♫ ♫ It Was a Very Good Beer ♫ ♫

This past weekend - thanks in part to Brawley's Black & Blue 8 - I hit a milestone.

Did I pay off a student loan? Reach my goal weight? Run a 5K in under 30 minutes? 

No, haha, I reached a goal that takes perseverance, dedication, and focus - I checked in 2500 distinct beers on Untappd and received the Elite badge.

To be fair, I could have not done that and probably accomplished the other milestones I listed above instead. 

If you're not familiar with Untappd, it is an app that allows you to check-in what beers you're drinking where, rate them, and toast your friends' check-ins. You also earn badges as you check in more beers and beer styles, which is like crack to me. 

Two thousand five hundred different beers is a lot of beer. I remember reaching 500 beers back in 2014 and thinking it was a lot (SN: it is). Now there are badges for 5000 and 10,000 distinct beer check-ins. I'll probably get there one day, but for now, I'm taking some time to look back through the beers I have had thus far. 

Stats time!

First beer checked in: Furious from Surly Brewing Company, on January 3, 2014

Last beer checked in: Carolina Uncommon from Newgrass Brewing Company, on March 21, 2017

That's 1,173 days between my first check-in and my last distinct check-in (my total check-ins, which include beers I've entered previously, are 3,112). That works out to drinking a little over 2 different beers each day for the past 3 years and 2 months. (SN: this number includes festivals, flights (2-4 ounce pours) of beers, etc. - I don't drink 2 new beers every day. I am doing okay.)

Top 5 Check-ins:

  1. Ninja v. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company 
  2. Daisy Cutter Pale Ale from Half Acre Beer Company
  3. Anti-Hero IPA from Revolution Brewing Company
  4. Zombie Dust from 3 Floyds Brewing Company
  5. IPA from Sweetwater Brewing Company

There you have it, folks. For all the kvetching I do about people only drinking IPAs, my top 5 most checked-in beers are IPAs or pale ales that are *basically* IPAs. 

Top 5 Highest Rated Beers:

  1. Anti-Hero IPA from Revolution Brewing Company
  2. Hopslam Ale (2014) from Bell's Brewery
  3. Ninja v. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
  4. Arctic Panzer Wolf from 3 Floyds Brewing Company
  5. Zombie Dust from 3 Floyds Brewing Company

Five IPAs - I know, I know, I know everyone. For every finger you (I) point...

Most Memorable Check-ins:

Blushing Monk from Founders Brewing Company 

If you've read my post on how I incorporated beer into our wedding, then you'll remember that we decided to have a beer toast instead of a champagne toast. Blushing Monk is one of my favorite beers and I knew its elegant fruitiness and smoothness would be appealing to many of our guests, including the guests who don't typically drink beer. 

Totally Naked by New Glarus Brewing

Truthfully, there isn't anything too remarkable about Totally Naked. True to its name, it is a clean, smooth American Pale Lager. The memorable thing about this beer is that I took this picture at New Glarus Brewing with a brand new engagement ring on my finger. I had spent the last few minutes wondering what was up my my now-husband - Why won't he sit down? Why is he so irritated that people keep sitting at the tables near us? Why is he awkwardly asking if I like my beer? As it turned out, he wanted to know if I would remember what beer I had when he asked me to marry him. And I always will.

Westvleteren 12 by Brouwerij Westvleteren

Some of you may recall the hubbub that occurred on and around December 12, 2012, when Westvleteren 12 was released for the first and only time in the United States. The gift box, which came with 6 11.2 ounce bottles and two branded glasses, was released by the Trappist monks at Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren as a way to finance new construction on the abbey. I was fortunate enough to buy a gift box and we have been parsing our 6 bottles out over the past few years.

While drinking what is widely called the best beer in the world is an occasion unto itself, the significance of this particular bottle (also the last time I've had one) is that I opened it on December 20, 2014, the day my 14-year-old dog Brodie died. I'd had pets die before Brodie and since, but he had been my ride or die for my entire adult life, moving with me from Missouri to Texas to Alabama to North Carolina to Illinois. While I was incredibly sad about losing him, I decided to focus on all the time I got to spend with him rather than mourn my future life without him in it. The best beer in the world was a fitting tribute to the best dog in the world.

Like any kind of technology, Untappd can make people a little crazy at times. I was carefully checking in my beers from Black and Blue 8 last week, making sure that I didn't accidentally enter one too many and end up with a so-so beer as my 2500th, which I know is a little...obsessive. I've stopped checking in beers when I'm at a festival or otherwise engaged in something else, like talking to the people around me. I've been to a few events where everyone around the table is maniacally trying to check in every sample they taste and not paying attention to anything else around them. Or the beer, for that matter.

Which is all to say that if you use Untappd compulsively, like I do, remember to focus on the beer in your hand and not what badge you will earn for checking it in or how many people toast your check-ins. Go back through your check-ins from time to time to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly beers you've had, and with whom or where you've enjoyed them.

Also, if we're not already friends on Untappd, you can find me @underthejenfluence. Cheers!