Sunday, February 28, 2010

Origins of My Love of Beer

A quick timeline of the evening that led to the moment I want to write about. First, the wife and I had a nice dinner in the lower east side. We then swung by the Belgian Room, a Belgian beer bar we actually just sort of stumbled upon. I had a Brother Thelonnius, a pretty dope, malty Belgian ale. Afterwards we went to go get some cannolis. On the way to the cannoli place, I almost got my face punched in by a super drunk guy. I see some guy, who I think is some punk kid, throwing snowballs at bicycle delivery guys on 1st Ave. I, not so kindly, let him know this isn't really acceptable behavior, as it could, you know, actually kill someone. Turns out this punk kid is a pretty big, super drunk, and pretty old guy. He gets in my face. I'm trying to talk my way out of getting punched in the face while preventing this guy from actually killing someone. The wife is pulling me away. Eventually, I'm walking away, and this guy shouts at me "Hey! Are you gay?" which, all things considered, I think is a pretty funny/tame taunt. Turns out people had already called the cops, so my foray into life-saving heroism was, I guess, unnecessary. We then go get our cannolis, eat them, then it's off to Mugs Ale House, quite possibly my favorite bar on earth.

Ok, so now the real post begins. The wife and I get to Muggs ahead of the gang, and I order us some beers. I order a Brooklyn Cookie Jar Porter, but get served a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout instead. I'm a little disappointed, but not really because I love Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout, and also I feel pretty proud of myself to have such a refined palate. And this got me thinking. Back in college, the wife, my dear friend Greg, and I joined the vaunted Russell's 100 Club. This involved drinking 100 different beers from around the world. The first beer I had for the 100 Club was a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. I hated it. I mean I really hated it. It's a 10.0% ABV beer, chocolatey but not in a sweet, milk chocolatey kind of way. Chocolately like taking a bite out of a brick of baker's chocolate. So suffice it to say, it's not a beer for novices, which I most certainly was at the time.

Despite the stumble out of the gate, I continued with the 100 Club, eventually completing it in what I'm pretty sure was record time. So back in present times, when I'm really, really, loving this Black Chocolate Stout, I'm trying to think back about that first Black Chocolate Stout, reminiscing about what that first tasted like and how it's unfortunate that I won't be able to get that newness of tasting a beer back. I think the only beer experience that's come close to that since I officially became a beer snob was when I had my first Flemish Sour Ale, I forget which one specifically, and it blew my mind that beer could taste like that (think super, super sour).

While the 100 Club may have developed my beer palate, it didn't initiate my love of beer. That happened in a room of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in the middle of January 2005. I was going to a speech and debate tournament there, and a professor of mine told me to check out La Fin Du Monde. Thinking it was a bar, I asked where it was. Turns out it's a beer brewed by Unibroue in Quebec. Unibroue might be my favorite brewery, and I'm sure you'll hear more about them later. But back to our scheduled story. Anyway, we found a sixpack of it in a Canadian grocery store and took it back to the hotel.

Up until this point in my life, I considered Rolling Rock to be the pinnacle of beer perfection. Well, that was about to change. I cracked open a bottle of La Fin Du Monde and took a swig from the bottle. My mind was blown. La Fin Du Monde is a bottle-conditioned Belgian ale, clocking in somewhere around 9% APV. It's pretty sweet and pretty fruity, not super heavy or malty like some of the Belgian ales I've talked about here. I had no idea beer could taste like that. What also blew my mind was that every sip tasted different. Now this resulted from the fact that I'm drinking straight from the bottle and bottle-conditioned ales most definitely need to be poured out into a glass, but still. It was the first time I realized that a beer could be complex. To be sure, I've had my fair share of awful macrobrew since then, but sitting on that hotel bed, my life was changed. La Fin Du Monde translates to "The End of the World," and, to be ridiculously cheesy, that most certainly was the end of my bad-beer-drinking world.

So there's that. That one beer got me super nostalgic about my beer-drinking infancy. At Mugs, I followed that Black Chocolate Stout up with a Six Point Double Sweet Action, which is Six Points' Sweet Action but double just about everything, including the alcohol, and then a Chelsea Hoppy Holidaze, a super hoppy and super malty holiday ale. After that we head to the Biergarten in Williamsburg, where I have a Hefeweizen of some sorts. At this point in time, I am super housed. You may notice that I've only had five beers at this point, stretched out over the course of four hours. However, each of these beers is at least 9% ABV, so it's essentially like drinking 10 normal beers or, to put it in a ridiculous-but-still-accurate way, twenty Bud Select 55s. So after the biergarten, we go to the Charleston where I order a beer but can't drink it. Blasphemy, I know, but I know my limits and I was definitely at them. The wife and I jump in a cab and head back to the apartment, and thus ends the night where I drank a lot of super awesome beers. Tonight, as tends to the be case after nights like that, will probably be beer free. But as always, we shall see.

Total Beers: 181
Where I Should Be: 158.904.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Burn Down Burn Down the Hot Topic

Yesterday my wife woke up at 7, checked her e-mail and saw that the NYC public schools had a snow day and went back to bed. "Great!" I thought. "Surely,* if NYC has shut down the public schools, then my humble law school will be closed!" I went back to sleep, woke up at 9 just to make sure. Checked my e-mail. Vice-dean saying school is still in session. Faaaaantastic. So now I have to schlep to Manhattan in what one can only describe as the worst weather in the history of the universe, all for a two hour trademark class where about 1/5 of the people showed up. Anyways, that seriously cut into my "sit on the couch, drink, and watch the snow fall" game plan that I had set in place.

