My 2012 in Beer

If you have followed this blog much - which, admittedly, was incredibly inconsistent in 2012 - you know two things about me: I enjoy a good brew and I spent the majority of the year trying to get healthy.

Most "diets" and "experts" will tell you those two things are incompatible. Those people are wrong. You've seen the pictures of me in previous posts and I've mentioned a few times about how one of the main goals when starting that process (which ended with me down 57 pounds and dropping 14% body fat, which I have kept off for almost two months now) was not to cut things out of my diet because I feel that only sets you up for failure after the losing weight process is done. It's just that much more difficult to add items you denied yourself so long back into regular eating and still expect to stay healthy.

All I did was limit myself. I figured out the rough calories of whatever beer I wanted to drink (yes, you have to PLAN it and STICK TO THE PLAN) and work it into the daily allocation of food. Beer calories are based almost exclusively on the ABV (alcohol percentage), so the higher the percentage the higher the calories. There is a complicated math formula you could run, or you could do what I did and use this fantastic reference chart from Simply Beer:

It's not exact, but it's close, and for me it seemed to work. I generally drink one bottle a week (pretty normal for me - well, since college ended at least), so it admittedly wasn't a drastic change - I didn't have to adjust from a six-pack or more a week habit. That being said I have a tendency to go for beers in the high percentage range (8%+) and I like variety, so it was still a challenge.

All that said, this is what I drank in 2012, presented with minimal comments (all 2012 bottlings unless otherwise noted). You may notice a lot of pumpkin ales - that's a further blog post I will put up when I finish the last few of 2012 still to try. (And if there is anything you think I should try, by all means leave it in the comments and I'll add it to my list!)

Winterfest - Wasastch Brewing (Salt Lake City) - 12oz bottle/winter warmer/7.1%
Hoppy and malty, nothing special.

JosephsBrauWinterfest - Trader Joe's - 12oz bottledoppelbock/7.5%
Not special, but a solid brew for a buck a bottle.

Our Christmas Ale - Anchor Brewing (San Francisco) - 12oz bottle/winter warmer/5.5%
Notes of pine and cherries - everything worked really, really well.

Sandy Paws - Heater Allen Brewing (McMinnville, OR) - 22oz bottle/baltic porter/6.5%
Heater Allen auctions off the right to put your dog on the label every year, with proceeds going to charity. I thought about getting Misaki on there, but a couple grand was too rich for my blood.

Blight Pumpkin Ale - Elysian Brewing (Seattle) - 22oz bottle/pumpkin ale/7.4%
From the 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series. Excellent! Too bad it's gone forever.

Bell's Pale Ale - Bell's Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI) - 12oz bottle/American pale ale/5.2%
All Bell's brews courtesy of a friend in Chicago; Bell's sadly doesn't distribute in Oregon.

Bourbon County Brand Stout (2010) - Goose Island Brewing (Chicago) - 12oz bottle/imperial stout/15.0%
Some of this went into a gingerbread Wifey made - so good.

Big Black Jack - Oakshire Brewing (Eugene) - 22oz bottle/chocolate pumpkin porter/9.0%
Won't get again in 2013.

Probably the most unique beer, for me, of 2012.

Sweet Heat - Burnside Brewing (Portland) - 22oz bottle/fruit beer/4.9%
Apricot and peppers? I was scared, but this works very well.

Chatoe Pumpkin Patch Ale - Rogue Brewing (Newport, OR) - 25.4oz bottle/pumpkin ale/5.6%
One of the year's best pumpkin ales.

Strawman - Angry Orchard (Cincinnati) - 750ml bottle/cider/10.0%
Ugh. Way too dry for our tastes.

CoCoNuT Porter - Maui Brewing (Hawaii) - 12oz can/American porter/6.0%

Pumking - Southern Tier Brewing (Lakewood, NY) - 22oz bottle/pumpkin ale/8.6%
Some of this went into a pumpkin chili. 

