Beer and You

New Year’s Resolution/Challenge: 366 Days = 366 New Beers

I only put 'New Year's Resolution' in the title, so I could use this pic.

During the first week of the new year, J Street’s founder, Tonzi, contacted some of our drinking buddies and me with a challenge: Drink a new beer for every day in the year. (Originally, it was 365 beers until Tonzi updated our tracking system to note the days in the month and realized it was a leap year…) Naturally, I was in and want to invite any of our readers to join us on our epic journey through the beer-iverse.

The rules are simple:

  1. You must not have ever had the beer before. The challenge is not to have 366 different beers in 2012 but to have 366 NEW beers in the new year. It might not be easy at times, which is why it’s a challenge.
  2. Homebrews do not count. Tonzi and I discussed this by decided against counting homebrews. To ensure the challenge’s integrity, we are using the Untappd app as a basis for deciding whether a beer counts. Last night though, I hit a snag when having a beer brewed by 901 (Cap Brewing); however, the beer was verified by a fellow challengee and allowed.
  3. Drink a beer, not taste a beer. Some beers grow on the drinking as the go-down (particularly strong ones), so anything less than 4 oz does not count. Yes, Savor, brewery samples, and beer fests/events, such as our Annual Beer Hunt, could well be the equivalent of hitting the motherlode.

Of course, these are just our general rules; you are free to tweak them or make your own. For instance, I have made a side deal with fellow J Street-er, X, that I won’t drink a Shiner Bock until my number of beers for the year matches the number of days, i.e. we are 20 days into the year, and I have had 25 new beers, so I could drink a Shiner. Thankfully, I have a couple of months to build up a headstart into the 2012 football season…

Whether you join in the challenge or not, I would highly recommend downloading the Untappd app and befriending me (Shintern1909). It’s a great way to track beers that people are drinking, know which bars those beers are currently available, and get quick beer reviews. Information available here: http://www.untappd.com

If you are up for the challenge, let us know in the comments. Depending on the amount of participation, I may discuss with Tonzi about ways to facilitate everyone’s progress through the interwebs. Right now, we’re just using the honor system and a shared Google Doc spreadsheet.

Happy (belated) New Year, and here’s to exploring!

— Shintern1909

P.S. Hopefully this will help lead to more postings on Brew Review Wednesdays, but I am not going to promise reviews of each beer…

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Trademarks

What do trademarks and beer have to do with each other?  Quite a bit actually.  I was browsing the interwebs and came across an interesting article about beer and trademarks.  Normally I have no problem with breweries obtaining trademarks to protect their intellectual property (brew names and/or labels).  However, Anheuser-Busch InBev (with its recent purchase of Goose Island) has decided to trademark beer names that include area codes.  I’m sure this was originally intended to merely protect the newly acquired 312 Urban Wheat, but they have also been granted trademarks for area codes which there is not currently a beer name.  This includes D.C.’s beloved 202 area code.  The problem which arises from this practice is where does this stop? Are they going to trademark any number? Will they actively sue microbreweries with established names to strong arm them?

This is a slippery slope.  I fear that Anheuser-Busch InBev will use this as another method to attempt to push their microbrewery competition out of the market.  It will most likely stop a local brewery from using names which will identify it with their city.  I really hope that these trademarks will not be used for evil. What do you think?


The Beer Industry’s Red-Headed Stepchild

What a nice Fourth of July weekend!  Very relaxing.  I even got a little time to myself to sit and think.

One thing I found myself thinking about is the dilemma that some beer-makers must be facing.  I say beer-makers, because these are the craft beer wings of Big Beer (I can’t wholly get behind “brewers”, mainly because of the way Big Beer seems to have removed the love of brewing and replaced it with an efficient machine).  They’re hated by everyone.

Think about it for a second.  I love craft beer.  And due to that, I find myself pushing for small breweries and their delicious, imperfect beers.  I’ll search out a beer from a small brewery before any macro-brew, any day of the week.  I have disdain for Big Beer and the way they carry themselves: constantly trying to muscle out the smaller guys and maintaining a near monopoly on the beer industry.  This disdain for Big Beer extends down to all of their beers.  I don’t just dislike Budweiser, I dislike everything AB-InBev makes (I’m talking to you, Shock Top).  Silver Bullet? You’re on the shit-list too.  And yes, that includes you, Blue Moon.  If you’re reading this, I’m sure you feel the same way.

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Baying Hound: The Unheralded Local Brewery

Baying Hound

Like everyone else in the DC area I’m ecstatic about all of the new local breweries. When Port City’s beers started popping up I couldn’t stop drinking them, especially the Monumental IPA. Being at Meridian Pint for the release of DC Brau’s Public was one of the coolest days of my life, and also the day I met Tonzi and asked if I could help on this blog. Seeing the excitement on Dave Coleman’s face when he released 3 Stars Syndicate at Churchkey continued to reinforce the significance of having local options. When the tweet came up that Chocolate City finally got power and was that much closer to production I couldn’t help but smile. However lost in the shuffle of all these new local breweries is one spot that beat them all to the punch.

That spot is Baying Hound.

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Cooking with Beer: Beer Battered Catfish

Cooking with Beer

For this post on cooking with beer I will go over a beer batter recipe in which Boardwalk and I used Port City’s IPA as the base.  The recipe is based off of one from my favorite chef: Alton Brown.  He did Chips and Fish, but we stuck to the fish.

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An Ode to Stella Artois

Recently Shintern, Pyzocha, and I took a little trip to the great boot; Italy.  Though there has been a recent revival of craft brewing in Italy, we saw very little of it.   We spent most of our drinking time (and thus much of our time) with some of the cheapest beers you can find in Italy.  I now understand why Europeans love Stella, Beck’s, Heiniken, etc.

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T.G.I. Friday’s

I began seeing the commercials for T.G.I. Friday’s touting the use of Magic Hat #9 in some of their meals and I was ready to rip on Magic Hat for selling out to a chain.  Then I did some research and it is not Magic Hat selling out.  It was something much different: T.G.I. Friday’s is making themselves a craft beer hotspot!  Well, sort of.  They still have many crappy macro beers, but they are increasing the number of craft beers they carry.  Certain dishes will also be made with craft beer, including: a beer battered shrimp appetizer; entrees with steak, flounder, ribs and chicken either marinated or cooked with it; and a couple of beer-based desserts  (adults only).  While the selection varies by state, Friday’s will be serving some of the following beers: Harpoon IPA, Magic Hat #9, New Belgium Fat Tire, Goose Island Honkers Ale, Abita Amber, Alaskan IPA (Alaska only), Boulevard Wheat, and Uinta Cutthroat Ale (Utah only).  It would be great if each restaurant carried all of the aforementioned brews, but having any exposure to mass markets is great for craft beer.  Cheers to you T.G.I. Friday’s!

-Pyzocha