2010: A Year in Beer

13 02 2011

Whole lot of bottlecaps

I pulled this stunt in 2009, and it’s back again, bigger and badder than ever. The above photo contains several unique bottle caps from my forays into beer drinking throughout 2010. Please note that some caps may have been lost in one of my two moves (TX to IL, IL to WI) and the photo does not depict beers that were served on tap or other scenarios where I was not able to hang on to the bottle cap (such as canned beers or parties).

Semi detailed photos with commentary follows.

Caps detail I

Yes, I drank Stone Mill (gag) and Heineken. I figured Heineken supports enough soccer events that I could return the patronage once in a while.

Once in a great while.

One other thing to note is that I saved my bottle caps by month this time and the rule was to save each unique cap per month consumed. I tried to thin out the egregious repeats (such as my 12-pack of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale) but others are harder to cull out, like Deschutes, which didn’t make unique caps for each beer, unlike say Shiner.

Cap detail II

RIP Lowenbrau. And I made my way through the 4 major St Bernardus beers to start the year. And… thank heavens for employee discounts and vendor samples because I’d never be able to afford all of those Brew Dog beers.

Cap detail III

Why yes, I did age a Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA last year. And after 6 months of aging, it was starting to become something palatable. I really think it needs more like 5 years. Maybe 10.

Cap detail IV

Never mind all of that craft stuff, you probably zeroed in on the Bud Light cap. My philosophy is rather than diss a beer based on reputation, try it and then have an informed dislike. Bud Light, to me, exemplifies everything that is wrong with super duper macro beers. It’s technically beer – they brewed it and stuff – but it lacks character. This is not to say that all craft brew is spectacular, but come on, Bud Light does not hold a candle to most craft beer. Sam Adams Light is on level pegging, however.

One of my former regular customers (note: I left the beer/wine biz in August 2010) once asked, in all seriousness, “if a brewery makes a beer that sucks, and they know it sucks, do they call it a… barleywine?”

Cap detail V

Okay, let’s beam in on the funky cap embedded in the top half of the “1”. It is a fruity beer made by Leibinger of Germany. *I* liked it, and said it would be great by the pool. It’s arguably a chick drink but if you’re male and you drink one of these, you won’t get castrated. Marriage does that. Hey-OOOOO

This part of the “2010” hints at my impending move to IL as Zywiec (Poland) makes an appearance. You can’t get that in Texas, or pending some zoning change, couldn’t in 2010. I found it to be Heineken-y.

Cap detail VI

Glug glug glug, and goodbye Texas.

Cap detail VII

Naturally I messed up the camera focus at the end of the design, but here’s where the bulk of the “up North” beers are. Milwaukee Brewing has emerged as my clear favorite. New Glarus, not so much. I made a few “mix six” packs since I left Texas and I have no idea what some of these things were/are.

Cap detail VIII

And finally… I was overjoyed to find Black Sheep Ale in IL, after being denied for several months in TX. Not sure what the deal was there. Now I am over it and prefer Fuller’s 1845 if I am going to have an English beer. Shiner has burst onto the scene in IL as well, so if I am ever jonesing for any of their product it’s a shorter drive than I expected.

And the grand total, despite the earlier caveats: 192 unique beers in the top photo. The real total is closer to 225, I think.

My expectation is that the 2011 consumption is not going to be as prolific since I am not in the beer sales biz anymore and therefore don’t have to stay abreast of each and every new offering. I am enjoying beer more now since I can try it at my own pace.

Enjoy this blog post responsibly.

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