New Year’s Resolutions of a Beer Geek

Well the New Year is here, and I’m in the mood for change.  Not change for change’s sake, but change for the better.  Here’s how I plan on being a better, more sensible beer nerd in 2011: 

1. Spend Less

I spend a lot of money on beer.  Too much, I think.  So far, my spending has known no regulations, no limits, but I intend to change that in the new year (that cry you hear is a collective gasp from beer shop owners and distributors throughout Northern New Jersey).  I need to think it through a bit, but the obvious place to start is setting limits and sticking to them.  It’s time for a beer budget.  Eww, I don’t like how those words sound together!

2. Drink Less

In order to spend less, I’ll have to drink less.  It’s not that I drink a lot, but there are a number of beers I can eliminate from my diet without affecting the pleasure I get from my favorite hobby.  There’s the uninspired weekday beer, the beer you actually shouldn’t have at the end of the night but you do anyway, the expensive beer you open even though you’re not in the mood, etc.  Lots of areas where less may very well be more, allowing me to enjoy my beers even more when I have them.  Plus the bunker is well-stocked; it’s time for a drink-down!

3. Brew More

One way to save a ton of dough is to brew your own beer. Speaking of a ton of dough, that’s what I spent on my ridiculously over-capable brew kettle, so it’d be silly not to get the pot on boil.  I’m planning on brewing at least one batch a month, starting with that Two Hearted Pale Ale clone I’ve had since August…

4. Learn More

I’ve spent the last few years filling my head with all sorts of beer facts.  But up to this point it has been through drinking, talking, web surfing and some light reading.  But this year I want to get more structured about filling in the blanks.  I’ll start with reading all those beer books I own but have only pawed through quickly.  Cover to cover, so much to discover!

5. Mission GABF

Don and I went to the Great American Beer Festival last year, and I intend on returning this year.  Not sure how I’m gonna swing it, but it’s the Super Bowl of beer, and where there’s a will, there has to be a way.  Maybe I can use all the money I save from #1, #2, and #3 above.  We shall see.  But now that I know the lay of the land, there’s so much I want to do there.

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So those are my resolutions for this year.  We’ll see how well I do – I’m already a little tired just reading back over the list!  I think if I can stick to at least half of these, I’ll be a wiser, richer and more complete geek by the end of 2011, which will be a good thing indeed.

What about you?  Any beer or whiskey-related resolutions that revolve around the world’s greatest beverages (not counting that one you made New Year’s Day about NEVER drinking again)?  As always, let us know below, and HAPPY NEW YEARS from Don and I!

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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40 Comments on “New Year’s Resolutions of a Beer Geek”

  1. January 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    #1 and #3 combined make me feel conflicted. Spend less?!?! Boooo. Brew more? You’re winning me back.

    Isn’t your drinking a tax write-off for the blog anyway?

    • January 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

      Oh boy, the tax thing is a can of worms, but I don’t claim my beverages as a write off because this is not a money-making venture (obviously). Plus, I’m ascared of the IRS.

      • Don
        January 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

        You’re a big baby! This year for sure I’m filing the LLC papers! Step one on my 5 step resolution list! 😉

        • January 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

          Is Step #5 “be audited”?

        • Don
          January 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

          Hell no! That’s step 2! Big Baby!

        • January 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

          You seem ready to mix it up with Uncle Sam. Did you recently convert to Branch Davidian?

        • Don
          January 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

          You know us Idahoans…we have a long history with Da Govmnt!

  2. January 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I want to cook with beer more. I’m already planning a goat stew for later this week (technically the recipe calls for chicha, but unless Sam Calagione wants to come over and spit up some corn with me, I’ll have to fake it.)

    • January 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

      I think any saliva will do for Chicha, not just Sam’s. 😉

      I like the idea of cooking with beer as well, but it always feels so wasteful, pouring that beer into a pot, especially a good beer.

      • January 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

        I like using “mid range” beer. Made a quinoa and caramelized onions dish with Sam Adams Honey Porter which was great. Made a chocolate cake with Young’s Double Chocolate once which was pretty much the best thing I’ve ever made.

        I did make a banana bread with Goose Island BCS once: http://newyorkaleproject.com/2010/10/04/bourbon-county-banana-bread/

        • January 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

          You had me right until the BCS banana bread! I don’t think I could bear to pour that into the Kitchen Aid!

