A Very Beery Christmas

The Christmas Gifts are all exchanged. My fantastic wife got me a great framed picture that is now prominently displayed on the only wall in my office that cannot support beer bottles: 

Mr. and Mrs. UsedHair
 

I also received a $40 gift card to ABC that will surely go to new bottles. Finally, I got a secret Santa gift from work of a gift card to Publix. I used it to get a 12 pack of Samuel Adams that has at least 3 beers in it that are unique bottles:

 

Christmas Bottles
  
 
I hope everyone else has a holiday as good as mine. Merry Christmas everyone. 

Let’s Meet The Hollowheads

So, in case anyone hasn’t noticed yet, I’m chock full of obscure references and I’m not afraid to use them (e.g., Meet The Hollowheads: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095608/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_68).

Lets take a glance at the collection itself.  I have a hard time pinpointing in my memory exactly when I started seriously collecting.  However, a trip to Toronto in 2005 and the gathering of bottles from Mill Street Brewery (http://millstreetbrewery.com/) stands out as when I really started getting serious about it.  So, over the last 10 or so years I have collected roughly 1,300 bottles and cans.  I wish I could show a picture of them all.  However, one of the major challenges I will quickly start talking about is where to keep/display that many bottles and cans.  The dream is to have my office look more like this:

Bottle Wall 01
Full view of wall of bottles
Bottle Wall 05
Corner view of wall of bottles

However, the reality is that more often it looks like this:

State of the Office 01

I will discuss displaying issues more thoroughly in a separate post.  This is about the collection itself.  Let’s get some anticipated questions out of the way right off the bat:

Q: Is every bottle/can different?

A: No.  There are 1,257 unique beers in the collection.  If I have a bomber (22 oz beer) and a 12 ounce bottle of the same beer I don’t consider the second bottle to be a unique beer.  If I have a bottle and a can of the same beer, I don’t consider it to be a unique bottle.

Q: Did you drink every beer in the collection?

A: Almost.  There are 44 cans from the 1970s that my brother collected when he was a kid and that I stole in later years.  Other than that I drank (or at least tasted) each of the beers in my collection.

Q: Are you an alcoholic?

A: No.  1,300 bottles/cans over roughly 10 years is about 130 per year, 11 or so per month, or about 2-3 per week.  Definitely not an alcoholic.  I just try really hard to only drink beer when I can collect the bottle.

Q: How do you keep track of all those bottles?

A: I use an Excel sheet. Once I learn more about my blogging tools I hope to have a live link to the actual tracking information so that anyone can view live statistics and dive into the collection at will.  For now, here are the statistics I track:

Beers Added               1311

Repeats                        37

Size Difference          16

Still to drink               19

Cans                              204

Bottles                         1088

Unique Beers             1257

Breweries                   459

Classic Cans               44

A New Hope

For Thanksgiving I was staying with extended family at Emerald Isle, NC. My wife and I go there every year when we can. I am very much in the habit of looking for breweries/brew pubs in preparation for every trip I make. So, I was quite excited to notice this time that there were two brand new breweries in a close driving distance this year. Once we got to Emerald Isle, I started looking more seriously at going to the breweries. The first was Mill Whistle Brewing. I got worried when I couldn’t find a web page or hours of operation. I eventually messaged them on their Facebook account only to find out that they did not yet have their license to sell on site. They did, however, point out that I could get their bottles at my favorite North Carolina beer store: Harrika’s Brew Haus so I found 2 bottles.

Mill Whistle Brewing Bottles

Next up was Tight Lines Brewing.  They had a web page that looked like they had been around a while and a menu that looked awesome so we decided to go there for lunch. I have to admit there was some confusion on the hours they were open. But, the owner was excellent about it and wound up giving me a growler free of charge.

Tight Lines growler

Alas, they too did not yet have their license and I was not able to get any of their beer.

With all these failed attempts, one might think I was frustrated or upset. Actually it’s quite the opposite. I have some new adventures under my belt and I know that next year there will be two breweries that will have their licenses and will be waiting for me. Craft brewing is growing so much right now that I’m constantly able to find new places wherever I go. I’ve even found 2 breweries in Artesia, NM. As long as I can get to new places, there is the hope and promise of new beer. What more could anyone ask for?

Get to the point, begin the beguine

Hi there internet.  I am a labeorphilist or labeorphile (meaning one who collects beer bottles) who typically goes by the internet name of UsedHair.  I’m starting this blog to talk about the hobby of collecting beer bottles.  The adventures that often occur in the process of collecting and the challenges (and sometimes triumphs) associated with the hobby.  Feel free to ask questions and I will try to address them in posts and/or a FAQ if I can ever figure out that end of WordPress.  Enjoy.

Bottle Wall 001
Wall of beer bottles
Bottle Wall 003
Second wall of beer bottles
Bottle Wall 002