Beer of the Weekend @ 7

It sucks not being able to watch the Cubs every night now. It used to be a given that their games would be on TV somewhere, but now it’s a toss-up since the team parted ways with WGN. Oh well. Thank God for AM radio!

Anyway. It’s that time of the year again — time to look back at the last year in beer with the annual BotW retrospective. (Cubs win!)

Needless to say, it was yet another great year in beer. There were a lot good suds, some duds, and a handful of truly amazing brews, ones that could be considered little tastes of heaven. Here is the list of those reviewed on BotW in the last year:

#574: Hop Henge Experimental IPA (B+)
#575: Sucha Much (A-)
#576: Glacial Trail IPA (B)
#577: Pygmy Owl Itty Bitty IPA (B-)
#578: Lac du Bay (B+)
#579: Turbone Wheat Ale (C-*)
#580: Snow Wit White IPA (B)
#581: Nooner Session IPA (B)
#582: Blindfold Black IPA (A)
#583: Deschutes Hop in the Dark (A)
#584: New Glarus Raspberry Tart (A+)
#585: Anchor IPA (B+)
#586: Two Brothers Irritated Koala Smoked Tea Black IPA (B)
#587: Stone Collective Distortion IPA (B+)
#588: Bubblejack India Pale Ale (B)
#589: Stone Go To IPA (A)
#590: Two Brothers Ebel’s Weiss (B-)
#591: Two Brothers Outlaw IPA (C+)
#592: Keystone Light (C)
#593: Summit Summer Ale (B-)
#594: Natural Light (D/D+)
#595: True Brit IPA (B)
#596: Foray Belgian Style IPA (A-)
#597: South Side Citra Blonde (B-)
#598: Stranger Pale Ale (B)
#599: bARLey and Me Puppy Pale Ale (A-)
#600: New Glarus Anniversary Strong Ale (B+/A-)
#601: The Oracle (A)
#602: Penny Whistle (B+)
#603: Polestar Pilsner (A-)
#604: Mars – The Bringer of War (A+)
#605: Peace Tree Saison Blanche (B+)
#606: Jackknife (C/C+)
#607: Wooden Nickel (B+)
#608: Confluence Oktoberfest (B+)
#609: Denver Pale Ale (B)
#610: The Poet (B+)
#611: Laguintas IPA (A)
#612: New Glarus Hometown Blonde (B+)
#613: Fallin’ Oats Oatmeal Amber (C-)
#614: Yeti Imperial Stout (A-)
#615: New Glarus Pumpkin Pie Lust (B+)
#616: New Glarus Yokel (A)
#617: Out of the Ashes Smoked India Pale Ale (B+)
#618: Huber Bock (B)
#619: Anchor Winter Wheat (B)
#620: The Lewbricator (B)
#621: Samuel Adams Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout (A-)
#622: Herkulean Woods (B)
#623: Hoss Rye Lager (B+)
#624: Lagunitas Pils (B-)
#625: Iron Man Imperial Stout (B+)
#626: Light Speed Pale Ale (A-)
#627: Keeper American Pilsner (B+)
#628: Lagunitas Sucks (A-)
#629: Lasso IPA (B)
#630: Free State Winter Fest (B)
#631: Sawtooth Ale (B+)
#632: Stone Coffee Milk Stout (B+)
#633: Great Divide Nomad (B+)
#634: Mikkeller Rauchpils (B+)
#635: Imperial Biscotti Break Natale (A)
#636: Great Divide Hibernation Ale (A-)
#637: Cane and Ebel Red Rye Ale (B+)
#638: Nibbed in the Barrel Oatmeal Stout (B+/A-)
#639: Slope Style Winter IPA (B+)
#640: Hanukkah, Chanukah: Pass The Beer (B+)
#641: Boulevard Nutcracker Ale (B/B+)
#642: Milk Man Milk Stout (B)
#643: King Louie Toffee Stout (B-)
#644: Wasatch First One Down (A-)
#645: Northwind Imperial Stout (B)
#646: Snowstorm 2014 (B+)
#647: Anchor Christmas Ale 2014 (B+)
#648: Lagunitas DayTime Ale (B+)
#649: Mercury – The Winged Messenger (B+)
#650: Oak-Aged Imperial Red (A-)
#651: V.I.P. (Vanilla Imperial Porter) (A-)
#652: Weather Beacon Red (B)
#653: Narwhal Imperial Stout (B+)
#654: Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout (B+)
#655: You Be You (A)
#656: Rolling Rock (D+)
#657: Deviant Dale’s IPA (A-)
#658: ChewBOCKa (B+)
#659: Golden Nugget IPA (B+)
#660: ZeeLander IPA (A-)
#661: Tsunami Pale Ale (B+)
#662: Lagunitas NightTime (A)
#663: Brrr Fest Barrel Aged Winterfest Ale (B)
#664: Doomtree (B+)
#665: Peace Tree No Coast IPA (A-)
#666: Undead Party Crasher (A-)
#667: Finnegans Irish Amber (C+)
#668: West Coast Style IPA (B+)
#669: Hop Silo Double IPA (B+/A-)
#670: Forbidden Traveler Apple Ale (B-)

Ninety-six beers, which is likely the fewest I have reviewed in a year since I returned to Iowa City. (I could find out for sure, but I’m not feeling very ambitious right now.) Why is that? Am I getting burned out? That could be part of it.

In last year’s retrospective, I wrote something like, “Writing about beer has become a job.” In the last couple years, I seem to have turned everything I do, every passion I have, into something akin to a job, something I force myself to do just for the sake of doing it and feeling productive. Needless to say, it wrings the passion out of everything I enjoy. Writing about beer literally is a part-time job (and a very poor paying and unsatisfying one, too) since I write recommendations, reviews, and other beer-related news items for the LV. I am not sure how much longer I will continue doing that, but it long ago stopped being something I like to do and became something I feel obligated to do. Blogwise, it is the same story. Beer reviews are easy posts and BotW has become a beast that needs to be fed. Frankly, it has become a blog in itself and I have often thought about spinning BotW off into its own blog. I may do that in the coming year.

Regardless, what I really need to do — what I want to do and am going to resolve to do — is rekindle my passion for writing about beer. How am I going to do that? I have no clue, but I will figure something out. Changing things up, as I did last night with Canoe Paddler, is a good start. I need to stop being so goddamn repetitive and predictable. And so does the beer. I want to review beer from growlers and perhaps do reviews at bars. But is that rekindling my passion for writing about beer, or my work ethic continuing its soul crushing invasion of my entire life? We’ll see.

Awards time.

The Primo Island Lager BotW@7 Worst Beer Award: Natural Light.

“It’s Just a Little Taste of Heaven” BotW@7 Best Beer Award: Mars – The Bringer of War.

BotW@7 Ultimate Six-pack: Deschutes Hop in the Dark, New Glarus Raspberry Tart, Mars – The Bringer of War, New Glarus Yokel, Imperial Biscotti Break Natale, and Lagunitas NightTime. (That’s right — two black IPAs and two New Glarus brews. Enough said.)

(The photo at the top of the post is the inside of an old locker at City High. The first-floor lockers, which dated to the school’s opening in 1939 in the main hallway, were replaced this winter. I could not pass up the chance to take pictures of 75 years worth of graffiti, some of which was beer-related.)

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