So while we had a snowpocalypse, I didn't exactly have the same merriment as the last one. I stopped by Whole Foods on the way home from school to pick up dinner and thought I could use at least one solid winter beer for my evening. I was tempted to pick up another Ommegang Three Philosophers, but I figured I would mix it up this snowfall. I chose a Brooklyn Local 2. It's a bottle fermented Belgian ale in one of those big 25 oz bottles. It's, as you can imagine, pretty great. Super malty and super alcoholy (9.0 ABV), the two things you want out of a winter beer. Also, it doesn't hurt that it was four bucks less than the Chimay I almost bought. This will come as a surprise to you, but I'm not the biggest Chimay fan in the world. Don't get me wrong, it's a really good beer, but when I'm looking for a Belgian ale, it's never really going to top my list.** This reminds me of something I want to write about later, about how Germans hate Belgian brews and how the German purity laws are the dumbest things on earth. For what it's worth, America really is the greatest beer country on earth. I'm not even being jingoistic (I'm using that word correctly, right?), it's a fact. I'll write about that later. Someone remind me.

I did have a perfectly pleasant evening of watching Inglorious Basterds and drinking a Brooklyn Local 2, American Ale, Sam Adams Old Fezzy Wig and Cranberry Lambic. The Sam Adams in gone and the Brooklyn is low, so seriously, we'll have some new beers up in this joint as soon as the snow melts. I'm going out to some fun beer bars tonight so we'll have some fun updates here tomorrow.

Total Beers: 176
Where I Should Be: 156.164

*Don't call me Surely. This joke is complements of my wife.
**I know I'm talking about all three Chimays like they are one distinct beer, and I know they are all different, but I have the same sentiment about all three of them. Although, for those who care about these things, the triple is my favorite.

Friday, February 26, 2010

You the you the Best

Last night as the snow fell, I had a Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic, Holiday Porter, and a Brooklyn American Ale. For those of you sick of hearing about the same few beers over and over, do not worry. Both cases are almost tapped. There will be new beers, new adventures, and so forth. I should have a pretty good drinking night tonight and tomorrow night, and I assure I will concentrate on the drinking/beer in my next post. I'm sorry if these posts are a little lackluster, I've been working on perhaps the most important post of this blog's history, and you better believe when that comes down, dedicate a whole day to read it. Seriously. Take off work. It will be worth your while.

Total Beers: 172
Where I Should Be: 153.424

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snowpocalypse II: The Snowening

Once again NYC finds itself blanketed in snow. Once again, I find myself having a beer at four in the afternoon, but that discussion will wait until tomorrow. I first have to discuss the salacious details of last night. I had drinks with a female companion who was not my wife in a dark, candlelit corner of small, intimate bar. I mean we were talking about her upcoming wedding and experience working for a judge, but still, salacious. Sometimes I feel for Governor Paterson. Only sometimes though. Anyway, I had two Brooklyn Lagers at Park Bar with my friend and then a Sam Adams Lager back home with the wife. That's all for now!

Total Beers: 169
Where I Should Be: 150.684

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reconciling The Numbers

I've got a couple of long posts I'm working on that should drop in a couple of weeks. These will deal with the two primary concerns people (my dad) have voiced since I began this stunt. The working titles are "Debunking the Myth of the Beer Gut," and "Why I'll Probably Still Get a Job Even If Somehow Employers Find This (Which They Probably Won't)." That second title may need some work. I'm posting now, despite the fact that I finally got in a zero beer evening last night, just so my total beers and where I should be numbers come closer together. I saw that I was over twenty beers ahead and even I thought that was a little excessive.

Total Beers: 166
Where I Should Be: 147.945

There. That's better.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Haven Part Two, Electric Boogaloo

Previously, on My 1000 Beer year...I go to New Haven for an academic conference, drink some beers, meet an interesting cast of characters, accidentally called Emily "Rachel" at the alter, and found Mr. Burns shot, laying on the town sundial. We now return to the thrilling conclusion!

Saturday Morning (Where I Remember I Have A Bagel In My Backpack That I Was Going to Eat For Lunch on Friday, But Had Something Else Instead, and That's Good News Because I Slept Through The Hotel's Free Breakfast)

Outside of that bagel, perhaps the most interesting part of the morning was the air condition repair people. For some reason, the fine people at La Quinta thought our hotel room's air conditioning need repairing at 10 in the morning, on a Saturday, in the middle of February. After someone completely disassembles our air conditioner, another guy comes in, looks at the five of us guys, all in our mid-twenties, some with beards, and says, "You guys call yourselves teenagers? Where's your Playstation ?" and then moseys on over to the air conditioner without further comment.

We then head to the conference. I attended a panel on the effects of mass incarceration, which turned out to be a panel about the collateral effects of individual incarceration, which was pretty boring. Did you know if you go to prison, it's hard to get a job afterwards? That when you're in prison, your kids kind of have to live with out you? You Yale geniuses have done it again! Instead of going to the lunch workshops, me and some friends decide to check out the campus. It was nice, although at one point I thought I walked into a movie set on a college campus. We found ourselves in a quad surrounded by all these old, important looking buildings where some brosephs were throwing around a frisbee, some other guys were practicing rugby stuff, and, here's the kicker, there was a group of nerds doing that stuff and fighting each other with foam swords.

Anyways, I go to another panel, blah blah blah, head back to the hotel to rest up, and then hit the town for dinner and some drinking!

Saturday Night (Clever Subtitle)

So Dave, Jon, Ben, and myself decide to head out to dinner sans the rest of the group, who are still at the conference. Jon's a guy who knows his food and his restaurants, so he picked a place called Frank Pepe's for dinner. It's a dope pizza spot, which Jon assures me he'll write about in his excellent blog FoodGasm New York. I will only say this, it was quite possibly one of the best dinner experiences of my life, not only because of the awesomeness of the pizza, but also the surrounding circumstances. We were able to go in a small group instead of having to deal with another evening of trying to wrangle cats for dinner. The wait was super long, which may seem like a negative, but it made the pay off of the awesome dinner that much better. And yes, the pizza. At dinner I had a beer, an ale of sorts that I hadn't heard of and I forgot to write the name down. After dinner we met up with the rest of the group at a bar/restaurant called Anchor where I had a New England Brewing Company IPA. Then it was off to GPSCY (an acronym for something), a bar located on Yale's campus.

