with the sign for what's next on my thank-list!

And of course I need to thank everyone at the Gate.  What I expected was an awesome bar at which to quietly enjoy my 1000th beer.  What I got was more than I could have ever imagined.  Not only were you guys amazing hosts for the evening, but you also had the perfect 1000th beer on hand.  Seriously, I can't say enough nice things about how much fun I had there and how much I appreciate everything you guys did for me.

And that's the epic (to me, at least) tale of my thousandth beer.  I've got one more year-wrap-up post in me, but it's not going to go up until after New Years.  We'll let this one digest a little and that'll give me time to make sure my final post is exactly what I want it to be.  But even though this isn't my last post, I'm still a little bummed, as that's the last time I'll be describing drinking a specific beer in 2010.  The beer descriptions never got any better (as is evident from my sole description of my 1000th beer being "delicious"), but I've always enjoyed writing about specific beer drinking experiences, whether it be having a cold one on my couch or at a party with friends and family.  And with that sobfest out of the way, won't you all please raise a glass with me while you read the final instantiation of the ol' two-words-colon-number combination.

Total Beers: 1000

Monday, December 20, 2010

The 1000th Beer: The Beginning

I should have named the last post "The Penultimate Penultimate Penultimate Post," or something like that, because you're getting a few more posts.  I originally intended to have the tale of my final beer and my wrap-up post being the same beer.  Then again, I didn't think there would be much of a tale to tell.  I originally thought that my 1000th beer would spent at a table at a bar with Liz, my dad, and maybe a few friends.  I thought I'd have the beer, pat myself on the back, and then just hang out like any other evening.  No big deal.  Welp, it turned out to be a kind of a big deal.  Before I get to the tale of the 1000th, and clue you into what that beer was (though you Twitter followers already know the answer [I thought I'd clue them in given that twitter played an intricate role in the evening]), I'll let you in on the beers that preceded the epic 1000th.  When we last left off, I was at 994.

As foretold in the last post, I spent Friday afternoon cleaning and drinking a 25 oz Long Trail Imperial Porter (995).  That was my sole beer for that day.  Saturday morning I woke up and drank a Bethlehem Brew Works Rude Elf Reserve (996) while making breakfast for the in-laws, because what else am I going to drink while making breakfast?  The in-laws came, we had a nice Manhattan/Christmas-y day, and I drank a Harpoon Winter Warmer (997) with dinner.  In-laws left and I drank a Weyerbacher Merry Monks (998) while waiting for my dad to arrive in from Arizona.  My dad got in to my apartment around 12:30 in the morning and we split a 25 oz bottle of Dogfish Head's Miles Davis Bitches Brew (999).  It was delicious.

Jesus had his 40 days in the desert.  I had my Sunday, December 19th 2010.  Normally, not drinking a beer till 5 PM would be no big deal.  I mean that's all I had to do.  Just don't drink a beer till 5.  My dad and I wanted to watch the Cardinals/Panthers game, so we headed on over to Half Court at 1 to watch the game.  I don't know if you've ever gone to a sports bar and NOT bought a beer, but man, let me tell you, it's tough.  So halfway through the 2nd, my dad wants to get lunch.  He asks if there's any good sandwich places to eat at.  Of course there is.  And of course it's Bierkraft.  So we go to Bierkraft for lunch and I can't get a beer there.  Difficulty level of going to Bierkraft and not getting a beer > difficulty leve of going to a sports bar and not getting a beer.  So we eat our sandwiches and then head over to another sports bar to finish watching the game.  Still can't get a beer.  Finally, FINALLY, the game ends around 4 and we decide to head over to the Gate to secure ourselves a table for the two or three people I expect to show to this thing.  You know what's EXTREMELY difficult to do?  Sit at the Gate for an hour while your dad and your wife each drink a 21st Amendment Fireside Chat while your wife goes on and on about how it's much better on draft than from a can and not be able to taste it or buy a beer.

I want to first state that I did not call the Gate and tell them about drinking my 1000th beer there on that date.  I didn't drop in, didn't e-mail them, didn't message them on facebook, or do anything else to let them know about this event.  So we're sitting at the Gate, just me, my dad, and Liz, killing some time before 5 when I seriously expect maybe two or three people to show up, when Liz looks up at the chalkboard with the draft listings and sees this....

To be EPICALLY continued.....

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Penultimate Post

This is the last post before the post describing my 1000th beer.  It's weird how conscious I am of every beer now.  Starting this is endeavor, the 1000th beer seemed almost impossibly far away.  Prior to even, say, beer 700, every beer I drank seemed like Don Quixote taking another swing at the windmills.  You slay the mighty 1000 Beer Year by drinking one beer at a time, but I was fully expecting to find out the goal just couldn't be accomplished.  I'd get sick of drinking.  I'd just flat out get sick.  I'd run out of money.  I'd find that it was effecting my studies too much.  I'd find that it was effecting my health too much.  I'd find it that it was effecting my job hunt too much.  I'd find that it was effecting my life too much.

But the thing is, I never found out any of those things.  Drinking beer remained fun.  And, surprisingly enough, writing about drinking beer remained fun.  One of the unexpected parts about this year was finding that it was sometimes difficult to post.  When I started this thing, I figured that of course I would have at least 15 minutes a day to sit down and write something unique and entertaining about my previous day's drinking.  I thought I would have 365 discrete things to say about the life of a beer drinker, each one more insightful and funny than the last.  Well, as you probably noticed, that turned out not to be the case.  I feel like this thing has had its moments.  To the day I die, I'll still believe that the moral compass line in the BrewDog post was the best thing single sentence I'll have ever written in my life.  The sentence I just wrote might stand amongst the worst.  So what's so hard about writing amusing musings* every night?  Well, at least 65% of my beer drinking took place while hanging out at night on the couch with my wife.  You know what I like to do while drinking beer and hanging out on the couch with my wife?  Nothing.  Here's a real life conversation I had with someone in the past year.  This is exactly how the conversation went down, and I know you might not believe that based on how absolute douche-tastic this is going to sound, but seriously, this happened.

[setting: a party at a family friend's place.  a handful of us are about to play Scene It: Seinfeld]
Person: I've never seen Seinfeld.
Me: You've ever seen Seinfeld?
Person: Ummmmm, I'm too busy living my life in New York City to watch a show about people living in New York City.

And scene.

I hate to invoke that type of sentiment, but often I found I was too "busy" drinking beers on the couch with my wife to write about drinking beers on the couch with my wife.  Add to that the fact that I never got any better at actually describing beers, and sometimes writing would be a bit of a chore.**  But on I wrote!

Back to being conscious of every beer.  I went out to lunch with some friends after my last final yesterday.  We went to the Heartland Brewery in Union Square.  I had myself a Smiling Pumpkin Ale.  It was pretty good.  But then I thought, do I really want this to stand as one of my last 10 beers?  This is rarified air for a beer to be in (in which to be [that still doesn't seem correct]).  And normally I would get a second beer, because, you know, why not?  But I couldn't!  I had to think, "I have three days left of beer drinking and only 8 (now 7) beers I can drink!  Ration man, ration!"  And then I realized that every subsequent beer I would drink between then and the 1000th would likely take place on my couch.  Well, not wanting to spoil my last 6 or so beers on the dregs of a Park Slope Coop mix pack, I hit the Whole Foods beer store and got some supplies.  I picked up a Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild and an Avery The Reverend Belgian Quad, both of which I drank last night.  I also picked up a Long Trail Imperial Porter, which I'll probably drink today while cleaning my apartment, and a Dogfish Head Bitches Brew which I'll split with my dad when he gets in on Saturday night for the ol' 999th beer.

