In the waning hours of 2013…

I did it. I sampled at least one new beer every day in 2013, sometimes more than one, leaving me with a final count of four hundred and twelve for the year. It was fun, it broadened my horizons significantly, and I’m glad I did it.

That having been said, I think the next time I’ll have a beer will likely be my birthday. In August. I hope all of you are successful in your own resolutions and that 2014 and beyond treat you well!

It’s my birthday!

Hey guys. I know I haven’t been updating the blog lately, but with it being most of the way through the year and it being my birthday I wanted to give you a little update. After having managed to kill my second laptop in a year, a Chromebook donated by a good friend, I’ve been keeping written notes on what I’ve been drinking – which now numbers 230 with today’s beer for the year! (I’ve had more than one unique one some days. It’ll be our secret.) I’ve neither gained nor lost any weight, though I have been more physically active to counteract the beer, and have been drinking less soda as well.

I’m glad some of you out there are still interested in my project! Hopefully I’ll have some real updates for you soon.

Schmaltz Brewing Company He’Brew Genesis Dry-Hopped Session Ale

In the beginning there was beer, and it was good.

In the beginning there was beer, and it was good.

The reason I’m able to share these reviews with you today is because of a friend of mine, David, who decided to donate a Chromebook to me after I experienced total laptop death a while back. Since he was so generous as to help me out, I felt I couldn’t help but do something in his honor, and so in keeping with David being one of G-d’s chosen people, I felt I had to try one of the “chosen beers” – He’Brew Genesis Dry-Hopped Session Ale.

This poured almost clear, and the thin off-white head dissipated rather quickly. It smelled somewhat peppery, with a bit of grapefruit and biscuit mixed in. The taste was light but somewhat spicy, with very little carbonation – which contributes, I suppose, to it being a “session” ale. If the flavor is agreeable, this is one that could easily be sipped on for several hours. Unfortunately there’s not much else to say about it. It’s a thin to medium bodied ale with enough taste to be drinkable but nothing that really smacks me over the head with greatness. Still, it was a beer drank in dedication to a friend, so that makes it special to me if nothing else.

Wells & Young Banana Bread Beer

Banana bread is good for you.

Banana bread is good for you.

Getting back into the habit of writing every day has proven more difficult than I imagined, so I’m having to sit down and write several today to catch up on my back log (not to mention my big back log, which will eventually be filled in!). I hope you guys will forgive me, the last week has been fairly hectic – I’ve been on the road, performed a wedding, and in general got into a lot of craziness so my “sitting at a computer” time has been fairly at a minimum.

That having been said, the beer for the 16th was quite the memorable one. I’d been hanging on to it for a little while, hoping to share it with a friend, but it seemed that day wouldn’t be coming any time soon so I bit the bullet and drank alone – as I so frequently do. It’s not alcoholism, it’s a hobby!

Some of you may recall me freaking out over the Franziskaner Weissbier back in January, going so far as to declare it my personal definition of Heaven – so when an actual banana bread beer presented itself to me a while back, I gladly grabbed it at the earliest opportunity.

Well’s Banana Bread Beer pours golden brown – much like the shade of banana bread itself – and smells, for all the world, like a freshly baked loaf of banana bread. The off white head is thick, about three fingers on my hand, and my fingers are fairly fat, so this is a very heady beer. The aroma had me salivating, but I dutifully waited for some of the head to settle before diving into the pint glass.

It was more bitter than I expected, which detracted a bit, but overall – warm bready malts with a firm taste of banana – slightly artificial tasting, but that’s to be expected – real banana flavor is hard to impart in any form, much less in liquid libation form. After a few sips the banana flavor faded slightly – I think it was so strong at first because I expected it so much – and gave way to the taste of nuts, raisins, and the bread flavor turned out to be somewhat biscuity. I’m not complaining.

Overall I enjoyed this one. It’s not something I’m going to keep on hand but it’s something I could see bringing on a picnic and sharing with someone nice.

April 15, 2013 – Southern Tier Brewing Company Matt & Phin’s Extraordinary Ale

I'm a big fan of most things "southern".

I’m a big fan of most things “southern”.

Though I’m physically typing this on the 16th, this is the review for April 15th’s beer. Given the bombings in Boston yesterday, I was too emotionally exhausted to actually type up my review yesterday, instead scratching out a few notes.

A few words on Boston before I get into the beer. That’s a city I fell in love with almost as soon as I arrived. One of my favorite bands – a dark post rock outfit called Junius – is from there, and one of my oldest online friends still books shows up there, along with an unlikely friendship with a girl named Jessa and a Harvard professor I dearly appreciate named James. In short, it is a city of wonders, a city of history, and to hear that it was wounded wounded me. I prayed, as I rarely do these days, and was encouraged to hear of people helping others as best they could in this time of crisis.

That having been said – on to the beer. Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale by Southern Tier was the choice of the day, and I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. For some reason I always expect big and bold things out of Southern Tier, given their reputation for hoppy, bitter brews. That’s not to say it was bad, just not quite what I thought it would be.

