Friday, January 22, 2010

The Rules of the Game

I want to have some fun with this New Years resolution. Ideally, a man who drinks 1000 beers in one year should have some stories tell. Stories that I will hopefully record here, and then later in the book based on this widely successful blog. However, I am a man of pretty limited means. I don't have a sponsor, at least not yet (I'm looking at you, Brooklyn Brewery). The astute reader will probably surmise that the most efficient way for me to complete this challenge is to just buy cases of the lightest, cheapest beer I can find and drink on my couch. Well that's boring (to read about anyway). And I hate light/mass-produced/corporate/macro-beer (think Bud, Coors, Miller, etc.) with a passion. Macro-beer is to me what swimsuits are to Cathy, Mondays are to Garfield, and box-office success is to David Mamet. I also want to do this thing honestly. I don't want my future editors stating, "On June 26, Ryan only drank half his IPA before he left the bar. He only drank 999 beers! We demand our advance money back!"

With these concerns in mind, I thought it would be best to lay down some rules. We'll divide these rules into two separate, existential categories.

Category 1: What is a beer?
1. Beer, for our purposes, will be anything that calls itself a beer and doesn't contain the word "non-alcoholic." I'm not going to get cute here.
2. I will not set a quantitative limit on what counts as a beer toward my 1000 beer goal. If I have a beer that comes in a 12 oz can, that's one beer. If I have a beer that comes in a 25.4 oz bottle, that's one beer. A giant German biergarten stein's worth of beer? You guessed it, that's one beer. Conversely, if I attend a beer tasting festival and get served 4 oz glasses of beer, well, those each count as one beer a piece as well. I figure that cosmically, the beers will average out to being about 12 oz's a piece.
3. Some people don't think that beer made with adjuncts (such as rice or corn) counts as beer. I am sort of one of those people. Fortunately, most beers made with adjuncts just happen to be macro-beers, such as Bud, Coors, and Miller, which I won't want to be drinking anyway. But as it happens, sometimes you have to roll with the punches when it comes to beer drinking. You attend a party and all they have is macro-beer, etc. So, to accommodate for this, I am only going to allow macro-beers to count towards my 1000 beers when someone else buys them for me. This is to ensure you readers, and myself, that this resolution won't end with me buying five cases of Bud Lite on December 15, 2010 and just pounding them on my couch.

Category 2: What motivates a man to act?
1. If someone offers to buy me a beer, I have to accept (caveat, if the bartender/myself/a friend or loved one thinks I might die of alcohol poisoning, I will be allowed to decline).
2. If I win some type of free open bar thing, I have to go. (This is a really specific rule which will be elaborated on later)
3. If someone poses the question, "Hey, you want to go grab a beer?" I have to say yes (another caveat, being a law student/someone desperately looking for a job right now, if I have class or an interview, I can postpone said beer grabbing).

These last three rules are really meant to make sure that I get out more often than not, and hopefully have some stories to tell as well. To be sure, a good deal of these beers will be drank on my couch while I watch TV. That's just the nature of the beast. However, I want this to be as social an ordeal as possible. If I find that I'm not getting out enough, I'll add more rules. Also, while I expect this resolution to somewhat ruin my life, if I find that it is completely ruining my life, I may add more caveats. Are we all clear?

With that said, I will be updating after every day in which I drink a beer, which will hopefully be everyday. I'll write down at the very least what I drank, where I drank it, how many beers total I have consumed, and how many beers I should be at to maintain the 1000 beer pace.

Now, onto the drinking!


  1. Some questions regarding what counts as a beer:

    1) If you are sharing a pitcher, how will you count beers? Maybe you can tell everyone at the table to not refill your glass until you've completely finished your beer, and then you can just count them by the glass.
    2) What about flights of beer? Do you count each beer in the flight, or is the whole flight one beer?
    3) Would a "Car Bomb" qualify as a beer?

    Also, I'd guess that in 2006 and 2007 we came close to 1000 beers each. But, much like Shaq should have at least 5,000 more points from missed free throws, we probably came short because we wasted our time on drinks that were not beer. If only we had goals!

  2. Excellent Questions Greg.
    1) Poured from pitchers/growlers I will essentially be doing just that. But when in doubt, I will err on the side of it not being a beer.
    2) Every beer in a flight counts as its own beer. I know this seems cheap, but I'm sure it will be more than balanced out by consuming larger beers at other times.
    3) I don't think I'll count a car bomb as a beer.

  3. I don't think that your response to 2) is cheap. However, I am curious as to how you count beer consumed at beer tasting festivals. If you are at a festival and you count each sample as a beer, then your final total would arguably be inflated.

  4. Fair point about the beer tasting festival. My ultimate principle is to err on the side of caution and not count beers. For instance, Weyerbacher tastings? Those are out, as they are way too small. But I believe the crux of your concern is Taming of the Brew. As we both know, the pours there can be pretty generous. But they can be pretty stingy as well. My ultimate plan for that evening, if I go, is to 1) bring one of those number counting clicker things movie theaters use and 2) encourage generous pouring, explaining to the brewers my situation. If the pour is too stingy, it doesn't get a click. But I'm not looking for short cuts here. Gaming the system here and there, sure, but I do want this to be legit.

  5. Watch me drink 1000 DIFFERENT Beers in 2010. Not 1000 beers......1000 different beers.!/BUSCHBEER

  6. I'm tempted to click on the link given by Ms. Anonymous, but the "BUSHBEER" at the end is somewhat discouraging.