I'm pretty excited about the 1000th beer.  Not to get into it too much here (as my 1000th beer post is going to be the one that I finally talk about why I did this whole thing), but that'll be the 1000th time this year that I did something that I really like to do.  Can you think of 1000th things you did this year that you really enjoyed?  I can!  And with friends and family coming out, well, that'll just  be the icing on the cake.  I did the index for the book Beer and Philosophy.  In there is an article that I thought was pretty stupid at the time about Beer and Friendship which talks about the special bond you have with a person while going out for a beer together.  In my headier, analytic days, I thought the whole article was filled with too much continentally-I-can't-describe-it-but-I-know-it-when-I-see-it-or-feel-it type of gobbledegook.***  But now?  Now I sort of get it.  It forces you to communicate in an immediate and intimate way that other activities just can't.  Even going out for a meal with friends, you still have the breaks while you're actually eating.  When you get a beer with someone, it seems like you have to mean it.  And I've been extremely privileged to share a lot of beers with a lot of people this year.  Sunday, you should all come down to the Gate at 5 o'clock.  Because I sure would like to have one more beer with all of you before this year is through.

Total Beers: 994
Countdown: 6

*If I ever get a "color column" in a local, small town newspaper, I'm going to name it that and write under the name Hank Higglesworth.
**Here's a question, what's less interesting than writers writing about writing?  If you answered "Nothing.  Literally nothing is less interesting than writers writing about writing.  And aren't you being a pretentious ass calling yourself a writer?  And isn't this blog supposed to be about beer drinking?  Why aren't you writing about beer drinking?"  Well, you're probably correct!
***And you thought I would go the whole year without using that word.  You owe me ten bucks, Mr. Higglesworth!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Motorcycle Made of Fire Named the Flamemobile

NO TIME!  Last night I had a Trader Joe's 2010 Vintage Ale.  It's ok.  It tasted "new," as it were.  Liz liked it, but she's sick so what does she know?  I also drank a Sam Smith India Ale and a Moa Lager (the non-dark variety!).  It had a weird, foamy texture!  See you tomorrow with a real post!

Total Beers: 991
Countdown: 9!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

This is getting real.  By the end of tonight, I will hopefully be in single digits.  While the drinking part has gotten easier, the finding time to post is uh, still a tad difficult.  The problem is that literally every minute of every day from now until I drink my 1000th beer is booked.  Seriously.  Check this out (I'll start with tomorrow):

8:00-12:45 - Breakfast/study/interview prep
12:45-1:45 - Interview
1:45 - 10 - Study/dinner

9:00 - 1:00 - Final
1:00 - Bed time - Eating/grocery shopping/cleaning

Waking up - 7:00 - Cooking/prepping apartment for the in-laws' visit
7:00 - bedtime - Liz's school's Christmas party

Waking up - Going to sleep - Brunch with in-laws/Pee Wee Herman on Broadway/Dinner with inlaws/Christmas stuff with in-laws

5:00 - 1000th beer!!!!!!

So there you go.  There's no time.  There's never any time!  For instance, right now?  I really need to be studying.  I don't say that in a "I'm a neurotic studier" way.  I say that in a "I have a final Thursday I haven't started studying for yet" way.

None of that had anything to do with beer.  Let's talk about beer, shall we?  Now that I'm in the final stretch, I'm trying to make every beer count (uhhhhhhh, pun?).  Gone are the Simpler Times (although tonight I think I'm going to drink TJ's bottle conditioned holiday ale).  On Sunday I limited myself to one beer, on account of having an 8 AM final.  That beer?  Probably my favorite of all time (at least top 3 that's for sure): Ommegang's Three Philosophers.  When two of those showed up in the Park Slope Coop Mix Pack, well, I was just about as happy as a clam.  Monday I had two Goose Island IPAs at Reservoir following a final.  Later that night I had a Duchesse de Bourgognes.  Well that's enough beer talk!  I'll remind you all about the 1000th beer, still happening this Sunday at 5 at the Gate in Park Slope on 5th Ave at 3rd Street!  Tomorrow you'll get a pretty lame-o update about tonight, but Thursday/Friday will be epic, epic I tells you!

Total Beers: 988
Countdown: 12 (ok, the video at the beginning is a bit premature, but the whole point is this is countdown time.  Also, that song isn't racist in the context of the musical, soooooo..........)


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Beer Regrets

Much like John Adams on his death bed, as I approach the end of this year, I find myself looking back at what I've accomplished and what I wish I would have done.  Not that I'm filled with remorse or anything, but I do have a few beer regrets.  To be clear, these aren't regrets for things I've done after drinking.  These are regrets over what I should have drank, where I should have drank, etc.  For example, I regret not compiling a spreadsheet from day one of every beer I drank and where I drank.  It'd be nice for analysis purposes now, like a spreadsheet could tell me what percentage of the beers I drank were, say, Brooklyn Lagers.  I tried to put together a comprehensive list a few weeks ago, but it was taking forever so I quit after logging like 50 beers.  That will be a task for an intern at the publishing company that inevitably releases my best selling book I suppose.  What got me thinking about my beer regrets is that Draft Magazine just arrived and it has their list of the 25 Best Beers of 2010.  I was glad to see beers like 21st Amendment's Monks Blood and Brooklyn's Sarachi Ace on their.  But what stood out for me was the inclusion of Short's Brewing Key Lime Pie.  Let me take you back to Michigan for a second.  While in Alpena, Liz and I went on a beer run with my dad.  We found a beer store with a TON of Michigan microbrews.  The stipulation was that we could only get one six pack, lest my grandparents think we were total drunks (a weird stipulation, but it was what it was).  After narrowing down the beers to Michigan microbreweries that I couldn't get in New York, I decided to get a Short's Brewing beer.  They had a ton of different things, from weird fruit beers to classic pale ales.  Seeing as how my family would be drinking this beer, I decided to go for a standard.  I grabbed the Pandemonium Pale Ale.  If you recall, this was the beer that was perpetually foamy and just not all that good.  You know what was sitting next to the Pandemonium Pale Ale?  The Key Lime Pie, one of Draft Magazine's Best Beers of 2010.  I had to make a choice, and I chose incorrectly.  Beer regrets.  This is sort of like when I go to a beer bar with a ton of different things on tap.  Do I get something I've already had that I know I like?  Do I try something new?  What if I get something new that's not that great when there are other beers that I haven't had that would be better?  It can get paralyzing at times.

Well, there's my daily dose of producticrastinating.  As to the beers for the past two days:  Friday I drank a Redbridge Gluten-Free Beer (still gross) and an Avery Brown Ale (still good).  Saturday was an excellent beer day in terms of both quality of beers and also quantity.  I had a Sam Smith Taddy Porter, 2 Duchesse de Bourgognes, a Two Brothers IPA and a Golden Pheasant Pilsner (okay that last beer wasn't so great).

Total Beers: 984
Countdown: 16.  All right.  Here we go.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blinding You With Science

It's finals time, which means I'm doing just about everything but study.  I get pretty good at doing productive-ish things that aren't exactly what I need to be doing.  For instance, I've got to eat dinner right?  So why wouldn't I make an elaborate meal that takes two hours of prep time?  I'm not procrastinating, I'm making dinner!  I've got to work out right?  So why not spend an extra hour doing the most non-intensive yoga possible?  I can't neglect my health just because it's finals time!  And in this vein of doing things I "need" to be doing, you're getting two posts, two days in a row, something last seen I think in 2007.

In the past, say, two years or so, I've been growing increasingly angry at myself for not getting an undergrad degree in science.  Nevermind that I'm terrible at science, that I withdrew from THREE separate intro-to-different-sciences courses in college, and that I'm 80% sure that I have the fine motor skills of a toddler, making lab work pretty impossible for me.  If I had a science degree, the world would be my oyster.  It's literally the best thing you can have in the legal world.  You can do all the law nonsense that us liberal arts majors can do, PLUS EVERYTHING ELSE.  Oh yeah, you know who's still hiring in these dire times?  Patent/bio law firms because like three people on earth can do that stuff, the three people who had the foresight to major in some science before going to law school.  You know what else you can do with a science degree?  EVERYTHING ELSE ON EARTH.