RebLaw held it's final party at this on-campus bar GPSCY. The bar itself was pretty awesome. It was two and a half floors. The first floor was an awesome bar with a huge beer selection, pool tables, couches, and just a generally relaxed atmosphere. The second floor was a dance club with another, smaller bar in the back. The half floor above that consisted of one foosball table. We spent the bulk of the evening going back and forth between the first two floors, playing pool, dancing, and getting our drink on. Throughout the evening I had a Red Stripe and three Brooklyn Lagers. Around 12:30, the DJ decides that she doesn't really want to play music that would get allow the group of drunk nerds to get their grind on, so she starts playing show tunes. Everyone decides its time to go. Everyone else wants to go back to the hotel. Dave and I want to stay out, because as they say, you're only in New Haven once. We ask the people working the door at GPSCY where they would go. They say Prime 16. So off we go to find Prime 16.

Where Dave and I Try To Find Prime 16 But Instead Find the Worst Bar On Earth

The door people gave us the most convoluted directions to Prime 16 imaginable, so on our way their we asked a group of people how to get there. We start following their directions and don't find it. We then ask a different group of people who give us completely different directions. We still don't find it. Finally we give up when we spot a bar someone else (some nerdy girl no less!) said was awesome, the Playwright. Five dollar cover. Whatever, we're there so we pay it. We walk in and immediately regret that decision. So far, every place we went to in New Haven had a ridiculously good ratio of men to women. Well, we found out where all the men (douchey fray guys) of Yale hang out. The place was packed with sweaty bro-dogs and a few (I mean very few) skantily clad ladies sloppily dancing on a semi-stage. Dave went and bought me my final beer in New Haven, what that was I'm not sure. We pound those drinks and head back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel the revelry continues. Our hotel room is a den of sin. Drinks are flowing. Girls are passed out on our beds.* At 3:30 we get everyone out of the room and pass out. At 4:30 in the morning, a pizza guy knocks on our door. I didn't order it and anyone who might have is either passed out and most likely not in the room. I'm the only one who wakes up and I somehow manage to get the pizza guy to leave without having to pay for it.**

Sunday Morning (Now's The Time To Say Goodbye to All Our Company)

We all wake up in a nice haze on Sunday morning. I grab some food at the diner attached to the hotel and then it's off to the train station to leave the metropolis that is New Haven. After arriving at Grand Central, we all have a group hug and then one by one walk away until it's just me, left marveling at the grandeur of the station, already feeling nostalgic about the weekend that just finished.

Eric, disillusioned by his experience, dropped out of law school. Today he runs a successful car wash in West Chester where he often runs into old classmates.

Dave went on to achieve his dream of becoming partner at Jones Day. He recently was a panelist at RebLaw conference where he discussed the merits of a free-market economy.

Jon graduated from law school and then travelled around Europe for a while. No one has really seen from him since, but last we heard he was apprenticing at a chocolatier in Denmark.

Ben died autoerotically asphyxiating himself, literally the afternoon we got back from RebLaw.

As for me, I went home that evening, where my wife invoked the "You want to have a beer rule," and had a Speakeasy White Lightning. The next day (Monday) my wife, who apparently is trying to kill me, opened up a growler of Victory Scarlet Fire, and throughout the course of the evening poured me three of those. So in total, 15 beers in New Haven, four since I've been home for a total of 19 beers over four days. I think I'm taking tonight off, but we'll see.

Total Beers: 166
Where I Should Be: 145.205

*These girls are friends of ours but I thought it sounded more bad-ass to put it like that.
**I think I did this by just closing the door and going back to sleep, but who delivers pizza at 4:30 in the morning?

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Definitive New Haven Post, Part 1

I am having a little trouble digesting and compressing this past weekend into a comprehensible post. A lot of booze. A lot of funny stories. A lot of weird happenings. Official beer count of the trip: 15. Unofficial: eleventy billion. I'll try to group my thoughts together and use bold fonts for the first time. Warm up those eyeballs. You're in for a long read.

Why I Entered the God-forsaken, or Satan-saken, Town of New Haven, CT.

You might know New Haven, CT primarily for its cracked out, aggressive homeless people, but did you know there's also a school there??!! One of them fancy ivy league book learning schools, no less. I believe it's called Yale. Well Yale's law school put on a conference called RebLaw for leftist/progressive/activist lawyers and law students. While I may lean slightly left and think activism is all well and good, I went to RebLaw primarily to drink in another state with a bunch of my friends. There were a lot of legitimate hippies there, as you can imagine. I am a little disappointed that the people in attendance at the conference weren't super weird, but I did see one guy eating a bowl of soup in the middle of an academic panel on education reform. That was pretty weird.

So that's why I was there. Academic conference.

The First Day (Friday)

We got off the train at about 3:30, checked into the hotel, and made our way down to Yale. Went to the aforementioned education reform panel till 5. Then the drinking started. RebLaw had a free "happy hour" in their "cafe" before the key note "speaker." You might think I went to town. Well if you thought this, you also think I'm an idiot, so thanks. No, I only had two beers of indiscriminate origin (they were poured from a Yale pitcher and I didn't bother to ask what they were). I moderated myself because 1) I didn't want to sleep through the key note speaker and 2) the night was young, I didn't want to cap out too soon. Went to the key note speaker then it was off to dinner at a downtown Thai restaurant where I had one Sam Adams with dinner and, in perhaps the most impressive moment of the weekend, our group of about 15 people was able to successfully and painlessly split a large bill for dinner and drinks. Then we went to the RebLaw sponsored party at a bar called Lansdowne. Then things got weird.

