Maybe a retrospective of Beer On My Shirt's first year on the Barely Beer side of BeerGraphs is slightly egotistical. Maybe it would seem less egotistical if it was written in the third person. Maybe that would make it seem even more egotistical. Well, J. R. Shirt does not care.
It all started for J. R. back on June 10th, 2013. It was on this day that he told the world about how he almost ruined his favorite linen pants and the world laughed out loud.
From there, he quickly made friends, most notably with a pale fellow named Dale, and with his new found fame went on shopping spree after shopping spree at some of the nation's finest department stores.
Like most true artists, J. R. Shirt contemplated collaborations. But with who? And when would there be time? He drank many collaborations between brewers, like the Conflux Series No.1 between Deschutes and Hair of the Dog Brewing reviewed below. Ultimately, only Wife would collaborate with him and even she had her doubts. But in the end they made sweet, sweet art. All night long.
All night long.
Never underestimate the power of a little Lionel Richie.
If this were a VH-1 special, it would be called Behind The Shirt. And like any good VH-1 special, drugs get involved. How could J.R. know what was really in those brownies. Can anyone really know what is in a brownie? Existentially? He sought help from his imaginary therapist, Dr. Rayon Vert, and while he may not have been the most helpful imaginary therapist, J. R. continues to see him. They are making progress on building a solid patient-therapist relationship.
There are always setbacks though, and J. R. Shirt has had his share, like the time he said he worked at the jukebox or that other time last winter he drank those 4 Mad Elfs by Troegs Brewing. Actually, that was two winters ago. My, how time flies when you're drinking 11% Belgian Strong Dark Ales.
But at the root of it all, J. R. Shirt is a father, and some, if not all, of his more memorable moments from the past year involve his lovely child: her attempts at making balls out of her feces, her mishaps in the bathtub, her winter trips to the beer distributor, the swim lessons, and their telepathic time traveling while listening to records (J. R. revealed to me in a brief telephone interview that this post was by far his favorite).
Let us not forget to mention the science of J. R. Shirt - the IPA glass taste comparisons, the pairing of beers with other beers, his response to Beergraphs' Beer Heat Maps, his clinical analysis of the effects of coffee and beer on the creative process, and the meticulous experimentation with expired beers.
It was mentioned above that J. R. Shirt is a father. But was it mentioned that he is also the father the nation's newest competitive beer tasting craze – Beersport! It started with some beers by Evil Twin Brewing and just expanded from there, becoming so popular that it had to leave the Beer On My Shirt umbrella and become it's own entity (currently rumored to being developed into podcast form), thus by and therefore no longer eligible to be discussed in a Beer On My Shirt Retrospective.
As the wild ride that was Beer On My Shirt Year One has come to end, we can look back fondly on things that J. R. has shared with us – his disappointing dream diary, his trips to Tired Hands, his time at Pizza Boy Brewing, Russian River Mad Monday at Monk's Cafe, the time he drove into that field, and his terrible strategy and subsequent drafting of a basement level fantasy beer squad.
We would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the true driving force behind it all, the C-R-A-Z (Y? Because she loves him) in Shirt's “CRAZY”, the peanut butter to his jelly, the malt backbone to carry his bitterness, the woman that earns every bit of that capital W – that's right, we are talking about Wife. How she stands a man with such strange grooming habits, a man that prefers silence while driving and isn't afraid to mention it, and a man that spends a majority of their disposable income on beer and cheese – how she stands for all that – more than stands for it – how she loves him on a daily basis and sometimes even encourages him, and touches him, is one of those questions that might never be answered.
Or perhaps the answer is simple.
Perhaps, J. R. Shirt is an Adonis.
“Uhm, no. I wouldn't say that,” Wife replied when we posed that very question to her, “but he does have unnaturally soft hands.”
We paid a visit to J. R. in an attempt to ask about and potentially feel his hands. He answered the door wearing a welding mask and two oven mitts. Once inside, he removed the welding mask, revealing shoulder length, silky, brown hair and a finely groomed chin-strap beard. But the mitts remained, his hands still a mystery.
We first asked about the mask, as we were not expecting it, and wondered what he was working on. We had no idea J. R. could weld. He looked back at us, pensive but confused, expecting more from us, as if our turn in the conversation was not quite finished.
We motioned to the mask, now set on the coffee table in front of him. He looked down and we saw on his face that he now understood our question.
“Oh, those,” he said, pausing to take a quick pull from what looked like a gallon jug of olive oil, “Those are my sunglasses. You have to protect your eyes, man. There's no ozone out there anymore. It's all UV rays. Everywhere.”
He went on to point out that somewhere this retrospective had slipped back into a first person narrative. He questioned whether the story was ever really in the third person at all, or was it just that the first person narrator was someone other than himself. He grew rather agitated rather quickly and recommended that it was time for us to go. We obliged.
He stood at the doorway and watched us as we walked towards the car. “Now you head back to your fancy town,” he called out to us, “and you let everyone know that I'm real thankful for all their reading and support and things. I really am. But if it's alright with all parties involved, I'd prefer to just stay here, inside, with my hands covered.”
He raised his mitted hands, palms out. We waved back and got into the car. We drove at least twenty miles before anyone said a word.
Collage (Conflux No. 1), Deschutes/Hair of the Dog Collaboration (5.83 BAR, 109 Style+)
From the Deschutes Brewery website:
Deschutes Brewery and Hair of The Dog Brewing Company join forces to weave The Dissident and The Stoic and Fred and Adam into an artistic collage of cask-aging alchemy. Damn, beer is fun.
Barrel Aging: Rye Whiskey, Cognac, Sherry, Pinot Noir, Bourbon, new American Oak, and new Oregon Oak
Appearance = 4/5
Off white, thin head. Rich brown and amber color, hazy.
Smell = 4/5
Cherry, oak, toffee, acidic.
Taste = 4.25/5
Sour cherries, leather, caramel, coconut, vanilla with an oaky booze taste. Finishes with some sourness. A lot to process, but enjoyable.
Feel = 4.25/5
Full feel, slightly sticky. Very little carbonation. Great warmth in the finish.
Overall = 4.25/5
Delicious. Tons of flavors that are difficult to keep straight, and then you think you've got it and notice something else. There is a moment toward the tale end of a sip that fell flat for me, right before the sour finish kicks in, something seems to drop off or my tongue just isn't picking up what is supposed to be in that void - and then bam the sour finish starts to build and all is right in the world. A very enjoyable journey - and it is a journey - if you see a bottle, (pretty limited release but my bottle shop still had a couple last time I was there), pick it up.
Follow J. R. Shirt on Twitter and Untappd @beeeronmyshirt, although the oven mitts make tweeting difficult.