03 June 2016

Looking Back at the Milestones

So, the first few potential milestones were all included in the First 150 Post, and really don't matter for anything.  It consisted of the beers I drank in high school, and right after I turned 21.  All macrobrews, all beers that overall sucked and mean nothing.

The first legitimate milestone this website saw was in October of 2011, when I visited Triton Brewing - a local Indiana Brewery and drank BEER 200 - Triton Magnificent Amber.  Being so early in the website's infancy, I didn't write up much of a review.  Also, that day was my first ever visit to Triton, which saw me add four beers to the young website: #198 to #201.  At this time, Triton would turn into one of my main drinking locations.  Often my friend Heather would join me for beers and food trucks here.

#250.  One quarter of the way to my goal was hit on July 23rd, 2013, at Ale Emporium.  BEER 250 was the Green Flash Hop Head Red from California, and was very NOT memorable to me.  On that day, during my visit to Ale Emporium, I added three beers to the website.  Xingu Black was #251.  Truth be told, BEER 252 is what I WISH I would have done for 250:  Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale.  One of my favorite sour beers and a beer that I continue to drink to this day.  Missed opportunity for Beer #250.

#300.  On September 5th, 2013, I reached BEER 300, I realized the importance (to me) of making the milestones count.  As I state in the comments, I wanted Beer #300 to be an Indiana beer, and I picked something from Flat 12.  Sadly, it turned out to be something that was just okay.  Nothing special, and nothing I have ever drank since then.  It's nice to look back and see when I made the decision to make sure my Milestone Beers mattered to me.

#333.  Lolita.  Oh, how I LOVE Lolita.  BEER 333, ONE THIRD of the way to my goal was reached on October 10th, 2013, and I got lucky enough to try my (still) favorite sour beer - Goose Island Lolita.  This is a beer that I continue to drink to this day, and still ranks as my favorite sour beer to drink.  Sometimes its hard to find, but when I can, I will always grab a bottle to enjoy.

#400.  BEER 400 benefited from the fact that I had recently been introduced to Ommegang and had fallen in love with their beers.  I wanted to try them all, and once I hit Beer 399, I started going to the bigger liquor stores that I knew to look for something special for #400.  I was always checking for something new from Ommegang, and was very happy to find this beer on November 2nd, 2013.  In a funny twist, I had been drinking at Indiana City Brewing on the afternoon of November 2nd, when I hit BEER 399 with Indiana City's Red Collar.  One of the best beers I have ever had.  Looking back, and knowing how much I would come to love and support Indiana City - I wish Red Collar had been #400.

#500.  HALFWAY DONE.  Fifty Percent Complete.  BEER 500 was a special one.  As I was getting closer and closer to 500, I was talking to my brother, who surprised me with something amazing.  We made plans for me to come up to Chicago to celebrate the halfway milestone and on April 28th, 2014 I made my way up to Chicago, and learned that Scott had secured a can of the beer that was rated #1 on Beer Advocate at that time.  The Alchemist Heady Topper from Vermont.  In a twist of luck, Scott had a friend who went to the east coast and was able to get their hand on some of these cans.  The Alchemist only distributes to three other states in the North East (or at least, that was the case in 2014).  So, it was rare to get, and Scott was able to buy one for this special occasion.  While it wasn't my favorite beer I have ever drank, it is one of the most memorable.  Just because it was rated #1 when I drank it, I drank it with my brother, who had specially gotten it for us for that milestone.

#600.  BEER 600 is another very, very special beer to me.  Not because of the beer itself - but because of the story around in.  In June of 2014, Ryan Miller and I watched a few World Cup Soccer Matches at The Ale Emporium.  We noticed on their beer list, a 3L bottle of Chimay Blue.  Full disclosure, I am sure I drank this beer before #600, however it was never documented that I drank.  It was never given a number.  So, on that day, Miller and I decided that Beer #600 (my next upcoming Milestone) would be this 3L $120 Bottle of Beer - which I still have in my possession to this day.  Six months later, on January 20th, 2015 - we gathered a group of good friends at the Ale Emporium, and I drank my first new beer of 2015, Beer #600.  The more important reason this milestone is so important to me, is that it is the first one that Caitlin and I shared together.  We had just started dating a week earlier, and while she didn't make it in time for the photo - she did show up later and we had a wonderful night together with all the amazing people in the photo.  We went to Tilly's and kept drinking while playing Cards Against Humanity, my buddy Jae even showed up later.  Beer #600 was one of the best nights of drinking I have ever had - in my life.