Friday Night (Where Things Get Weird)

So things started off fine enough at Lansdowne. Had some beers. I had five official beers here, a combination of Stellas, Sam Adams Noble Pils, and Miller High Lifes purchased for me. I say official because a few halves of beers may have been in there, and due to the complicated round buying scheme we had going, it was hard to tell if I bought myself a round or two of High Lifes, which wouldn't count toward my list, so I decided to go conservative in my count. Lansdowne was your typical bar with a dancing area/dj. The ratio of guys to ladies was ridiculously good for the guys. The crowd seemed like it was mainly RebLaw attendees, so a bunch of nerds. But these nerds were drunk and on the prowl. A girl from a nameless PUBLIC LAW SCHOOL in New York City started talking to me and my friends. We were on our way out to another bar and she asked if she could tag along. "Sure!" we all said in a unified voice. And off we headed to a place called Bar.

Bar is, as my friend Ben noted, four bars rolled into one: 1) A restaurant/bar, 2) A microbrewery, 3) A chill lounge, and 4) A raging house music dance club complete with lasers and strobe lights. You might imagine that I was most interested in 2 and 4. Finally you're right about something!

***If you're not interested in reading about crazy girls quite explicitly propositioning me and my friends, I suggest you skip this next part. I'll let you know when to jump back in.***

I went up the bar to order one of their house brewed beers, a Scotch Ale, that didn't have a name. Apparently they exhausted their creativity in naming their place Bar and didn't have enough left to name their beers. Anyway, while I am ordering at the bar, said NYC girl approaches me and we have the following conversation:

Her: Hey, you're married?
Me: Yup.
Her: Me too, but I'm in an open marriage. If I wasn't I'd just cheat all of the time. So my husband wouldn't mind if we went back to your hotel together.
Me: Uh, my wife probably would.*
End scene.

So that in and of itself, not so weird, right? However, she then proceeds to go introduce herself to my friend Dave, who I was sharing a hotel room with that weekend, and immediately starts discussing how much she loves having sex. Well, Dave is not so interested. Not one to be deterred, this girl immediately proceeds to my friend Jon, who is also in my hotel room for the weekend, and begins a discussion with him about her bisexuality. Did I mention this was all taking place in a ridiculously packed dance club? There were five of us staying in that hotel room. If the other two were with us at the time, I can only imagine they would have been next. Later that evening we would discuss the opportunity for some ultimate friendship building we all passed up, and exactly how many people would have to be involved in order for my wife not to be upset.** Anyway, we closed the place down, getting our dance on with other, not so crazy ladies. Perhaps another weird thing about Bar is that I only had the one beer there. In fairness to me, my official beer count was at nine and my unofficial might have been through the roof.

***Hey! Come on back now, you hear!***

After closing the place down, we ditched the crazy lady in the bar and jumped in some cabs. I apparently chose the wrong cab, because mine made it back to the hotel uneventfully. The other people had to wait a few minutes for a second cab, and in the meantime apparently saw a bunch of fights and cops macing people. New Haven is crazy and its bums, and apparently drunk frat guys, really are super aggressive. We all got back to the hotel around 3, laughed and thought back fondly on our adventures that evening. Then the five of us drifted gently off to sleep.

Join us back here tomorrow, for the thrilling conclusion (and the numbers!) of the Yale misadventures. Here's a preview: "You call yourselves teenagers?" "I'm stuck between a clam and a tomato!" "Academic panels on identity politics!" Enticed? No? Well come back anyway. I need you. You're all I have.

*I texted her immediately there after just to make sure I was right about this. I was.
**I'd imagine six would be enough.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Who's The Dean Now?

I wanted this post to be longer than it will be, but alas time is not on my side here. I have to leave pretty soon to catch a train to New Haven, CT, where I will show that crusty old dean at Yale what's what and the President will make me secretary of Partying Down. Anyway, last night I went to Carnival at Bowlmor which was super expensive. Seven bucks a beer! The whole carnival them was fun, but it seemed like just a big money suck (had to pay to play all the games) and the crowd, what there was of one anyway, was, let's say, not my style. I had two beers there (both Coney Island Lagers). Afterwards we went to Cheap Shots, where we had some of those, and then it was off to a bar I did not get the name of (not because I was super drunk, but just because I don't remember anyone telling me the name). There I had a Blue Point Lager and played some Jenga like a pro, fought Pretty Boy Floyd, rode a dragon (a real one, I don't mean to say I did heroin), dunked on Bill Russell (which was pretty easy because he's super old), joined Skull and Bones (hence why I'm going to Yale), and was crowned king of Sixpackistan. Then I went home and had a beer while watching reruns of the Office and packing. See you all on Monday with stories galore!

Total Beers: 147
Where I Should Be: 134.246

Thursday, February 18, 2010

There's No Easy Way Out!

I haven't been sleeping well the last couple nights. Many of you may know why. If there is one thing I love more than beer, it is the Phoenix Suns. So you can imagine my discomfort at the thought of losing Amar'e Stoudemire. Last night I was sure would be Amar'e's last game in a Suns uniform, so I parked myself on my couch, put a bunch of beer in the fridge, and prepared to cry myself to sleep. I ended up drinking three beers (Brooklyn American Ale, Sam Adams Winter Lager and Holiday Porter), while watching the Suns lose to the Mavs. Amar'e, for what it's worth, put up a herculean effort and I was glad that I tuned in to watch. I went to sleep, tossing and turning, knowing that when I woke up, I would be in a world where Ama'e wore a different uniform. Well guess what? The Suns kept him! I don't even care if we lose him for nothing this summer. I'd rather have every last second possible with this glorious, glorious man. It's like if I were drinking a Westvleteren and I only had a couple of sips left and somebody offered me whole Saranac Lager for the remaining sips. Ain't gonna happen. All I know is that tonight I will sleep well. Also, I want to make a post surrounding just this video, but I think it speaks for itself:

Sorry about the sports talk, but it couldn't be avoided. I'm going to a bar I've never been to tonight with a bunch of friends, so I should have some good beer stuff to talk about tomorrow.

