Friday, March 26, 2010

Darling Don't You Go And Cut Your Hair

Well gang, radio silence for a week here. As you may now, I am off to Tongyeong, South Korea later today. While there I will be keeping track of beers drank the old fashion way, with a pen and paper. Might I suggest using this week to go back and read all your favorite entries again? Remember that time I drank that one beer? That was great. What about when I was trying to decide what my 100th beer would be? Classic! Or remember that time when I got stuck in an airport on Christmas Eve, and had to spend the holiday with strangers, but in the process learned a lesson about the true meaning of the holidays? Priceless. So go. Catch-up. Reacquaint yourself with some long forgotten posts here. I'll be back next Saturday, updating on Sunday.

As for yesterday, three beers! After what turned out to be my last class before the trip, I went to City Tavern with some friends where I had a Brooklyn Pilsner and a Guiness (also this might be the first time a Guiness has made an appearance here, but someone check that out for me). At home I had a Monk's Blood while packing/watching tv. See you all in a week!

Total Beers: 246
Where I Should Be: 230.136

On a final note, I'm not as ahead as I wanted to be, but we shall see. You'll all wait in anticipation to find out if I stay above the line or fall below. That's a good cliff hanger to leave you on for a week!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trifecta of Posts, Wherein the Wife Speaks!

Hey everybody. I had zero beers on Monday (not in accordance with my "drink a lot of beer before Korea" plan, but that's the way the cookie crumbles). Today's post will be three posts in one, or something of that nature.

First post) Liz's post! So after my gentle (I first typed "gentile," and I suppose that would also be correct) prodding, the wife finished her introductory post here! So without further ado, here's Liz:

"People have asked me how Ryan's beer-drinking project has been affecting my life, so I figured I'd post a note coming from my point of view.

It's been interesting living with Ryan during this thousand beer process. Nope, that's a lie. Things have not changed much since January first. I suppose Ryan drinks more beers, but I don't think he drinks too much more alcohol, though. In November, Ryan would end the night with an Old Fashioned on the couch while watching The Daily Show. Now, In March, Ryan ends his night with a a Brooklyn Dark Matter beer.

Yup. Big change. For me personally, I guess that I now drink more than before, actually. I am not a liquor fan, so Ryan's nightly cocktails did not tempt me to join him. I do, however, love beer. With more of it in the house, and a husband drinking it regularly, I find myself joining in quite often.

Overall, I think this is kind of cool. If for no reason other than he'll be able to look back and remember both the beers he's had and the good times had while consuming those beers. I kept a book of beer labels of our Russell's 100 Beer Club beers so that I wouldn't forget what beers I had. This is 10 times more beer in the same amount of time -- at least this blog will preserve what transpired during 2010."

Wasn't that great! I assume we'll see her back here in the future with more wonderful insights and observations into living with the unreplaceable me!

Second Post) My reaction to Liz's post. My first thought is that Liz co-opted my joke making style. My second thought is that she makes it sound like I am more of a drunk than I think I am. To be clear, this isn't a one to one replacement of cocktails to beer. Where as I might have had one cocktail while watching TV, I am now replacing that with three beers. I just didn't want you all thinking I was drinking three Manhattans a night before.

My final thought about her post is that reveals the person with the real drinking problem in our apartment: Liz. By her own admission, and I believe I am reading this correctly, she can't watch anyone drink a beer at any time without needing to drink one herself. That's just sad, Liz.

Third Post) My drinking last night.
Last night I think I made a poor beer order choice. Our beer supplies are getting pretty limited in the apartment now, so last night I knew I would be drinking a Yeungling Bock, a Speakeasy Prohibition Ale, and a Brooklyn Monster Ale, but I didn't know in what order. Well, when I got from a long day at around 9:30, I had some Mexican food for dinner. Now I'm not a big pairing beer with food kind of guy, primarily because my palate just isn't that sophisticated when it comes to food, but I knew that drinking the Brooklyn Monster Ale, a barleywine, with a dinner of tacos and quesadillas would be a bad idea. So I opted to have the Speakeasy, a pale ale, with dinner. This was fine, I guess, but the Speakeasy is pretty hoppy pale ale, and that with the Mexican food was a bit off putting. To follow that up I had the Yeungling, because I didn't want to jump right into a barleywine, but this meant that I was drinking the Brooklyn Monster Ale, my favorite beer out of the bunch, at 11:30 while half asleep. In retrospect, I should have gone Yeungling, Brooklyn, Speakeasy, but hindsight being 20/20 and all...

Anyways, sorry that my three posts got progressively less and less interesting. Apparently I'm having all types of order issues these days! Oh well!

