I also feel like my philosophy towards beer has continued its evolution. When I first moved to New York, I was lucky to live directly across from a store that carried over 500 bottles, all sold by the individual bottle. I made it my mission to try many of these beers without rebuying anything. I logged each beer in an Excel spreadsheet, (which I still keep) and developed unique tastes not swayed by other beer blogs, rankings websites or advertising. I quickly learned which brands I enjoyed, which I thought produced consistently excellent beers, as well as which to avoid.
My horizons were expanded at various craft beer watering holes around the city as well, and I was able to sample beers not bottled or impossible to find otherwise. I went to tap takeovers that featured rarities such as Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand series, as well as Hill Farmstead selections. I also went to craft beer events, like the quarterly NYC Craft Beer Festival (which I would highly recommend to any beer lover).
I even went to various bottle shop events, waiting in long lines for the chance to pick up one or two bottles of something rare. This is still a very fun thing to do, and every year that Bourbon County comes out I love the hunt to find the beer and its varieties.
So why am I bringing all this up? First of all no I am not stopping the blog. But I have come to a sort of epiphany. At this moment in time, I do not feel the need to try every new beer that comes along. Rather, I have begun going back and buying those beers that I truly love. Additionally, I am focusing on certain breweries that consistently get it right. In New York City, we get a tremendous selection of beers that has everything except some big time West Coast beers and the elusive Vermont small batch stuff. For local items, I always will try Other Half, Singlecut, Sixpoint and Grimm. At local grocery stores, I’ll usually buy Founders, Westbrook, Evil Twin, Stone, Dogfish, Lagunitas, Cigar City and Troegs. If I go to a specialty bottle shop (which is much rarer for me now), I’ll look for special release items, as well as harder to find breweries like Crooked Stave, Almanac, Prairie, or The Bruery.
Almost two years ago I wrote an article about the evolution of the beer drinker. At the top of the pyramid was the beer drinker who wanted to try everything, sought out every new release and went to breweries and other cities in search of rare items. So where do I fall? Have I regressed?
I’d rather say that I’ve matured. For example, a month ago I picked up a few four packs of Sixpoint Hi-Res. This beer has become one of my all time favorites, and I stock up when I find it, as it only comes out for a short window every year. I could have purchased many other items, but I much rather would have just Hi-Res over the course of a month than try many other, much expensive items that I don’t know whether or not I will like them. Other beers for me that fall into this category include Troegs Nugget Nectar, Ithaca Caskazilla, Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, or anything by Jack’s Abby. (Just to name a few)
Going forward I’d like to take the blog in a sort of new direction. I have a ton of different beers over the last several months for which I could retroactively write reviews. I will do a few of these, but many are out of season or the beers are so rare that they will be very difficult to find. But going forward the posts may be more sporadic, but I’d like them to be more meaningful. I’d like to discuss trends in the beer industry, profile different breweries, alert readers to when my favorite releases are coming out, and perhaps expand to various wines and spirits. But most importantly, I’d like to write about topics that my readers would like to read about. So please shoot me a message or comment about certain things that you would like to see.
Did I mention I gave up beer for Lent this year?