Punkin Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery (Milton, DE) - 12oz bottle/pumpkin ale/7.0%
Not as good as I remember.

My favorite pumpkin ale label.

Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale - Laurelwood Brewing (Portland) - 22oz bottle/pumpkin ale/7.5%
Will buy more of this in 2013 - perhaps my favorite.

Third Coast Beer - Bell's Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI) - 12oz bottle/barleywine/10.2%

He does look angry.

Iceman - Angry Orchard (Cincinnati) - 750ml bottle/cider/10.0%
Exact opposite of Strawman - almost like apple juice. 

Jubelale - Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR) - 12oz bottle/winter warmer/6.7%
Perhaps the best version in years. Might have to stock up.

Dark O' the Moon - Elysian Brewing (Seattle) - 22oz bottle/pumpkin stout/6.5%

Oberon Ale - Bell's Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI) - 12oz bottle/wheat ale/5.8%

Punk'n - Uinta Brewery (Salt Lake City) - 12oz bottle/pumpkin ale/4.0%
Very little flavor.

Small Beer - Anchor Brewing (San Francisco) - 16.9oz bottle/English bitter/3.3%

Pliny the Elder - Russian River Brewing (Santa Rosa, CA) - 16.9oz bottle/double IPA/8.0%
I avoided this for so long because I'm not a fan of IPAs. That was a mistake on my part. This brew is mind blowing.

Blackberry Pear Cider - Fox Barrel Brewing (Colfax, CA) - 12oz bottle/cider/5.0%

Smoked Porter - Breakside Brewing (Portland) - taster/porter/6.2%
Had a tiny taste of this at a pastry chef showcase. Need to get to Breakside Brewery at some point.

Black Cherry Stout - Walking Man Brewing (Stevenson, WA) - on tap at Horse Brass Pub/fruit beer/7.2%
A wonderful melding of cherry cola and beer. 

The Dissident - Deschutes Brewing (Bend, OR) - on tap at Deschutes Brewery/Flanders oud bruin/11.2%
My first sour beer. It was...sour. Very sour. Not sure it's my thing.

Black Butte XXIV - Deschutes Brewing (Bend, OR) - on tap at Deschutes Brewery/porter/11.0%
Needs some aging. Won't crack any of the bottles I bought yet.

Fresh Hop Black Ale - Deschutes Brewing (Bend, OR) - on tap at Deschutes Brewery/CDA/?
The next four were tap only at the Portland pub.

Rhineland Alt - Deschutes Brewing (Bend, OR) - on tap at Deschutes Brewery/lager/?

Deep Red Belgian Specialty - Deschutes Brewing (Bend, OR) - on tap at Deschutes Brewery/Belgian/?
My favorite of the four tap onlys.

Genevrier Wit - Deschutes Brewing (Bend, OR) - on tap at Deschutes Brewery/wheat beer/?

Chainbreaker White IPA - Deschutes Brewing (Bend, OR) - on tap at Deschutes Brewery/IPA/5.6%
A friend in Tucson said I need to try this, but I was put off by the IPA in the name. I shouldn't have been. It's excellent.

The Wu - Coalition Brewing (Portland) - on tap at Coalition Brewing/cream ale/4.9%
Great name, average beer.

Night Owl Pumpkin Ale - Elysian Brewing (Seattle) - 12oz bottle/pumpkin ale/5.9%

Rooster's Cream Ale - Coalition Brewing (Portland) - 22oz bottle/cream ale/4.8%

TBA - Stone Brewing/Bear Republic/Fat Head's - (San Diego/Healdsburg, CA/Pittsburgh) - 12oz bottle/brown ale/7.1%

Longboard Lager - Kona Brewing (Hawaii) - 12oz bottle/lager/4.6%
Used most of this in an attempt to make nukazuke, which failed miserably. Can't blame the beer, though it's nothing special.

Kaz Premium Red Ale - Echigo Brewing (Japan) - 12oz bottle/red ale/6.0%
Had a pretty red label with a crane on it at Uwajimaya. Solid beer.