  3. January 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    #2 is the key. You’re thinking quality over quantity. Cut out the beers that don’t satisfy. I’m limiting those everyday kinds of beers as well. I’ll buy it if it’s rare or really good or possibly out of market for sharing with my beer club.

    #3 is also a good idea. However, I’ve spent a bunch on homebrew ingredients and equipment. My goal is to only brew with the intention to please my own tastes and not trying to brew every style like so many homebrewers do.

    • January 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

      I agree on brewing to your own tastes. I brewed a wheat once even though I don’t like them. Not only was it not very good, I now have two cases lingering in my garage.

      I figure I’m already in for the equipment, and I can brew a nice batch of beer for $30 to $50, which is quite reasonable for good beer. That can be my everyday stuff and I can save my beer budget for rare goodies.

      • January 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

        Exactly. I’m thinking Black Bitter (AKA Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA/whatever) for my next and possibly a Strong Dark Belgian with friends. You (after the Two-Hearted clone)? Speaking of the clone, is it from Norhern Brewer?

        • January 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

          Yes, the clone is from Northern Brewer. I hope that’s a good thing.

          After it’s done, I’ll probably try to make a huge Bourbon-aged stout. Make what you like, right? 😉

      • January 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

        Yeah, that was the first batch I ever did. It was nice, but Two-Hearted it wasn’t. I’d suggest tweaking the recipe a bit. Are you doing extract or whole grain?

        How are you bourbon aging your stout? Oak chips soaked in bourbon? Let them sit for a long time. When you’re ready to take them out, let them sit for another week or two.

        • January 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

          I have the extract kit, so I’m not sure how much tweaking I can do. Plus it’s been sitting around for five months (the yeast is in the fridge) so I’m not sure how this “pre-aging” (to be kind to myself) might affect the flavor. But any pointers you can offer are welcome.

          For bourbon aging, I’ll use wood cubes. I did it for my first-ever brew, a Bourbon aged porter, and the flavor worked out well. I used Elijah Craig 12, same as the use in Backwoods Bastard with a similar result, at least in the Bourbon profile.

      • January 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

        I’m no expert, but I’ve found using the same amount of dry extract as liquid (which is usually included in the kits) gets the beer over that “tastes like homebrew” wateriness we often get from our brews. So, maybe adding a little extra extract will do the trick. It certainly can’t hurt it.

        In my second batch, I took the recipe for the Two-Hearted clone, replaced the liquid extract with a light dry extract and substituted Simcoe for the hops to create one of my finest creations: Simcoe-dependency.

        I’m also a big proponent of adding extra hops. I did a barley wine with the observation that most extract barley wines were pale ales only with double the malt. I also doubled the hops and it turned out great.

        Cubes, huh? Is that different than chips? I used Maker’s Mark b/c that’s what was around. I didn’t leave it in the beer nearly long enough.

        • January 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

          Good advice. I’ll see what I can scratch up.

          Cubes are the same as chip, only more square. I had them in the bourbon for four weeks and then in the beer for four or five weeks. It did the trick!

  4. Don
    January 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Jim, that Bells Two Hearted Clone was sitting on your Dining Room table when I came out to Jersey in April!

    • January 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      No it wasn’t!! I was bottling the wheat then (thanks for not helping) and the porter was in secondary. I didn’t order the Two Hearted until later in the Summer, which is still a shamefully long time ago.

  5. January 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Speaking of bourbon aged stouts, I’m going to the Schlafly Tap Room tonight. I suppose this makes it obvious what I’ll be buying. I digress.

    • January 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

      I am sooo in love with that stupid 2008 Reserve, it’s silly. I’m sure it’s awful on tap. 😉

  6. Greg K.
    January 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Hmm resolutions for the year:
    1. Start Homebrewing – I got a kit for Christmas, but it’s missing a few things (namely an extract kit and cleaner) before I can start. Otherwise, I would’ve started already.
    2. Expand my Beer Palate – I remember when all I drank was IPAs and wheat beer. I’ve grown to absolutely love stouts. Still working on Sours and Belgians though. I’m not gonna force it, but I have to imagine I’ll appreciate the styles more as I delve deeper.
    3. Go to a Beer Release – I know I’m not gonna make it to KtG or DLD, but I’d love to get to say Victory, Troegs, DFH, or somewhere relatively local for a cool release.
    4. Go to a Beer Festival – Don’t know if I’ll make the GABF, but I definitely regret passing the few NYC fests that happened last year.
    5. Enjoy Myself More – I really limited the beer intake over the past year and a half as I was on a severe weight loss program. Even though I’ve more than surpassed my goal, I still make myself crazy about how much I’ll let myself drink. I just want to enjoy beer for the year. I’ll still do everything in moderation, but I need to let myself have a bit more fun than last year.

