2014 ~ The Year’s Beers

2014 ~ The Year in Beer

If my statistics from Untappd are to be believed, I tasted no less than 606 unique beers in 2014. This annihilates my number from last year, which was a paltry 207 unique brews. I began using Untappd midway through 2014 because it was utilitarian and allows me to catalogue my alcoholic explorations with a greater degree of detail and efficiency. I also joined Beer Advocate and began to do some trading and also some tourism, visiting breweries in New York City, Tampa, and Orange County. Midway through the year I began a biweekly beer night with a number of friends in San Diego. Now it has essentially has become a glorious bottle share that happens twice a month. On the horizon? Hopefully hosting a beer podcast. I just need to buckle down and DO IT.

Stone Calm Before the Storm 2014
Tasters of a few of Stone’s Vertical Epics at the Calm Before the Storm 2014, held at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido, CA in February.
Iron Fist Tulip Glass
My Iron Fist keeper glass at Plan 9 Alehouse in Escondido, CA
Beer Brewing Company
Yes, kick yourself, because the Beer Brewing Company is real and it’s in Oceanside, CA
Grey Monday
The Bruery’s monstrous barrel-aged Grey Monday, in uh, a “taster” at Urge Gastropub in Rancho Bernardo
Tasters of some local brews at Pasture in Richmond, VA
Brooklyn Brewery Tour
On a brewery tour at Brooklyn Brewery in (where else?) Brooklyn, NYC

Since listing them all here would be a fool’s errand, resulting in a very long post, I will simply break down some of my favorite brews from the most popular categories I imbibed.

India Pale Ales (IPAs) – tasted 76 unique

  1. Treehouse Green
  2. Russian River Blind Pig
  3. Alpine Nelson
  4. Noble Ale Works Waimea Showers
  5. Kern River Just Outstanding
  6. Alpine Duet
  7. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin
  8. Societe The Pupil
  9. Alpine Bine & Vine 3rd Anniversary
  10. Acoustic Ales Back N The GSSR
  11. Rip Current Lupulin Lust
  12. Bells Two Hearted
  13. Culture Mosaic IPA
  14. Modern Times Aurora
  15. Cigar City Experimental Hop #291
  16. Modern Times Phalanx
  17. Cigar City Jai Alai
  18. Fat Heads Head Hunter
  19. Mother Earth Sinister Prime Minister
  20. Cismontane Coulter IPA

Imperial India Pale Ales (IIPAs, DIPAs, TIPAs) – tasted 71 unique

  1. Belching Beaver Poundtown
  2. Columbus Bodhi
  3. Brick Wall Brewing Pliny the Tagger (PtE recipe home-brew)
  4. Russian River Pliny the Elder
  5. Alpine Pure Hoppiness
  6. Stone Enjoy By 4.20.14
  7. Alpine / New Belgium Super IPA
  8. Lagunitas Sucks
  9. Knee Deep Hoparillo
  10. Pizza Port 5th Gear Pinned
  11. Founders Double Trouble
  12. Bells Hopslam
  13. Lagunitas Waldo’s Special (Waldo’s 420)
  14. 3 Floyds Dreadnaught
  15. Green Flash West Coast IPA
  16. 3 Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf
  17. Fat Head’s Hop JuJu

Imperial Stouts / Double Stouts / Russian Imperial Stouts – tasted 44 unique

  1. Modern Times Monsters Park 2014 – 12%
  2. The Lost Abbey Serpents Stout 2014 – 11%
  3. The Bruery So Happens It’s Tuesday (with Coconut) – 11.5%
  4. Southern Tier Mokah – 10%
  5. Port Santa’s Little Helper – 12%
  6. Avery The Czar – 8.5%
  7. Stone Stochasticity Master of Disguise – 9.7%
  8. Prairie Bomb! – 14%

Barrel-Aged Imperial Stouts (subset)