Total Beers: 243
Where I Should Be: 224.657

Monday, March 22, 2010

CBS Comedies Are All The Same

Yesterday I had a Newcastle at a bar in Chelsea after my friend's show at the UCB, an Ithica Casscazilla Red Ale at Washington Commons, and three Brooklyn Dark Matters poured out of a growler on my couch. I wanted to wait a little on the growler because I was still a little stuffy, but it had been three days since the growler was poured and it needed to be drank. Despite my slight lack of smell, it was still delicious. Anyway, that's all for now. Liz is sitting next to me writing a post for this blog right now. We'll see if it meets my strict standards. WAIT! She just quit writing. Literally, as soon as I typed that sentence, she quit. Her exact quotation, "I have nothing to say. I've got nothing!" Not so easy is it? So now you all learned something about my wife. She's a quitter. Yep! Anyway, we'll see if she picks it back up, but don't hold your breath!*

Total Beers: 240 (almost 1/4 of the way done!)
Where I Should Be: 219.178

*Here's where you're probably saying to yourself, "Ryan, Liz is putting up with this ridiculous 1000 beer year thing and has been pretty cool about it. Do you really think it's a good idea to antagonize her?" Look, you're not the boss of me. You don't know the intricacies of my marriage! And I'd like to think I know a thing or two about women. Those two things: 1) They never get mad at me for anything because I'm too precious, and 2) ok, well I guess I only know a thing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And We're Back On Top

I'm back! Ok, so I told you that yesterday, but here's where I will elaborate. On Friday I woke up feeling pretty good. I mean I still had some remnants of a cold, but nothing dehabilitating. But given that I did still have some of my cold, I had to come up with a solid drinking plan. Here's where I'll just make your case for you: The only good drinking plan while sick is to not drink. Happy? All right, let's move on. I needed to drink a few beers on Friday but I also needed to, you know, deal with still sort of having a cold. My plan was to drink a beer every two hours after getting out of class. This way, I wouldn't get drunk, I wouldn't flood my body with alcohol, and would in general be ok. So I get home at 2, have a Hell or High Watermelon at 2:30. Around 5, Liz gets home and I have Famosa with her (only one more left in the apartment!). Around 7:30, we take off for Lunasa, a bar in the East Village. Lunasa, as a bar, is perfectly fine. However, a friend of a friend (and through that link, sort of my friend) bar tends there, making the place fantastic. We stay at Lunasa from 8 to midnight, during which I have four Brooklyn Lagers, after which we go home.

I'm going to pause for a second here and tell you why Brooklyn Lager pops up here so frequently. Quite simply put, it's good, it's everywhere, and it's (relatively) cheap. Brooklyn Lager is to NYC what Yuengling Lager is to Pennsylvania. Just about every standard bar you go to out here (that is bars that aren't "beer bars") will have the macros, Blue Point (a macro, I know [it's made by Coors for those of you not in the know]), Stella, Guiness, Sam Adams, maybe Newcastle and Smithwicks, and definitely Brooklyn Lager. Out of these non-macro beers, Brooklyn Lager is always the cheapest. Those other non-macro beers are fine and all, but a dollar or two more fine than Brooklyn Lager? I don't think so my friends. Also, more often than not, I would prefer a nice crisp Brooklyn Lager to any of the aforementioned beers. Combine that with the whole "buying local is generally a good thing" motif, every time I'm at a non-beer bar bar, I will more than likely be drinking a Brooklyn Lager. So sorry for the redundancy, but I must abide by the wallet and the taste buds. That said, at beer bars, I will almost always go for something new.

So that brings us to Saturday. I start Saturday off with the aforepictured (that's a sweet word I just made up) Hell or High Watermelon, complete with an actual slice of watermelon!!!!! It being a gorgeous day and all, Liz and I hit up the park for a picnic. While bringing beers to the park would be great, and I do see it an awful lot, it is technically illegal. But then again, so is bringing a pitcher of rum punch, which we did, but it's much more inconspicuous. After the park, we go back home for a nap to prep for an insane evening in the Lower East Side!!!!

I'll tell this story in reverse. I had two beers that evening, both Brooklyn Lagers. I know I just said the evening was insane, but that was a lie. Here's what happened. We went to this bar 2A, which describes itself as a dive bar, but as my friend Ben astutely pointed out, for that area it just means that they don't have bottle service. We were there for a friend's birthday party. We show up at 11, the place is uncomfortably packed. I order us each a Brooklyn Lager, start a tab, the minimum is 20 bucks. So while we're drinking our beers, people start talking about moving to a less crowded bar. I have to get another round to meet the minimum, so I go do that, and close my tab thinking that we're all on our way out. After another two hours, it becomes clear that this is not happening, but my tab is already closed. If I wanted one more beer, I would have had to get four more beers, and I just didn't want to do that. So instead, I sat there beerless, talking to friends, and left the bar at 3AM, COMPLETELY SOBER. Not to say I didn't have a perfectly fine time doing that, but this was prime Saturday night real estate here. To not drink a beer when I most certainly could have just seems so very wrong. I guess the moral of this story is to always carry cash. Live and learn. Live and learn.

Total Beers: 235
Where I Should Be: 216.438

Saturday, March 20, 2010

There'll Be No Time For That Anymore

Lest (less?) any of you worry and think I have disappeared, I drank some beers yesterday. I will also be drinking some beers today/tonight and I'll write about all of this tomorrow when I get more time. I've been sick, making this blog pretty boring, but I promise I'll have some significant posts up before my Korea trip. Here's a teaser of my day today:

Before you say anything, yes those are the 21st Amendment kolsch (insert your own umlauts) glasses and yes that's a Hell or High Watermelon in them, but come on, don't be that guy.