Why this rant right now and what does it have to do with beer?  Well I was watching the excellent show Brew Masters last night, which chronicles the comings and goings of the Dogfish Head Brewery, and I noticed that everything everyone was doing on that show was science related.  Their yeast expert?  I looked her up.  She's younger than me and she has one of the dopest jobs on earth.  How'd she get it?  Well, she majored in a science in undergrad, applied for the job and got it!!!!  All of Dogfish Head's brewers?  Science majors.  So my ultimate plan in life is to work a crappy legal job that pays the bills and then quit to do something awesome like start a brewery.*  You know what would make both the getting a job and starting a brewery parts infinitely easier?  A science degree.

Both of my parents are engineers, which is another major that is science-y and super practical.  Like all good modern parents, they instilled in me a belief that I could be anything I want to be/do anything I set my mind to.**  I didn't have to be an engineer.  I want to go into liberal arts?  Go for it!  There are plenty of useful things I can do with a poly sci/philosophy degree!  Well hopefully when I have kids, I can instill in them the same attitude.  You don't have to be a student till you're 27!  You don't have to get two worthless undergrad degrees and a somehow more worthless grad degree!  You can study things that will make you a contributing member of society!  But of course macrobrew will still be strictly verboten.  Another thing I wonder about in Brew Masters is this: Sam Calagione's kids have to be trying some of that beer, right?  Unfortunately the Discovery Channel can't show/broach one of the more interesting subjects about the life of a brewer: the brewer's attitude regarding his product and his kids.  I'm sure he's not getting his kids wasted, but there's got to be some kind of healthy balance between "Don't touch this stuff till you turn 21" and "Go nuts, kids!"  I'd imagine an artisan cheese maker's kids would know a whole ton about cheese.  Why wouldn't a brewer's kids know a ton about beer?  I don't care about erecting a retired Burning Man fort on your brewery's grounds!  Answer these questions, Brew Masters!

And so we get to the beers I drank last night.  It actually was a fair amount, because 1) the studying during the day went well, 2) Sunday is a one-or-none beer evening and 3) I could!  I had an Erdinger Weizen, whose bottle notes that it is "Crystal Clear."  I was hoping it would be like Crystal Pepsi and actually be clear, but unfortunately it was just a piss-yellow beer flavored beer.  Followed that up with a Stone Pale Ale, an Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter, and 2 Fuller's Extra Special ESBs.  So there's that!  In the grand scheme of producticrastinating (which is my new term for doing things like this), I'm sure you'll be hearing from me tomorrow!

Total Beers: 977
Count Down: 23 (I realize putting this number here is pretty stupid, but being but a liberal arts major, I don't have any real conception of what does and doesn't constitute a good idea)

*Note to potential employers, I'm not talking about quitting your job, which is surely great.  I'm talking about quitting that other one, you know, the one that sucks, which again, is not your job, which I'm super jazzed about.
**Like drink 1000 beers in a year and end a sentence with a preposition!  Thanks folks!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I'm on the mend!  I suffered (that's a weird word to use in this context) a miraculous comeback after posting yesterday!  While I still have very little voice, my brain/body capacity is operating at close to 100% meaning I was able to have beers last night!

I mean, was able to sensibly drink some beers!  I had a Brooklyn EIPA (sweeter than I remember!), a Two Brothers IPA (IPA night I guess) and a Geary's Hampshire Special Ale (pretty good!).  So I guess all that freaking out yesterday was for naught!  And my studying is going well, so that means more beer (sensible) beer drinking tonight!

Total Beers: 972
How Many I Have To Drink For You Non-Math Wizards: 28

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Worst!

Man, I do not need this.  Seriously.  I was talking to Liz a few nights ago about how for the first time all year, the beer drinking has seemed a little like work.  I mean obviously this is all relative, because beer drinking is never actually work, but with my school/work/job application stuff in full swing, finding time for three beers a day gets a little tricky.  And now?  I'm sick!!!!  This is total and utter BS.  So far the cold has forced me to have a completely beer-free night (Monday) and a one beer night (a Cooper's Lager) last night (Tuesday).  If you recall, I have to drink about 3.1 beers a day to keep on my December 19th goal.  One beer over two days just ain't gonna cut it.  The worst part is that I'm still a little sick here.  I may take another full night off here just to get myself 100% healthy.  I can't be sick next week because I have finals. I can't be sick now because I need to work on the numbers.  Everything about this is just the worst!  Also, I've already committed to the December 19th date, so there's no going back from that.  I have a feeling that the days leading up to that are going to be rife with beer drinking.  Anyway, here's the beer drinking I have done since we last chatted:

Saturday: Had a Troeg's Java Head Stout in the afternoon.  Later that night we had a party at our place where I had a Redbridge Gluten-free Beer (pretty gross, I thought about not counting it but it did say beer on there and there was some alcohol in it), a Roscoe's Hop House Pale Ale, and 3 cans of Schafer's.  Liz will tell you all about Schafer's later.

Sunday: Young's Double Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn Pennant, and a Golden Pheasant Pilsner (side note, I'm pretty sure the Golden Pheasant gave me a cold.  I felt 100% prior to drinking it, and then 3 hours later I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like I was swallowing razors.  Damn you Slovakia!)

Monday: Again, nothing.

Last night: One lonely (and kinda gross) Cooper's Lager.

Total Beers: 969

31 beers to drink and 11 days to do it in.  Even if I skip today, I think I should still be able to do this.  Again, next Thursday through Sunday should be pretty intense.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Have a Great Wife

Ha!  That title was created by me.  And by me, I mean.... Liz.  But, whatever.  If in 50 years someone says "Hmm...remember that great blog about that random dude who drank more beers than most people in their mid-twenties do?  I should re-read it", then they will click on "December 2010" and see this title.  And it will be preserved forever!!!*

(I wonder if blogs will be super outdated in 2060, aka 50 years from now.  Probably.  I mean, it was only 10 years ago that everyone had a Xanga and a Livejournal and an AOL account and AIM.  And now no one has any of those things.)**

That all said, I try to be a great wife like the title says.  Let me tell you a tale of a time (a beer-related time) that I tried to be a great wife.


Once upon a time, last Thursday, Ryan and I ventured all the way up to Midtown to see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson on Broadway.  It was awesome.  Simply and totally awesome.  If you live anywhere near the NYC area, come see it before it closes in January.

One thing I must say before I go on with my story is that I like the trend in recent years that I've been seeing at Broadway shows.  Now, a lot of theaters allow - nay, encourage - you to buy food and drinks for consuming in your seats during the show.  It used to be (and still is at stuffier theaters) that you would pre-order your cocktails so that you could slam them back during the 10 minute intermission aka bathroom-line-wait-time.  First time I ever saw this was at How The Grinch Stole Christmas and now have seen it at all shows at the New World Theater (Evil Dead the Musical, etc,).  At plays like In The Heights you had to go to the bar to order the drink and then bring it to your seat.  At other plays, like The Toxic Avenger, they come to your seats and sell drinks and food like you're at a non-boring baseball game.  It's a nice trend (in London it was also allowed in most theaters and having a drink while watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by myself may have helped the show be even greater in my mind).

After seeing this show (which is only 95 minutes long and has no intermission), it was only 8:45pm.  So we thought we'd go get a drink in fancy shmancy Midtown before heading back to crummy old Brooklyn (Just kidding!  Brooklyn's the best!).  I came up with the perfect plan.

