01
Apr
14

This is the end.

I occasionally get emails about new comments that were posted to this site. A site that’s been dormant for almost 3 years now. Mostly they are spam, trying to get me to do something, I ignore them. There have been a couple that have legitimate comments, I ignore those as well. A lot has happened since my last post. Reading back on the final few I can see the start of the road I finally took. The road to recovery from alcoholism. Yeah, probably something you don’t want to hear on a beer blog. Probably something else you don’t want to hear is that craft beer was an accelerant to it. I’m not saying that craft beer turns you into one, alcoholism is always within a person, it’s just a matter of time before it shows it face to the person. But for me, and from a few others I have come in contact with, the high ABV’s and the saturation of these beers on the shelf can take a fairly tame alkie in his or her beginning stages and shoot it to solid, undeniable alcoholism in a relatively short period of time. Looking back on this blog I can see myself slide down the hole. One of my last posts was me talking about how I drink too much and how I was sick of craft beers and the scene and this blog and not knowing what to do. I was in denial. I was taking breaks and trying to regulate. People without drinking problems don’t need to take breaks. People without drinking problems don’t think about regulating because they don’t need to. Alcohol doesn’t effect them like it does to people like me.

Craft beer was a dream to me. I was always a weekend warrior, a lush of sorts but it was just something I consumed, I never really thought about it. But then I got a new job with lots more money and I decided to try out some of the beers that are on the other side of the cooler and just like that I was hooked. Beer was now just more than a thing that got me buzzed, it was a lifestyle. As you can read by this blog I was into it. And why not. I was an alcoholic and this was a hobby. I mean, what better hobby for a drunk than drinking? But craft beer was like wine. I wasn’t drinking my hobby out of a paper bag under a bridge. I was at a brewery with six 3oz samples sniffing them and studying them. Alcoholics don’t appreciate liquor, they use it to get drunk, I wasn’t doing that. But I was.

I started out in this scene at the dawn of it’s awakening. I was there at Surly when they opened their doors. I watched the shelves in the stores go from one section to a whole corner, to half the wall cooler. I saw brewery after brewery start up around town. I saw people that were just novices turn into experts and even brewers themselves. It was a good time to be a drinker. Those early days, the first days of this blog, I look back in fondness. It was fun. The road trips. The hunting for beers. Finding new ones. Meeting new people. But towards the end, the final days of this blog and the 2 years after (I’m currently over a year sober) were dark days for me. I tried desperately to get back to when I enjoyed myself drinking. But almost every time it was1,2, 3 or more beers over what I was planning. During my stint as a tour guide at Summit I’d get 2 cases per shift. I worked one Saturday, brought home my 2 cases and by the next Friday I was out and had to go to the liquor store. 48 beers in 6 days, weekdays, work weekdays. And of course I’d go to the liquor store and get what I would think would be enough for Friday and Saturday and ALWAYS dip into my Saturday stash. And of course I’d try to leave enough for some on Sunday too but when I didn’t, Wisconsin run! These last couple years I would try to hold out till the weekends. Never could. Try to regulate. Always fail. It just kept getting worse and worse and the more I’d fuck up the more I would hate myself for it. I didn’t want to be an alcoholic, I was better than that but each and every time I was proven wrong. Drinking is progressive. Reverting back to the old ways doesn’t happen. Slowing down was torture. All I could think about was when I could drink next. And craft beer? HA! That was just another beer to me. I love lambics, the sours but the ABV? Not worth it when I could drop 5 bucks on a Hop Stoopid and get a bang for my buck. Or, fuck all that. 3.55 would get me a 40 of Mickey’s. And of course I learned my lesson about running out of beer because I’d buy a bottle of whiskey, which would be gone a lot faster than I anticipated. I knew I had to stop but I didn’t want to. Alcohol was a friend. I counted on it. What was I going to do when I had a bad day? What was I going to do on vacations What was I going to do WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO! But the last couple days I did things I never said I would do. I crossed a line. I could not control myself. I knew right then and there it was over. It was either sobriety or a life of misery. I knew it was possible. I took a 4 month break the year prior and I enjoyed it and I knew of others who have gotten sober and cannot speak more highly of their decision. And now I am am one of them.

So here I am. One year sober revisiting my old blog. Posting this wondering if anyone will read it. I came onto here planning on scrapping it, cleaning out another part of old drinking life like the shelf of empty growlers or brewery t-shirts. But I read this post and saw the seeds of recovery starting to grow so I decided to instead leave the blog up and write this. The craft beer scene, from an insider now outsider looking back in a completely silly scene to me now. Like how people who aren’t comic book fans view comic book fans and their conventions. Only difference is that I was there. I know what beer geekdom is. It’s completely silly. Being a brewer and enjoying beer is one thing, taking pictures of beer and videos about you drinking it and talking about it is silly. Just recently Surly sponsored a concert and had a beer release during the show. The people there were completely silly. They treated the beer like it was playing guitar. I got more Facebook pictures of the beer than I did Amon Amarth. Silly! But I digress. Have a good time out there. I’m out to live a full and happy life without booze. Plus I’m not a fat bloated lush anymore.