Also, I got really upset just now. So let me tell you a quick story. Last weekend when I was at No. 7 in Fort Greene for brunch, I originally ordered an Ithica Cold Front, a dark belgian amber ale. The waitress came back and told me they were out of it and asked if I wanted a "Diesel" instead. I asked her what the brewery was. She didn't know. I asked what kind of beer it was. She said she thought it was similar to the beer I had ordered (not true at all, as you'll find out). To paraphrase my dad, this waitress didn't know shit about beer. Anyways, not wanting to cast my lot with an unknown Diesel, I went with the Sly Fox Helles Golden Lager that I mentioned, a perfectly fine but nondescript beer. So fast forward to today. I'm on the 21st Amendment website, because that's my want, looking at what's on tap at their restaurant in San Francisco, when what do I see but a listing of a "Diesel" Imperial Smoked Porter. I had that beer when I was there. It was as awesome and delicious as its name would imply. I passed on having another one in Brooklyn for a plain ol' Sly Fox because my waitress didn't know the brewery. This realization led to me shouting several obscenities in my apartment, followed by Liz asking what was wrong, followed by her thinking I'm an idiot for getting that upset, followed by me writing this. Sorry for the rant, but come on waitress! You work at a restaurant known for your tap selection and 1) you couldn't tell me the name of the brewery of one of your beers, 2) you said that an Imperial Smoked Porter was the same as a Belgian Amber Ale, and 3) You screwed me! You screwed me good! AHHHHH!!!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leads are for Closers

You might have noticed it's been a little quiet on this front for the past day or two. If you have, you read this blog everyday and I love you more than Cathy loves the word "Ack," more than Garfield loves kicking Odie off a table, and more than David Mamet loves casting the venerable Joe Mantegna. Well, the reason I haven't been here is that I have been sick, which, unfortunately came right after an intentional day off. On Monday, as I wrote, I took a day off because I had a 24 beer lead and felt I could use a day break. Well on Tuesday, this head-cold sort of hit me like a ton of bricks in the afternoon. I felt a little better at night, so I had a Speakeasy Prohibition Ale with my dinner and went to bed.

On Wednesday, the head cold was back with full force. Did that stop me? I mean sort of. Liz and I went to get sandwiches for dinner at Bierkraft and I had a Two Brothers Monach White Ale. Before you get in a tizzy about drinking with a head cold, I will say that the Monarch was a light, Belgian white ale, clocking in at about 4.5%. Also, true story, beer is more hydrating than soda, and I'm guessing if I said I had a soda with dinner, no one would think twice. So that brings me up to today (Thursday). I'm on the rebound here, but I probably won't drink at all tonight. This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous, and I want to be in full health for that. Also, this is my last weekend before I leave for Korea for a week, so it's my last chance to make a serious run. I wanted to be a full week ahead before I did that, but things happen. And after all, this is what that lead was for.

Total Beers: 226
Where I Should Be: 210.958 (man, I'm going to have some drinking to do this weekend)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hudson University's Innocence Collective

Zero beers last night. Felt a little worn out so I took the night off. Instead of leaving this blank, I'll post two 1000 Beer Year related links. Ok, first:

An article about how Bud's "Drinkability" campaign is stupid. I know, it's an obvious point, but they actually lost money while peddling this slogan, so that's cool.


So for those of you who think my 1000 Beer Year is bad for my health, read that. There are worse "1000 related year long goals" I could be working towards.

Monday, March 15, 2010

When the Nets Come to Brooklyn, What Will Spike Lee Do?

I didn't have much to do tonight, so I had planned on penning a giant post about how dumb the German purity laws are and why America is the best beer country in the world. Instead I watched the 30 for 30 documentary Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks. While the atmosphere wasn't nearly as intense as the Garden games, I saw Reggie Miller's Pacers play the Suns three times in the mid-90s as a kid. This documentary just confirmed everything I thought then. Reggie Miller is an a-hole. I wouldn't say I have anywhere near a Spurs/Paxson/Devin Harris level of hate for him, but to make a strained beer analogy (the analogy being strained, not an analogy about strained beer, which I don't even know what that would be), Reggie Miller is the Bud American Ale of basketball players. Man, this analogy is so strained I don't even feel like explaining it. They're both bad but act like they're good? I don't know. Wait! I have a better one. Reggie Miller is the Miller Lite of beers. You remember all those Miller Lite adds where they talk about winning all those beer awards, like Best American Light Style Lager and other nonsense like that? Congratulations, you won the always competitive, "The Piss-water Beer that Tastes the Least Like Piss and the Most Like Water" Award. So Reggie's documentary is called winning time? What'd he win? One conference semi-finals? Exactly.

Look. Don't say it. Just don't say it. I swear to Satan if anyone brings it up I'll lose it. I'm not even going to mention what it is you're not to bring up. Fine, I'll just go watch the following two videos and cry myself to sleep if that's what you want.