Total Beers: 143
Where I Should Be: 131.506

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fat Tuesday

(Insert your own lead-off picture of a drunk girl flashing for beads here, as this is a family friendly blog, in as much as my family reads it)

Last night was the mythical Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, or Faustnut Day if you belong to some weird cult (yes, I am including "being German" as belonging to a weird cult). I have mixed feelings about days where you're "supposed" to party, like Mardi Gras, New Years, St. Patrick's Day, etc. For me, the hype and expectation almost always bog down whatever fun I might have on those days. For instance, I might have a fun New Years with a few friends watching the count down, but given that it's New Years, I will have that nagging feeling that I should be doing something crazier and that sort of eats away at the perfectly fine time I am having.

So it goes with Mardi Gras. While I have never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I have been to New Orleans (counts for something! No? It doesn't? Well never mind then). I was twenty at the time so the prospect of drinking in public was pretty appealing. Anyway, like all twenty year olds with an imaginary license to consume alcohol on a public street, I did just that. Over the course of this evening, I saw a whopping total of four boobs from two women (I wasn't the one prompting them to show them, by the by, just an innocent bystander) all four of which I wish I could unsee. One was a super old lady, like probably 65 years old, showing them to some drunk frat doods on a balcony on Bourbon Street. The other pair was brought out by a girl in the group of people I was with, seemingly without any prompting, and man, I don't say this often (or ever [or have occasion to say it ever]),* but those were some lady parts that I did not want to see. Here's a true, and more interesting story. That same girl later led me to getting thrown out the door of a hotel on Bourbon Street, literally like this... a bunch of drunk fat frat guys who I am pretty sure were trying to rape a friend of mine. So here's the story: I am in New Orleans with a group of about 15 people, of which I am the only guy. We head out on the town, we get split up into two groups. After a couple of hours, I see the group that I am not in on a balcony of a hotel on Bourbon Street throwing out beads. Included in this group is the aforementioned flasher. She's drunk and screaming for us to go up there, sounds like fun, so we find our way up to this swanky suite. Turns out it's populated by said drunk fat frat guys. Anyway, one of them starts taking another girl in the group into a separate room. She quite visibly does not want to go with him and he's getting pretty forceful. I say to the flasher, hey, your friend there looks like she most certainly doesn't want to get date raped right now, maybe you should go and grab her and we can leave. She does not do this. So I go into the room, to the delight of the about-to-get-sexually-assaulted girl, but not to the delight of the big fat frat guy. Him and one of his friends literally, and I am using that word correctly here, pick me up off the ground by my shirt and throw me out of the hotel. As soon as this happens, all the girls run out of the hotel, and we all made it out of there just fine. The moral of the story is, I guess, is Mardi Gras, I can give or take. How I got that moral out of the story, well...shut up. The point is I drank 4 beers (Sam Adams Lager and Winter Lager, Brooklyn Pennant Ale and American Ale) on my couch last night while watching John Adams on blu ray.

Anyway, as every good Catholic knows, Mardi Gras is for chumps. Lent is the real deal. Lent is the time we try to make News Years resolutions on threat of God being super pissed if you don't follow through. Or, more likely, it gives people excuses to try to do things just to see if they can. Well, as you all know, I can do anything, and I know I can do anything, so giving up something for Lent just doesn't hold an appeal to me. Instead I will take something up: more drinking. And you thought I was going to list something unexpected. Nope!

Total Beers: 140
Where I Should Be: 128.767

*Bracket in a paranthetical followed by a footnote! A new personal best for confounding sentence structure.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Some Weird Things

Here are some weird things. This morning on the train, I saw a stereotypical Rastifarian guy. Like many a Rastifarian guy, he had his dreadlocks wrapped up (forgive my cultural insensitivity for not knowing what this wrap is called). Unlike many a Rastifarian guy, he wrapped his dreadlocks in women's leggings. I know this, because the leggings were over his dreadlocks inside out, so the giant Leggs tag was prominently displayed. That was pretty weird.

I've railed about this in the past (not on here but in person to actual people), and I'm pretty sure most of you will be able to discern why the following is pretty weird:

Pretty weird, right?

Here's one last weird thing: I didn't drink any beer last night. Was I sick? Nope. Did I have prior commitments that prevented me from drinking? Nope. Did Liz finally put her foot down? Ha! You're kidding right? With no real obstacles in my way, I simply chose not to have a beer.

What makes this even more perplexing is the fact that I have my apartment to myself all week. The wife has the week off and is helping her parents move into their new place, while I still have class. This would seem like the perfect opportunity for shenanigans aplenty. So what went wrong last night? Short answer: I was exhausted. I wouldn't say I hit a wall, or that if I had to drink (that's a weird way to put that, that I might 'have to' drink) I wouldn't have been able to, it's just that I was exhausted in all senses of the word and thought I needed a night off. Fortunately, the numbers let me do this. I'll be back on the saddle tonight, and already have tentative plans for Wednesday night and Thursday night, and definitive plans for some out of state drinking Friday through Sunday. But the night off, pretty weird, right?

Total Beers: 136
Where I Should Be: 126.027

Monday, February 15, 2010

Man, Isn't Blu Ray Awesome?

Well I am back from a whirlwind tour of Pennsylvania. I spent the weekend helping the in-laws move into their new place, and as with all proper housing moves, it was accompanied by copious amounts of pizza and beer. Through Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I drank a total of 10 beers. I will note that all of these beers were Sam Adams of some variety, excepting two Magic Hats, an Odd Notion '09 and whatever it is their winter beer is called. I would list all of them, but I think you readers can surmise that I drank a variety of Sam Adams seasonals. There isn't a beer I had out of those eight that hasn't elsewhere been discussed in this blog.

As a dear colleague pondered, isn't that a sort of light drinking weekend? I mean sort of, but where I'm at in the standings, drastic drinking measures aren't really required, so why push it just to push it, you know? Also, one other thing I think I sort of what to keep track of is states drank in. Right now I am at 2, Pennsylvania and New York. This weekend I will put Connecticut on that list, which hopefully will produce stories aplenty. That's all for now!