    Hoping everyone stays true to their resolutions this year.
    Cheers!

    • January 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

      Sounds like a solid list, Greg. I started into sours last year with mixed results. I hope you do better. And have more fun doing it.

  7. January 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    I’ve already got a head start on my cutting back in the area of bourbon but unfortunately (or is it fortunately) I’ve increased my beer purchasing and drinking along with dabbling in the dark side and adding Scotch/Irish/Japanese whisk(e)y to the collection. I guess for 2011, I’ll narrow my purchasing focus and only add those things to the bunker that are complimentary or add diversity to the whisk(e)y / Beer bunker. I had to clean off a whole shelf in my storage room for all the beer I have…..thankfully, my wife either didn’t notice or chose not to say anything. Happy New Year.

    • January 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

      I like an enabling spouse, Greg. Very important for what we do…

  8. January 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Some of mine are eerily similar to your 1-3 🙂 As a grad student, saving money is key so when I get beer, I want to make it really count and try new things. Plus, brewing more with my boyfriend will be a great way for me to learn. I’m really excited about it! Happy new year!

    • January 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      Happy new year to you as well, Jacklyn. I hope you enjoy brewing – it’s a great way to get good beer for less dough, plus some folks think it’s fun. While I enjoy brewing, I hate bottling, which is what I think keeps flipping the “next week” switch in my head.

  9. January 4, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Since this is the beer and WHISKEY page I want to know who resolved to build a still. For fuel purposes only! If some happened to fall into charred oaken barrels that would be accidental.

    • Don
      January 4, 2011 at 11:25 am #

      It would have to be John, because that would be illegal, and we here at Beer and Whiskey are all for being 100% sqweeky clean when it comes to the law, however antiquated and stupid they are. 😉

  10. January 4, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    Jimbo!

    I feel your pain with #1! Ever since I started doing “research” this past April, my beer and whisky expenses have escalated dramatically (Shhh… don’t tell the Mrs.!). Luckily, I’m still a relative newbie when it comes to craft beer, so I’m still learning about the more affordable brews and haven’t ventured much into more expensive stuff.

    Whisky is another story. Moving beyond the “ordinary” gets really expensive. It makes spending over $100 to attend a whisky event a justified expense since it allows you to sample dozens of whiskies that would cost you thousands of dollars to acquire on your own.

    And if these are our biggest problems in life, then I’d say or lives are pretty damn good!

    Buona Fortuna!
    G-LO

    • January 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

      Yo, G-LO! Happy New Year-o!

      I agree that events are a great place to taste many drinks for a reasonable price. My whiskey “epiphany” came when Wild Turkey sent us a bunch of bottles for a tasting, and I got to try them back-to-back while the Russell boys told us about them. A light bulb went off for me that night (I think – the memories are fuzzy!) and I’ve been able to appreciate and remember the differences between whiskeys ever since. Anyway, trying a “flight” is essential for any noob to really understand booze I think.

      • January 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

        Whoa! Don must have lost it when he got the Wild Turkey swag bag (or was it a box?)! And a guided tour by Jimmy Russell? One word… priceless! Now I’m jealous. 🙂

        I hope to do the Whisky Guild cruise in Philly this April, and of course, there’s always Philly Beer Week. I just hope they have more organized events for this year’s Philly Beer Week. The day we went, it was just small one or two hour events throughout the day at various bars. Luckily it was a perfect 75 to 80 degree day, so bar hopping from 11AM to 9PM was very very pleasant. 🙂

  11. January 5, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    #1: Stay Hangover free!

    • January 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

      That one’s LONG broken!

  12. January 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I resolve to install more mounted bottle openers around the house, yard and garage.

    • January 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      Don’t forget the dashboard. 😉

  13. Stephen
    January 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    My New Years resolution was to land a job so that I don’t have to worry about 1 & 2!

    • January 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

      Yeah, and the fact that it’s a brewery gig probably will take care of the rest, too, except #5, but who knows. good luck!

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