(Last night I had three beers on the couch: 1 Brooklyn Monster Ale, 1 Speakeasy Prohibition Ale, and 1 Famosa)

Total Beers: 224
Where I Should Be: 200 (whoa, this is eerie, 200 exactly is where I should be, no decimals or anything)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's Wrong!

Yesterday I had one beer, a Sly Fox Helles Golden Lager at No. 7 with brunch. The only thing I want to say about that is that drinking a beer with brunch = awesome. At first, everyone gives you a weird look, like, this guy is drinking a beer with his brunch? But then they all realize they're drinking mimosas and bloody marys with their brunch and shut their pie-holes.

But only one beer on a Saturday? What's the story? Well here's the story. After brunch, Liz and I went to the Brooklyn Flea Market, which is awesome, by the by. While there we find these:

Three decanters labeled "Gin" "Bourbon" and "Vodka" for a combined total of 45 dollars! (that picture is them, sitting on our shelf filled with the appropriate liquors). So our bar set up got that much sweeter. Well, given that I had this awesome new set up, I had to put aside beer for an evening and make myself some fancy cocktails. I mean how could you not? So that's the story of my one beer Saturday. While it may seem contradictory, I believe this clip explains how I feel:

Total Beers: 221
Where I Should Be: 197.261

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We're Talking Softball.

We've got some ground to cover today. Let's first go back to those Brooklyn Monster Ales. You probably guessed I hated them right? Well that's a stupid guess! They're great! I love me some Barleywines and Brooklyn, as always, makes an excellent. I thought I'd have more to say about them, but nope! So let's move on to Thursday night.

So those of you following the Twitter (all five of you), got a super secret exclusive. I had four beers on Thursday night: two Heinekens, one Brooklyn Pilsner, and one Speakeasy Prohibition Ale. The Heinekens were courtesy of an open bar on my school's campus as part of some fundraiser. Generally I like Heinekens enough, the Heinekens you get at their brewery (or what used to be their brewery and is now just a giant, and pretty fun, Heineken museum) might be some of the most refreshing beers you'll have in your life. But every Heineken I've ever had at an open bar is always pretty gross. I don't know if they make a substandard Heineken to use at just these occasions, but it kind of weirds me out. A beer's free-ness generally makes it taste better to me but that's not the case here. In the immortal words of Da Yoopers, "Free beer, free beer, that's my favorite brand. If I didn't have to buy it, it's the best beer in the land. Warm flat funky, it don't matter to me. The greatest beer in this whole world is the one you buy for me." I wanted to post a video of the song,* but the only one I could find was this:

which if the internet, or cameras, existed when I was kid, my cousins and I would have made this exact video. Anyways, after the fundraiser thing, I went out to City Tavern and had the other two mentioned beers. You've heard enough about Brooklyn, so let's talk about Speakeasy.

Speakeasy is a brewery from San Francisco, which is a sleeper for "Best Beer City in America." You've heard me eloquently opine about the wonders of 21st Amendment,** another San Francisco brewery. Well, just take what I wrote about them and apply it to Speakeasy.***

On Friday night, I participated in my first ever fantasy baseball draft. I stopped following baseball around 1994, and such, was pretty shocked when someone drafted Chipper Jones. If I could draft the entirety of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Softball Team, I would have. I tried to take Three-Fingers Mordecai Brown, but sadly he was off the board (dead). I took Prince Fielder in the first round, as his dad was pretty cool. I know you're all thinking I should have taken Cabrera, as he shares my love of drinking, but apparently he quit. I had five beers that evening, two Famosas, two brooklyn Pennant Ales, and a, here's an ominous first for this blog, a Bud Light. I don't want to talk about it. All you need to know is that I didn't buy, didn't feel good about drinking it, and wept through three rounds of the draft due to how disappointed I was in myself after drinking it. The choice came down to a warm (and I mean warm) Famosa, or an ice cold Bud Light. It was Sophie's choice times 1000. I did what I had to do. After the draft we went to some bar where I had a Brooklyn Pennant, and then it was back home!

So the numbers: 4 on Thursday, 5 on Friday, plus the 2 I didn't add up on Wednesday, put us at...

Total Beers: 220
Where I Should Be: 194.520

*See what I did? I actually did post a video of the song! This is what they call in the publishing world "poor writing."
**Also, you didn't "hear" me say anything. You read it. I, apparently, am having trouble connecting words and phrases and things today.
***There I just got lazy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Updating under the wire here. Last night I drank 2 Brooklyn Monster Ales (brooklyln's barleywine). I have more to say about these beers, but that will come tomorrow. I just didn't want to skip a day.

(Here's my wife making fun of me while I type about this: "I'm a T-Rex and I got tiny arms and I got something to say on the internet!")

Total Beers: Some number
Where I Should Be: Some number less than that

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Keeping Pace With Ever Changing Technology!