You see, if we were just any-old couple, we would have probably stopped in some lame faux-Irish pub for an over-priced beer and called it a night.  Or gone to The Olive Garden's bar.  But we are not just any-old couple, we are the couple featured on a blog about drinking beer.  Which means that sometimes the beers being drunk are not too interesting so the location has to become much cooler.  So I suggested we head somewhere that many of the readers (hopefully) have not been to.

So we walked south a few blocks to this:

Yes, my friends, it is a bar owned by Burger King.  I had read about it on the interwebs, so I figured that would make for a fun story.  Ok, maybe not fun, but cooler than "and I drank the beers on my couch", which much of this blog features.  Drinking!  In Burger King!  Maybe it would make the suburban readers' heads explode!  Because New York City is so awesome and way more advanced and progressive than the rest of the country -- we serve beer at our fast-food places.  

So we walk in.  And there are signs everywhere saying things like "Alcohol must stay on the premises.  Sorry, it has to be our way on this one" (Get it!?!  'Cause their slogan is "Have it your way" but now they're saying that you can't!  Clever, marketing gods...clever.)  So yes.  We see all these signs with pictures of Burger King paper cups filled with yellow beer and we smell the flame-broiled meat and read the description on the menu about Funnel Cake Sticks (yup, that's a thing now...).  But we can't find the beer.

We walk upstairs (yup, fancy fast-food in the big city has two floors, y'all) and see no beer.  We look at the menu by the registers and see no beer.  We walk all throughout the place and see no beer
And then I spot it.  In tiny, little, itty-bitty letters on the bottom of one of the before-mentioned clever signs it says "Coming soon".  

Yup.  A BAR that has no alcohol.  Only dead animals.

So, this is a tale of my trying to be a great wife.  I suggested a place that I thought would make for a funny note in an upcoming Ryan-written post and instead we drank beers, where?  On the couch.
Oh well.  I have no numbers, and I have no actual beer-drinking stories.  

The End.

*Or until the End of Days.  Whichever comes first.
**My parents do.  Well, only those last two things.  I hope.

[ed. note: It's Ryan.  Here are the numbers for the past couple of days.  Wednesday night I had two Otter Creak Octoberfests and an Anderson Valley IPA on the couch, you know, that place of places Liz previously mentioned.  Thursday night (after the show) I had, wait for it, an Avery Brown Ale and a Moa Dark Lager (from New Zealand!) on the couch, so those are gone.  Last night I took a trip to jolly ol' England, having a Fullers Extraspecial ESB, Sam Smith Organic Lager, and a Young's Double Chocolate Stout while watching Cameron Diaz have one of the worst Irish accents of all time in Gangs of New York on the Couch (which I guess is capitalized now).  Then, having run out of English ales, I had a Roscoes's Hop House Pale Ale.  So that's 9 beers since we last checked in, bringing the total to.....959.  41 to go!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Tale of Three Rude Elves

As you might have gleaned from my year's worth of posts, I don't have the most sophisticated palate in the world.  This may seem odd given that I, you know, write about beer drinking and all, but I think in general having a less sophisticated palate helps me as a beer drinker.  It keeps me from getting too snooty about the whole beer tasting ordeal.  It keeps me more focused on drinking culture than on beer critique, which I think is good given that there's enough negativity and criticism out there.  Also, given my not so sophisticated palate, I tend to get drawn to bigger, bolder, more interesting beers, which I'm just going to assert is a good thing.  This would probably explain why one of my favorite beers, seasonal or not, is Bethlehem Brew Works Rude Elf Reserve.  But having a less-than-stellar palate can also have some draw backs, such as if you're attempting to compare a beer to an aged version of itself.  The differences can be super subtle and if you don't have the tongue for it, you might miss out on the differences.  Fortunately for me, the beer I chose to age was a Bethlehem Brew Work's Rude Elf Reserve and the differences were, let's say, not too subtle.

Way back when, back when I first started this blog, I picked up a 4 pack of 25 oz bottles of Rude Elf Reserve 2009.  I drank three, like, immediately, and patiently put one aside.  The plan was to pick up a bottle of Rude Elf Reserve 2010 and then taste the bottles side by side to see what the effects of aging it were.  You know what's tough?  Having an apartment completely free of beer EXCEPT for a nice 25 oz bottle of Rude Elf you've promised yourself you wouldn't drink until the year's end.  I don't want to say that this was "tie me to the mast so I can't run toward the Sirens" difficult but.....actually that's exactly what I want to say.  But regardless of the difficulties, I did.  I aged the ever-living-eff out of that beer and brought it with me to Bethlehem over Thanksgiving, ready to pair it with a 2009.  Except it didn't exactly turn out like that.

I went to the Brew Works on Wednesday for dinner and to pick up a 25 oz, bottle conditioned bottle.  The 25 oz bottle was key here, because those are bottle conditioned and the 12 oz ones are not.  They're both great but I wanted to be able to compare apples to apples here.  I am informed that they don't have any on hand at the moment, but to come back on Saturday because they might have some then.  Dutifully, I returned on Saturday only to find out they didn't bottle the Rude Elf in 25 oz bottles this year.  Well nuts.  Not having the will power to age my bottle another year and hope that they bottle condition the 2011 version, I came up with plan B.  Instead of a straight bottle conditioned bottle to bottle conditioned bottle comparison, I decide to compare my 2009 25 oz bottle conditioned bottle with a 2010 12 oz non-bottle conditioned bottle, AND one poured straight from the tap at the Brew Works!  Here's some fun trivia: that last sentence used the word "bottle" eight times, which must be some kind of record.

The three way comparison thus described is a little disingenuous.  I drank the Rude Elf from the tap at BBW at around 1.  Then I proceeded to have an Oatmeal Stout.  Then I went to the Weyerbacher Brewery were I did some sampling.  Then around 9 I opened the 25 oz bottle.  Suffice it to say, I can't really tell you how the tap tastes in comparison to the other two bottles because my sense memory, itsa, how do you say?, not so good-a.  But the Rude Elf on tap was delicious, I can tell you that.

So let's get to the meat and potatoes here.  I am awful at describing the tastes of beers, which is why I don't do too much brew review, but here's what I can say.  The aged 25 oz bottle was super mellow, super sweet, and, oddly enough, not alcohol-y tasting.  The 12 oz, non-aged bottle was way more intense.  The spices were way more impactful, the alcohol more present.  To make a strained music comparison that maybe three or four of you will understand, the 2010 non-aged bottle resembled the Mountain Goats' early lo-fi stuff.  It screamed.  It was raw.  It was intense.  The 2009 aged bottle resembles, lets say, the Mountain Goats' later album, We Shall All Be Healed.  Still intense, but more produced, a little more settled, and a little more mature.  The two Rude Elves, much like early v. late Mountain Goats, are both great in their own right and could very easily have ardent defenders.  But in the end, its a win win.  Both are great.  Different, but great.  So that was my adventure in aging and comparing beers.  Worth it?  If it means I got to drink three Rude Elves in one day (which also may be some kind of record), then yes, definitely.

Total Beers: 950!

(Sunday, I had nothing, Monday I had a Hebrew Lenny's RIPA, an Erdinger Hefe Dark, and an Otter Creak Octoberfest at home (3).  Tuesday I had a Brooklyn Winter Lager at City Tavern and an Anderson Valley IPA and Otter Creak Octoberfest at home (3)).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Calling in the CPAs to do Some Number Crunching

Total Beers: 944
Where I Should Be: 906.849

So you might have noticed I put the numbers up front.  The total beers includes my Thanksgiving weekend totals you'll see at the bottom here.  I did the Bethlehem Brew Works Rude Elf Reserve tasting as best I could and you'll hear about that tomorrow, but for now I wanted to talk about some updated numbers.  I'm getting pretty close to the end here and I'm almost 40 full beers ahead.  But the thing is, the "Where I Should Be" numbers are calculated based on my finishing on December 31st.  However, because I want to have some type of celebration for the 1000th beer, and I can't have a party on New Years for logistical reasons, I'm going to be finishing, hopefully, on December 19th.  That's 12 whole days earlier, meaning my Where I Should Be needs to be adjusted as such.

