Well then. It’s been over 5 years of effort, commencing with a competition between a couple of friends to drink a different Australian beer every day of the year but morphing into drinking 2000 unique beers.
Its with mixed emotions that I finally reach this goal. There have been times along the way where I’ve enjoyed sampling so many different tastes, some I’ve liked, some I haven’t liked so much. Its confirmed what styles of beer I love, which I’m happy to drink and which I will going forward try to avoid. This comes with it downsides as well, as I’ve hit milestone number (1000, 1500, 2000) I’ve moved to reach each goal faster and that has meant at times drinking beers I knew I wouldn’t enjoy (although some have surprised me) and having a focus on the numbers rather than the beer itself.
I reached a conclusion recently that when I hit the 2000 figure, I would go back to beer purely for the enjoyment and nothing more. Also now my home brewing operation is regularly churning out beer, I’d like to finally reach the stage where I’m self sufficient at home instead of buying beer and just basically buying beers when I’m out and about.
In all truth I’m not really sure it’s a milestone to be proud of. 2000 beers in the last 5 years sounds a bit extreme really. But when you consider most of the beers i’ve drunk have been unique it doesn’t sound that bad. It’s not like I’ve been drinking slabs of beer and then individuals on top. I can’t honestly remember the last time I bought a six pack of the same beer or wandered into a bottle shop without my phone out checking Untappd to see whether I’ve had a certain beer before. It will certainly be nice not to hear after 5 minutes of me standing there looking, “do you need any help, can I recommend something?”. Because I will no longer be spending more time in bottle shops than I do book shops.
This drive has lead me to trying different beers not just here in Australia but in fact around the world. Throughout Vietnam, Berlin, New Zealand and Malaysia I’ve spent time tasting and recording new beers. One thing I’d wish I’d done more of was comment on them and rate them properly. Unfortunately over the last few years, I’ve seen Untappd as just a tool to record how many beers I’ve actually drunk instead of the quality of these beers. What would have been nice, would have been to finish up and then go back over the ratings and buy six packs of the ones I loved. Unfortunately that won’t be happening and instead I will probably focus on the styles I’ve come to love.
My taste for IPAs since the very popular days of IPAs have waned and I often think now, that bar maybe one or two IPAs you can get, these are very much one beer drinks that play havoc with your taste buds and anything drunk after doesn’t quite taste the same. I suppose in truth I like an old plain run of the mill Pale Ale, not too highly hopped but nicely balanced, a beer I can sit with a six pack on a lazy Sunday afternoon and just enjoy whilst reading a book in the afternoon sun in the backyard.
I do though enjoy a good dark ale as well. Browns, Porters and Stouts have formed much of my winter drinking for the last few years now and I think will continue to. I love the richness of them and the images they conjure in my mind, maybe I just think a lot of Guiness adverts when I think of dark beers. I definitely think of days gone by and the memories those tastes stir up. Sitting in pubs with friends drinking pints whilst the smell of stale pub carpets wafts up to your nostrils.
And of course there are some beers I’ve definitely grown not to like. Maybe I just have a rubbish palate and can’t appreciate them however people should drink what they enjoy eh? And not what they think they should be drinking because it’s the latest trend. On my list of not enjoyable beers is mainly Sours and Berlinweisses . I’ve even tried a Berlinweisse in Berlin and I still didn’t like it. I suppose for me the traditional taste of beer, the one I grew up with is the one I still like. In spite of my dad feeding me crisps (chips) in a beer garden when I was younger dipped in lager, I still appreciate that bitter taste and the Sours and Berlinweisses are just too sweet or not what I really consider a beer.
As for the whole craft vs mainstream argument, I’ve come to the conclusion after many years of being a beer snob that maybe people should just drink what they really enjoy. Whether that be cans of VB or bottles of Temple Bicycle beer it shouldn’t really matter. I suppose I resist the attitude to a degree that says I just drink one thing without trying anything else but if you’re happy you’re happy and who am I to tell you otherwise.
It’s a rather blurred line nowadays really on what is mainstream and what is craft. I’m sure people out there have a definition but with the larger beer companies buying up Mountain Goat and Little Creatures, two flagships of the craft industry, the question is about what are we being snobbish about? The ownership or the beer itself. I have to admit, I still enjoy a Carlton Dry or a Wild Yak when I go to the races and I’ve learnt a new found appreciation of them because that basically is all I can get but you know what, they aren’t bad options and for everyone who would turn their nose up at them there are probably five times the amount that would be happy to drink them.
I mean it’s not like I’m about to stop drinking beer. Its part of my cultural heritage really. I still very much do a lot of my socialising in pubs and generally enjoy that atmosphere because it is one I am intimately familiar with. But saying that it might be nice to start having more alcohol free days a week that alcohol days and indulge some other passions, such as running which has been sorely neglected lately. It might be nice when considering a venue for dinner, considering the food and not the beer list and it might be nice not getting my phone out every time I drink a beer to record the next one. I genuinely look forward to not have new beers be my driver in where I go and what I do. And I look forward to refocusing the efforts of the last few years into something new.
Its been a great effort to get to 2000 and I’m proud of getting there, its quite an achievement. Its nearly up there with running a marathon for me, but its time to focus on something else. It shouldn’t be about the numbers which is what it became it should be about the beers and the taste. I mean saying all this, I’m not going back to drinking cans of VB but instead of drinking individually different beers maybe I’ll spend an evening drinking the same one, or maybe just a couple instead of 6 or 7 different ones.
So what did I finish on, what were my last three beers. Well, they were all from New Zealand. I like to make pivotal moments relevant, and with my beautiful partner being a kiwi I decided to pay homage to that country in the best way I know. 1998 ….. Garage Project Venesian Pale Ale…. 1999…..Funk Estate Stacking Cash…… 2000 Epic ‘Eric the Red’.
Bring on a few alcohol free days…..I don’t think the last month has had hardly any. And look out for some proper reviews from me, once that speak about the beers I drink, what they say to me and what they mean.
2001 was a space odyssey….2000 has been a beer odyssey.