Three quick points.
1) Last night I drank a 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon and a Yuengling Bock on the couch. The bad news is that I like both of those less and less the more that I drink them. This isn't to disparage either of those breweries, as I think think they are both are class acts. I just think they both missed the mark with these two. But don't worry, I have three more of each left, so my opinion is liable to change, lest I be dogmatic!
2) My 1000 Beer Year is now on Twitter! @1000BeerYear So, as I say in my eloquent first tweet, if you're too lazy to RSS this or check on Facebook now and then for the updates, Twitter is now a viable way for you to stay informed. So, check it out maybe?
3) This third point is the result of my wife asking, "You think Yuengling is a class act?" I do. Their lager is perfectly drinkable. I enjoy their Black & Tan and their Porter is down right good. Sure, they're never going to top my list of anything (except maybe "Best Beer Storage Cave," which is awesome), but I feel like they're the little brewery that could. They have an almost nation wide presence stemming from what is almost a mom and pop operation and they achieved this almost "macro" status without making their beers from adjuncts. Furthermore, while they do make pretty awful beers (Premium or Light, anyone?), their flagship Lager is at least 1000 times better than any of the major beers put out by the true macros. So there you have it. You'll never hear a disparaging word about Yuengling from this guy. I just don't like their Bock is all.

Total Beers: 209
Where I Should Be: 186.301

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shots Shots Shots Shots Shots Shots Shot

Last night I had one Monk's Blood on the couch. That is all. (Also, the title of the post isn't meant to indicate I had a bunch of shots. I just have that song stuck in my head. Good thing I know all the words!)

Total Beers: 207
Where I Should Be: 183.561

Monday, March 8, 2010

Littering aaaand?

Look, I know I said I was taking yesterday off, but if it's sunny and not too cold or not too hot, my natural inclination will be to find a way to get outside and drink a beer. So was the case yesterday. It's been a pretty miserable winter. Two snowpocalypes, extended periods of cold and wind, and just a general weather malaise. So it was to my delight yesterday that the sun shone down on my humble borough and the temperature was a moderate 50 degrees. Adding to the perfect storm of beer drinking circumstances, Liz and I had some coupons for free beers at bars around our neighborhood. Sun? Check. Moderate temperature? Check. Free beer? Check. No work that needed to be done on Sunday? Well, nothing that couldn't wait until Monday. At 2, we worked our way down to Union Hall where I had a Kelso Nut Brown Ale. Afterwards we went to Pacific Standard where I had a Weyerbacher Hops Infusion on cask and a Chelsea Winter Wheat Wine, which is a wheat beer made in a barely wine style. We then went home around 6 and I had a Famosa on the couch while doing work/watching Super Troopers.

I'm really short changing some phenomenal bars and beers by not going into detail about the above bars/beers but 1) I'm sure I'll be back to those bars and have those beers again, and 2) I'd like to take this time to make one more point in regards to the myth of the beer gut before I leave the topic well enough alone. When I drink outside of my apartment, more often than not, I drink in my neighborhood or the surrounding neighborhoods. Meaning, when I go to the bars, I walk. This goes to the whole living in NYC thing, but I just thought I'd take my bar crawl yesterday as an example. In my 2 bar bar-crawl, I walked a total of 3.2 miles, burning about 400 calories. That's almost my entire intake of beer related calories burned off in just walking to the bars. Now, the bars I went to yesterday were in an adjoining neighborhood, and I don't mean to suggest I walk that distance every time I go to the bars, but it's not uncommon either. So there we go. More conclusive proof that beer will not make me fat. Ever.

Total Beers: 206
Where I Should Be: 180.821

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Say What You Will But My Heart Is Beating

Ok, I'm getting outside to drink a beer. How could I not?

200 (and 2) Down

We've hit our second big milestone! 200 beers! We did it! 1/5 of the way there. While there wasn't much fanfare to this milestone, there was at least more than the 100th beer. Last night my friends' band had a record release show at the Bowery Ballroom. We had dinner with the guys before the show and then I drank my 200th beer backstage in their dressing room, which was pretty cool. Cassie Ramone from the Vivian Girls told me I should get a tattoo to commemorate the beer, so that was also pretty cool. All said, it was a pretty momentous night for all of us. They were headlining a sold out show at a major venue to celebrate the release of their second record before they begin a world-wide tour. I drank my 200th beer in a quest that about 4 people are following online. They're being profiled in Spin, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. I have four followers on facebook that I don't personally know. We all shared an apartment in college and it's great to see that we all achieved great things in life. I had four Blue Point Lagers throughout the course of the 6 hour show (it was crazy long). I only got 3, but my wife didn't want her last beer so I stepped up to the plate, any good husband/beer drinker would do. Tonight is Sunday and, I know I say this every week, but I think I'm taking tonight off. But as always, we'll see.

Total Beers: 202
Where I Should Be: 178.082

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Debunking the Myth of the Beer Gut

Numbers are a funny thing. 3? What's it deal? 72. Yeah right, buddy! 684? Don't even get me started. Outside of being funny qua numbers, they can also be used to make funny points. Like did you know that beers are, on average, around 180 calories? Did you know that if I drink 1000 beers, I will have consumed 180,000 extra calories? Did you know that consuming 3500 calories more calories than you burn will cause you gain one pound? I think we all see where this is going. By the end of my 1000 beers, I will have gained 51.5 pounds. Math has proved it! Welcome to Fatsville, population me!

