I must break you

I don’t have to (or want to) break bottles. Rather it’s records that I need to break. The last record I broke was bringing back 24 bottles and cans from West Virginia in a single checked bag. I mentioned at the time that the bag still had room and weight to spare.

So, on my recent trip to San Diego, I was all set to try and break that record. Well, circumstances worked out such that I was actually able to bring two checked bags on this trip. Holy contributing to the delinquency of minors Batman! That’s a lot of room. Now I just had to find a ton of bottles and cans that I could afford. The goal here is to get singles of regular sized (e.g., 12 or 16 oz) beer that isn’t a special release or expensive for some other reason.

The first store I found in San Diego had quite the expensive selection and I passed on it. The next day I tried Bottlecraft Beer in North Park.

Bottlecraft Beer North Park

The first thing I saw was a similar display of single bottles both warm and cold, with some up front that looked pretty expensive.

Bottlecraft singles display

I figured I would either do really bad or really good here.  Upon closer inspection I could see $1.99 and $2.59 bottle and cans scattered throughout.  So I told the person behind the counter that my goal was 2 cases in cheap single bottles and he started handing me boxes.  It probably took me at least half an hour.  But, I scoured the shelves and coolers.  I was specifically looking to get out of there with California beers.  Hopefully, from breweries that I didn’t already have in my collection.  When we tallied everything up, it came to 46.  I was just a little short.  So, I grabbed 2 bottles and 1 can from Evil Twin Brewing.  They are from Brooklyn, NY.  But I didn’t have any beer from them yet.  So, I was still calling it a win.  This is getting exciting now.  I have 49 beers from 25 different breweries and 21 of those breweries are new.  This is a huge score.

49 bottles and cans from 25 breweries

Happy with my conquest, I go about the rest of my trip.  On the last night I stop into another brewery that I will talk about in my next post.  Despite having a lot of difficulty getting bottles directly from breweries on this trip, I manage to get 3 more bottles there.  So, now I’m up to 52 bottles and cans!  I’ve never tried anything like this before.  I pack with my patented “barely give a shit” method of rolling beers in clothing and manage to get 26 beers in each checked bag.  As usual, they all made it home unharmed.  So, in case anyone is keeping track, the new record is 52 beers in a single flight with 26 beers in a single checked bag.  The bags weighed 46 and 47 lbs.  Thus, I feel like I might still push this one even further. Only time will tell.

Breweries or bars? Can’t it be both?

The work day and/or week is over… Excelsior! Time to meet friends and/or family for Miller Time. Should I recommend we all meet up at a new and exciting brewery somewhere or the old faithful bar?  Keeping in mind that my goal is always to add more bottles to the collection, the choice is not always as easy as you might think.

I love going to new breweries. And, I have certainly written about plenty of them. The problem here is that they can be a bit of a one trick pony as far as the collection goes. Once I have a growler or whatever cans/bottles they have from their brewery, there is little reason to go back again. These are great when I’m traveling to new areas or a new one opens up near me. But, today I want to extol the virtues of visiting your local bar. At least if it’s as good as mine.

I’m a geek at heart. So, of course, my favorite bar is tucked in the back of a comic shop. More specifically, in the back of A Comic Shop in Winter Park, FL.

A Comic Shop in Winter Park, FL

The bar itself is called The Geek Easy and it is decorated with tons of geeky goodness from the Han Solo encased in carbonite by the taps to the comics embedded in the bar counter top to the geeky silhouettes on the walls.

The Geek Easy in Winter Park, FL
Comics embedded in bar top at the Geek Easy

There is a lot to love at a place like this.  In particular, Mrs. UsedHair and I enjoy getting together with a group called Booze and Boards to play board games and drink with friends (the group name really doesn’t particularly hide what it is we do) on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.

Booze and Boards group at the Geek Easy

That’s all well and good.  But, let’s keep the prime directive in mind.  I want to add bottles to my collection.  Mission accomplished at the Geek Easy.  They do a really good job of constantly getting in a new selection of beer and I almost always seem to get at least one new bottle or can every time I go there.

Impressive beer list at the Geek Easy

So, when Miller Time rolls around, do I look for a brewery or a bar?  The answer is really both.  It depends on where I am and what I want to do that day.  I think the real point is to not overwhelm ourselves with trying to hit every brewery ever at the expense of finding a great go-to place for your every day wonderfulness.

No one rocks as hard as Mrs. UsedHair

No obscure quotes or links for the start of this post. Just a statement of fact. Mrs. UsedHair (Hedy) is the greatest! Apart from the obvious traits of being smart, sexy, and having a great sense of humor… here are some reasons why:

1. She supports my beer container collecting hobby.

I don’t mean she tolerates it. She supports it. I have talked to other people that have attempted to have container collections. More often than not I see people giving up on it because “my other half made me get rid of them” or “I’m not allowed to display them in the house” or some other such nonsense. Hedy goes beyond “letting me display things in the house”. She actually makes me decorations that add to the display.

Office sign created by Mrs. UsedHair
Beer office decor created by Mrs. UsedHair
Giant bottle cap created by Mrs. UsedHair
Beer cap sign created by Mrs. UsedHair

2. She likes to go to breweries and beer festivals.

Central Florida is a rapidly growing craft brewery market. There always seems to be a new brewery to visit in the area. Or when we travel to new beaches along the east coast, or when we travel anywhere for that matter. It’s very important to me that I don’t feel like I’m dragging someone along when I explore a new brewery. She really enjoys drinking beer and has really started to explore her tastes in craft beer. We explore new breweries and we have a great time doing it.

Mr. and Mrs. UsedHair at Tampa Bay Brewing
Mr. and Mrs. Usedhair outside Tampa Bay Brewing
Hat lady and Mrs. UsedHair at DeLand Craft Beer Festival
Mr. and Mrs. UsedHair at DeLand Craft Beer Festival

I could list a hundred more reasons. But we’d be here all day and ain’t nobody got time for that. It takes a village to make a blog. And I’ve definitely had help from a lot of villagers. But, trust me when I say this blog would not exist without Mrs. UsedHair. Let’s all thank her for being such a fantastic person!