28 April 2016

766. Braxton Crank Shaft IPA (2♠️)

The Two of Spades gets removed from the deck tonight, by one of the beers Caitlin and I picked up in Kentucky on Monday.  This was the only beer I could find from Braxton - which is only disappointing because I'm not an IPA guy normally.  So, I would have much preferred my first beer from them to be something I tend to enjoy. But, I take what I can get. 

This is a really well made IPA.
It's dry, but not too dry. 
It's got some flavors that actually make it past the hops. The front side of the drink is very enjoyable - sadly for me, it's got a really dry-mouth after taste. Just not enjoyable for my tastes. 

27 April 2016

765. DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus

"The name was awesome, the beer doesn't live up to it." -Caitlin

I kind of have to agree. It's a decent beer, and the peanut butter flavor is very noticeable in the back end. It's a very dry finish that I wish was more sweet. Instead of tasting like Reese's Cup in glass, it tastes like Peanut Butter and Powdered Cocoa.  It's still a drinkable beer, but I built up my expectations too high, I believe. 

764. MadTree Lift (Q♠️)

Light, crisp, smooth, and refreshing. 
It's got an ever-so-slight dry/bitter vibe on the very back end, but nothing terrible. This is easily a beer I could outside and drink multiples of under the sun. Good session beer for a summer afternoon. 

25 April 2016

763. Rhinegeist Cougar (Q♣️)

Light, crisp and refreshing.  
This was a good choice to drink while sitting out in the sun by the Ohio River. Not too full bodied to make my stomach feel heavy in the warm temperature. 

Super simple, nothing special, but perfect for right now. 

And very happy to check off the Queen of Clubs in the Bicycle Series. 

762. Hofbräu Red Lager

The main attraction of Caitlin and I's Newport visit was my favorite stomping ground Höfbrauhaus. I didn't even know that a Red Lager was something they brewed.  So, I knew I needed to add a new Höfbrau beer to the site.

It's a really good quality lager, and does have a little extra flavorful punch to it. Very drinkable, and the exact flavor that I expect from a red. Really enjoyable to drink. 

761. Ei8ht Ball Brewery Tarnished

Pretty bland offering again. 
Not sure how long they have been open, but I'm not sure they have their water balanced properly.  This is a common problem most breweries have on their first year of operation. It was especially bad at Tow Yard back home. 

It's not terrible, but it does have the chalky after taste that I don't feel should be there in a golden ale. 

760. Ei8ht Ball Brewing Prodigal

Caitlin and I took a day trip to Cincy to hunt down some Ohio beers for the Bicycle Series of the website, and stumbled across a microbrewery in the back of Party Source - called Ei8ht Ball Brewing.  We decided to sit down and give them a try.  

I asked the handle-bar-mustached bartender what their most popular and his favorite beers were.  They turned out to both be the American Pale, so I gave it a try first.  

Very standard and bland APA.
Dry and bitter flavors are present but in the subtle way I expect from an APA.  Nothing special, but not awful either. 

24 April 2016

759. Evil Czech Clayton Bigsby White Stout

This beer is AMAZING!
I ordered it because of the name - being named after one of my favorite Dave Chappelle sketches was a huge draw for me. And the beer delivered.  Looking like a simple ale - this beer packs a big punch of flavor. Stouts aren't my thing, but the flavor is there. And the white chocolate included gives an amazingly smooth after-taste. I am a huge fan of this beer!

758. Bloomington Kirkwood Cream Ale

Very standard.  
Tastes like every other cream ale. 
Easy to drink. 
Nothing sets it apart. 
(For the record, it does not suck, it's fine)

757. St. John Malt Brothers Mr. Coconuthead Porter

Not the best coconut beer I have ever had - but it's still really good. The Porter is very dry and bitter up front, but the coconut flavor does creep in the back very well.  It's tasty, but nothing I'm dying to drink again. At the same, I would gladly drink one, if it was around.

First I've ever heard of St. John Malt Brothers - and they are from here in Indiana.  Going to have to make an attempt to try some more of their beers. 

21 April 2016

756. Breckenridge Avalanche (A♣️)

Beer #756 begins a new Series we are going to be doing on this website. 

This past week, Caitlin bought me a deck of Bicycle playing cards that feature 53 breweries on them. (http://www.shopbicyclecards.com/Craft-Beer-P291.aspx)

Tonight, as we sit down to watch the Pacers game, we chose the Ace of Clubs and found a Breckenridge beer to check off the deck. 

Avalanche is a very standard amber ale. Nice and standard flavors. Exactly what an amber is expected to taste like. 

20 April 2016

755. Outliers BlauMachen

A pretty high end Pilsner. 
Quality flavor, but nothing exceptional. 
Enjoyable, albeit a wee bit dry on the back end. Still light and crisp and easy to drink. 

Side note: Very good beer lacing!

754. Upland Barrel Chested Barleywine

A very nice aroma, with a very bourbon taste to it. The beer itself is a little drier than I tend to prefer, but it is still very solid quality. Good beer, but nothing I am too impressed with on the flavor-side. 

14 April 2016

753. Sierra Nevada Otra Vez Gose-Style Ale

Not as enjoyable as the Gose earlier. No sour-lemon flavor with this one. The grapefruit is okay but I know from previous beers that cactus is a flavor I just don't enjoy. 

752. Flix Brewhouse Mario Gose

Good representation of the Gose-style. Lemon flavors are good but not overpowering. Light and refreshing. I enjoy this.  Their best beer I've tried tonight. 

751. Flix Brewhouse Umbra Chocostout

Moderate flavor. It's dry, like it should be. But I feel like a lot of the chocolate flavor is lost because of how dry it is. It's a very minor hint in the aftertaste. Still an okay stout, but doesn't stand out. 

