Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beers #29-40: At Home and Around Town

A lot of times, particularly after a beer road trip, a few of us beer geeks get together and share some of our haul or cellar stocks. As the years have passed and we all got busy with kids, our tastings have been scaled back a bit. We still manage to sneak some in!  Here are a few recent notes from a few tastings during the last week of January and first week of February ...

29/365: Cigar City Jai Alai India Pale Ale:
Super fresh hop aroma. Fruity and floral with apricot and orange blossom. Sweet and luscious. Brilliant amber hazy with thin foamy lacing head. Medium watery body with medium carbonation. Starts medium sweet and malty with caramel and light fruity character. Apricot and pear. Floral fresh hops with light smooth bitterness. Sweet, smooth after and no harsh bitterness. Tasty.  India Pale Ale  86/100

30/365: Santa Fe State Pen Imperial Porter:
(This one was given to me by my buddy Mike, who lives in Santa Fe) Ruddy chocolate malt, dusty grist and light stale coffee grounds. Alcohol vapors, malted milk, and Twizzlers. Black opaque with thin tan lacing head. Medium-heavy body with medium-high carbonation and alcoholic warming. Starts sweet and smooth, lightly smoky, with tons of rich malt and Twizzlers. Mellow with light nutty bitterness. No off flavors or oxidation notes - has held up well.  Imperial/Strong Porter  84/100  

31/365: Dogfish Head Bitches Brew:
(A bottle courtesy of my father-in-law) Smells like coffee porter, light tang. Dark black opaque with medium foamy-creamy dark tan lacing head. Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation and light fizz. Starts with big roasted and chocolate notes. Coffee and light acidity. Not really that complex but has some vanilla and other esters.  Imperial Stout  78/100

32/365: Goose Island Fleur:
Wonderful floral-funky nose. Bretty and neutral fruit, hint of acid and leather. Very Orval-ish. Medium dark amber clear with thin off-white head. Starts fairly dry with light funky farm and leather. Neutral fruit with dry hops and yeast.  Belgian Ale  84/100  

33/365: Full Pint Festivus:
Dusty grain, roasted barley, chocolate, and mild spices. Much like a brown ale in nose. Dark coppery brown clear but with some haze, topped with creamy light tan lacing head. Medium body with medium carbonation. Starts medium dry with lots of roast, nutty and spicy bitterness. Some malty chocolate sweetness and light spicy character. Medium bitter hop finish with lasting bitter after.  Spice/Herb/Vegetable  58/100 

On January 30, The Coventry Inn hosted its first ever beer tasting dinner.  Normally closed on Wednesday, the pub opened up its doors to host a $50/plate four-course meal, each course paired with a different beer or cider.  For first-timers at such an endeavor, I think they did wonderfully.  John Cuccaro, of Holiday Beverage and Downtown Indiana, worked with the Coventry's chef (name escapes me at the moment) and owner Charles Runyon (sp?) to create a nice two-hour event.  The food was good, the pairings, save one (IMO) were spot on, and the pours were very generous. If you live in the area, I suggest you get to the next one.  Of the four offerings, I had not tried one, and the notes are below.

34/365: J.K.'s Scrumpy Orchard Gate Gold Hard Cider:
Sweet macerated apples, light sweet alcohol and acidic vapor. Great aroma reminiscent of Normandy cider. Sweet. Light golden clear with no head. Medium body with medium-light carbonation. Sweet and tangy with great cider flavors. Juicy with light carbonic tang.  Cider  78/100

Here are some more notes from another tasting that a few friends and I had in early February ...

35/365: Alchemist Heady Topper:
Nice fruity fresh hop aroma. Apricot, pear, pine. Sweetness abounds with alcohol vapor and funky resin. Amber clear with light haze and thin white head. Medium body with high carbonation. Starts sweet with lots of juicy hops, fruity and bitter. Light caramel. Bit bitter finish and after.  Imperial/Double IPA  82/100  

 36/365: Lindemans Kriek Cuvée René:
(From 2006 bottle I brought back from Bruges) Aroma is super funky, some BandAid, leather, and sour cherries. Carbonic fizz and light rubber. Cloudy dark strawberry color with light pink head. Lactic, oaky, sour. Medium body with medium carbonation. Huge tart sour cherry with tons of funk. Horse blanket and light BandAid. Acidic throughout with bit bitter sour after. Not much cherry flavor remains.   Lambic-Fruit  80/100 