I have 56 beers to go.  I have 22 days to drink them.  As such, I need to be drinking 2.545 beers per day, which is slightly less than the 2.7 or so I've had to drink so far.  So while being almost 40 beers ahead is pretty impressive, it's not so impressive if you cut off 12 days of drinking.  Also, I've got those finals or what have you coming up, so I've got figure at least three or four of those days (tonight included, I need some post-Thanksgiving detoxing here) are going to be beer free.  So let's say I've actually got 18 days worth of beer drinking till my new deadline.  That's 3.111 beers per day.  That's higher than my original pace.  The moral of the story is: I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do this.  I had anticipated cruising into the 1000th beer well ahead, with perhaps a few days of no beer drinking.  But that's not going to be the case now.  Now I'm going to have to work.  And believe you me, I am up for the challenge.  I'll get back at you with a beer related post tomorrow, but I just wanted to fill you in on my new found challenge here.

Wednesday: Bethlehem Brew Works Nemesis at BBW, Sam Adams Old Fezziwig, Sam Adams Chocolate Bock (3)
Thursday: Yards George Washington Porter, Sam Adams Holiday Porter, Sam Adams Winter Ale, Sam Adams Old Fezziwig,  Sam Adams Lager (5)
Friday: Sam Adams Chocolate Bock, Sam Adams White Ale, Bethlehem Brew Works Rude Elf Reserve (12 oz 2010 bottle) (3)
Saturday: Bethlehem Brew Works Oatmeal Stout and Bethlehem Brew Works Rude Elf Reserve on tap at BBW, BBW Rude Elf Reserve (25 oz 2009 bottle), BBW Rude Elf Reserve (12 oz 2010 bottle), 2 Weyerbacher Harvest Ales at the in-laws (6)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Here's to Beer! The cause of and solution to all of life's problems!

Well Happy Pre-Thanksgiving everybody.  I'm writing this post a bus, which is the worst form of transportation ever devised.  I was going to say "devised by man" but this is clearly the devil's work.  Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday in that you get together to eat and drink with family and friends at a holiday whose history and iconography might be the most racist things on earth.  The whole "the Indians got together with the Pilgrims and had themselves a nice dinner where they worked things out peacefully" story might be the most offensive whitewashing of a genocide ever.  Seriously.  To make an EXTREMELY APT analogy, this would be like if we had a holiday celebrating that time when all of the slaves and slave-masters got together for a big meal and peacefully worked out their differences.  I know you're going to say, "Ryan, no one pays attention to that story anymore.  Now its just a day about giving thanks.  You have a problem being thankful?"  To you I say: cut the shit.  First, that racist iconography is everywhere.  Liz once made a similar point to me, and then she went out and bought dish towels with turkeys wearing those Pilgrim hats with buckles on them.  So now, every time they are out, I get to point at them and say, "I am right!  I am always right!  This racist iconography is so seeped into our culture that even you, Liz, you who recognizes that, yeah that story is pretty racist, has purchased and displayed items bearing that racist iconography!"  I anxiously await my Husband of the Year Award.

Second, I am perfectly fine with giving thanks.  I love being thankful.  Gratitude is one of the best 'tudes there is, probably right behind Latitude and ahead of Platitude.  I am all for family and friends and hanging out and counting your blessings.  But let's go ahead and move it to day that doesn't directly whitewash the greatest American genocide.  I think a helpful way to think about this is if you were an American Indian, how would you feel about the Thanksgiving day story?  Probably not too thankful.

But in the non-racist spirit of the holiday, I'd like to take a moment and discuss some beer things I am thankful for (for which I am thankful, that is): The 21st Amendment.  The fact that I can get great beers from all over the world right in my hometown.  The fact that I can go all over the world and find beers that I can't get in my home town.  Barleywines.  Yuengling's storage caves.  That my grandma knows what a growler is.  The lack of a noticeable (meaningful) backlash to "extreme" beers.  Ceasar Romero from Unibroue.  The internet (someone write a phd dissertation on the internet as propagating the craft beer movement).  That I can get a Sam Adams Chocolate Stout at the corner bodega in my West Indian Brooklyn neighborhood.  Michigan as a Top 5 beer state.  That people with more stones than me quit their jobs office jobs to start brewing full time.  Tap handles.  Arizona's track record of producing great floral IPAs.  That my wife likes beer.  Beer as a universal currency.  That Sudan has a brewery.  Holiday ales.  That there was something called a "Beer Summit."  21st Amendment's cans.  That Obama has been to Bethlehem Brew Works.  Ommegang's commitment to Belgian ales.  That its the beverage of choice for sporting events.  That New York State gave Brooklyn Brewery serious cash to expand their brewery. That I accidentally stumbled upon that super delicious Ommegang Adoration listed below while waiting in line to buy other beer.  That America is the best beer country in the entire world.  And I'm deadly serious about that.

Add what you're thankful for in the comments.  I would like to know!

Tuesday: Hebrew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A., Erdinger Hefe-Weizen Dark
Monday: Duchess de Bourgogne
Sunday: Ommegang Adoration Special Winter Ale, Yuengling Premium, Ommegang Three Philosophers

Sunday, November 21, 2010

79 Beers to Go

Apparently most of my updating is taking place in my professional responsibility class now.  This time, though, its appropriate enough.  So, you may know that my cause de jure for these last couple of months has been to dispel the notion that any and all alcohol consumption is problematic.  By in large, most media outlets like to look at alcohol problems through two lenses: either having a drinking problem is the result of the number of drinks drank in a week or the amount of consecutive days one goes drinking at least one drink.  Both these approaches, I think, are pretty idiotic.  With this in mind, I flipped through my professional responsibility book to find a section on Alcohol and Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession.  It starts talk about the widespread problems of alcohol abuse in the legal field and how alcohol abuse might speak against someone's fitness to practice.  But color me surprised when I read the   Association of American Law Schools' definition of alcohol abuse: using alcohol "in a manner that does physical, psychological or emotional harm to yourself and/or others."  This, my friends, is a reasonable, and workable, definition of alcohol abuse.  Bigger picture stuff, guys, bigger picture stuff.  It's amazing to me that an organization representing perhaps the most unreasonable institutions on earth would be the one to proffer a definition of alcohol abuse I can get behind, but there it is.  With that said, let's discussing my drinking (none of which has done physical, psychological or emotional harm to myself and/or others).

