Friday, December 23, 2011

A Year of Beer

Yesterday marked one full year since I signed up for Untappd, a social media site for beer drinkers. Untappd is fun — you can log your beers, where you drink them, earn badges for certain drinking accomplishments, and cross-post it to Facebook and Twitter. (Untappd is not the only such site, and I've been meaning to check out some of the others, but so far, that's the only one I do.) Most people, I presume, just do it on a lark; I also use it to promote this blog.

One of my favorite features is that it ranks your top 6 beers — creating, a I guess, your fantasy mix-and-match six-pack. I thought it would be interesting to examine mine:

Now, this list isn't entirely accurate. There were times when I forgot to or couldn't log my beers. But this is pretty spot-on for me.

Clearly, I'm a believer in "drink local" — all six are from Texas breweries. Now, I'm no beer xenophobe — I love beer from outside Texas, and I specifically make it a point when I'm on vacation to explore beers from wherever I am, especially beers that I can't get back home. But I'll also declare that this is a good time to be drinking craft beer in Texas. My homeboys (and girls) just keep getting better, more interesting, and more adventurous. We may never become an Oregon or California, but there's plenty to brag about here (and Texans are good at that).

Plus, my Texancentric bias is skewed by a superstition I have: When I'm watching sports (which is a lot), I always drink the beer most local to the team for which I'm rooting. And that team is usually some incarnation of the Texas Longhorns. It's also the reason Rahr's Blonde got on there: For the first time, I really started following the Texas Rangers, and thus sought out the Fort Worth-based Rahr, especially as the Rangers drove toward their second World Series. I'm glad I did — I used to not think much of Rahr, considering them fairly mediocre, but in giving them another chance I found that the brewery is much improved. This blonde is good stuff, and Rahr's Texas Red very nearly made my top 6 as well. I'm turning into a soccer fan — perhaps if I start following the English Premiere League, you'll see more English beers sneaking onto the list.

In a way, though, I also think the list is deceptive — or at least, it highlights the difference between the beers we drink most and the beers we truly love. Fireman's Four is a good beer. But is it my favorite beer, because it sits atop that list? Certainly not. There are plenty of beers I love more. But of course, the beers I love most cost a pretty penny, and are likely to be seasonal. For me, Fireman's is — as I assume it is for many people — my go-to beer. In Austin, it's always available, it's affordable (not the same thing as "cheap," but certainly cheaper than super-delicious Belgian beers or crazy Dogfish Head selections), and with our ungodly hot weather, it's usually right for the moment.

And for my favorite venues:

Not much surprise here. I was head-over-heels ecstatic when I learned that Black Star was going to open up walking distance (stumbling distance?) from my house. There's nothing cooler than having a neighborhood bar that you can just walk or bicycle to. Of course, the Pour House is slightly closer, and has a good beer selection, but it's not a brewpub and I think I just like BSC's vibe a little better. (Actually, most of my beer drinking occurs in my house, but unlike some Untappd users, I didn't create a listing for my house as a venue.)

My total stats: 989 beers, including 310 unique beers. Hmm, I think I see where my daughters' college fund has been going.

Actually, I'm pretty proud of that unique number. That means I tried a different beer almost every day! In general, I strive for culinarily adventurousness, and almost never drink the same beer consecutively.

And now I have it on record.

1 comment:

doncarlo said...

989 beers is quite impressive. My year on Untappd started Jan 1, 2011. I recorded 539 beers with 306 unique beers. I also had Black Star as my top venue and all TX beers in my top 6, mostly IPAs (DR11, Fire Eagle, Stash, and Lost Gold). Go Texas beer!