Sunday, February 2, 2014

Beer #155-169 / Day #29-33: Frosty Revelations

January has passed, February is kicking into gear, and I'm already 1/4 of the way to matching last year's Big Year tally.  I don't want to get too cocky, considering it will be more & more difficult to consume unique brews as the year progresses. I've already hit a few duplicates. Additionally, upon reflection of my first hardcore month of beer hunting, I continue to experience many brew-centric revelations:

#1: The Troubador is legendary for everything except their beer.  Last Friday, the Wife and our pal Melissa Gearhart checked out a show at the Troubador with The Wood Brothers and Amy Helm.  Cool, hipster Americana tunes.  What was neither "cool" nor "hipster" was the Troubador's beer selection, one of the worst around.  Were it not for the saving grace of Firestone Union Jack IPA, I would have stuck with bourbon the entire evening.  I already claimed this beer on Day 2 of my Big Year, so I didn't rack up any new numbers, but at least I didn't suffer through their other swill, which consisted of the usual Bud and Miller and even a Sharp's non-alcoholic beer.  If they're going to continue to carry shit beer, but maintain their status as a hipster hang, they need to at least carry PBR.
#2: It's not necessary for me to patronize Congregation Ale House in Pasadena ever again.  Their beer selection is top notch, their food is excellent, their service blows.  It always has.  Today was no exception.  They hire young women who look good in skirts, and are otherwise clueless, borderline rude, and thoroughly unhelpful.  Pasadena has too many other great beer-based options these days... Haven, Slater's 50/50, The Blind Donkey, Lucky Baldwin's, King's Row, and the Stone Company Store for starters.  Sorry.
#3: I never added a rule about non-alcoholic beer when I posted my Big Year rules.  It's still technically beer, isn't it?  Therefore, I say it counts. Besides I've got an O'Doul's that has been sitting my cabinet for the past 3 years. I think I should at least sip it then throw it away, instead of just throwing it away.
#4: 12oz singles are essential to making your way through a good number of different brews at home.  I've stocked my fridge with almost all 22 ouncers.  It's tough to get through many, or any, of these on a work night when I don't have a drinking partner.
#5: Have a drinking partner!  My Wife is an awesome drinking partner. Even better she's logging her own Big Year. Unfortunately, she doesn't always want beer when I do.  Hence, revelation #4 above.
#6: Cans are rad.
#7: Denver Broncos are dumb.  I'm a Seattle fan, because I was born in Tacoma, but I was somewhat expecting the Broncos to win.  They're a great team.  I live in LA, and since LA doesn't have a team, I've adopted several NFL teams I like... Seattle is one of them, and Denver is another.  But they played like they'd just chugged a few pints of Avery Mephistopheles before hitting the field.
Denver brews = The best.
Denver Broncos = A self-imploding, orange and blue huddle of sadness, despair, and regret.
#8:  Beer tastes even better when it follows a day well spent with my family.

Proof that beer even looks better when you're enjoying with family.

A quick recount of the past few days:
KIRIN ICHIBAN - Beer #155 - Enjoyed with sushi at Matsuda in Studio City, with the family, celebrating The Wife's BDay.
BROOKLYN BREWERY BLACK CHOCOLATE STOUT - Beer #156 - Dessert for the Wife's BDay, fudge suicide cake in a bottle.
HANGAR 24 HULLABALOO WINTER BEER - Beer #157 - Let this winter warmer warm up, and it's even more rewarding.
BUTTE CREEK BREWING ORGANIC IPA - Beer #158 - Tasty NorCal brew, and don't let the "organic" part scare you away.
STONE BREWING OAKED ARROGANT BASTARD - Beer #159 - This bottle has probably been sitting around for longer than it should have, but still damn good, especially when it's not ice cold.
KARL STRAUSS RED TROLLEY ALE - Beer #160 - On tap at Duke's in Malibu, from one of the oldest & most respected SoCal microbreweries.  Reliably good, although they've got superior competition these days.
DRAKE'S 1500 PALE ALE - Beer #161 - Also at Duke's, the best tap at the best restaurant on the coast. Drake's never fails. It's a pale ale with IPA muscle.
Pray to The Fe.
SANTA FE BREWING SAISON 88 - Beer #162 - We visited Santa Fe Brewing about 7 or 8 years ago, and I don't remember their output being as awesome as it is now.  This adds to their legacy.  And the first saison I've ever poured out of a can. I had their Chicken Killer Barleywine last year, and it's one of the best in recent memory.
LAUGHING DOG ROCKETDOG RYE IPA - Beer #163 - Idaho brew. Mildly hoppy. Barley-ey. Yum-ee.
GREAT DIVIDE BREWING COMPANY LASSO IPA - Beer #164 - On tap at Congregation, a beautifully balanced IPA from this flawless brewer
KNEE DEEP BELGO HOPTOLOGIST DIPA - Beer #165 - Also on tap at Congregation, this baby wins. If I'm in a situation later this year where I can only drink duplicate beers, I'm praying this is one of them.
SIERRA NEVADA ESTATE HOMEGROWN ALE - Beer #166 - Kicking off the Super Bowl with a super brew. All proprietary hops and barley grown on their property, so it's no lie to say no other beer tastes like this.
RUHSTALLER HOP SAC 2013 KUCHINSKI HOP RANCH - Beer #167 - Another super unique Cali Central Valley beer. Not a hop bomb, as expected. Barnyardy and rural, just like NorCal itself.
TENAYA CREEK HAULING OATS OATMEAL STOUT - Beer #168 - This Las Vegas brewer is one of many quickly staking Nevada's claim on the beer map. Solid.
FLYING FISH BREWING COMPANY HOPFISH IPA - Beer #169 - From a NJ brewer that I haven't found in SoCal; I picked this up in NV last weekend. Reminds me of a more English style IPA than the hopnados spawned on the West Coast. A nice change of pace.

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