1000 Beers, 20 Observations
Last night, I earned the illustrious 'Extraordinary' badge on Untappd. For those of you that aren't badge whores such as myself, the Extraordinary badge is earned when you've checked in to 1,000 unique beers using Untappd. Though it's really a pretty inconsequential occasion, it got me to thinking about how my craft beer hobby has developed into a passion over time, plus all the stuff I've found out and observations I've made thanks to the KC beer community. Here's a list of 20 things that came to mind last night (I was a little buzzed, which may be obvious in some of these):
• Beer can turn a group of grown adults into a bunch of 7th graders sitting at the lunch table trading rumors. "Did you hear they're going to start a canning line?" "Well, I heard that they're working on a sour." "Did you SEE that shirt that Danner is wearing?"
• Pretentious RateBeer & BeerAdvocate reviews are a fantastic source of entertainment. "This Farmhouse Ale tastes like morning raindrops licked delicately off a horse's ass with notes of rusty bike chain…from a Huffy, of course."
• A trip out of town can't be properly planned without searching out the closest breweries and best bottle shops in the area you're visiting. And on the same note, it's devastating when you find out that the town you are visiting doesn't have either.
• When said trips are planned, we all turn into each other's beer mules. I've been lucky enough to try some great beer from New Glarus, Crooked Stave, etc. thanks to the generosity of others and their well padded luggage.
• Cell phone providers have all probably seen increases in profit as we upgrade to unlimited data plans in order to constantly check in to and upload photos of our beer. Coincidentally, the question 'Does this place have free wi-fi?' is also becoming more commonplace in beer bars everywhere.
• Drinking better beer has been a great way to expand my knowledge on a range of subjects. For example, if you had asked me a year ago what a lychee was, I would have responded with nothing more than a blank stare and probably a bit of dumbfounded drool rolling out of my mouth.
• First-time introductions between two people in the KC beer community almost always include the phrase "Oh, you're ___________ on Twitter, right?"
• I'm pretty sure that craft beer drinkers and brewery employees make up for at least 70% of the facial hair in this country.
• Super hot/spicy pepper beers may be nothing more than a novelty, but getting to watch people's reactions after tasting them is well worth the price of the bottle.
• Far too many people who don't 'get it' immediately associate being a craft beer enthusiast with alcoholism. These people need to be injured.
• No two words in the English language will get a beer dork's pants all tingly like 'brettanomyces' and 'sour'.
• The beer world is rapidly developing its own universe of holidays and celebration weeks. International IPA Day, International Stout Day, National Beer Can Appreciation Day, National Homebrew Day, Barleywine Week, and now there are people working on making Flagship Beer Week a thing. At one point can we start petitioning to get these days off work?
• As much as I enjoy a good barrel-aged, high ABV behemoth of a beer, sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than a 2.5% beer/flavored soda mixture. (Yeah I said it, Radlers, what up)
• My budget/financial decisions are always taking beer into account. I've become that freak who hoards coupons for groceries and household items because I figure even if I just save $4 a month, hey, that's an extra Lagunitas bomber. And no major purchases are made until after I mentally debate whether I'd prefer to spend that money on beer.
• Having your state snubbed by a great brewery that is expanding is like getting shot down by that girl you asked to the prom. FINE, OSKAR BLUES, GO WITH ALABAMA. I DIDN'T WANT TO TASTE YOU ANYWAY!
• If Green Flash Rayon Vert could take human lady form, I'd marry her in a second and make 9,000 babies with her. THEN DRINK THEM ALL.
• In this town, it's of utmost importance to clear your schedule around lunch on limited release days so you can make a beer run at the drop of a hat.
• Being a craft beer drinker can suddenly turn you into a makeshift political activist regarding the 3-tier beer distribution system, as well as how slow and backwards Kansas liquor laws and Missouri label approval processes are.
• Few things will make a beer dork's eyes burst into flames of contempt like a server giving him/her a bottle of beer without a glass.
Really, though, the final and biggest thing I've learned is that Kansas City has a top notch beer community that I'm proud to be a part of. Without getting too sappy or sentimental, my involvement in the KC beer community really started to pick up at a time when my life had hit a low point. I needed something to bring me back up and I found it in a city full of fun, interesting people with a shared passion for beer. The first 1,000 have been great, now I'm looking forward to the next 1,000, sharing many of those with all of you, and seeing what else I'll learn in the future thanks to great beer.
Oh yeah, and don't forget to keep it #TeamTwoJokers.