Beer Journey

I have enjoyed beer for all of my adult life…and for some of my not-yet-adult life.  But for many of those years, my enjoyment of beer was limited to what I now consider pretty dull and lifeless stuff…mostly light domestic lagers that are best used to quench one’s thirst and satisfy the need for cold liquid on hot days.  The past few years, though, I’ve begun to develop an appreciation for other styles of beer.

My first departure from traditional U.S. lagers, I suppose, was more than a few years ago, maybe thirty years ago, when I first started traveling to England, when I was introduced to English bitter, a brew enjoyed best at temperatures considerably higher than the ice-cold temperatures I’d come to expect from domestic brews.  And it was amber in color, far from the golden hues of the likes of Coors and Budweiser.  But I enjoyed bitter only on trips to England because, at the time, it was simply unavailable where I lived and probably in most of the U.S.

Skip ahead several years.  I began enjoying beers that were more complex and whose flavors were richer and stronger than the mass-produced light beers I’d been used to.  I remember tasting New Belgium Fat Tire for the first time and appreciating how nice it was.  And I recall Anchor Steam, a beer with nice malt flavors and a crisp hoppy finish.

There were others.  Over time, I’d experiment with beer styles with which I was unfamiliar.  Some I liked, some I didn’t.  But I kept on experimenting.  Somewhere along the line I developed an affinity for Guinness Stout, a very dark and creamy light bodied beer with a touch of hop bitterness and flavors of coffee.  For a long while, I thought Guinness must be my favorite beer.  I still like Guinness; but it’s not my favorite beer, nor my favorite stout.  Not by far.

A couple of years ago, I started meeting a friend for a beer at a local beer emporium called The Flying Saucer.  The place is a welcoming establishment with a huge and ever-changing offering of beers of all types.  I tend toward draught beers because they always taste fresher to me, but I drink bottled beers there occasionally, too.  My friend and I would sample different beers and talk about their flavors.  My friend, and his friends, spend much more time there than I did, though, and they became more knowledgeable about beer than I.  In addition, they bought into the marketing genius of the place by joining the UFO Club, which allows members to keep track of the beers they drink.  After sampling 200 different types (no more than 3 in a day), the club member is awarded a plate (a “saucer”) with his or her name, the date of accomplishment, and a brief phrase 0f his or her choice imprinted on it.  The plate is then affixed to the ceiling or an upper wall.

As I watched them make their way toward their plates, and as I enjoyed meeting them at the Saucer and hearing them tell of the different beers they tried, I got the bug.  I, too, joined the UFO Club, on December 19, 2012.  What follows is my beer journey thus far, through June 2, 2013 (every day is the “posting” date, i.e., the day after I actually drank the beer)…it is a long way from over, but I’ve made progress, tasting 47 out of my target 200:

Date

Beer

December 12, 2012 Abita Turbodog
Sierra Nevada Celebration
Kostritzer Schwarzbier
January 9, 2013 Full Sail IPA
Sam Adams Boston Lager
New Belgium 1554
February 2, 2013 Shiner FM 966
Adelberts Scratchin Hippo
February 7. 2013 Victory Ranch Double IPA
Harpoon UFO White Ale
February 27, 2013 512 IPA
Harpoon UFO Hefe-Weizen
Asahi Dark
March 13, 2013 New Belgium Cascara Quad
Live Oak Liberator
Armadillo Quakertown Stout
March 21, 2013 St. Arnold Spring Bock
512 Cascabel Cream Stout
Ska Hibernal Vinifera Stout
April 5, 2013 Avery IPA
Revolver Blood and Honey
April 8, 2013 Peticolas Velvet Hammer
Franconia Pilsner
Deep Ellum IPA
April 17, 2013 Alaskan Black IPA
Deschutes Black Butte Porter
April 27, 2013 512 Black IPA
Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
May 4, 2013 Firestone Walker Union Jack
Pedernales Classic Hefe-Weizen
Leinenkugels Canoe Paddler
May 9, 2013 Brooklyn East IPA
Sam Adams Summer
Left Hand Milk Stout
 May 11, 2013 Harpoon Directors Cut
Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Stout
Green Flash Palate Wrecker
 May 29, 2013 Full Sail LTD 04
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Deschutes Obsidian Stout
 June 1, 2013 Alaskan IPA
Paulaner Pilsner
Alaskan Troppelbock
 June 2, 2013 Full Sail Amber
Great Divide Orabelle
Pilsner Urquell

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Beer Journey

  1. druxha says:

    It was a travel to be had, John! I fell in love with that island and everything on it and that would include the Guinness, too…lol! Do hope you make it part of your itinerary one day! 🙂

  2. Trish, I agree…bottled Guinness cannot compare to draught! I envy you your travels in Ireland…one day, I hope, I will do the same!

  3. druxha says:

    Having had been a beer lover for many years, and many moons ago, I’m going to have to say that Guinness topped my chart. But not bottled Guinness. Long time ago I was traveling in Ireland, and was frequenting a quiet little pub, with its quaint little fireplace, and hippie/philosopher clientele in the rainy (what else) evenings. They served Guinness stout, but it was from draft barrels on tap, John. It was very, very different from the bottled version. And the head was truly thick and creamy in consistency, not the slightest resemblance to any type of foam did it have. The beer its self was smoother in flavor, but still remained a heavy, dark beer. I might also add that the alcohol content was higher than what is available in the US, though I don’t recall it changing the flavor. I still remember the pub, and those pints with clarity and fond memories, too.

    BTW…I agree…Anchor Steam was another that I found to be a fine and tasty brewsky! 🙂

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