Beer On My Shirt: Beer Heat Maps, A Response

J. R. Shirt, September 13, 2013

On Tuesday, Matt Murphy posted an outstanding article, “Introducing Beer Heat Maps.”

What follows is an alcohol-fueled, purely emotional response to the article, the heat maps, and the highly rated beers mapped out on said maps of heat within said article.

Currently, I am drinking a Citra Pale Ale by Free Will Brewing Company, from Perkasie, Pennsylvania. I, too, am from Pennsylvania, and while I am not certain what direction I would need to travel in to find Perkasie, I do have a vague recollection from childhood of pronouncing Perkasie and enjoying it. This leads me to believe that the town of Perkasie is no further than a one hour drive.

The map above is my crude attempt at a heat map of my estimation of Perkasie's location based on my fond memories of my childhood pronouncial experiences. I colored the region orange because I am lukewarm about the validity of my estimation and my methods.

Also, it is a nice fall color.

I am in no mood or condition to review this Citra Pale Ale other than to say that I am enjoying it and that its -0.35 BAR does not do it justice. It is crisp. It is light in the finish. It has a nice hop punch. It is not amazing but it is, in my opinion, above replacement – at least for the orange-ish region I have highlighted in the above heat map.

And to reiterate, the above heat map is based only on my somewhat foggy cognizance from my younger years of slowly sounding out the proper noun “Perkasie.”


In an attempt to recollect something more specific, I took a break from writing and filled my bathtub with tepid water and what, in hindsight, may have too much kosher salt, essentially creating a poor man's sensory deprivation tank. As I struggled to stay afloat (and alive), I repeated the word Perkasie over and over again. I delved deep into my subconscious.

I am now leaning toward the idea that perhaps I confused 'Perkasie' with 'Percocet.' And what I initially thought was a childhood memory of linguistic exploration may have actually been a fuzzy flashback from a lost weekend during my second to last semester of college.

“Dude, your pupils.”

“What about them?”

“They're everywhere.”




The first beer that Matt mapped out was Heady Topper, currently #1 on the BeerGraphs BAR Leaderboards. The mapped showed a nice hot spot down the East Coast, starting in Vermont and New Hampshire and finishing down toward Philadelphia. Mentally, I laid my heat map (pictured above) over top of Matt's Heady Topper heat map and noticed that there might be some overlap of hot zones. Scientifically, if both maps are valid, then I should be able to obtain some Heady Topper.

It just so happens that recently I was able to obtain, via trade, exactly one can of Heady Topper.

Hence and henceforth, one can conclude that both maps are valid. Science prevails. Again.

The beer was very good. It opened my eyes to just how delicious and how different an East Coast IPA can be. I jotted some notes but I drank it fast and have since lost the notes and now I am really just an absolute mess over the whole thing. Now that I've had it, I'd really like another. I need another, more than the needed it before I'd ever had one. It's like I've been poisoned with Heady Topper and the only antidote is more Heady Topper. And according to the heat map, it is all around me.

What makes matters worse is this guy Bill, from New Jersey, that I'm friends with on Untappd, checks in with one practically everyday. I've surmised that the location he adds to the check-in is just a fancy name for his home. I dream of going there, knocking on his door, and having no one answer.  Maybe I do a little snooping around the perimeter until I find a garage window, opened just a crack. And then, whatever, the cops come, I get arrested, and then I wake up.

The situation is like white dog poop and the neighborhood kids keep rubbing my face in it. It really doesn't feel good. Because it's hard and it's scratchy. And it's giving me little cuts on my face. Fecal face cuts that burn when I wash them. So I stop washing them before I've really cleaned them. And then my face get infected and swells shut on itself. And I'm hideous. Look away. 

The second beer to get the map treatment is Three Floyds' Zombie Dust. This is a beer I had never heard of until this site started. I've never seen one or been close to one, even when I was in Zombie Dust hot bed of Chicago for a FanGraphs/BeerGraphs meet-up. Frankly, I have a feeling that the beer is not real and the whole thing is just an elaborate ruse, perpetrated by the founders of BeerGraphs and now perpetuated by Matt Murphy and his heat maps. They have even hired Melky Cabrera's people to create a fake website,, that presents me with all kinds of great imaginary information. Well done. E for effort.

Finally, we come to the third heat map in Matt's piece – Russian River's Pliny the Elder. I have had this beer, several times, so this heat map feels like it is based on facts and does not upset me like the others. I really like the beer. I feel it lives up to the hype. It is one of the best beers I've ever had.

From here, I'm just going to pretend like the Pliny the Younger heat map never happened. Basically, I have run out of steam. The Pliny the Elder map really cooled my jets and well, now I'm tired. I'm going to go heat map naked next to Wife.

Imagine a heat map where Florida is pointing upward and glowing red – that heat map is about to happen on my mattress.

J. R. Shirt is available, at your convenience, on Twitter @beeronmyshirt