37/365: Terrapin Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout:
Nice sweet chocolate and lactose nose. Roasty and toasty, light coffee, and broth. Dark brown black clear with thin head. Medium body with medium-light carbonation. Very chocolatey with lactose, mild nutty bitter and sweet chocolate finish. Some coffee in the after. Sweet Stout  72/100

38/365: Firestone Walker Parabola:
Awesome nose. Oak, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel. Just a real nice blend of aromas. Dark black opaque with thin creamy tan head. Heavy oily body with medium-high carbonation, chewy with alcohol warming. Starts sweet with alcohol, oak, vanilla, bourbon. Boozy and a tad too sweet, but rich and delicious, silky and smooth. Terrific impy stout, with a hint of soy sauce and broth at the very end.  Imperial Stout  94/100

And here are two more I tried with Dana at home when her family visited for Sunday dinner in early February ...

39/365: St. Stefanus Grand Cru:
Light wheat and yeasty nose with a bit of citrus, coriander, and honey. Golden amber hazy with thin creamy white lacing head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation and light warming. Starts medium sweet with a lot of pilsner malt, honey, and a bit of orange. Light bitter hops, some grain hull, citrus rind, and sweet alcohol. Medium vanilla sweet finish and light bitter, lemony after. Belgian Strong Ale  58/100

40/365: Samuel Adams (Barrel Room Collection) New World Tripel:
Light alcohol and lactose sweetness, mild peach and vanilla. Mild, mild oak. Medium golden amber clear with thin creamy off-white lacing head. Medium heavy body with high carbonation and light warming. Starts medium sweet with vanilla, light pilsner malt, some wheat and oranges. Alcohol sweetness, carbonic fizz and acidity, and neutral fruity character. A little weak but has a decent tripel profile. Certainly not lacking in alcohol.  Abbey Tripel  66/100

Up next ... Tired Hands Delivers to Indiana!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Beers #22-28: Pittsburgh Day Trip

Over the past few years, a few of my friends and I have tried to take a one-day, beer-related road trip.  Sometimes we've gotten in a couple, sometimes just one.  Sometimes, it's just two of us and other times, there have been three or four of us - we all have families, jobs, and other obligations so it's not like the days of college road trips.

In late January, Dave and I took a Pittsburgh road trip.  We got off to a bit of a late start because of a two-hour delay in the local schools, but we made the most of the short time we could get away.

The first stop was for lunch and beer at Fat Head's Saloon in the South Side section of Pittsburgh. Fat Head's beers are brewed in Ohio, but they keep a lot of them on tap (along with about 25 other brands) in Pittsburgh.  My first beer was not a new one, but delicious enough to have again - Fat Head's Head Hunter IPA - with my burger and fries.  For dessert, I tried ...

22/365: Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale:
Great fresh hop aromas, grassy, spicy, light rubber, and piney. Mild malt sweetness. Dull golden amber clear with creamy off-white lacing head. Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation. Starts medium sweet, pale malt, light caramel. Tons of fresh spicy hops. Big bitter finish that is not overwhelming or offensively bitter. Bitter finish with sweet bitter after.  Specialty Grain  82/100

From Fat Head's, we headed over to Smokin' Joe's in order to find a limited-release offering from Stone.

23/365: Stone Enjoy By IPA:
Enjoy by 2-15-13. Terrific fresh hop aromas. Grass, pine, bitter citrus peel, apricot … heavenly. Very funky with ozone and bong water. Deep amber clear with foamy white lacing head. Medium body with medium carbonation. Starts lightly sweet, funky with grass, resin, ozone, and rubber. Potent hop character throughout, with burnt brown sugar and creme brûlée sweet finish. Fairly smooth bitter after, very tasty. Imperial/Double IPA  88/100
Next, we walked across the street to Piper's Pub, where we enjoyed a couple of pints and BS'd with Hart, the bartender. 

