Monday, January 01, 2007

Another year in beer, and a mighty good one at that.

The winning number is 4,390.

Now, this might be the number of kilometers I spent in the bicycle saddle in 2006, or the total beers consumed during the year.

Or, could be both.

Of course, it also could be my caloric intake during that one lengthy session in September in the Czech Republic, as recounted here: She may have forgotten to charge us for one or two. Any time Kevin Richards is part of the beer drinking equation, there's a chance of a quick one mutating into a long, relaxed evening.

Actually, 4,390 is the kilometers, which translates into 2,726 miles, an all-time cycling yearly record tally for me. Obviously, had I not been carrying the 30 pounds lost since the now famous mid-October visit to the general practitioner, those miles would have been easier both on my body and the components that failed owing to the bulk placed atop them.

As it stands, on thing is beyond dispute: I’ve no regrets whatsoever when it comes to the many fine beers enjoyed during 2006. It may have been a record year for beer, too.

Random highlights:

An April visit to the home of Rogue, itself the culmination of an epic road trip engineered by the great Graham Phillips (A Passage to Rogue (Part 5): A Visit to the Grail, with Refreshments);

Numerous winning formulas emanating from the labors of Jesse and Jared deep within the NABC garage brewhouse, including Old Lightning Rod (Poor Richard’s Ale), Thunderfoot, Bonfire of the Valkyries , Naughty Claus and Strathpeffer.

Another amazing European journey for our beercycling group, beginning in Bamberg for multiple doses of Schlenkerla Marzen (think: a certain desert island beer), continuing in Prague with a stop in Zatec for a small town hop fest, then biking through the superlative Czech countryside, and finally ending in Vienna with one of the classic pub crawls in recent memory: "Mr. Phillips, I presume?" (Part 2 of 2) and "Mr. Phillips, I presume?" (Part 1 of 2).

The Bastille Day Bieres de Garde Dinner at Bistro New Albany, but much more so than that on event, the Bistro New Albany, period, and the hope that it has engendered for the revival of downtown New Albany.

The local developments are the most gratifying. The Louisville metropolitan area continues to support five breweries, and given the wide beer choices available at these and numerous other establishments, we remain under-rated as a beer destination. Contrast this with the situation a decade ago, and revel in the change.

I’ve said many times in the past that it’s hard to imagine a better business to be in than the craft beer business. In 2006, it got even better for me.

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