Total Beers: 136
Where I Should Be: 123.287

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blue Bookin'

This will be a quick post: last night I had a Brooklyn Brown Ale, a Brooklyn American Ale, and a Sam Adams Holiday Porter while doing work in my apartment. I'm heading out of town for the weekend to help the in-laws move, so it will be quiet on this front for a day or two. I'll be back on Sunday night with the updates though, so don't you worry your pretty little face over this.

Total Beers: 126
Where I Should Be: 115.068

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Asking The Tough Questions

I tried to get out of my apartment yesterday. I really did. My game plan was to go to Prospect Park, see what kind of fun in the snow nonsense was going on there and then head to one of the local bars, just to see what types of people thought braving the snow to drink outside of their apartments was the best way to spend the day. I think you know how that turned out. I feel like this blog should have a subtitle: My 1000 Beer Year: Where I Make a Lot of Plans But End Up Just Drinking On My Couch. I went on a test run to go buy some milk at a bodega for breakfast. While the cold wasn't prohibitive, the wind whipping snow in my face was. I had to walk backwards for a bit of the trek back to my apartment. It was pretty brutal. But hey, I tried.

What I ended up doing was just fine by me anyways. Had some pumpkin pancakes and a 25 oz bottle of Ommegang's Three Philosophers for breakfast (in fairness breakfast was at noon). Spent the day watching movies and drinking on the couch with the wife. Not a bad way to spend a snowy afternoon. Over the course of the day I had five beers, the aforementioned Three Philosophers, Sam Adams' Cranberry Lambic, Old Fezzywig, and Holiday Porter, and a Brooklyn American Ale. (A reader,* sharing my namesake, correctly guessed that I bought a Sam Adams Brewmasters' Collection case. I don't know if it was all the beers I listed that I drank, or the fact that I put up a picture of the case, but either way, excellent deductive reasoning!)

Two things I want to note. First, that's the third 25 oz bottle I have had by myself and only counted as one beer since the year began. So far I have not gone to any tastings or counted anything less than a 12 oz can of beer as one beer. The point being, for those of you who think I will unjustly try to game the system with beerfests/tastings, it appears your concerns are unfounded. But thanks for doubting me. That's appreciated, jerks.

Second, I came to a conclusion about Sam Adams' beers you only find in those seasonal cases: they are not that great. I mean they're fine and all, but they all sort of have that same syrupy taste. Not to say I wouldn't prefer an Old Fezzywig to a Saranac Lager or anything, but I think there's a reason why you can't buy them outside of those cases, like in six packs or individually.** Sam Adams doesn't want you compare them to other holiday ales/porters/lambics, etc. They don't want to you ask the question: Should I buy a six pack of Sam Adams Holiday Porter or a six pack of Anchor Porter, because anyone that has had both, I think, will go with the Anchor Porter ten times out of ten. But if the question is, should I buy a case of Anchor Porter or a case of all of these different beers from Sam Adams, well, that's a tougher question and one someone could go either way on. So, Sam Adams, do you package these beers together because they can't stand on their own? Do you?? My readers demand answers!

Total Beers: 123
Where I Should Be: 112.328

*I have a real one. I'm as shocked as you are, imaginary readers.
**At least I don't think you can, I've never seen them sold in any other context.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Everything paling away into the murk. The soft ash blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop. I studied what I could see. The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of color. Any movement. Any trace of standing smoke. I just sat there watching the ashen daylight congeal over the land. The snowpocalypse had arrived.

Everybody enjoy my sweet description of the snow? I would like to note that that's totally not a misappropriation of a random paragraph of Cormac McCarthy's the Road. I will say that I am writing from the belly of the beast. Outside the snow is falling at a ridiculous rate (at least I hope it's snow. If it's ash, we're all in a lot of trouble.) The streets are pretty barren and all I can see on the road outside my apartment is a giant gas truck. At least I hope it's a gas truck and not this:

But anyway. Today will be a sweet day spent indoors and drinking some quality winter beers. But before I get to that, I should document my beers last night. Liz and I went out to dinner where I had a Harpoon Winter Warmer. Then we went and got a couple of cases of beer and headed home to hunker down for this storm. At home I had a Sam Adams Coastal Wheat, a Sam Adams Old Fezzywig (who can guess what one of the cases we bought was?), a Brooklyn Pennant Ale, and a Brooklyn American Ale, for a total of 5 beers.

I bet even the biggest beer connoisseurs among you just skipped over something pretty weird. Brooklyn American Ale. Seems like one of the basic Brooklyn beers, right? You might even be thinking that you've had that before. Well, I bet you haven't. Brooklyn American Ale is a beer that Brooklyn Brewery brews just for Finland, of all places (for those of you not in the know, I am of Finnish ancestry). The legal info and ingredients on the bottle are all written in Finnish. It's crazy! As you may know, beers in America aren't required to list their ingredients. Well one of the ingredients on the beer was "kornmalt." I got a little nervous because I thought Brooklyn was trying brew beer for the Finns with adjunct material, but it turns out "kornmalt" is Finnish for "barley malt." Whew!

When Liz and I were at the beer distributor, we saw they were selling cases of Brooklyn American Ale for an absurd $25. After our first impression of, oh yeah, we've had that, we realized we hadn't, nor had we ever heard of it. We brought it home, did some research, and found out the info I just wrote. How this beer brewed exclusively for Finland found it's way to my neighborhood, I don't know, but it's a pretty happy accident I suppose. A Brooklyn Brewery beer made exclusively for Finland. This, my friends, is a beer just for me.

Total Beers: 117
Where I Should Be: 109.589

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hunkering Down

So apparently we're supposed to get 9,000 feet of snow tomorrow. But don't worry. I'm prepared.