This, obviously, is a little disconcerting to me. Let's look at some other numbers to cheer me up. I'm pretty good at getting 8 hours of sleep a night, during which I burn about 550 calories. So that's pretty good. When I wake up, I read the paper and check my e-mail and kill time online for about an hour, which burns about 80 calories. Then I walk my self down to the train station, which burns about 40 calories.

(Some things about these pics I'm putting up here. 1: I originally had the maps all laid out, but then I realized, these maps would then show where I lived and where I went to school and all that other good stuff I'm trying to keep off this blog. 2: Yeah, my weight's in there. Whatevs. We'll get back to that later.)

I then get off the subway and walk to my school, which burns another 40 calories.

Well, at school, I'm sitting class or reading or sitting around and shooting the breeze with friends for about 5 hours a day, which burns about 390 calories. Sometime during the day I go walk to grab lunch, which burns about 60 calories.

(that number shows walking one way to the second closest lunch spot I go to, which seemed like a fair place to choose)

So after class is done, I go to the gym most days, but let's not even worry about that now. Instead here, I'll just act like I walked to the gym from my campus and then immediately walked back, to account for all the miscellaneous walking around I do in a given day (such as walking around the subway station, school, my apartment, any shopping I may do, etc.), which burns about another 100 calories.

(again, this just shows one way to the gym)

After doing that, I walk back to the subway, take the subway back home, and then walk back to my apartment, which burns another 80 calories. I should probably also account for the eighty minutes I spend standing on the subway during my daily commute as well, which burns about 120 calories.

So then I'm back at home. Let's say I spend about 20 minutes cooking dinner. That's another 60 calories there. And you know, since I'm super lazy, I spend the next four hours just sitting on my couch, watching TV, which is another 300 calories. Also, I forgot to mention that all that walking to and from places and standing on trains is done with a 25 pound book bag strapped to my back, which burns around another 100 calories. Finally, I should add that I live on the 3rd floor of a walk-up, my classes are on the 3rd and 4th floors of my law school and I seldom take the elevator, and I climb approximately 8000 flights of stairs going to various subways everyday. So in total, let's say I climb about 8 flights of stairs a day, and that really is a conservative estimate (I actually counted one day and I climbed 14 flights of stairs), so that's another 120 calories right there. And also, so far I've only accounted for about 21 hours of a 24 hour day. So let's assume that I spend those remaining three hours just sitting on couch, staring at a wall. That's another 200 calories. Have you been writing this all down? Because I have! Let's add that up:

2120 calories! And all I've done is sleep, go to school, and lay on my couch! And lest you think I'm fudging these numbers, I rounded down, like way down, in most cases.

"Ok, ok," I hear you saying, "2120 calories burned from doing nothing is fine and all, but that number doesn't exist in a vacuum. Calories burned is only important when you take into account calories consumed. And already you're taking in about 500 calories a day just from beer. You really limit yourself to 1620 food calories a day?" Well, skeptical reader, more or less I do. I don't want to go through a boring number crunch of what I eat on a given day, but on the whole I'd like to think I'm a healthy enough eater. And the thing is, because I'm doing this 1000 beer nonsense, I've deliberately cut out most, if not all, of my random snacking/unhealthy eating habits. You know how all blind people have superhuman-esque powers of smell? (Don't worry, no blind people are reading this. Ok, both of those jokes were pretty insensitive. So was that super subtle third one I just made). Well, that's like me with my eating. Because I know I have these 500 calories I have to consume every day, the rest of my eating is superhuman-esque, in that I really pay careful attention to what I'm consuming.

I mean I'm not saying that I'm perfect in this regard. Somedays I will eat half a large cheese pizza for dinner or grab a bag of chips with lunch or something like that. But that's where this whole "going to the gym" thing comes into play. My other, secret, year long goal is to be able to run a half-marathon by the end of the year and I've actually been pretty good at making steps toward that goal. I run, on average about 18 miles a week, which, I think, should adequately account for whatever extra calories I consume in the week, above and beyond my 1620 daily allotment.

Ok, so now you're jumping here saying, "Calories, in calories out, blah blah blah. I've read, on the internet no less, that alcohol calories are broken down in a different way than other calories. Your body is not processing them the same and apparently they eat away at muscle mass. So, explain yourself!" In this regard, I can't really. I'm not a scientist. I don't really know how calories are broken down in the body. But I'd imagine if alcohol breaks down differently, then other types of calorie sources are broken down differently, but no one seems to get up in arms about that. And in addition to running, I've been doing some lifting, to keep what little muscle mass I already have on me. All I know is that I've been doing this thing for two months, I'm way ahead of schedule, and I've lost two pounds since this whole shebang started.

But we've all seen beer guts, right? Given that I'm making them look easy enough to avoid, how is that people still get them? Well, I have a couple of answers (shots in the dark).