750. Flix Brewhouse 10 Day Scottish Ale

75% Completed!
Been wanting to come here for a while. Caitlin and I decided to have a Date Nigt and watch "The Breakfast Club" here. So, naturally, new beers are being tried. 

Pretty standard Scottish Ale, nice dark and flavorful malts. Maybe a little too thin for what I was expecting. But still drinkable. 

12 April 2016

749. Goodwood Walnut Brown Ale

My first beer from Goodwood. 
Amazing flavor up front, but a really bad after taste in the back end. The beer smells wonderful, it's just disappointing. 

07 April 2016

748. Indiana City Citizen's Right Barleywine

Definitely a full bodied beer. Think as I drink it, and a lot drier than I tend to prefer. On the back end, some really enjoyable - almost fruity - flavors begin to kick in and counter the dry beginnings. Not as good as Beast of Laurey's, but still a very enjoyable beer to sip on. 

Let's Have Some Real Talk about Shane

So, if you came to this website in the first ninety days of 2016, you saw a nice long post about myself, my battle with alcoholism, and how I had decided to go sober.  The main motivating factor for this was an incident involving myself and my girlfriend's family - and me turning into a full-blown raging doucheasaurus.

In the heat of the incident, the fights, and the embarrassment; I made the quick decision to go sober.  Getting hammered drunk caused both the incident and ensuing fight - so, I felt that I needed to cut it from my life completely.  It was a decision that I made, and was never asked to do.  I reached out to a friend, and began going to AA.

As far as AA went - it didn't turn out to be exactly what I expected.  I seriously was just looking for a support system to remind me things are okay.  What I found, was a very pressure-filled and "cult-like" environment that didn't suit me well.  I was told, "You have to go to 90 meetings in 90 days".  Well, my schedule didn't really allow that.  I work a full time job, have a significant other, and have other things in my life that I have made commitments to.  Fitting in one meeting a day wasn't an option, and I felt like I was being judged for not making that happen.  Also, the more and more I read about the steps, the homework, the parts of life that they wanted to discuss - these were personal things not related to my drinking, and perhaps things that I wasn't ready to address or want to talk about.  In my attempt to try and stay sober, WHY do you feel the need to discuss my sexual history?  The two things are not connected, nor mutually explicit.

"Read this many pages a day"
"Write out this list"
"Go to this many meetings"

It felt like school and homework - not what I wanted when I signed up and started exploring.

So, what did I do?  I spent ninety days sober.
I spent ninety days, every day, making the choice - I don't need a beer today.  I don't need any alcohol today.
I spent ninety days discussing a lot of relationship problems and issues that I have had repressed for many years.  Many of the factors that led to Caitlin and I's fight on vacation, stemmed from mental problems and inadequate feelings that I had come to live with over my life.  Many problems with past relationships had led to a massive amount of distrust and feelings of resentment for anything that took focus away from me in the relationship.  I've always been narcissistic, but these were even deeper self-centered-feelings that caused major issues.  It was also made abundantly clear that I am a very emotional drinker, and I need to avoid alcohol when in emotional situations.  Luckily, during those first ninety days, I had two or three moments of extreme frustration or anger - that I did not allow to push me to drinking.  I have found a desire to be a responsible alcoholic, and avoid making the decisions that I know to be toxic.  In this time, it was also made painfully and bluntly aware to me; that I am no longer twenty-one.  While it obvious that I live in disillusion of Peter Pan Syndrome; I need to grow up and be responsible when it comes to my drinking.  I am far beyond my years of partying all night, every night, rinse and repeat.  Manchild, I am.  Alcoholic Twat Waffle, I do not need to be.

I know I painted a very bad picture of my experience with AA.  I went for four straight weeks, once a week, every Monday night.  These four meetings actually really helped me, when listening to other people's experiences and seeing how they ended up where they were at.  I saw lots of similarities that opened my eyes to a lot of the things that I had been doing in my own life, and seeing these things anew; it allowed me to open up discussions with Caitlin that helped us strengthen our relationship by tearing down some of the walls I had set in place.  After lots of very progressive conversations, Caitlin and I found ourselves in a much healthier and more enjoyable relationship than we had been for the past year.

And yet, I still chose to not drink.  For ninety days.  Having a beer was brought up a few times, and she asked me if I wanted to go somewhere, or do something, or if I wanted to buy something for home.  And I kept putting it off, and saying that I just didn't feel it yet.  I didn't need or want it yet.

As my 90th day approached, Indiana City (which is still my favorite brewery in Indiana) was releasing their Mimi's Tabernacle: One of my favorite beers of all time, and the beer that made me a regular at their establishment.  So, I went out of my way to acquire a bottle, and then let it sit in my fridge for nearly two weeks, until I hit that 90th day of sobriety.

And I celebrated ninety days of sobriety, by sharing a bottle of Mimi's Tabernacle with my Amazeballs Girlfriend, who supported my decisions and right to chose from day one.  She never demanded a stay sober, she never called it a deal-breaker if I drank again, she supported me the whole way.  We sat around watching the Pacers game, drinking Mimi's, and just having a wonderful evening.  I didn't announce it on Social Media, I didn't post a picture, I wasn't going to brag about drinking one of the greatest beers ever - Nope.  My sobriety died a small, quiet, painless death in my living room with the love of my life supporting me.

I then waited an entire week to even consider touching another beer.
Seven whole days.  It didn't bother me.  It didn't consume my thoughts.  I wasn't even worried about when i was going to have another beer.  Until my Facebook and Twitter blew up with National Beer Day.  If not for this "holiday" - I probably wouldn't even be drinking tonight.   I'm going to enjoy one special beer tonight, in celebration, and then wake up tomorrow and go about my new life just as happy as I am as I write these words.

The journey to 1,000 beers has started again.  New Beer later tonight.