Unfortunately we once again have to take a trip to almost a week about.  Tuesday, due to the magic of the mystery cases, I drank an Erdinger Hefe-Weizen Dark and a Black Toad Dark Ale on my couch.  Erdinger = pretty good.  Black Toad?  Not so much.  One of my biggest pet peeves in terms of beer drinking is people referring to beers solely by their color, as in, "I only like light beers," or, "I'm in the mood for a dark beer."  Unless you have that color/taste mix up that LSD users report, you don't taste the color of the beer.  The color can be indicative of the taste, but even then, that's only sometimes.  Saying something like is almost akin to saying, "I don't like orange paintings," but somehow that makes more conceptual sense than judging a beer solely by color.  So with that pet peeve in mind, it breaks my heart that both of the beers I drank use "dark" as their primary descriptive term.  In the Erdinger case its pretty excusable, given that it already tells you its a Hefe-Weizen and you could imagine that a "dark" version of that would be maltier, but just Dark Ale?  That tells me nothing!  Let's be real here Black Toad! (2)

Wednesday was another mix pack mash up.  I drank a Leipziger Gose, Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA, Erdinger Hefe-Weizen Dark, and Lindeman's Peche Lambic all on the couch.  Nothing too much to report here, except maybe that I don't like Lambics all that much.  To each his own though! (4)

Thursday I actually left my apartment!  Went to a Nick Kroll comedy special taping at the Music Hall of Williamsburg where I drank 2 Sierra Nevadas.  So leaving the house is fun, but also expensive.  While I copped the tickets for free, buying my two beers, plus two beers for a friend, ended up costing more than a whole case of Park Slope mixed beers.  When I got home I had a Roscoe's Hop House Pale Ale which was really good. (3)

Friday, in a weird turn of events, I only had one beer, a Hebrew Lenny's R.I.P.A. which is a phenomenal imperial IPA. (1)

Saturday was a pretty big drinking day.  Liz and I decided to make the most of the fleeting fall weather and take a walk around Cobble Hill.  So we walked the three miles down there, but instead of spending the afternoon walking around stores and junk, we found ourselves planted at Strong Place for about three hours.  Here's how this happened.  I've talked in the past about those awesome Brokelyn Beer coupons I have.  Bought a book of 25 coupons for free beers from bars around Brooklyn for $25 about a year ago. The goal of this coupon book is to get people into beer bars they wouldn't generally go to and to stay and spend money after the first free beer.  Well normally Liz and I have gone for the free beer and left without getting suckered into spending money.  Well, on Saturday we got sucked.  Strong place is awesome.  They have about 20 taps on hand are pretty reasonably priced (for example, a Smuttynose Barleywine went for 5 bucks).  To top it off, we had about the friendliest waitress on earth.  Here's a trick that serves can use to get me to stay for more drinks: give me samples of beers I haven't had without me asking for them.  So after I have my first/free beer there (a delicious Allagash Curieux, a Belgian Triple) Liz and I get an unprompted tasting of some cider (which Liz ordered) and a Jasmine IPA which was super delicious.  So clearly I have to stay now.  I order a flight of four four ounce beers (which I'm counted as one beer).  In this flight was an Allagash Odyssey (a bourbon aged Belgian ale), a Smuttynose Barleywine, an Elysian Jasmine IPA (super delicious, could really taste the jasmine but not in an overpowering way), and a McNeill's Oatmeal Stout.  After this I ordered a can of Oskar Blue's Gubna, an imperial IPA I've been wanting to try, but buying it at the beer distributors it still costs 5 bucks a can.  Well, they had it at a bar for 6 so I jumped on the opportunity.  Then we went home!

You might think that would be it for me for the day, but you'd be wrong.  That night I went over to my friends' place for a TV party and drank two Negro Modelos and a Brooklyn Pennant bringing me to six beers total for the day!

Total Beers: 921
Where I Should Be: 887.671

Monday, November 15, 2010

(Less Than) 99 Bottles of Beer to Go!

I'd like to say that my weird, prolonged absences were intentional.  I'd like to say that I have about 8 Suns posts in my pocket that I've been working on.  I'd like to say that my once a week posting has been due to me trying to build suspense about the numbers.  I'd like to say a lot of things.  This is all just laziness though, pure and simple.  Here's how bad this is, I had to go back and check when then last time I updated was.  Here's something worse, my recollection of specific beers is pretty hazy, but we'll power through.  Given that I'm updating in my professional responsibility during a discussion on misleading statements to the courts, I'm only going to give you the real deal here.  I may have to post some corrections later after I talk to Liz, because she may be able to provide some insights.  The problem isn't that I've been getting so wasted that I just don't remember what I've been drinking.  The problem is that I haven't been writing things down.  Try to remember what you had for dinner last Monday.  Try it.  Pretty difficult, right?  But we'll get there.  I'm actually going to update in reverse here, because maybe by the time I get to Monday, the ol' memory will be jogged loose here.  I'm going to put the numbers next to the day to make things a little easier, math-wise, for me.

Last night (Monday): Had a Sierra Nevada Lager at John's Pizza in the Village.  Then went to Peculiar Pub where I had an Avery Old Jubilation (their winter ale) which was super delicious.  Then at home I had an Alhambra Negra.  It's from Spain!  And not that great! (3)

Sunday: nothing at all.  Detoxing the body night.

Saturday: This one's easy.  I was in Washington D.C. for a friend's birthday.  Started the evening with a 21st Amendment Fireside Chat at my friends' place.  Followed that up with a Goose Island Matilda and a Founders Cerise, their cherry ale, at Marvin's.  This was followed up by a Dale's Pale Ale at some electronic dance club whose name I did not get.  Piece of advice: it is hard to dance with glow sticks while holding a beer.  In future cases, I would recommend forgoing the glow sticks. (4)

Friday: Split a 25 oz bottle Lagunita's Imperial Stout with Liz (which was delicious) and drank a Golden Pheasant.  Let me say a few words about Golden Pheasant.  There were 4 combined in the cases we had.  I was jazzed at first because I thought they were Pilsner Urquels.  They were not.  If I knew anything about the law or trademark, I would say that Golden Pheasant probably shouldn't package their beers like that.  Also they were kind of gross.  Also, they're from Slovakia, so there's a first!  An international week, eh? (2)

Thursday: Ahh Veterans day, which I had off from work but not school because I guess my law school hates the troops or something.  Anyway, I had an Old Speckled Hen at Chip Shop out in Park Slope during a late lunch.  The next beer I drank was a Sam Adams Winter Lager in the Upper East Side at midnight.  Kickball happened in between (2).

Wednesday: Wednesday, had a Reservoir Ale at Reservoir of all places during what my friends Dave and Emily have dubbed "First Dinner."  Later that evening I split 25 oz bottles of Troeg's Mad Elf and Goose Island's Christmas Ale 2009 with Liz on the couch.  All were delicious (can't stop to elaborate here!  my memory!  it's a jogging!) (3)

Tuesday: Traquair House Ale on couch.  Delicious!  Wexford Irish Cream Ale!  Delicious and fun to pour! (2)

Monday: Two 21st Amendment Fireside Chats and a Southern Tier Harvest Ale on the couch!!!!!!! (3)  We did it!  Take that, short term memory loss!!!!  I vouch for all of these beers.  Every last one of them.  Man, I did not think I'd be able to do that.  Here's to more frequent updating!

Also, remember when I said I drank a Harvest something ale at Cornelius?    It was a Harviestoun Ola Dubh!!!!  That update's for the archivist.  I'm on a g-d role here baby.  You know how I figured that last one out?  I went to the Whole Food's beer place on Wednesday and saw it there.  So Whole Foods beer, in stark contrast to their, you know, food, is actually pretty cheap and they were selling it for 16 dollars for a 12 oz bottle!  That's nuts!

Total Beers: 905 (holy shit, we're down to the final 100!!!!!)
Where I Should Be: 873.972

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Long time, no see! It's Liz!

Well hello.  Ryan doesn't know I'm posting, but I am.  So shhh...this is just between you and me.

Ryan has casually mentioned something on this blog once or twice, but it's just too awesome for me not to talk about and where else to talk about it but on my husband's blog while he's not watching?

The beer place by our apartment is pretty great.  And I mean, honestly, pretty great for being in the middle of Brooklyn.  Not the gentrified, beautiful, moms-with-strollers-and-too-much-money Brooklyn, but the real "Haaaay, I'm'a wawking heeere" kind of Brooklyn.  But honestly, this place is great.

Much like Michigan, New York is a great beer state.  Now.  As a native Pennsylvanian, I know we have amazing microbreweries and brewpubs.  PA is a great beer state - but also a terrible beer state.  Did you know that you can only buy beer in cases in PA?  Yes.  Fact.  Except at like 3 stores in the entire state (and no, I have no idea how they get around the law), you have to sell by the case and you have to have limited sales on Sundays.  You know..Blue laws.  Totally relevant.