#666.  On June 30th, 2015, I drank a beer with Caitlin, that turned out to be BEER 666.  I believe I spent a good amount of time trying to find something "devil" or "hell" related for this beer - specifically, Victory's Hop Devil - and just didn't come up with anything.  So, on that night, I was hanging out with Caitlin, I was playing Destiny, and I drank this beer with her.  To this day, it remains one Caitlin's favorite beers, and I do think it's a good beer - so I'm not disappointed with having this milestone on the resume.

#700.  August 21st, 2015 saw another milestone that I can't express how important to me it was.  On this day, a number of my friends were all in Chicago.  Myself, Jason, and Snow were attending Comic Con.  Claire and Steve were working Comic Con.  And Miller just happened to be up at a Cubs game that day.  So, we all met at Headquarters - a beercade (Adult Arcade that serves beer) and we had an amazing night.  On that night, I found a Mikkeller beer that became BEER 700.  It was nice, because of how hard it is to get some Mikkeller beers, coupled with the amount of friends I had in Chicago that night - it was unbelievably amazing.

#750.  THREE FOURTHS OF THE WAY TO MY GOAL!!!!!!!  Sadly, I didn't do a very good job on BEER 750.  After my Christmas Vacation, and hitting Beer 747, I took some time off.  90 days to be exact.  I spent ninety days learning a lot about myself, my relationships, and my sobriety.  These were the best 90 days I've spent in a while, and it's gotten me very prepared for a better life - both personally and professionally.  It shed a lot of light on the ways I was living my lifestyle wrong.  That all out of the way - My first beer after sobriety was from Indiana City.  Then, a couple of nights later, Caitlin and I went to see "The Breakfast Club" at a local Brewery Theatre.  (Local, as in franchised from Texas, but still brew their beers in house).  This beer will always be a special milestone because of sharing it intimately with Caitlin.  So, it was a Scotch Ale.  It was drinkable.  Nothing special, except Caitlin being there with me.

#800.  BEER 800 was a very generous gift from my long time drinking buddy, Claire.  She recently visited Ireland, and while she was there I told her to look out for BrewDogs beers - some of my favorite beers I have ever had, just because I really enjoy the TV series they did.  James and Martin are hilarious and have done some of the most amazing beers in the world, won all kinds of awards, set brewing records, and just seem like super cool guys to be involved with.  So, because I told her to try their beers, she came back with a few for me.  And I saved one of them for the sole purpose of being this milestone.  Joining the Dead Pony Club was awesome.  Hitting 80% of my goal was great, especially with a brewery I fully support.

Today has been amazing.
I've spent the majority of the afternoon sitting around Indiana City Brewing - my favorite local brewing - enjoy their beers, while I write and get nostalgic about some of the most important beers I have drank in my life.  During this afternoon, I have texted numerous people - letting them know how much I appreciate them and their influence on my drinking life and this website.  I drink.  I drink a lot.  And I have amazing friends who help me drink amazing beers.  I also am blessed with an Amazeballs Girlfriend who supports my passion, and drinks with me.  If you check out APRIL 2016 - you can see our amazing trip to Cincinnati and all the beers we tried together that day, and the following days.  Also, if you check out my BICYCLE SERIES it is 100% dedicated to Caitlin - who bought me the deck of cards I used for that aspect of this website.

It's been a long journey.
It's been a crazy journey.
There have been ups and downs.
There have been amazing nights and blackout night that I can't remember.
All that matters is that I have a woman who loves me and supports this journey, I have an awesome brother who is always up for experimenting in Chicago with whatever breweries I can find, and I have amazing friends in the bartending/bar managing business who bring in new beers for me to try.
After years of being an angry drunk, who wanted to party like he is still 21...
...I am proud to say that my life and focus has changed in 2016.
I have goals.
I have dreams.
And some of them involved this website.
I was asked to partner with Home Brew Supply - by them.  Which was an honor.
And I've chosen to use this website as a writing avenue for myself - on top of keeping account of my new beers.
Most importantly, I have a very supportive "better half" who also enjoys beer, and is insanely supportive.  Keeping my two loves so close together, and still importantly separate.

My life is good.
My life is amazing.
And I have 196 beers left to try to hit the goal I set for myself.
Luckily, I'm not doing this alone.

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