The beer poured darker than expected, with an almost golden head. Lots of complex fruity flavors came through, primarily peach and apricot.

Perhaps it’s because I was distracted by the news but that’s about all I had on this beer. Tonight’s review will be coming in a few hours, and I promise it’ll be a little more robust.

April 14, 2013 – Hourglass Brewery Solarium Augusti

A fine beer to reintroduce the blog.

A fine beer to reintroduce the blog.

Well, folks, it’s good to be back! As some of you may recall, my laptop died a total death almost two months ago. Since then I’ve been making notes on each new beer – and there have been quite a few of them, one for each day, as it tuns out – but I’ve had no way to share them with you all. Thanks to an absolutely astonishingly great friend of mine, Mr. David Seltzer, currently of Wichita, Kansas, I’ve been furnished with a Chromebook that will allow me to start writing again.

For a while, I’ll be doing around two updates a day – the day’s update and one from the past to fill in the gaps. As it happens, today’s update brought me back to Hourglass Brewery, where I’d done a run through of their entire tap list a few months back. Luckily for me, they switch things up frequently out there, and since Hourglass was convenient for David, I met him out there to pick up the laptop and treat him to a few beers.

Mine, today, was Solarium Augusti, an agave amber ale with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. At five percent ABV it’s not the most sessionable thing, not to mention that the flavor is very unique. Not bad, not bad at all, just different. Quite earthy as you might expect, in a good way – it tastes of fall, the end of baseball, when the sunflower seeds of summer start to make way for the harvest and Halloween and all the delights that fall can bring.

If you get the chance to visit the Hourglass Brewery (on Ronald Reagan Blvd in Longwood, Florida), please do. I’ve never met such friendly staff, to the point that when I (rather embarassingly) spilled beer all over a brand new shirt, they – I kid you not – did my laundry for me. Do yourselves a favor – visit, drink deeply, tip generously, and be richer for the experience.

And again – it’s good to be back.

New Beer Every Day is back in action!

Thanks to a good friend, I’ve been supplied with a Chromebook, which will allow me to start transferring my hand-written reviews of different beers to the web. The question on my mind is this: Should I start catching up and just post things as I come to them, or post new things daily and backdate the old reviews?

Either way I decide to go about it, I’m back! And I’m incredibly grateful, and I hope you guys enjoy the site that results.

A reminder.

The project has not died! I’m keeping notes on every beer I drink. I’m just waiting for my bonus check from work to buy a new laptop, then I’ll be writing all my back logged updates and updating again daily.

Total laptop death.

Total laptop death is preventing me updating properly at the moment. Reviews are being hand written and will be uploaded soon, likely tomorrow. Apologies for the interruption.

February 25, 2013 – Lagunitas IPA

My beer for the evening, and the stack of bills that  had me wanting a beer.

My beer for the evening, and the stack of bills that had me wanting a beer.

“Thanks for choosing to spend the next few minutes with this special homicidally hoppy ale. Savor the moment as the raging hop character engages the Imperial Qualities of the Malt Foundation in mortal combat on the battlefield of your palate!” One of the things I love about Lagunitas is the wacky sayings they put on their labels. That’s the quote from Lagunitas IPA. No fancy name here, just Lagunitas IPA. After yesterday’s debacle with the Florida Brewing Company thing, I’d hoped to go with an honest to god Banana Bread beer I have stored away, but I’d promised to share that with a friend and since that didn’t pan out today, Lagunitas IPA it is.

Homicidally hoppy – that’s a high bar to vault over. I like my hops. I like them bold. I like them in mass quantities. If hops faded from existence tomorrow, you should find me a grave man, to paraphrase my favorite pun from Romeo and Juliet. Citrus and pine hit the nose like Christmas in Florida, like the orange you pull from your stocking when everything else has been retrieved. God, it’s such a pleasant smell.  If they made air fresheners that smell, my car would smell like Lagunitas IPA. I’d probably get hit with sobriety tests a lot but, funny story – the only time I’ve had one, I’d had a drink not half an hour prior and blew a .000 like a boss. Anyway. This beer smells great, is what I’m getting at.

Taste – make no mistake, this is a big, bold IPA. It might not be fighting in the heavyweight class but only because it cut just a few pounds so it could absolutely destroy the Light Heavyweight class. Weighing in at 204 pounds, Lagunitas IPA, hailing from Petaluma, California! It comes out swinging and doesn’t let us, an absolute monster of taste – to stretch the MMA metaphor, imagine the quickness of Vitor Belfort mixed with the raw power of Tank Abbot. Bingo. You’ve got it.To actually say something DESCRIPTIVE about the taste, I suppose I could tell you that I detected grapefruit in there along with other bitter citrus.  In fact the bitterness is powerful in this one. Not harsh, just up front.

I can’t imagine anyone who likes IPAs, especially bold IPAs, disliking this – and again, it’s widely available. I picked it up at a gas station, for crying out loud – for locals, it’s the Sunoco by the “city of Auburndale” sign on US-92, before you get to Havendale. Can’t possibly miss it. It’s on the north side of the street.

Whatever you guys are drinking tonight, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed mine.