Relevant you say?  Right!  Back to my point.

So the beer store here in Brooklyn sells lots of cases of random crap (PBR, Coors, etc.) as well as cases of really cheap bad stuff (ie:  This post.)  What's that?  That's not a link?  Correct - Ryan has titles that do not relate to the content so I can't find it.  What I meant to link to was when I bought a 24-pack of beer for like $11 and while it was gross, it was suuuuper cheap.  That being said, they also have awesome cases, 6-packs, and individual bottles for good prices.

Additional side note:  There is an amazing place, Bierkraft, that we go to a lot.  They have great growlers, bottles, and aaaaamazing sandwiches.  But the bottles, while of a great selection, are more expensive than the regular case-place near us.  So, from time-to-time, we head over to the beer place near our apartment with our granny cart and get some beer.

A few days (weeks?) ago, Ryan and I went to get some beer and spotted these random mystery cases put together by the Park Slope Food Co-op (read all about it by cranky, lazy people in the NYTimes!)  It's a plain brown box full of 24 beers ... for $19.99.  Now, when I say this to my brother in Central Pennsyltucky, he thinks that's pricey.  In NYC, though, 6-packs are $10-$15 each.  Case places are few and far between, so heading the few blocks to get a $20 case rather than spending $40-$60 on 4 six-packs is a good idea financially.

Whew, this is getting really long for me not saying much.  ANYWAY.  We got a case and it was decent - lots of German random beers.  And one non-alcoholic beer.  WHAT?!  We then went back for a second - and it was waaay better.  Lots of awesome microbrews, great beers that usually go for $6 each, etc.  But also 2 Shandies.  WHAT?! (again).

Today we went back for 2 more cases.  Here's what I wanted to say.  It was nerve-wracking to pick which case to buy.  What if you choose a case of 24 bottles of German whatever rather than that other case which is holding 24 bottles of Westvleteren.  It's so nerve-wracking!  But we did okay.  Two cases of pretty decent stuff (although my case won:  Ryan's had SIX ciders!  Bwahahaha...Mine only had 2.)

I was reminded to say that this was a great idea and a great ploy by an organization to try to unload stuff they couldn't sell by simply putting a couple of good beers inside of the box.  Much like this.

Or this!  And now...the purpose of this post.  This song has been in my head since we bought these cases, so I am now putting that fate on you.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Bring Out Your Numbers

Liz is admonishing me to post.  So here it goes. Wednesday: no booze!  Unfortunately, I could have used some, as I saw the second worst play I have ever seen in my life.  Thursday I drank 2 Reissendorf Kolsches (not in kolsch glasses, unfortunately), a Fuller's ESB, and a Brooklyn Octoberfest on my couch.  Friday was one of the best beer days of my life.  I don't know about that for real, but it was a seriously great winter beer drinking evening.  First up, an Ommegang O Kyndnes, a new belgian scotch ale from possibly my favorite brewery.  So I love Ommegang, belgian ales, and scotch ales, so you'd probably imagine I hated this.  Well you'd be wrong.  It was great!  Up next was a 21st Amendment Fireside Chat, a self-described "winter spice ale" from a phenomenal brewer.  I love, LOVE, spiced ales.  Much like hopheads, I fancy myself a spice-head.  Additionally, you may recall Monk's Blood is one of my favorite beers of all time, so my expectations for this beer were through the roof.  That's unfortunate because, while the beer is phenomenally good, nothing could have met my expectations on this one.  I wanted a spice-explosion and instead got a reasonably-spiced, perfectly delicious beer.  But check out the can!
After that was a Full Sail Wreck the Halls which was pretty dope.  It's essentially an IPA and a winter warmer smashed up into one beer.  While it's a pretty interesting combo, it's neither hoppy enough nor winter warmer-y enough to make it really stand out.  More, damn you! More!  I followed that up with a Southern Tier Harvest Ale.  Southern Tier.  I need to drink more of you.  After their Imperial Pumpkin and the Harvest, I have to say they have the market cornered on winter/seasonal ales.  It's delicious.  I finished off the evening with a Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock.  Great beer drinking evening!  I love winter ales!

Saturday I had a Harvest (something? My plan was to take a picture of the lengthy name on the blackboard on my out, but I forgot to and can't seem to find the name on the internet) at Cornelius.  The waiter hyped this thing up a ton.  I thought, hell, I'll get it.  It was 8 bucks and, as I would discover, 8 ounces.  8 ounces!   You kidding me?  You're not Sam Adams Triple Bock!  Get the hell out of here!  I mean it was good, it was sort of a cross between a harvest ale and a barley wine, but temper your enthusiasm waiter!  I then had two Red Stripes at Woodwork, which would be sleeper candidate for top 5 bars in Brooklyn.  Later that evening I had two Presidentes at my friends' place before seeing Rocky Horror Picture show at midnight.

Sunday.  Sunday I had a Southern Tier Harvest Ale, a 21st Amendment Fireside Chat, and a Einbecker Pils.  Sorry for the straight run down of numbers here, but I have things in the works.  I know on facebook I said Channing Frye was in the works, but I think I might outsource that on account of that needs to be an Arizona beer and I just can't get any of those out here.  So instead I've been working on Jared Dudley, who, in awesome form, just graced the cover of a San Diego magazine about bars.  I love Jared Dudley!  I love San Diego!  I love bars!  Someone get me a copy of that!

Total Beers: 886
Where I Should Be: 852.054
Number of Exclamation Points in this Post: 13 (I actually counted.  Also, I thought about adding one here, but it would make the final count ambiguous, and this is a black and white zone my friends)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Listen to this Engine Whine

It was the death of six pack Sunday.  I mean not really.  I just had work to do during the day so I couldn't down my customary three beers while watching football.  Doing work on Sundays is the worst.  Instead, my drinking was limited to splitting a growler of Brooklyn's Cuvee Noire with Liz at night (poured three for me!).  It's really good.  Liz is going to write up a review for it as soon as I tell her to, which is right now!  So get to writing Liz-o!

Since Sunday wasn't Six Pack-ified, Monday didn't require the customary detoxification.  I intended to have three beers, but only had two.  When I say intended to, it means I pulled three beers out of my fridge, except only two were actual beers.  The third?  Einbecker Brauherren NON-ALCOHOLIC MALT BEVERAGE!  Those bastards at the Park Slope Food Co-op thought they could slip in a non-alcoholic beverage without me noticing?  Well those moms have another thing coming!  I can't tell you how upset I was over this.  I didn't notice that it wasn't a beer until I pulled it out of the fridge.  Worse?  It was the only "beer" in the fridge at the time!  The other ones weren't cold in the slightest, so after receiving the insult of being sold a non-alcoholic "beer," I had to wait until I could drink an actual beer!  But, BUT, did I drink the Einbecker?  Well, I tried.  I always wondered what the NA beer tasted like, and I really did keep an open mind to liking it, but man, it was disgusting.  Later I drank a Brooklyn Octoberfest and a Wells Bombardier.

Speaking of Wells Bombardier, last night (Tuesday) at James in Prospect Heights, Liz paid 9 dollars for one!  I mean they're super good, but 9 bucks?  Let's be real.  Also, at James I had Lagunitas IPA for a somewhat reasonable 6 dollars.  At home I had a Reissdorf Kolsch (in my kolsch glasses again, chumps) and a Leipziger Gose.   I did that while watching re-runs of the office which, all in all, was a better option than my original plan for the evening which was, after spending almost 12 hours doing law school related nonsense, going home and putting my head in the oven.  Hey, did you know that I like beer?  Seriously though, I can't emphasize this enough, I like doing things that I like doing, and drinking a beer is towards the top of that list.  Seriously.  What's the point of going through life just doing things you hate to do because you have to do them?  Eventually I write a whole coherent (not likely) post about all of this, but for now, this'll do.