Fate Is A Cruel Mistress

Last night I had two beers on my couch, an Erie Railbender Ale and a Brooklyn Pennant Ale. Not much to report except for this: Last night I found out about a free open bar that was giving out Ed Hardy Beer. Jackpot, right? Unfortunately the open bar was in Manhattan and lasted from 7:30 to 8:00. I found out about the open bar in my apartment in Brooklyn at 7:15. Ah, what could have been...

Total Beers: 112
Where I Should Be: 106.849

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where I Single Handedly Won the Super Bowl

I had a pretty intensive drinking day/night yesterday/night. As always, I seem to have the most trouble thinking of things to write after heavy beer drinking nights. I don't know if that's because the beer killed my creativity brain cells (unlikely!) or if it's because I tend to forget interesting details of those evenings (slightly unlikely, but not implausible!) or if it's because the evenings just end up being me chugging beer with friends, shooting the breeze (probably closest to the actual explanation!). Whatever the reason, I apologize with all of my heart and what's left of my soul for these lack luster posts. I suppose I could write something about the Super Bowl, but honestly I don't think it was that great of a game. So here's the list and here's hoping for a more interesting post tomorrow!:

4 Brooklyn Lagers
2 Blue Moon Winters, or, as the experts call them, Full Moons (Here's an interesting question, would this count as corporate brew? Even so, I didn't buy this! My record is clean!)
1 Magic Hat #9
1 Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

Total Beers: 110
Where I should be: 104.109

Sunday, February 7, 2010

100 (and two) Beers Down!

We did it! Or more appropriately, I did it! Thanks for nothing jerks! I'm just kidding. You guys are the ones who get me through this. If it weren't for pretending I have readers following my quest on pins and needles, well, I probably would be doing this anyway, but imaginary (and hopefully real) readers give me an excuse to tell the ol' wife why I have to keep doing this, so thanks!

As promised, last night I drank a Bethlehem Brew Work's Rude Elf Special Reserve for my 100th beer to little fan fare. I was working on finishing my note and Liz is sick, so I'll save the big party for my 200th beer I guess. Also as promised, it got me nice and housed. 25.4 oz of near 11% ABV beer will do that. Not to fall behind schedule, I also drank a Brooklyn Lager and a Brooklyn Pennant Ale, which contributed to the aforementioned housing.

I would like to take the time now to reflect on my first 100 beers.

Ok, now that I'm done reflecting, I'll just say this. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world, but it wasn't the most difficult either. I know it will more difficult in the future, but so far I am encouraged. I think the best part is that I don't feel any worse for the wear. I haven't had any weight gain. I haven't felt sluggish. I haven't gotten behind on work. I haven't been arrested. So far so good! Here's hoping the next 100 go just as well.

Total Beers: 102
Where I Should be: 101.369

Saturday, February 6, 2010

99 Bottles of Beer on My Blog

The title of this post comes from Liz, who was tripping balls on Thermaflu and a 101 degree fever when she said it. You may have guessed from the title that I have in fact hit 99 beers. Also, using your best deductive reasoning skills, you probably figured out that I had some beers last night. You're so smart! I'll tell you this now: last night I had four beers, 1 giant bottle of Sam Adams Noble Pils (I'll insert a story right here. I never had this beer before, as it's pretty new. I wondered what the ABV of it was, and before I looked it up, I guessed 5.2. Well guess what chumps? It was 5.2! I have extremely useful skills. I will probably put this ability on my resume.) , 1 Brooklyn Lager, 1 Brooklyn Pennant Ale, and 1 Brooklyn Brown Ale. I'll mix it up even more and put the numbers in the middle here:

Total Beers: 99
Where I Should Be: 98.630

Well look at that. I am back on schedule. More importantly, I am feeling juuuuust fine, ready get back to it tonight. And even more importantly, I have giant decision to make. What should me 100th beer be? Seems like a pretty momentous occasion, and I don't want to waste it on just any old beer. I will admit that I had hoped to be at 100 by the end of January, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men...I'm not actually sure how that saying ends. The point is it didn't happen.

Here's my thought on the 100th beer. You may recall a few posts back when I discussed snow, Snow, and Rude Elf. Well guess what chumps (Another long story I'll stick in a paranthetical. I just typed that sentence and didn't even realize that I had typed the exact same thing two paragraphs back. It seems I woke up in mood to call you all chumps and make you guess things.)? It's snowing!!!!!!!!!!!! And I still have a couple of bottles of Rude Elf!!!!!!!!!!!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (this is what they call in the publishing biz, "symmetry"*)! So the decision seems obvious, right? Not so fast, chumps. Rude Elf clocks in at around 11.o ABV, AND it's one of those giant 25 oz bottles. Meaning: drinking it would essentially be the equivalent of drinking a whole bottle of wine by myself. I am willing to do this, but due to my self imposed limitations, it would only count as one beer, and much like early morning dew in the summer, I would be gone after an hour.** If I did this, I run the risk of only drinking 2 or 3 beers tonight, which would seem like a waste of a perfectly good Saturday evening.

But you know what? I don't think I can argue with the universe here. This may be the last snow of the season, or hopefully it is, and there might not be any more Rude Elf drinking weather. Combine that with the fortuitous chance to have one of my favorite beers of all time mark my completion of 1/10th of my 1000 beers, and I think I have my answer. I'll be having a Brooklyn Lager for my 100th beer.*** Psyche!**** It'll be a Rude Elf. You chumps are so gullible.

*That's true as far as I know.
**I recognize that's the worst simile of all time, I just wanted to use all three homonyms of do/due/dew in the same sentence.
***Classic misdirect!
****Classic psyche out!

Friday, February 5, 2010


I have a new mini-mission in my 1000 beer year. To drink these 3 beers:

The problem is that I most assuredly cannot buy them for myself because they are, if not in fact then in spirit, macrobrews. So here comes the URGENT!!!! part. Someone buy these for me. Immediately. I cannot believe these beers exist until I drink them. I mean someone has to drink them, right?

Also, here's a little preview for tomorrow's entry: BEER DRINKING!

