|Vince Capano is a two time winner of the prestigious Quill and Tankard
writing award for humor from the North American Guild of Beer Writers.
Vince's column is now a regular feature of beernexus.com
Check back often for the next installment of
Vince's Adventures in Beerland
One Thousand by Vince Capano
I don’t know how the conversation at the bar got on that topic. Usually we talk
about things like the ramifications of the end of the Ice Age, the construction
methods used to build the Panama Canal, or how Eisenstein missed a few
things coming up with his relativity theory. No, instead of those mundane
topics, we got on one it would be shocking just to bring up, never mind have it
consume our discussions evening after evening. Inexplicably, all the talk at
the Gaslight Brewpub the past week has been about only one thing –beer. No,
no, not just beer. Only one question was on the table for discussion - is it
possible to drink 1,000 different beers in one calendar year?
Please note, there is one overriding term of significance - different. Certainly
any regular reader of Adventures in Beerland would snicker at anyone not
drinking 1,000 beers in 365 consecutive days. Ah, but in this case (and there
are quite a few of those in 1,000) each beer must be different. Now we’re
talking about a task daunting enough to be the subject of Mission Impossible
IV. Let’s see Tom Cruise try that one, with or without a drinking double.
Consider the statistics of it all. One thousand different beers means you must
drink three (ok, so it’s really 2.74, but why waste .26 of a beer) different beers
every day. If that’s not daunting enough try this- you have to find and drink
19.32 different beers each week for 52 straight weeks. Let’s give this even
more context. Try to take 1,000 showers in a year – using a different soap
each time. Try eating 1,000 pizzas slices in a year, each with a different
topping. Try reading an Adventures in Beerland column a thousand times in a
year – of course the good news there is that even if you didn’t make it my
readership would still be so high management would have to give me a raise.
Now what exactly constitutes the size of the beer to be counted in the thousand
brew quest? Do you have to drink a pint for it to count? If so, are we talking
imperial pints or the wimpy always under-poured 16 oz. American version?
Do a 12 ounce bottle and a ½ pint count the same? Do they count at all? If
you consume a growler does it count for just one? Can you add one to your
total by simply touching the bottle using Zen osmosis – sort of like waving
your martini glass over the vermouth bottle? Does having a sip of a dozen
patrons’ beer at a bar, assuming no one cares one bit about hygiene, count as
drinking a dozen beers? The answers are yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes – to be
applied to any questions you like. I’m convinced this deal is so hard that
almost anything should count. In my book, if you have an eight beer sampler
when you visit a brewpub it goes in as eight different beers on the scorecard.
Logically then, going to a beer festival and sampling 50 beers poured to the
standard 2 oz. fill line should count as 50 beers. Of course if they really do
only pour to the 2 oz. fill line vow never to go to that festival again.
If you try with all your heart, not to mention your kidneys, you just might be
able to consume those gallons of liquid. However, just being able to find one
thousand different beers without circumnavigating the globe will be a daunting
chore. Take a quick look in every gas station, supermarket, and beer store for
40 miles around your home. Bring your calculator. Well, just how many beers
did you see? Add up every version of Miller, Bud, and Coors you can find.
Throw in the dozen or so from Sam Adams. Move on to the craft section
counting everything from Bear Republic to Stone. The numbers may look
good but in actuality you’ll be off to a delusional start. That first 300 will be
relatively easy to find, but the next 300 will be more like the experience of the
Persians at Thermopolis. Have to travel out of town for more brands? Go
ahead, but remember it’s just not right to spend more on gas than on the beer
you find. Of course it’s also not right to spend more on food than beer, or
almost anything else, for that matter.
Buying 1,000 different beers will amount to a somewhat significant chunk of
change. You might only have to drink one bottle but most places will only sell
you a six-pack. Maybe you can defray a bit of your expenses by selling those
extra bottles, cans, and labels on e-bay. I wonder what amount an empty
bottle of Bud Light with Lime will bring – probably more than a full one. And
therein is another problem. You probably will have to drink every bad macro
brew made to reach the thousand. Sorry, no refills on that fabulous Founders
Red Rye, no going back for another round of refreshing Magic Hat Circus Boy.
No time for a couple of your favorites; drink a beer, move on to a different
one. Fortunately, there is a loophole. If you take a sip of swill of any kind,
you are allowed to simply pour it down the drain or into a dump bucket.
However you are also allowed to hold your nose, chug it down, and sing “In
Heaven There Is No Beer, So I Have to Drink That Thousand Here.”
In discussing all this with my BeerNexus colleagues, one asked if he could add
in his total a brewpub beer that he had already drank under a different name.
That’s a name change for the beer, not the person. Does having a pint of
"Sturdy Stout" this week, and a pint of "Perfect Stout" next week, count as two
separate beers even if the only difference between them is that pub
management decided to change the brew’s name? My answer is yes, but only
if you also count The Incredible Hulk and Bruce Banner as two people -
consistency is always good.
Now just why would anyone even attempt to drink a thousand different beers
in 365 days, especially if they don’t own brewery stocks? I have no idea, but
then again, I’m the guy who won't climb a mountain because it’s there. I’ll let
someone else break the hot dog eating record, ride the barrel down Niagara
Falls, or be the 24,562 person in space. However, since this challenge is about
beer it inherently must be a good thing. We beer folk will never be able to
play in the major leagues, dunk a basketball, or run a marathon, but we can
lift a pint of the world’s favorite beverage, even a thousand of them. It’s one
goal every BeerNexus reader can reach with perseverance, determination, and
a fearless attitude toward gaining weight. Beer, after all, might indeed be the
Maybe it is time for you to boldly go where few beer drinkers have gone
before. Start counting now. Come to think of it, a thousand really isn’t that
much. As soon as I finish this beer I’ll only have 999 to go. And after finally
drinking all those beers, then want? Will you face an empty existence void of
any challenges to bring out the best in you and mankind?
Don’t worry, next comes the adventure of trying to visit a thousand different
bars in a one year.
Editors note: BeerNexus will award a medal, t-shirt, and recognition on our site to anyone who drinks
a thousand different beers in 365 consecutive days. Just submit a verifiable log of beer name, the
date and the place of consumption. Close counts too - win beernexus swag for anything over 900.