1. Not Everyone Lives In New York City
Go back to my sweet calories burned break down. Now run the numbers again, but take out all of that walking to places and replace it with driving places. Take out all that stair climbing and replace it with whatever the suburban counterpart of stair climbing is. The numbers don't look so good now. Just living in NYC helps me burn an extra 500,000 calories a year. Go ahead, check my math (Don't. I didn't do any). Living in NYC means I get everywhere by foot. You get used to walking everywhere, so just by living here, I already have a leg up on not acquiring a beer gut.

2. Not Everyone Accompanies Large Amounts of Beer Drinking With Healthy Eating Habits
This, I think, is the most obvious explanation. Most nights I'm drinking beer in the apartment, it's accompanied by a salad or a veggie burger or something along those lines for dinner. Also, when I'm drinking beer, I'm not snacking or anything like that. These behaviors, I think, aren't the norm.

3. People Are Drinking the Wrong Kinds of Beer
This is my favorite explanation. By the wrong beer, I mean beer that has a poor alcohol to calorie ratio. Let's check out a chart!

This is just a chunk of a very helpful chart available at but it makes my point quite nicely. People always seem to think they won't put on as much weight if they stick to light beer because it's lower in calories. To a certain extent that is true. As you can see, Bud Light is about 30 to 40 calories lower than other comparable beers. But check out the alcohol content. Outside of the Bud Select 55, Bud Light has the lowest alcohol content out of all the beers there. Simple math says that, in effect, you'll have to drink more of it to get drunk. Also, this is a fact, the quicker you consumer alcohol, the quicker you get drunk. Hence why pounding two shots of whiskey will get you drunk quicker than drinking two beers. It simply takes longer to drink the beers.

So where am I going with this? Let's say it takes roughly about the same time to drink a beer, regardless of what it is (I know this isn't actually the case). Well, if you're drinking a Bud Light, your body is taking in less alcohol in the same amount of time as it would drinking a regular beer. Meaning your body has less alcohol to metabolize in the same amount of time. Because there is so little alcohol to metabolize in that time it takes to drink the beer, you don't get as drunk. If you do want to get your buzz on, you have to drink more Bud Lights than you would a normal beer, and not just because of the low alcohol content, but because of the time it's taking you to drink them. Ipso facto (that's not right...), if you drink Bud Lights, you're inevitably going to be drinking more beer. So while that's great you're saving 30 calories a beer, but it doesn't do you much good when you have to drink 2 or 3 more just to get the amount of drunk you would off of drinking a normal beer. Conversely, higher alcohol content beers, like Abbey ales and the like, are more caloric, but because you're drinking more alcohol in the same amount of time, you only have to drink a few to achieve the same level of sociability as you'd get from pounding half a case of Bud Light. That's just science.

Also, you remember the old "Tastes great, less filling" ads? Well guess what? When a beer is less filling, you drink more of them! So enjoy your light beer. And the next 15. I'll take my 3 high calorie/high alcohol beers with actual taste.

So there you have it. People get beer guts from not moving around, not eating healthy, and drinking light beer. My friend Greg has a theory that they also get them because they hold their pee in too long, but I don't know his facts behind that. Maybe he can explain in the comments.

And my final point. While I don't intend on gaining weight from this, so what if I do? I'll gladly put on a few extra pounds for a task as important as this one. Will I get super fat? Probably not. But will I have my awesome six pack that I had at my wedding (it was under that tux, I swear)? Also probably not. And look, if I gain some weight this year, that's what New Years Resolutions are for.

Total Beers (I had six out last night with friends, 2 Famosas, 1 Six Point Oatmeal Stout, 1 Victory Prima Pils, 1 Speakeasy Winter Ale, 1 Captain Lawrence Gold): 198
Where I Should Be: 175.342

Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm Just Taking A Ride On A Pink Ballon

Welcome to the dawn of a new era. Gone are the Sam Adams and Brooklyn Brewery beers. In there place: 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermellon and Monks Blood (I found more!), Yuengling's Bock, a beer they made forty years ago and just reintroduced this month, and a full case of Famosa Draft tallboys, a really awful beer from Guatemala. The wife and I made a trip to the beer distributor. Originally the plan was we'd each pick two six packs to make a case. I picked the Bock and the Hell or High Watermellon (and the Monks Blood they had at the counter). Instead of sticking to the plan, Liz found a whole case of this Guatemalan nonsense for 16 bucks and opted to pick that instead for reasons that are beyond me.

Last night after seeing Avatar and having a two hour fight about the movie (I correctly identified the movie as awesome, she wrongly insisted that the lack of a coherent plot made it unbearable), we went on down to Bark, a fancy hot dog place in Park Slope. We got ourselves some veggie dogs and filled a growler of Bark Red Ale, a beer Six Point brews just for the restaurant (restaurant is a deceptively hard word to spell, by the by. I actually had to look it up!) Had two Red Ales out of the growler. Then we went back home where I had a Hell or High Watermellon. Liz and I went to the 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco on our honeymoon and loved the place. We have a sampling of the Watermellon beer there and loved it. It came with a giant slice of watermellon and everything. A whole can of it on its own though, as I see now, is not so good. It gets pretty syrupy after a couple of sips. So after that I had one of the Famosas, which was essentially a South American Coors light. But we have a lot of it now! Thanks sweetheart!* I then had the last bottle of Brooklyn American Ale. I don't know if that beer will come into my life again, but it was interesting while it was here. And by interesting, I mean it's definitely Brooklyn's worst beer and I'm a little insulted that they're peddling that on the Finns. Do you think my Nordic brethren would drink anything that didn't have the intensity of flaming goats blood:

I don't think so. Anyway, tomorrow. It drops. That's all for now.

