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All year long, I will be drinking one beer a day -- no more, no less -- with no repeats. Join the discussion and help me discover and share new beer!

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Jan
02

Gonzo Imperial Porter

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (3)

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”
- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (1939, born - 2005, cannon fodder)

I’ve never had Gonzo Imperial Porter before, so beer #2 will be a real treat for several reasons. The least important of which is I’m quite partial to porter.

Gonzo Imperial Porter celebrates and honors the life of Hunter S. Thompson. Bruce Paine, a Beer A Day reader and self-styled warrior poet, introduced me to the works of the good doctor several years ago. Most recently, Paine loaned me a copy of The Rum Diary, early work by Thompson and entirely accessible.

The artwork on this bottle is great, by Ralph Steadman. And I’ve never had a bad experience with anything beneath a Steadman label.

Pouring the beer is to watch a syrupy waterfall crash into your glass. It whipped up almost a full finger of foam, and the beer literally hissed at me! A dark ring developed around the mocha head, and after nearly a full minute the foam collapsed on itself, leaving a small island in the middle.

I’m sniffing it now — there’s almost no aroma, which is surprising, especially because I’m using a tulip glass that should really concentrate the smell.

First sip — wow — unexpected, delicious. It’s a porter that dances on the edge.

The description printed on the bottle reads:

“Dark, malty and mysterious, this beer is as complex as the man it celebrates. Brewed to honor the life of Hunter S. Thompson, Gonzo Imperial Porter is an assault on your taste buds with just the right amount of irreverence thrown in.”

I’ll agree completely with the first sentence. The initial sip is surprising. The malt is strong, toasted and sweet. Another sip — stronger, the toasting comes clear and it almost has a raisin quality. Keep sipping and the smoky aroma really comes through. It’s as if you need the taste in your mouth before you can fully appreciate the aroma; the taste and the smell build upon each other, layer upon layer. But unlike the bottle description, I’d say this beer doesn’t quite assault the taste buds — it lays siege to them.

Dark. No light makes it through this beer. I can see my reflection clearly in the glass, the roundness distorting my face, not entirely like Steadman’s gonzo artwork, but not entirely unlike it either. I would expect such a dark beer to be thicker on the tongue, but the malt and fruit work to keep it just light enough…

Only halfway through and I’m already feeling this beer hit me. IBU is 85, 7.8% alcohol by volume. Glad I had a big dinner.

I’m going to sit back and enjoy the last half of this beer now. I’m feeling good; and though I’m certain this is not true, my imagination and this smoky taste are working to send puffs out of my nose, mouth, and ears.

Let’s leave off with a final quote, printed on the label:

“Good people drink good beer.”
- Hunter S. Thompson

Categories : Beer a Day
Comments (3)
Jan
02

Stocked Up

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (7)

As of today, I have over 60 different beers in my inventory. Most of them are taking up counter space — I need to find a better place to store these before I incur the wrath of my loving wife…

I’ll write more about how I’ve been acquiring my inventory. In fact, I’ll be posting the entire list online soon.

Categories : Site News
Comments (7)
Jan
01

Harpoon IPA

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (11)

I am sipping today’s beer as I write this, and it’s only fitting that I start this challenge with Harpoon IPA.

Before drinking my first Harpoon IPA, I didn’t much care for India Pale Ales.

To tell the truth, I wasn’t a fan of hoppy beer at all. The bitterness was just too much for me. harpoon ipaAvoiding pale ales, and IPAs in particular, was my secret shame for years. You see, loving beer but hating a strong hoppy brew is almost unheard of — like an optimist who grumbles about Christmas.

In 2003, I moved from Chicago to Boston. I sat down at an Irish pub the day I signed my lease and asked the bartender for something local.

“Just not Sam Adams,” I said. You can get Sam Adams in Chicago.

What he gave me was a Harpoon IPA. I held back my grimace — I’d heard stories about Boston bartenders, so I wasn’t about to send it back.

Harpoon IPA surprised me. Sure, there’s a fair amount of hoppiness to this beer. But it dissipates into maltiness, melting across your tongue and leaving just the mildest aftertaste. The hops don’t attack your taste buds, so you get to enjoy the bit of citrus-peel bitterness without reeling from it. Yet, there’s no doubt you’re drinking an IPA.

Harpoon became my gateway drug into the world of IPA, and I started to seek out hoppy beer. No more shame for this beer drinker — I became a certified hop head.

Even with all the great IPAs I’ve found, Harpoon’s brew has been my favorite. It’s what I ask for by default when I sit down at a bar or order from a restaurant menu. In fact, I had a few glasses of Harpoon IPA before the New Year’s Eve champagne came out last night. For my last night of beer drinking freedom, I chose Harpoon IPA.

Now I’m realizing that by drinking Harpoon IPA at the start of this challenge, I’m not going to have another Harpoon IPA for a full year.

I have one more sip left.

I’m going to miss it when it’s gone.

But this journey is just getting started, and I’ll discover some great beer along the way. So, cheers to you for joining me on this adventure. MMmmm… That’s a good beer!

Categories : Beer a Day
Comments (11)
Jan
01

Happy New Year

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (0)

Here we are, 2009.

In these turbulent times — stock market in flux, wars in the Middle East, Nickelodeon canceling SpongeBob SquarePants — it’s comforting to know there will be at least one constant this year:

Me. Drinking one beer a day, every day, with no repeats.

Last night, New Years Eve, I had two glasses of beer at a restaurant before downing champagne. I didn’t really want that second beer, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reply to the waitress, “Sure, I’ll have another IPA.”

So while I’m trying to decide which beer to start this journey with, I wanted to pause and wish everyone a happy new year.

And if your waitress ever asks you about having another, try to say “yes” on my behalf!

Categories : General Chatter
Comments (0)
Dec
31

Announcing Beer A Day

Posted by: Andy Murphy | Comments (0)

Let me start by saying that I enjoy a good beer.

Often several of them; in fact, usually in rapid succession.

You don’t need special training to enjoy beer.   Trust me, I’m no beer expert.  What’s the difference between a lager and an ale, or a porter and a stout?  Beats me.  But give me a few minutes with Google and I’ll give you a sufficient answer.  You could probably beat me to it, in fact.

I enjoy trying new beer, and I hope you will too.

I’m a guy with a six pack and no abs.  Plop me down in a brew pub with a wide selection on tap, and I’m in heaven.  Usually.  I have a broad palate and I appreciate a wide range of beer types, but sometimes — man! — a beer just isn’t good.  Fortunately, that’s never scared me away from trying something new.

I want to get exposure to some new beers.  This is where it will happen.

My resolution for 2009 is to drink a new beer every day for the entire year.

On the surface, that sounds fairly simple.  But I’ve set out a few strict rules:

  1. I must drink a beer every day.
  2. I cannot drink more than one beer in any given day.
  3. No repeats allowed — once I drink a particular beer, that’s it.
  4. For each beer, I must record my thoughts here, on Beer A Day.net.


The rules mean I have only one chance to really “get to know” a new beer — I’m not allowed an extra pint to get a second opinion.  And with only one beer allowed each day, if I want another drink I’ll be having wine, whiskey, port, saké, tequila, vodka… so while this blog will be primarily about beer, I’m sure there will be a few posts about bourbon or a new mixed drink I’ve just discovered.

One way or the other, I’ll be branching out and learning something new.  And I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Categories : Site News
Comments (0)
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