28
Apr
11

MN Craft Beer Weeks Bicycle Pub Crawl and Trivia Contest

I get the honor of planning the first ever bicycle pub crawl for MN Craft Beer Week. Of course I couldn’t do this completely on my own so I’ve acquired the assistance of fellow beer blogger and bike enthusiest Beckel from the blog Legal Beer. This weekend we’ll be riding the planned route to see how it work. The ride is on May 21st and starts at 10 am at Cafe 28 where Surly’s own Todd Haug will have a special beer for us while his wife, who owns the place, will have breakfast. From there we will travel to Busters on 28 then up to the Nomad World Pub on the West Bank, from there we will go north across the Stone Arch Bridge and on to Pracna on Main where lunch will be had and finally the last stop will Stanley’s where the fine folks there have sectioned off their parking lot and made it a bike corral for us and all the bikers in town who will be enjoying the Schell’s beer tent and Art-A-Whirl which is happening the same day. During the ride there will be trivia questions at each stop with a prize for the winner which is unfortunately still in the works but I hope to get that out as soon as I can. To participate in the trivia contest you need to purchase a MN Craft Beer Week Passport but if you just want to ride and drink great beer  you are welcome to tag along but I do encourage everyone to get a passport. I can’t guarantee that there will be anymore passports to purchase on the day of the ride so you should purchase them ahead of time here. Other than that it should be a fun ride and hope you cyclists and craft beer lovers can come along.

Here are some helpful links
MN Craft Beer Weeks Website
MN Craft Beer Week Facebook Page
Pub Crawl Facebook Page
MPLS Bike Love’s Forum Thread about the Pub Crawl 

22
Mar
11

Win a Beginning Home Brewing DVD

Interested in home brewing but nervous about how to begin? I know when I started I had all the equipment and a few books but I still wish I had some visual tutorial. Well look no further than this DVD. This DVD specializes in extract brewing which most every beginner starts with. It’s a great video to start with and a great reference. Personally I am the kind of person who prefers to visualize and I sure wish I had this when I started but that being said I still found some useful tips inside. Right now I have an opportunity to give away a DVD of this for free. All you need to do to enter is be the first person to send me a picture of your unused kit and the DVD will be shipped to your house.

Send pictures to dirtyspeed@yahoo.com

Check out their website.

03
Mar
11

Great Lakes Conway Irish

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Now this a smooth beer. Since my 3 week detox the only beer I’ve been drinking are hop bombs. Probably because those are the beers I gravitate towards the most but I’m always pleasantly surprised by the more tame beers. Makes me wonder when I’ll switch styles. Hop bombs, though tasty,  are growing old. This Conway Irish has a very nice and welcoming malt finish. The nose is subtle and the mouth is clean. The ABV is 6.5 so it’s no slouch yet it’s still very refreshing. Go for it.

25
Feb
11

18 days later…

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Took a little break from beer recently, made it 18 days. Always wanted to but never really found the right time. Then I decided to pick a time and just go for it. And lucky me, right at the start of Surly Brewery’s 5th Anniversary month. Crap. Well followed through, mostly, planned on till after the baby was born but when you love beer like I do it’s hard to stay completely away. You could have told me I could have hard liquor or wine or heck, Bud Light and I would have passed but to stay away from craft beer is no fun. But that being said this is my catalyst to cut down my intake so there should be some good coming out of it. Anyways I recommended it to people. It’s could to step away and flush the system but take it from me, 2 weeks minimum, 3 weeks maximum ;)

03
Feb
11

Bigfoot 2011

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This is fresh, really fresh. The hops are really strong with the barley wine characteristics coming up after the hop burn subsides. Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot is a national treasure. When I went into the liquor store I had no idea this was in. I’m sure everyone has their “no duh” beers. When you are out picking up beer these are the one’s that make your beer shopping quick. You see it, you buy it, you stop looking for other beers. Mission accomplished. I saw Bigfoot and I was on my home. It’s Bigfoot, duh. So here it is again, pretty much the same as last year but I’m not very good at remembering what I drank a year ago. I believe it’s a bit more hoppy but I could be wrong. So I don’t need to really say anything more. You know what this is.

26
Jan
11

Hop Slam, my old friend.

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What can I say about the beer that introduced me to “the limit.” I was well into craft beer before I first had this but for some reason this was different. And even 4 years later it’s still special. Every year I still buy too much of it,  regret when I drink too much of it and always come back for more. And truth be told, I still don’t see anything too unique about it. It’s a double IPA. Brewed with honey of course which does add to it’s flavor but as I have told countless people, Laguanitas Hop Stoopid is the poor man’s Hop Slam. But still this is an excellent beer. It does the job and then some. Let’s just say this beer works overtime whether you like it or not.




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