Nine months into my Year of Unique Beer challenge, which means three months to go, but all the same I can't help feeling that it'll be an easy coast to the finish line.
We've entered the Month of the Pumpkin. All downhill from here.
For those who need a quick recap, I accepted a challenge, this year, to drink no more than one serving of any single beer, which means that the bottle of Victory Prima Pilsner I had on New Years Day was the only one I was allowed for all of 2017.
Initially, of course, it was pretty easy: lots of beer out there, right? As the weather got warmer, things started to tighten up, and I saw my first "available everywhere" macro beer go off the list (adios, PBR). Summer was the hardest, what with the weekends at the beach that might knock off 20 varieties (which I had to supply myself) and bars with limited options on tap (RIP, Sam Adams, Miller, and Yuengling Lager).
I have now, though, entered the victory lap, for I have come to the time of joy for one in my position.
The OPC Train
I've purchased my ticket for what I've come to call the "OPC Train." OPC: Oktoberfest, Pumpkin, Christmas.
From hereon in, the tap lists of the world will be a never-ending rotation of Oktoberfests and Marzens, which will roll right into the pumpkin beer glut that I'm already seeing, and from there it'll be wall-to-wall Christmas and Winter-spiced beers right through to 11:59PM on December 31st, 2017.
What to many is a cause for a groan and a head-shake is to me the sight of salvation. No more wondering whether I've already had that particular "summer ale" or blonde, no more worrying I'll be stuck on vacation with nothing but Barefoot Chardonnay and a fridge full of Miller Lite. Hell, I could throw darts at these tap lists and feel confident I'm getting something new!
Call it some kind of bizarro-world pumpkin ale Stockholm Syndrome if you will, but this year, for me, the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg is the best beer aroma I could hope for.
Pride Goeth After the Fall
Having said that, I'm not going to get complacent. Fall will end, and when it does, a final dangerous beast looms: winter holidays. What to do with the inevitable parties of the holiday season? For that, I need something more: cold weather. Once we get there, I can justify passing on the beer in favor of a glass of Scotch, if push comes to shove.
But I'm going to try to keep the beer thing going. It's been wonderful to see how many friends and family members have gone out of their way to hold onto unusual beers, haul things back from vacation for me, or reserve one beer out of each case they buy as a gift. Hopefully the spirit of the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas will keep the unique beer lines open and flowing.
I can't pretend, though, that it's not starting to wear on me a bit. My mouth literally waters when I think about what it will be like to say, "I'll have another!" on January 1st.
And how, you might ask, will all of this end?
New Year's Eve with, oh, let's say 7-8 bottles of some special things I've been saving, as well as the rankest, most-ubiquitous macro lagers on the market, will round out the year.
And then, at 12:01AM, the first of up to 24 Sierra Nevada Celebration IPAs. Any bets on how many I can get through before the day ends?
Keep it simple.