  1. The Bruery Black Tuesday 2014 – 19.2%
  2. The Lost Abbey Track #10 Bat Out of Hell – 13.5%
  3. Against the Grain Bo & Luke – 13%
  4. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) – 11.2%
  5. Avery Tweak – 16%
  6. Avery Mephistopheles Stout – 16.8%
  7. Hanger 24 Barrel Roll No. 3 – Pugachev’s Cobra 2013 – 13.8%
  8. Stone W00tstout 2.0 – 13.5%
  9. Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2013 – 15%
  10. Praire Pirate Bomb! – 14%
  11. The Bruery Grey Monday – 18%
  12. Port Older Viscosity – 12%
  13. Great Divide Chocolate Oak-Aged Yeti – 9.5%

American Strong Ales – tasted 25 unique

  1. Stone Double Bastard 2008 – 11.2%
  2. Stone Double Bastard 2009 – 11.2%
  3. The Lost Abbey Deliverance – 12.5%
  4. The Lost Abbey Angel’s Share Grand Cru – 12%
  5. Stone Double Bastard 2010 Aged in Bourbon Barrels – 11.2%
  6. Stone Lukcy Basartd – 8.5%
  7. Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ – 9.9%
  8. The Bruery Mélange No. 3 – 15.5%
  9. Stone Bastard in the Rye – 10%
  10. Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down – 9.7%

American Pale Ales (APAs) – tasted 25 unique

  1. AleSmith Pale Ale .394 – 6%
  2. Alpine Ale – 5.5%
  3. Mike Hess Hartley – 6.3%
  4. New Glarus Moon Man – 5%
  5. Modern Times Oneida – 5.8%
  6. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale – 6.5%
  7. Brooklyn Scorcher #366 – 4.5%
  8. 3 Floyds Man-O-Awe – 6%
  9. 3 Floyds Zombie Dust – 6.4%

So, what do you think I should set as a goal for 2015? Is it cool to have a goal of tasting a butt-load of beers? Should I stick to hunting down everything on the Top 250 from Beer Advocate? Yes to all? OK. See what’s on deck in my beer cellar.

Beer Diary #1

Medley of Beers
Some of my recent tries.

One of my hobbies over the years has been tasting new craft beers. This was a sometime indulgence of mine, where I would make a trip up to The Anderson’s (arguably the best place to discover and acquire fine beers and wines in Ohio) and see what there was to see. A visit to other local watering holes might yield a few brews from Stone, Sierra Nevada, or Bell’s. The state of Ohio’s premier craft brewery was, and still is, the Great Lakes Brewing Company, based out of Cleveland. They have a number of memorable brews, bearing names like Dortmunder Gold, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and Holy Moses White Ale.

When I became a married fellow, I moved down to Texas, itself a haven for home brewers and some upstart craft breweries (The Foam Rangers and Jester King, for example). However, my fortunes were cut short by the cold, hard fact that the area of the Lone Star State into which I had relocated was peppered with ‘dry’ counties. This meant that there were no places to legally purchase alcoholic beverages to take home. There were plenty of restaurants with bars, but none of them served anything remotely unique. Budweiser, anyone? Best of all, many grocery stores carried non-alcoholic ‘brews’. Any Bavarian purist acquainted with the Reinheitsgebot would scoff at any such beverage’s existence.

What really kicked my hobby into high gear was our subsequent move out west, beyond El Paso, beyond the Rockies, beyond the Mojave, to southern California. San Diego, to be more precise. Imagine my surprise upon arriving and inadvertently discovering that the one and only Stone Brewery was situated just a few miles across town from where I now live, in Escondido, CA. I visited and went on a free guided tour of the brewery, followed by a flight of free tasters. Our tour was conducted by none other than Ken Wright, the self-described Minister of Evangelism and Indoctrination at Stone. He described, in no uncertain terms, the many reasons why San Diego is among the most vibrant and exciting craft-brewing hotspots in the entire world.

And lo, I was baptized into the richly abundant culture of home brewers, nano-breweries, micros and macros and local pubs with flowing taps, dispensing some of the tastiest, hoppiest, and most-decidedly different beers. Leave it up to Californians to be as contrarian as possible when it comes to the status quo (we’ll leave out the miserably-failed state budget plan).

And so begins, in a way, my beer diary. I will update biweekly to describe the most recent brews I have had the pleasure of tasting. Below is a minor accounting of some delicious libations I tried over the course of May and June, 2012.