All posts by jimwalter

Of Temptation and Dry January

Dry January, a 31 day period of abstaining from drinking alcoholic beverages and a hell of a test of will power on my part. I started Dry January early this year, December 26th to be specific. I knew this meant a dry New Year’s Eve, and I didn’t think that would be too much of an issue. In reality it wasn’t an issue for me as the new year came and went, with only a small longing for a cocktail. It did impact my plans as I avoided parties and places where I might be tempted.

The reality of it is, I’ve wanted a drink just about every night. Some nights have been harder than others. Last Saturday was the most interesting. More than anything I craved the hit at the back of the tongue that comes when the carbonation of a beer hits the top of your throat. It wasn’t the booze, or the drunk that I desired it was the mouth feel.

In reality Dry January could not have come at a better time for me. There is a lot going on in my life and the haziness that alcohol can bring to the decision making process is not needed around my life. We are 11 days into it, a full 1/3 of the way through. I’ve got great support this year in a couple of partners who are doing this with me and I’ve needed it, and they’ve needed me. The next big hurdle is the National Western Stock Show in Denver next week and two great concerts at night. I’ll get through it and I’ll get through January.

 

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My Top Beers of 2015

As I was looking through my Facebook feed today, I noticed this list of the top beers enjoyed in 2015. Of the 50 beers on the list I had the pleasure of trying some of them. As much of the beer I consumed in 2015 came from small breweries along the Front Range, there were a lot that I enjoyed that never would have made the list. So that got me to thinking, “What were the best beers I enjoyed in 2015?” So I jumped over to UnTappd and looked it up. Without further ado, here were my top 10 beers in 2015 as determined by my ratings on UnTappd. I rated all of these beers as 4.5 or higher with the top three all earning ratings of 5 from me.

  1. HopSavant Sour IPA by Crooked Stave Brewing in Denver
  2. Swingin Udders Milk Stout by Copper Kettle Brewing in Denver
  3. Racer 5 IPA by Bear Republic Brewing
  4. Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose Island Brewing, Chicago
  5. Runoff Red IPA by Odell Brewing in Fort Collins
  6. Holiday Cheer Winter Ale, Caution Brewing, Lakewood, CO
  7. Samuel Adams Adams Octoberfest, Boston Beer Company
  8. Odell IPA, Odell Brewing Fort Collins, CO
  9. High Noon Chili Pepper Ale, Freedom’s Edge Brewing in Cheyenne
  10. St. Lupulin Pale Ale, Odell Brewing in Fort Collins
  11. Brainless on Cherries, Epic Brewing in Denver
  12. Brainless on Raspberries, Epic Brewing, Denver
  13. False Alarm Jalapeno Cream Ale, Firehouse Brewing, Rapid City, SD
  14. Speed Goat Blonde Ale, Ten Sleep Brewing, Ten Sleep, WY
  15. Scuba Steve IPA, Black Bottle Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
  16. Belligerent Ass Nut Brown, Portneuf Brewing, Pocatello, ID
  17. Dale’s Pale Ale Blood Orange, Oskar Blues Longmont, CO
  18. Saranac Octoberfest, FX Matt Brewing in Utica
  19. Blueberry Wheat, High Hops Brewing, Windsor, CO
  20. Big LeBEERski Imperial Stout, Barrels and Bottles Brewing, Golden, CO
  21. Amidon Blonde Ale, Henneberg Brewing, Cazenovia, NY

That’s quite a list, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of beers I enjoyed this year. It’s kind of neat to look at how it breaks down, 5 IPA’s 2 Blonde Ales, 2 Marzens, 3 Full disclaimer, many of these were enjoyed in taster flights and then a follow up pint as my favorite in the selection. What were your favorite beers of 2015? Share them with us in the comments, and as always, reach out to me on Untappd.

2015 in review

Thanks everyone for helping to grow the blog in 2015. 2016 holds a lot of new adventure, some changes in the blog as I backpack more, and before too long a 100th brewery!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Welcome back Dry January

I can’t believe its been almost a year since the last Dry January experiment. To recap, you can see the thread of posts here, but in short I went 31 days without drinking, saved well over $100 in beer and alcohol purchases and lost 9.5 pounds. This year we are going to do it again. I’ve already got one person who is joining with me in skipping the booze for 31 days and a lot of people who have asked me about it, but are not willing to set aside drinking during January. If you’d like to join in, I welcome you to help be my support group, and I’ll do the same for you.

This year Dry January starts early, in fact as I write this today, I’m already on day three of the quest. (10% done already!). I’m also back on pace, tracking my food in MyFitness Pal, and hoping that finally I can see that scale break the 200 mark for the first time in forever (I’ve gotten close!) I’m starting early as I’ve got a trip at the end of January on the 30th and 31st, which I’m not going to deprive myself of drinking. So, as to not set myself up for failure, I’m starting early this year to make sure I get the 31 days in.

Last year’s Dry January fit perfect between New Year’s Day and the Superbowl. This year, because of the schedule change, New Year’s Eve is part of my timeline. I’m ok with that. I drank my fair share over Christmas, and since I’ve come to regard NYE as amateur hour, I hope to be in bed by 10. Plus I’m smoking a pork butt that night for a get together the next day, and I’ll use the down time to keep an eye on the smoker. I also will have to contend with a couple of days at the National Western Stock Show and a couple of concerts in January, but those challenges are what makes resetting my relationship with alcohol rewarding at the end of the day.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress as the month wears on. Thanks in advance for the support that you showed last year and I know you will show again this year.

Every Day Super Foods

As evidenced by past experiments with clean eating, I have an interest in putting more whole foods on my plate. I try to stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store as much as possible, and recently I picked up a Ninja blender so I could have better luck making smoothies. So when I stumbled upon Sue Quinn’s new cookbook, Super Foods Every Day, I was excited to delve into it.

super foodsThe first thing that Sue does is define what a super food is for her purposes. She has developed a listing of powerhouse foods which are high in vitamins, phytochemicals and other nutrients.Its from that extensive list that she builds out 65 recipes that are easy to make and good for you too.

The recipes range from breakfast to baked goods and include a lot of blueberries, kale, and even dark chocolate. We will be trying out a few of these recipes over the next couple of weeks, and I’ll be honest, some of them will require a leap of faith on my part, but as we’ve seen from past experiments, I often use this as an opportunity to expand my palate a little bit more, plus I’m finding more and more that being pushed out of my comfort zone is a great thing.

The book is clean, easy to follow and has excellent photography in it. My only criticism would be the total and complete lack of any nutritional information on any of the recipes. Sure, I can put all the ingredients into My Fitness Pal and go from there, but having them listed would have been a big benefit to the cookbook. For someone looking to incorporate more healthy choices into their diet, this book, which lists for $14.99 is a great option. The book is available next week and can be pre-ordered now.

“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”