365 American Craft Beer Review

By scot in 365 Days of American Craft Beer, Beer on Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

It’s over, it’s all over. I can’t believe that this time last year I would be drinking American craft beer number three, instead I am writing about the year long endeavor. I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks of what I would say on this day and I think I finished the rough draft last night over an Alpha King by Three Floyds Brewing Company, my first beer that I could legally double up on in a year. Darn tasty.

I am going to go over the experience, my thoughts on what is next, and a challenge to what I would like to see some others try.

I didn’t take any stats and I am too lazy to go back over the beers to figure out the styles, cost, etc. I was just happy to make it. The toughest part of this entire process was having a different beer (not too bad) but then having to formulate your thoughts and write them down. To a degree it takes thee fun out of having a beer, because that is what it is all about for me. I enjoy beer: the taste, the aroma, and the friends that usually are there to partake along the way. This was a lot of solo drinking, everyday after work, and sometimes, after a long day, I wasn’t in the mood. The worst was when I had a cold sometime in February or March, I still had to trudge through and document while barely holding down medicine let alone an American craft beer.

Along the way I gained a good 10 pounds but I actually believe that came from stress at my job. When I am stressed I turn to food and I was stressed. I started a job just before I started this process so there is no real way for me to so how much of the 10 came from either. I have been working out recently and would like to lose much more than 10 as I have made every excuse over the past couple of years to go from being in great shape to that of a sea cow. I also have sleep apnea and have a breathing machine I picked up in April. This has helped my breathing and sleeping at night immensely. I know can sleep and feel rested in the morning. Hopefully it will also help me live longer. I believe the air that is forced in me at night has helped to keep me cold free.

The beers were fantastic. There were many that had been sitting in the basement and this process helped me whittle the cellar down some. This also helped keep the money out of pocket to a minimum. I didn’t have to run to the beer store all that often. I think I have only been inside of one about ten times in the past year. Not too many people can say that and have 365+ beers, lol. It also shows the sickness of my cellar. The reason I didn’t go to the beer stores is because I didn’t want to buy six packs, what is the purpose when you can only have one. There were a few bad beers, a few that should have never been cellared, and even a few more that got infected. It definitely has helped me understand what should go down there and I will never place another “out lying” beer in the cellar again.

I want to thank Rich, Steve, and Chuck for dragging their asses over to my house, keeping me going, and acting interested the entire time with this process. My wife also was a huge help as she would remind me on nights that I had no interest in pushing forward. King Bob was there from afar as he was doing this at the same time as me, I couldn’t let him finish and not myself. Anyone who has read the blog, made comments, and shared a beer with me in the past has also helped, because, as I mentioned before, it is much easier to go through this with friends.

Know to the challenge. I am big American craft beer enthusiast so I had nothing but American craft beer and home brew, no foreigners need apply. At times 365 beers seems like a huge, almost insurmountable challenge, but it is easy today to get a hold of craft beer with the number of local places popping up. California, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, and Wisconsin all have over 100 breweries listed on the other beer mega sites. I challenge anyone living in one of those states or otherwise to do 365 American craft beers in 365 days from only one state. California is easiest as it has over 300 breweries listed. I know that some breweries are small, don’t bottle, and/or are hard to get to but how many breweries brew up less than 8 beers in the course of a year. My thoughts are this would be crazy but it is doable to the dedicated person. If anyone tries it, please blog and let me know as I will jump on board.

Next? I am going to be concentrating on brewing. I really love the process and, most of all, talking about the beers I make. I have been brewing for over two years and don’t know if I have hit a home run with one of my recipes yet. I think Dirty Balls is there while others are on the fence. I will continue to tinker, brew, and try new things. My goal is 18 brew days in 2012 and, if time permits, more. I am brewing my first sour beer tomorrow, an Oud Bruin, which will take a good year to be ready. I will be sprinkling more in as a I go too. I will be blogging about those experiences much more.

I don’t know if I will ever do the year long challenge again. If I do, it will be via the aforementioned all from one state style but I don’t live in any of those states. I don’t think the wife will move for me to challenge my American craft beer appreciation. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: The lantern fish has a glowing spot on the front of its head that acts like a miner’s lamp when the fish is swimming in dark waters. This “lamp” is so powerful that it can shed light for a distance as great as 2 feet. Experiments have shown that when confined to an aquarium, the lantern fish can project enough light to allow a person to read a book in an otherwise totally darkened room.


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