Total Beers: 192
Where I Should Be: 172.602

*This case is strike one. As per NY law, strike three is an automatic divorce. Just something to keep in mind.

Where I Couch An Announcement in a Regular Post

Last night: one Yuengling Bock (you read that correctly, I'll explain tomorrow, among other fun things) on the couch. THIS IS THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. Beer Gut post drops on Saturday. For real. If it doesn't, I shut this blog down. That's how serious I am.

Total Beers: 187
Where I Should Be: 169.863

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An Old, Old Wooden Ship

Last night I had three beers at the apartment: 2 Brooklyn American Ales (only one left in the fridge!) and 1 Ommegang Abbey Ale. Ommegang's Abbey Ale (which, annoyingly enough, is just called Ommegang), is a Belgian double. Abbey ales (notably Trappist Ales) tend to come in three styles: Double (or Dubbel), Triple (or Tripel), and Quadruple. If you guessed those labels correlated with alcohol content, well, you'd be right, sort of. Although there is no hard and fast rule about what constitutes a doubles versus a triple, etc., generally the higher alcohol content, the more likely it is to be a quad. The less alcohol, the more likely it is to be a double. It gets a bit tricky though. Is your Belgian beer super sweet, almost a molasses/caramel flavor? Well you're probably in triple land, which derives it's name from a specific brewing process as well as it's general in-between-a-quad-and-a-double alcohol content. Rich and malty? Well then you'll want to check the alcohol content. Under 9%? Probably a double. Over 9% probably a quad. Light and fruity? Again, check that ABV.

All of this is to say that I generally think beer is way navigable than wine. This isn't going to be my "why beer is better than wine post," which someone remind me to write about later. I just wanted to make a point about beer names/labeling. The almost hyper specificity of beer style labeling I think helps you know what you're getting into a bit better. Let's look at comparison of beer and wine, in regards to labeling. I want to know what I am going to drink. Someone offers me an ale. Not very helpful. Then they say it's a Belgian ale. Okay, we're getting somewhere now, but there are a million kinds of Belgian ales. Then they say it's a Belgian Abbey ale, awesome, but we already know we can get more specific. Finally, I'm informed it's a Belgian Double Abbey ale. Perfect. I know, to some extent, what the beer is going to taste like. Ok, now let's suppose I want to know what kind of wine I'm going to drink. Someone offers me a Merlot. Okay, but what kind of merlot? Uh, a merlot merlot? Not very helpful. While I get that the hyper specificity can be off-putting to beer novices (What the hell is an imperial india pale ale? I wanted a beer!), I really do think it's better than the alternative.

I think beer labeling/language starts to goes astray when it starts to mirror wine language. I don't mean to say that terms of art such as "tanniny" or "malty" are bad. I more mean to talk about the use of words like "grassy" or "ripe" or any other phrase that you wouldn't hear coming from anyone that wasn't a wine snob. This leads me back to the Ommegang I had tonight. I love Ommegang (the specific Double and the brewery). Ommegang's Double might be the best Double made outside of Belgium. But as I was looking at the bottle today, I noticed that the label described the beer as "burgundian." Even after a whole host of research (a quick google search), I still couldn't figure out what the hell that meant. I found sites describing other beers as burgundian, but no one said, "and this flavor is what makes it burgundian." It tastes like burgundy? I have no idea. I feel like when wine and beer drinkers use these types of words, they're all just talking past each other. Like, "I said this beer tasted burgundian and that other beer drinker agreed, so what I said must actually mean something, but don't tell her I don't what that is!"* All this is to say that I would describe Ommegang as a malty (malts have a taste, like apples have a taste, same with tannins, which is why I don't mind people using those words), sweet, cinnamony, alcohol-heavy beer. I would call it burgundian, but I don't know what that means. And neither do you.

Total Beers: 186
Where I Should Be: 167.123

*Admit it, when you read "her" in there, you did a double take. You're so sexist. Like women can't be beer drinkers...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Second Verse, Same As The First

Last, night was a repeat of the night before. One Brooklyn American Ale on the couch. I'm mixing it up tonight, but the big post should drop on Thursday or Friday. Hold your breath. Hold it!

Total Beers: 183
Where I Should Be: 164.383

Monday, March 1, 2010

Drinking One For the Team

I planned to take last night off, but a comment from a reader inspired me to push ahead. So I had one beer (a Brooklyn American Ale) last night while finishing blue-booking my note. I'm going to the case store tomorrow, but the posts this week should be pretty short while I finish my epic post about the beer gut thing. It's going to have charts, graphs, maps, all sorts of good stuff. So stay tuned!

Total Beers: 182
Where I Should Be: 161.643