Total Beers: 869
Where I Should Be: 838.356

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Cursed Scary Gypsy Lady Day

Interestingly enough, I'm having a great time writing these Suns updates, but it sort of cuts into my everyday writing about my drinking.  As such, my last update involved my Sunday drinking, but fret not my loved ones (and enemies), I've been keeping track of my drinking.  And in grand catch-up (ketchup?) tradition, I'll be starting with Monday and working my way up to last night.

So on Saturday night...WHAAAAAAT?  That's right, it's Super Psyche-Out Sunday, so I'm going to start from Saturday and work my backwards.  On Tuesday I drank four beers (suckas, Super Psyche-Out Sunday strikes again).  All these were on the couch while watching numbers on my computer screen corresponding to the Suns/Blazers game.  Here's the list: Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock, Brooklyn Pennant Ale, Coopers Lager, and an Einbecker Brauherren Pils.  Also, you might have noticed that I didn't talk about Monday.  Well, true to my word, it was an alcohol-free day.  So there's that.  Also, that was the worst paragraph I've written in my life.  Nothing to be done about it now though.

Wednesday was somehow more subdued than watching numbers flash on my computer screen.  Had a Brooklyn Pennant and a Brooklyn Octoberfest while sitting on my couch.

Thursday was another kick-ball extravaganza, which means a lot of drinking but very little that I can count.  Although, my friend Alex saved the evening by ordering pitchers of Sam Adams lager for use in flip-cup instead of the standard Bud Light.  So, I'm going to count 2 beers from that, which reasonable AND fair, which is a pretty solid one-two punch.

Now we're approaching Halloween weekend here.  The thing is, all my friends are out of town so instead of dealing with insane crowds and insane covers at bars, Liz and I decided we would spend the weekend on our couch watching movies.  Although, I did have a costume ready to go if we did decide to go out.

But we never ended up going out.  We split a growler of Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale on the couch (poured 3 for me) and afterwards I had a Full Sail Session Lager which I bought because it was $1.50 at Bierkraft and the bottle is pretty cool looking.

And that leads us to Saturday.  Went to Bierkraft (second day in a row, which is weird) where Liz and I bought a 25 oz bottles of McNeill's Pullman Porter and AleSmith's Yule Smith Holiday Ale.  We drank the porter during dinner because I figured the Yule Smith would be too spicy to go along with the food.  Turns out the Yule Smith isn't a spiced ale, but rather a Double Red Ale, which would have gone better with the sandwiches than the porter, but live and learn I guess.  Both were good.  Watched Drag Me to Hell and Nightmare Before Christmas while drinking a Fuller's ESB, Leipziger Gose, and Full Sail Session Black Lager.

One quick thing before I leave you for football here.  Apparently George W. Bush, America's most infamous teetotaler, begins his new memoir by discussing his alcoholism.  The memoir starts, apparently, with him not being able to remember the last time he went a day without a drink.  While I'm not saying he wasn't an alcoholic, that's not a very good way to think about addiction and not a very good way to think about alcohol.  Having a drink every day does not an alcoholic make.  For you non-vegetarians out there, can you remember the last time you went a day without meat?  No?  Does that make you "addicted" to meat?  Don't be cute/a douche and say that you are addicted to meat.  You're not.  There's enjoying things in moderation/not letting it destroy things in your life, and then there's addiction.  Having a drink may be necessary to being an alcoholic, but it certainly isn't sufficient.  Sorry for the rant to end things here, but in case you didn't know this, I think society at large has a pretty unhealthy attitude toward drinking.    I mean America obviously has weird attitudes towards consumption in general (see just about anything involving obesity/diet fads/the amount of processed foods we consume and the amount of grief we give ourselves for doing so), but this image of "all alcohol consumption is dangerous/problematic" has got to stop.  And on that note, here are the numbers:

Total Beers: 861
Where I Should Be: 830.136

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Robin Lopez, The Future of the Phoenix Suns

By way of introduction:

If that's your first taste of Robin Lopez, you're welcome.  Here was my encounter with the man:

That's Robin Lopez being greeted by NBA commission David "I'm A Huge Douchebag" Stern after being selected with the 15th pick of the 2008 NBA by the Phoenix Suns.  The video, in which Robin appears to be a graceful gazelle, deftly picking that poor Thunder's pocket and gliding smoothly to the rim, is somewhat misleading.  Robin Lopez is a beast. An absolute monster of a man.  He is a 7'0" mountain of intensity.  I need you all to do me a solid right now.  Take 30 seconds and listen to this.  That voice you hear is Alvin Gentry, head coach of the Phoenix Suns.  That explosion at the end?  That's Robin Lopez.  Here's a picture:

Here's what you just heard/are looking at.  It's the middle of December during the 2009/2010 season. The Suns stormed off to a 14-3 record to start, only hit a serious lull after that.  Come December, the Suns are in a bit of a losing streak.  So in the midst of this, the Suns hold a practice in which the players scrimmage 3 on 3.  Robin Lopez's team loses.  Afterwards he calmly walks up the stairs and SLAMS THE DOOR SO HARD IT SHATTERS!!!!!!!!!  Robin Lopez is so fiery that he will literally destroy his very own practice facility after losing a light scrimmage during practice.  Yes, Robin Lopez truly is The Enforcer.  Outside of completely demolishing doors and opponents, he also plays the game of basketball, at which he is very, very good.  We'll get to that in a second.

Here's what else you need to know about Robin Lopez: he has an identical twin brother Brooke that plays for the New Jersey Nets.  Brooke went about five spots earlier than Robin in the draft.  Brooke gets a lot more hype.  Brooke has a slightly better offensive game, but because he was on a really awful team, he got a lot more minutes which means a lot more stats.  But here's the thing.  Robin is the better defensive player.  By a mile.  In fact, Robin Lopez is quite quietly the Better Brother.  Basketball people are starting to realize this.  Consider for a moment the 2010 US FIBA Basketball Team.  They're in the process of making cuts.  Both Robin and Brooke were invited to camp.  Robin had to back out because of back problems (puns!), leaving just the Lesser Lopez, Brooke.  USA basketball head honchos went nuts.  Brooke is probably going to be cut and now everyone is freaking out about the lack of interior defense and rebounding on Team USA.  While Brooke gets the hype and the publicity, Robin gets things done.

Robin Lopez is a Stone Imperial Russian Stout.

Let's get the obvious out of the way.  Fro-Lo played college ball at Stanford and Stone is from California, so they've got that in common.  But let's look deeper.

Stone is widely, some would say primarily, known for its wicked assortment of hoppy ales.  They have a whole gamut of IPAs and that are known and admired throughout the world.  Their Vertical Series is the stuff of legends.  But you know what might be secretly better than these beers that are way more well known?  That's right, their Imperial Russian Stout.  And you want to talk about intense?  The Imperial Russian Stout is the definition of intensity.  If we equate hoppy-ness with offensive production, which, I mean, why not?, then we can imagine why Stone's ales are the Brook Lopezes of the beer world.  The Imperial Russian Stout may not immediately dazzle you the way a double IPA might, but in the end, its sheer intensity gets the job done.  If defense wins champions, then I'm drafting (pun!) Stone's Imperial Russian Stout with a lottery pick.  The Imperial Russian Stout is the type of fortifying beer that could, quite frankly, constitute a meal.  If I'm stuck in an isolated cabin in the middle of the Upper Peninsula in January, I don't want my cabinets stocked with IPAs or flashy ales.  No, I want this.  You can keep your Brooks, your centers that can drop 30 points a game (which, by the way, Robin has done as well) but will ultimately lead your team to 20 wins.  I'll take Robin.  And I'll take a Stone Imperial Russian Stout.