I am drinking a different local beer every day this year. My rules are that the beer has to be brewed in the state I am consuming it in (so far: Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, California, and Hawaii), and I must not have consumed it already this year. I started on January 1st with a Summit House Whiskey Barrel Stout from Pikes Peak Brewing and haven’t had a duplicate since. I am just over 2/3 the way through – 245 different local beers so far! Homebrew beers do count. I have a friend in Falcon and a son in Denver who have shared their creations with me which is much appreciated!
I keep a list on my iPhone of the beers I have consumed, sorted by brewery and date. Every day I post to facebook what beer I am having, and I try to post a picture to go with it – and a location if I am at a brewery or somewhere interesting.
What made you think to do this?
My son gave me a book for Christmas a couple of years ago "A beer a Day: 365 beers to help you through the year." It was written in England so it contained lots of beers that aren’t available here. The book sat on my coffee table for several months when it dawned on me that we are blessed with lots of great beer here in Colorado and I wondered if I could manage a different local beer every day for a year. Since I travel a little I had to expand my definition from just Colorado to "Local."
What have you learned by drinking a new beer every single day?
I am amazed at the incredible variety of flavors that can be enticed out of four basic ingredients. Every beer is different and most are very drinkable.
I think my palate has gotten a bit more discerning, though it would be better if I concentrated on a single style until it runs out to better judge one against another. The Saisons I've tasted have been the most fun. The addition of extra ingredients allows for a lot more flavor. I never really cared for chili beers, so far they still aren’t my favorite – but fall is coming and maybe there will be a new one this year that knocks my socks off (in a good way).
I’ve avoided the big brewers (Miller Coors and Anheuser Busch) so far. If it comes down to it I might have to consume and count some from the “big boys” since they are brewed in Colorado. I have had some from AC Golden brewing as well as Blue Moon’s Sandlot brewing – since they aren’t the mass market offerings. I have also avoided the ones that are easy to get like Bristol and New Belgium beers simply because they are easy to get and I might be in a bind sometime and need a new beer and those would be the easiest to find.
What are some big surprises for you? What beers really stand out in your mind?
I really like barrel aged beers. I started with a really good one from Pikes Peak Brewing and had a really nice one at Rockyard in Castle Rock too. These are big beers, so you can’t drink too much. “Saison Man” from Trinity Brewing was a standout in the lighter beer category. Also, I have found that my experience at the brewery (ambience, service, wait staff attitude) can really affect my enjoyment of beer from the brewery in both a positive and negative way.
If you care to share, what beers have been less interesting to you after trying so many others?
When my girlfriend Linda and I went to Ocean St. Brewing in Laguna Beach California, we were looking forward to trying some good beers. We had enjoyed Dale Brothers Brewing and Stone Brewing in the days leading up to our visit, so perhaps our expectations were a little too high. Of the four beers in the sample set; one was ok, two were bad, and the last was undrinkable. We were disappointed! The next day we went to Newport Beach Brewing and enjoyed all of the beers in their sampler. As for styles of beer that are less interesting, I would have to say Amber’s. The ones I have tried so far have been fine for the most part, but not ones I would seek out and order again.
Are you exhausted? Has it been difficult to keep the project going?
No, no exhaustion yet. It has been a lot of fun seeking out new beers from the areas I live and visit. So far the project hasn’t been difficult to keep going. At first I was worried about expense – having to buy a whole six pack just so I could try a different beer. Luckily there are several liquor stores around that offer “build your own six pack” so I can buy a single bottle or can of the beers I need. Purchasing bombers can get expensive, especially for some of the more exotic beers – but that is OK because those I can share!
Anything else you want to tell us?
I hope to continue this quest after the first of the year. My next goal will be to have 366 different Colorado beers! I kind of wish I had taken a class in beer tasting and had the discipline to keep tasting notes. Often my log entry is just naming the beer and brewery, with maybe a word about the location or limited impressions of the beer.
Well, we are envious! A great idea, seems totally worthwhile and a good excuse to do some good drinking! We hope to hear back from Dale sometime in the future about this, and perhaps we can all be inspired to start our own drinking games?
- - -
Stay up to date with Focus on the Beer. You can receive email updates and join us on our Facebook page.