A couple weeks ago you guys helped me work through a problem I was having – picking a favorite beer. A friend of this site, Tom, wrote in the comments of the post that he hadn’t had one of his favorites in months because he’d rather experiment with new beers. After some thought I realized I hadn’t had many of my favorite beers in a long time as well. Why? I was too busy mixed up in the biggest problem with loving beer.
I’ll take one of everything, please.
I think we all have this deep, dark secret inside us that we want to try every beer ever made. We want to reach the end of Untappd and get some magical badge glorifying our great beer conquest. And we try, whether it’s a conscious decision or not. I do at least.
Last week when I was in Chicago I found this place with 114 beers on tap. I had had about 50 of them before and the thought crossed my mind of attempting to try the remaining 64. I ended up sampling 14 over three different trips in 24 hours (don’t worry, they were all 4oz pours!). Back when I turned 21 my buddy and I tried to drink all 30 taps at a local establishment over three days. We did it. My liver didn’t appreciate it. This was pre-Untappd too and I’m sure the only badge I would have earned was a “You’re a Lush” badge. I probably hit Level III that weekend.
There are only so many beers you can consume in a day, week, month, lifetime. Let me tell you a cold, hard truth:
You cannot drink every single beer.
Outside of the monetary and physical factors, how unsatisfying would that be anyways? Do we really want to reach the end of new beers? There will and should always be a great beer mystery out there we are trying to solve but we need to accept the fact that we will never have closure.
Why I don’t drink my favorite beers
Let’s go back to Tom reminding me I haven’t drank many of my favorite beers in a long time. Why haven’t I? I’ve been too busy trying new beers! Where I live I can get a near endless supply of new beers. Most are good and some are game changers like Bear Republic Apex. Most times though I’m wasting my ever-shrinking biological beer clock on new beers that will in all likelihood never give the same emotional response or taste as sweet as a Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout or a Jester King Montmorency vs Balaton or a Hardywood Raspberry Stout.
The special beers like Montmorency vs Balaton (which is OMG delicious!! and I’m planning a trip to Austin just to try to get my hands on some more) you physically can’t have everyday because you can’t get ahold of them. Around where I live though I can grab a Duck-Rabbit whenever I feel like it and pickup 15 other beers that I know I love. I don’t though because I’ve been so caught up on the new shiny toy.
How I’m going to [attempt to] connect Toy Story to this whole thing
Note: It’s been at least a decade since I’ve seen Toy Story so my memory is a bit faded but I think I got this.
**SPOILER ALERT** Premise of Toy Story: Andy loves his favorite toy, Sheriff Woody. He gets new, cooler toy, Buzz Lightyear. Woody gets jealous and tries to remove Buzz from picture. Stuff happens. Woody and Buzz get trapped by Sid, the neighborhood’s toy sadist. Woody and Buzz have to work together to escape and live happily ever with Woody slightly more important than Buzz to Andy until he goes to college in Toy Story 3. P.S. – If you don’t tear up at the end of Toy Story 3 you aren’t human.
Okay, so what the heck does that have to do with beer? Woody was Andy’s favorite toy just how we all have a few certain favorite beers. We are all allured by Buzz Lightyear beers – the new hoppiest creation by whoever or rare collaboration sour, etc. as well as any other beer we’ve never had. And we’d rather play with a shiny new toy that will in all likelihood pale in comparison to our favorites.
I urge you tonight (this weekend, whenever) to drink a favorite beer of yours. Savor it. Play with and appreciate your favorite toys or they might try to kill one another. Drink your favorite beers because you don’t know when one will stop being made (because no one drank it because they were off chasing the latest craze!). Drink your favorite beers because you only have so many beers you can drink. Why waste them?
😦 but I want to DRINK ALL THE BEERS! I just got back from Portland, Oregon, and managed to do 55 unique beers in under 48 hours (don’t worry, they were tastes…) many I had had, many I hadn’t. But, the enjoyment came from drinking some of my favourite beers AT the brewery! So, in relation to favourite beers, sometimes you have to slow down, do less, but do it right.
I’ve been toying with the idea of a post that comes at this from a different angle. While running around trying all the Buzz Lightyears you can get your hands on, have any of them turned into a Woody?
Has your craft beer experience brought you a beer that you can now say is one of your favorites, or largely (at this point anyway, when we’ve tried MANY beers) are they mostly “one and dones”?
Yes, several have turned into Woodys. Most recently Bear Republic Apex. I’m obsessed with that beer. It was a present though, not some random single from a mixed six-pack at Total Wine. I’m not saying stop drinking new beers, just be more selective. You don’t *always* have to try something new. I’d say the majority of new beers I try are one and dones.
I’m guessing I also shouldn’t give away the beer I don’t drink to a little kid. I have to admit, I have started getting repeats more often. Chasing the next greatest thing can get expensive, especially when the shiniest, new things seem to be coming in bombers more and more frequently.
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Thanks for mentioning Howells & Hood and I’m glad you enjoyed your visit while in Chicago!
I definitely suffer from the same affliction – always wanting to try something new, and fear of missing out on limited / local / rare finds. Flights are the way to go!
ps – ours are 6oz pours 😉
6oz pours explain a lot… I will be absolutely be back the next time I’m in town. Thanks for showing me such a great time!
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