24/365: All Saints St. Mosey's Black Pils:
Dry tangy nose with lots of roasted character. A mix between a stout and a schwarzbier. Mild sweetness. Dark black opaque with thin cocoa tan lacing head. Medium body with medium carbonation. Roasty and chocolatey with sugar tang. Medium bitter finish with nutty light sweet after. More like a schwarzbier than a Bohemian pils.  Bohemian Pilsener  88/100

25/365: Victory Midlands Stout:
Nice roast to the nose, roasted barley with lots of hop character. Mild coffee and chocolate, dusty grain. Dark black opaque with thin lacing head. Medium body with medium-light carbonation. Starts roast with light tang, carbonic acidity and light caramel. Dry finish with light bitter after.  Stout  72/100
From the South Side, we drove up to the new location of East End Brewing, which now shares a great space with Commonplace Coffee.  Nothing new on tap for me to try, but I picked up a growler of Monkey Boy (German Hefeweizen) that Dana and I enjoy.

Our last stop before heading home was at House of 1000 Beers, in New Kensington.  The House always has something new on tap, and their bottle selection is incredible (and prices are a bit cheaper than bottle shops in Allegheny Co.).  We sat at the bar (next to the owner) and enjoyed a couple of offerings.

26/365: Firestone Walker 16 (XVI Sixteenth Anniversary Ale):
Toffee, caramel, vanilla, oak, bread pudding with caramel sauce. Sublime nose and only improves and expands as it warms. Dark black opaque with thin off-white to light tan lacing head. Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation, smooth. Alcoholic warming, slightly boozy. Sweet start with bread pudding, caramel, oak, vanilla, and licorice. Warm finish, heavy with oak and vanilla. Delicious sweet after but not cloying. Nice example of what you can do with brewing.  American Strong Ale  94/100

27/365: Urban Chestnut Zwickel: 
Wheaty grainy nose with noble hop notes. Medium amber clear with thin off-white lacing head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Starts medium dry with wheat and pale malt sweetness. Noble hop bite, carbonic acidity, and light hop finish. Zwickel/Keller/Landbier  70/100

28/365: Clown Shoes Muffin Top:
Hoppy nose, fresh and fruity with orange blossom, sugary sweet and almost cloying. Medium golden amber hazy with thin head. Medium body with medium-light carbonation. Sweet start with sweet malty caramel and biscuit. Big hop flavors with almost cloyingly sweet after. Bitter sweet and tasty.  Belgian Strong Ale  80/100
 We each picked up a few bottles (Dave grabbed a Pliny The Elder!) before heading back home.

Up next ... a couple of tastings with friends

A Few Saisons at The Knick (Beers #19-21)

When my wife and I go to the Altoona area, there are really only two places we go to drink good beer.  The first is Marzoni's Brick Oven & Brewing in Duncansville, and the second is the Knickerbocker Tavern in Altoona (aka "The Knick"). 

The Knick always has a great selection of drafts - in fact, in all the years I've been going there, I don't think there has been a single instance where I didn't find at least one beer on tap that I'd not tried before. Usually, there are two or three.  The bottle selection is terrific, too, though by the time I've had a few pints, I've got no room left for bottles!

The food is really good, too. Not too much in the way of large dinner entrees, but tons of apps, salads, and great sandwiches. If you're not in the mood for a burger, I suggest the avocado and Brie sandwich (to which I always add bacon).

The most recent trip was on a Sunday afternoon in January, where we met my in-laws for dinner to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday.  I was happy to see three new saisons on tap (my favorite beer style), and I tried all of them.

19/365: 21st Amendment Spring Saison:
Citrus notes with lemongrass, coriander and ginger in the nose. Floral and fruity. Pale golden yellow clear with thin head. Medium body with medium carbonation. Starts sweet with honey and pale malt. Spicy with lemongrass, cardamon, and ginger. Light bitter finish with spicy sweet after. A little sweet at the end.  Saison  62/100

20/365: Brooklyn Sorachi Ace:
Fresh grassy hop aroma with light grainy notes. A very distinctive nose on this with mild sweetness. Medium golden clear with white thin foamy lacing head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Medium sweet start with fresh oranges and orange peel. Oaky with mild vanilla. Spicy herbal hop note with light bitter finish and bitter sweet after. Smooth saison with nice flavors.  Saison  76/100

