Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Beers Resolution

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions. In theory, they're a great idea, but in practice, they're just ridiculous. I mean, who among us hasn't resolved to give up drinking cold turkey starting January 1, only to find ourselves slurring our speech on January 15?

Not me, of course. I've never resolved to give up drinking, that is, although I'm sure I've slurred my words on a few January 15ths.

But, my point is New Year's resolutions are generally impossible to maintain. Hey, more power to you if you're one of the rare folks who've succeeded at this futile endeavor.

I actually did once keep a resolution, but it was a realistic one. In my late teens and early 20s, I had the horrible nervous habit of biting my fingernails. So, one year I resolved to kick the habit by the end of the year.

Yes, I gave myself 12 months to reach my goal. Not too ambitious, I realize. But, guess what? It worked, and in the 20 or so subsequent years, I've managed not to fall off the to speak.

However, most people who make resolutions are just mocking themselves by doing so, and usually go so far as to admit they know they're going to fail.

So, that's what I'm going to do for 2012. I'm going to make a resolution that I know I'm going to break eventually. The real goal will be to see how long I can go before doing so.

For 2012, I resolve to go the entire year (or as long as I can, since I've already admitted I won't succeed) without drinking the same beer twice. Despite the name of the post, I'm not limiting myself to beers I've never tried before, just saying I can only drink each once this year.

Initially, it won't be that big a challenge. It might be a little more expensive, since I'll be buying mostly bombers rather than six-packs. But, since I don't drink that much as it is, this won't be a huge deal.

In fact, I really only drink about two beers per week, so we're talking about 100 beers or so to get me through the year. I suspect vacations will bump that total up a bit. But, it probably won't go much higher than 150, despite the fact my current pace is 183 (10 beers in 20 days, 366 days in this leap year).

OK, so maybe 100 is a slight underestimate. But, 150-180 unique beers in a year's time seems doable, right? I suppose the problem could occur during those rare occasions when I'm instigated to overdo it, such as at a Yankees game with Lee Mazzola.

Come to think of it, the real trick will be when Abe (I've given my brewing partner a new pseudonym) and I finally get around to home brewing. Am I going to brew an entire batch of my own beer and then drink only one of them? I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

But, another challenge, as I was explaining to El-Squared at the Scuds show last weekend, is the suicide pool nature of it all.

Let me explain. Although I've never participated in one, an NFL suicide (or survivor) pool is where each participant picks one winner per week. If you get it right, you survive to pick another week. If you get it wrong, you're out. The goal is to be the last entrant standing, but the catch is you can't pick the same team twice, so there's incentive not to pick the best teams too early.

And that's where the analogy comes in. It's not a pure analogy, because I'm not talking about the best beers, but rather the most widely available.

Take a look at my list of the beers I've consumed so far for an idea of what I'm talking about:

Jan. 1 - Wipeout IPA (Port Brewing Co.)
Jan. 1 - Bengali Tiger (Sixpoint Brewery)
Jan. 7 - Saratoga Lager (Olde Saratoga Brewing Co.)
Jan. 7 - Saratoga IPA (Olde Saratoga Brewing Co.)
Jan. 13 - Double-Wide IPA (Boulevard Brewing Co.)
Jan. 14 - Long Hammer IPA (Redhook Ale Brewery)
Jan. 14 - Harpoon IPA (Harpoon Brewery)
Jan. 14 - Pipeline Porter (Kona Brewing Co.)
Jan. 15 - Lost Sailor IPA (Berkshire Brewing Co.)
Jan. 20 - Slumbrew Flagraiser IPA (Somerville Brewing Co.)

I'll use Untappd to help me keep track.

There are definitely some unique choices there, right? Maybe you have to be from these parts to appreciate this, but in the analogy Harpoon IPA is like picking the Patriots in the early weeks of the suicide pool. Fortunately, there's still the Packers (Samuel Adams), Steelers (Guinness), and Saints (Smithwick's).

Of course, this analogy refers to the beers—commonly available in bars with weaker selections—that are passable to me. I don't even want to get into what teams I would associate with Bud Light (1972 Dolphins?) or Coors Light (2007 Pat—er, never mind).

Anyway, if you're still reading this nonsense, I can only assume you're mildly interested. So, I'm sure I'll be providing a few updates along the way.



  1. Never really got over the taste of beer, which is probably a good thing considering my addictive personality. But to each their own. Good luck with your resolution!

  2. I never got over the taste of bad beer, and I never will. But I am a sucker for good dark brews, especially on tap. I don't have the financial resources to keep up with new beers so I am an avid coffee drinker and have become a bit of a coffee snob too. =)

  3. William, what are you going to drink when Netherton finally gets us all together for "a beer"?

    Jonathan, stronger beers give you more "value" for your money.