Pierce, Pierce, Pierce, Pierce You're a B

I'll go ahead and put the numbers upfront.

Total Beers: 95
Where I Should Be: 95.890

Well there you have it. I am below the magic line. I am officially behind schedule. When my book comes out, I think this chapter will be called "The Lost Week." As you can surmise from the numbers, I didn't do any drinking last night. Could I have? Maybe. But here's the thing. In addition to participating in an ill-advised, self-imposed drinking challenge, I also have to somewhat function as a human being. I know, I know. I said I expected this challenge to ruin my life a little bit, and I still do. But in the words of the immortal John Darnielle,* you just can't do things your body won't let you, and my body wouldn't let me put any beer into it last night. Jumping back in the game too soon was an awful, awful idea. I hate to be cliche, but it was one step forward and then two steps back and a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush and the grass is always greener on the other side.

But there is a silver lining to every cloud (see what I did there?). By abstaining from beer for a day longer than I absolutely had to, I feel confident that I will be able to bounce back tonight and this weekend with tenacity. Even if I only drink three beers a day for the rest of the week, I'll still be ahead of schedule by next Thursday. Also, for future American Bar Association admission panelists determining my fitness of character, this should conclusively prove that I do not have a drinking problem, that I can, in fact, take time off from drinking. And let's think about something for a second. I only drank three beers over the course of the week, yet I am less than one beer behind schedule! That's insane! At least it seems insane to me.

I still have that case of Brooklyn beers, and lest you fret, I am getting back to it tonight! In the spirit of complex metaphors (I think that's the word I want to use here), watch this video of Jason Richardson destroying Carlos Boozer's fragile ego back in 2003 to understand the bounce back I will have!

*I don't think anyone has tried cutting his head off, so I don't know how true the "immortal" description is.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp

Zero beers. Zero beers last night. We'll see about tonight. If I don't tonight, I'm pretty sure I fall below that dreaded line. But you know what? I kind of want to not drink tonight just to see how it feels to play the underdog. Maybe I'll be contrarian and drink some scotch or something. I'm sure you'll all be on pins and needs to see how this turns out!

(also Liz has the normal flu and apparently needs constant attention, which may cut into my drinking)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Back on the Saddle, Unfortunately

After a near three day abstention from beer, last night I came back swinging. Unfortunately, it might have been a day too soon. Feeling fully recovered from the stomach flu, I went out and bought a mixed case of Brooklyn Brewery beers. I ate dinner, I did my work, I had three hours of Office repeats on tap. I was fully settled in for a night of catching up (or regaining my lead). I cracked open a Brooklyn Brown Ale. Poured it down my gullet. So far so good. Feeling emboldened by a successful first beer, I went back for round two. Cracked open a Brooklyn East India Pale Ale (Side note on this beer, it's 6.8 ABV, which is way higher than I thought it was). Poured that down my gullet. At this point I'm not feeling bad, per se, but a little hobbled.

I would now like to compare myself to Amar'e Stoudemire, circa the end of the 2006/2007 NBA season.

I'm recovering from a devastating injury, one that has taken me out of the game. I'm feeling, if not fully recovered, then recovered enough. Now I don't really need to come back at the end of the season. If I stay out, I can come back in full stride at a later date. But I have the heart of a champion. So I jump back in the game. First game back goes great. I drop 19 and 9 in about 20 minutes of play. Second game back, not as great as my first game, but I'm still in it, and some set backs are to be expected. The third game back is when it all comes undone. I re-aggravate my injury early in the game and I'm once again out for the season.

As if my metaphor needed explaining, games played = beers drank. I cracked open a third beer, a Pennant Ale. Poured it out, took a couple sips and then BAM, re-aggravated my prior injury. My stomach was having none of that. I had to stop. Liz pinch hit for me and finished the beer.* I'm not back at square one here, but I pretty much felt like garbage for the rest of last night and for the better part of the day. Now I'm left with the potential of another beer-free evening tonight and wondering if I should have waited another day to get back to drinking. The moral of this story, I guess, is if you're in some ridiculous beer drinking challenge and you get the stomach flu, maybe wait more than two days to start drinking again.

Total Beers: 95
Where I Should Be: 90.410

*Liz advised me to count 3, instead of 2, beers because, unlike me, she is a dirty cheat.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A New Day Has Dawned

So last night, as predicted, was another beerless evening. But fret not! I am sitting in front of a mixed case of Brooklyn beers and will get to them just as soon as I am done with my law school reading! And to build suspense (actually because I am wicked lazy), I will not be updating the beers drank/where I should be numbers today, but for those of you who just can't wait till tomorrow, I am sure you'll be able to figure it out. (Hint: 93 plus 0 is 93)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Putting up a Donut

So it has come to this. A beer free evening. Even more shocking, perhaps, is that it will likely be two beer-free evenings in a row. The reason being: I am sick. Not in a, "I have a cold that I can drink through" kind of sick, but in the, "I think I have the stomach flu" kind of sick. Believe me, if I could drink a beer, I would. And if you think I seriously thought about doing this...

...well, I did, but in a rare moment of clear thinking, I opted against it. But you know what? I'm not too concerned. This may come a shock to many of you, but I am pretty sure that I will drop below the "where I should be" line at sometime during this year. Things happen. You get sick. You have finals. Your wife threatens to leave you if you don't ease up on this nonsense (Kidding! Like that would stop me!*). It's all part of the plan. Every night I drink 3 beers, I am ahead of schedule. So sometimes I'll be days ahead. Occasionally I might be a day or two behind. But what is a challenge without a little bit of drama? I don't want this 1000 beer year to become the U Conn Women's Basketball Team of year long drinking challenges.** I want it to be interesting. So expect drama! Expect excitement! Expect romance! But most of all, expect me to restart my beer drinking just as soon as I can keep down anything more than water.

Total Beers: 93
Where I Should Be: 84.931

And look at that, I'm still about 4 days ahead.

*It probably would.
**Look it up!