21/365: New Holland Four Witches Black Saison:
Roasted malt and biscuit, toffee and Twizzlers. A bit of licorice. Sweet nose. Dark brown-black opaque with thin light tan lacing head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Starts sweet with molasses and Twizzlers, light licorice, and mild fruity notes. A bit of alcohol. Nutty sweet bitterness at finish with a little bit of sweet tang. Smooth sweet after.   Saison  64/100
Next up ... a beer geek's day out

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beers #10-18 of 365 (Blue Canoe in Titusville)

On Saturday, Jan 19, I made a trek up to Titusville, PA (home of Drake's Well) to have lunch and sample beers at the Blue Canoe Brewery.  From home (or even from my parent's house), this is far enough away that I can't just 'drop in' to visit - it's a bit of a commitment. I had been meaning for years to get to Titusville to try Four Sons, but then it closed and was reinvented as the Blue Canoe.

For lunch, I tried their wonton of the day and a cup of soup - both delicious - while settling in to a beer sample paddle (plus a few others).

10/365: Blue Canoe Flashlite Lager:
Light sweet malt aroma with notes of honey. Beany noble hops. Pale golden yellow clear with thin white lacing head. Light body with medium carbonation. Starts dry with a bit of pilsner malt sweetness. Nice noble hop buttering with light carbonic tang. Finish is dry with medium bitterness. Premium Lager 60/100

11/365: Blue Canoe Titusville Gold Lager:
Very similar nose to the Flashlite but sweeter and a bit more depth to it. Deeper golden yellow clear with white lacing head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation and fizzy on the tongue. Mild lager flavor, sweeter than the Flashlite and less hop bite. Nice bitter finish with lingering sweet after. Smooth and clean.  Dortmunder/Helles 64/100

12/365: Blue Canoe Heavy Kevy:
Mild sweet nose. Rich roasted malt sweetness with a bit of brown sugar and molasses. Dark coppery brown clear with thin lacing head. Medium body with medium-heavy carbonation. Starts medium sweet with brown sugar and dark brewed tea. Very mild bitterness at the finish. Hint of tannins but not detracting. Clear light nutty sweet after. A little light for a Scotch ale.  Scotch Ale  60/100

13/365: Blue Canoe Alepocalypse:
Great spicy sweet nose with clove and cinnamon. Coppery amber clear with thin foamy off-white lacing head. Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation. Smooth. Starts sweet and spicy like Christmas cookies. Great spice flavor throughout without being overpowering or cloying or bitter. Light carbonic tang at the finish, with spicy sweet after.   Spice/Herb/Vegetable 74/100

14/365: Blue Canoe Dead Tony's Belgian Tripel:
Very light sweet nose with a bit of honey, coriander, and Beeman’s gum. Light alcoholic vapor. Dull golden clear with light haze and thin white lacing head. Medium silky body with medium-smooth carbonation. Starts sweet with wheat, honey, light bubblegum. Alcohol warming with sweet finish. Light teaberry chalkiness and smooth sweet after. Abbey Tripel  76/100

15/365: Blue Canoe Smooth Criminal:
Beautiful chocolate malted nose. Sweet, lactose, hot chocolate. Like opening a can of chocolate powder. Dark black opaque with rocky sudsy thin head. Medium-light body with cask-like carbonation; it’s on nitro. Sweet chocolate stout with tons of chocolate flavor, though a bit watery. Smooth sweet chocolate after, not cloying at all. Great dessert beer. Sweet Stout  82/100

16/365: Blue Canoe Oatmeal Brown Ale:
Dusty grain and roasted malt aroma, with a bit of tang and mild hops. Dark coppery brown clear with thin off-white head. Medium body, high carbonation. Starts dry with roasted grain, light carbonic tang, some caramel and a mild hit of hop bitterness. Nutty bitter finish with a bit of strong brewed tea in the after.  Brown Ale  56/100

17/365: Blue Canoe Joe's Electric Bill: 
Thin sweet nose with mild beany noble hopes. Dark golden amber clear, hazy with thin white head. Medium body with fizzy carbonation. Starts dry and grainy with little sweetness. Medium bitter hop flavor with carbonic fizz and nutty hoppy finish. Smooth after.  Amber Ale  60/100