Hell or High Watermelon - 21st Amendment Brewing (San Francisco) - 12oz can/fruit beer/4.9%

Four-year Abyss vertical - 2009-2012. 

The Abyss (2010) - Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR) - 22oz bottle/imperial stout/11.0%
Abyss is never not awesome. Made some Kona coffee /stout ice cream and a cake with some of this.

Collage Conflux No. 1 - Deschutes Brewery/Hair of the Dog Brewing - (Bend, OR/Portland) - 12oz bottle/strong ale/11.6%
Really enjoyed this one. I distinctly remember banana and vanilla - tasty.

Hefeweissbier - Weihenstephan (Germany) - 16.9oz bottle/hefeweizen/5.4%
Is THIS what a hefeweizen is supposed to taste like?! Well damn...sorry Widmer.

Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean - Stone Brewing (San Diego) - 12oz bottle/porter/5.9%
Not nearly enough vanilla.

Black Butte Porter - Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR) - 12oz bottle/porter/5.2%
Still my favorite beer I can get just about anywhere.

Mango Weizen - Trade Route Brewing (Pacific, WA) - 22oz bottle/wheat beer/5.0%
No good. Not at all.

Monk's Blood - 21st Amendment Brewing (San Francisco) - 12oz can/Belgian strong dark/8.3%
Buying a box of this when it comes back in 2013. Super good.

Back in Black - 21st Amendment Brewing (San Francisco) - 12oz can/CDA/6.8%

Stumptown Tart - Bridgeport Brewing (Portland) - 22oz bottle/fruit beer/7.8%
This is about as fruity as I want my beer. Very well balanced.

Orange Blossom Cream Ale - Buffalo Bill's Brewery (Hayward, CA) - 12oz bottle/fruit beer/5.2%
Almost tasteless.

Aprihop - Dogfish Head Brewing (Milton, DE) - 12oz bottle/IPA/7.0%

Bitter American - 21st Amendment Brewing (San Francisco) - 12oz can/American pale ale/4.4%
I have enjoyed everything I've tried from 21A.

Cassis - Brouwerij Lindemans (Vlezenbeek, Belgium) - 12oz bottle/lambic/4.0%
Not one I'd get again.

Framboise - Brouwerij Lindemans (Vlezenbeek, Belgium) - 12oz bottle/lambic/2.5%
Really like this.

Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA) - 12oz bottle/oatmeal stout/5.5%
Very good - need to make a point of trying more Firestone Walker brews.

Monkey Face Porter - Cascade Lakes Brewing (Redmond, OR) - 12oz bottle/porter/5.0%
Disappointing. Bland.

Choklat - Southern Tier Brewing (Lakewood, NY) - 22oz bottle/imperial stout/10.0%
Yum! Would be even better if they used a top tier chocolate.

Oatmeal Pale Ale - Burnside Brewing (Portland) - 22oz bottle/American pale/5.6%

ReNEWAle - Ninkasi Brewing (Eugene, OR) - 12oz bottle/porter/5.9%

Oatis Oatmeal Stout - Ninkasi Brewing (Eugene, OR) - in ice cream at Salt & Straw/oatmeal stout/7.2%
I liked the oat stout flavors it added to the ice cream. Need to try it by itself, though I haven't enjoyed much from Ninkasi.

Trippel - New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO) - 12oz bottle/tripel/7.8%

Stormwatcher's Winterfest - Pelican Pub & Brewery (Pacific City, OR) - 22oz bottle/barleywine/13.0%
This is what gets barrel aged and becomes the annual Mother of All Storms. You know what? It tastes exactly like it, just younger. Really enjoyed it.

Backbone Chocolate Espresso Stout - Boneyard Brewing (Bend, OR) - on tap/stout/6.0%

Feathertop Pumpkin Stout - Flat Tail Brewing (Corvallis, OR) - 22oz bottle/stout/8.0%
Was not impressed.

Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic - Stone Brewing (San Diego) - 22oz bottle/Belgian pale/9.4%

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