18/365: Blue Canoe Big Weezy's Big Ass Barleywine:
Sweet vaporous aroma with butterscotch and caramel, oak, vanilla, a bit of chocolate. Roasty and toasty. Awesome nose on this. Just a hint of diacetyl but in no way a detraction. Dark brown-black opaque with creamy light tan lacing head. Heavy oily body with medium carbonation and tons of warming. Starts sweet with tons of flavor. Oak, vanilla, rich roasted and toasted malt, light hop buttering. Undertones of chicory, molasses, and caramel. Big warming finish, sweet and oaky. Nice barley wine. Barley Wine  84/100
All in all, this was a nice way to spend an early afternoon for lunch. The decor was pretty cool and the pub itself is very easy to find downtown (not that Titusville is all that big). The service was outstanding, and the beers and food were solid. Best of all, you get great value here. Their snifter of the barleywine was only $3.75!

If you happen to like biking on Rails to Trails, the Oil Creek State Park trail runs between the north end of Oil City and dumps out right near the Drake Well.  It's probably less than a mile to the Blue Canoe from there.  

Up next: A few saisons at The Knick ....

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Beers #1-9 of 365

My first beer of 2013 was, appropriately named, First by East End Brewing in Pittsburgh.  This amber ale was the first beer brewed at East End's new location (they moved from Susquehanna St. to Julius St.), and I picked up a growler on a weekend trip Dana.  East End's new location is terrific - much more room to move around, and you can also enjoy/buy Commonplace Coffee while you're there.

1/365: East End First:
Wonderful spicy and floral Cascade aroma. Great hoppy nose with a bit of sweet and nutty malt undertones. Dark amber, almost brownish, hazy body with thin beige lacing head. Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Starts with mild caramel sweetness and light carbonic acidity. Big hit of hoppy flavor and bitter character. A bit of fruity character, too. Overall, very easy drinking amber with nice dry hopped profile. Bitter finish with lasting bitter after and a bit of nutty astringency.   Amber Ale 78/100

The second was sort of a flagship beer for a new brewery in Millvale, Draai Laag. They're focusing on higher gravity Belgian-inspired brews at the moment.
2/365: Draai Laag Aureus:
Fruity and subtle sweet nose. Light tripel-like yeasty notes with some orange, vanilla, and coriander. Hazy golden amber with creamy-foamy white lacing head. Medium heavy body with medium carbonation and light warming. Starts and stays sweet with fruity character and notes of orange, honey, coriander, and a bit of vanilla. Carbonic acidity with a fruity acidic note, too. Sweet until the finish with mild hop bitterness and a light lasting fruit rind bitter after. Dregs add more fruity acidity - pops up front, then dull bitterness.  Belgian Strong Ale 78/100

Beer #3 was a Coors offering, the new Blue Moon Proximity which is a wheat ale brewed with sauvignon blanc grapes.
3/365: Blue Moon Proximity:
Light Belgian wit nose with a note of oak and white wine of some sort. Fairy faint nose. Dull golden clear with thin white dissipating head. Medium-light body with medium carbonation. Starts sweet, sweeter than Blue Moon. Notes of chardonnay or similar white wine, with mild acidic bite. Fruity, finishing fairly smooth with a bit of white wine profile and watery bitter after.   Fruit Beer 48/100

Next up was a cider, a bottle of Woodchuck with some Belgian witbier flair. It's been available on tap in town at the Coney and the Coventry Inn, as well as in bottles.
4/365: Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White:
Faint apple cider sweetness with orange peel and coriander notes. Dull dark amber clear with light haze and no head. Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Starts tart and fruity with nice apple juice and cider taste. Juicy. Has a bit of orange peel and coriander to the taste, and the finish is fruity and acidic. Tart and not overly sweet. Fruity tart after.  Cider 62/100

Back to Blue Moon for the fifth of the year, the Impulse, brewed with cabernet sauvignon grapes.
5/365: Blue Moon Impulse:
Light cabernet sauvignon nose with a little wheat sweetness. Deep pink/rose clear with thin pink head. Medium body with medium-light carbonation. Sweet grape juice with wine tang. Predominant red wine flavor with mild wheat sweetness and light tannic bitter after.  Fruit Beer 58/100

The next two beers of the year were enjoyed at Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville. The first was The Copper Nugget, a single-hop American Pale Ale with Nugget hops.  The second was their Abbeygale, a take on an Abbey Dubbel.

6/365: Rivertowne The Copper Nugget:
Roasted malt and sweet caramel. Medium-strong fresh Nugget aromas, resinous and piney. Dark coppery amber clear with mild haze, topped with a thin off-white foamy lacing head. Medium body with heavy carbonation and fizz. Starts somewhat dry with tons of fresh Nugget hop flavor. Mild caramel sweetness, carbonic acidity and big bitter finish. Lasting smooth bitter after.  American Pale Ale 72/100

7/365: Rivertowne Abbeygale
Mild sweet malt aroma. Brown sugar, candy sugar, light sweet tang and no glaring hop character. Like a dubbel in the nose, but a bit subdued. Dark hazy coppery brown with foamy-creamy white lacing head. Medium-heavy body with high carbonation. Starts and stays sweet. Roasted malt, caramel, and candy sugar. Carbonic bite with light sugar tang in the finish. Clean, smooth.  Abbey Dubbel 70/100

Beer #8 was another East End offering, brought to me in a growler by the owner of the Commonplace (thanks for saving me a trip to the Burgh!).
8/365: East End Steelcut Oatmeal Stout:
Roasted and smoky patent malts, chocolate, molasses, coffee; woody with vanilla. Mild acidic smoky notes. Dark black opaque with cocoa-colored foamy lacing head. Heavy body with medium-high carbonation. Starts fairly dry with tons of roasted-bitter malt, chocolate, molasses sweetness and light acrid bitterness. Big rich bitter chocolate and smoky sweet finish with light bitter coffee after. Smooth.  Stout  82/100

The final beer for this post (#9), was a brand new offering from Straub in St. Mary's, PA. They made a German Altbier for their 2013 Groundhog brew. I do love a good Altbier and this was pretty good.
9/365: Straub Groundhog Brew 2013:
Thin adjunct-corn tang with dusty grain nose - pretty similar to an authentic Düsseldorf altbier aroma if I recall. Coppery amber clear with thin off-white foamy head. Medium body with medium carbonation. Starts medium sweet with dusty grain, medium caramel sweetness, light sugar tang and a noble-style hoppy character. Reminds me a lot of Diebels Alt. Clean after.  Altbier 70/100

Up next ... a lunch trip to Titusville

Friday, February 08, 2013

365 New Beers This Year?

For years now (since April 2002), I have been taking personal tasting notes on every new beer that I try. These 'ratings' are housed on RateBeer but I also keep a backup of them on my home computer (a mix of individual text files and a spreadsheet). Geeky? Anal retentive? Most definitely, but with a passion for beer and a chemistry degree, would you really expect otherwise?

Anyway, as I approach my 11th anniversary of taking beer notes, I'm sitting at just over 3200 unique beers that I've tried since I started taking notes. Had I drunk a beer a day during this entire time, I'd be at almost 4000 beers. This got me thinking ... could I, for one year of a normal, settled-down, not-living-abroad, job-and-a-family life try 365 new beers?

Drinking one beer a day is not difficult (lots of people wish they could stop at that!). Drinking a different beer each day for 365 days would not be that difficult. But having already tried over 3200 beers, trying 365 NEW beers might be slightly more daunting.

So I've posed this challenge to myself: can I try 365 new beers in 2013? And while we're on that, what constitutes a new beer (or even a rating, for that matter)? My ground rules are these:
  • a new beer must be a beer I've not rated before 2013
  • a new beer must be at least a 4 oz sample of that beer (a typical brew-pub sampler size, but sufficient for my purposes)
  • a new beer must be a commercially available product (packaged or at a brewpub) and may not be a homebrewed beer
  • ciders will also count as a beer but perry, alcopop (e.g., Mike's Hard Lemonade, kombucha, Smirnoff Ice, etc.) and sake will not count
  • I can rate more than one beer per day and I can miss days, but it will even out to 365 beers by the end of the year
This last rule is to facilitate visits to brewpubs, a beer festival, beer tastings with friends, sick days, etc.

How's it going so far? Well, today is the 39th day of 2013 and I have tried 40 new beers. I'm going to keep this going as long as possible.

Coming soon: the beers I've had so far in 2013 ...