For Real Happiness Buy Experiences, Not Things

I recently discovered a new podcast, You Are Not So Smart, and really enjoyed an episode called Happy Money, focused on money and rewards. Shortly after that I read this article from Scientific American. The takeaway from both is simple: Buying experiences makes us happier than buying things.

Turns out a fair bit of research has been done regarding people’s perceptions of how much they’ll enjoy a thing before and after they buy something. We think we like buying things better because they give us more value, but we get more joy out of experiences. The reason is that we can place an objective value on a thing. “This bottle of Cantillon cost me $25 in 2013. I could probably sell it for $75 to $100 now.” Whereas memories and experiences have a much more subjective value to them. “I had an amazing time at that bottle share last month.” What is an “amazing time?” How much is it worth? Despite this, we pull more happiness out of the experience than the possession of material goods.

The study showed that this effect of enjoying experiences more than things increases with delayed satisfaction. That is when we buy a thing and pay for it now with the plan of experiencing it later we will enjoy it even more than if we bought it and enjoyed it immediately.

Continue reading “For Real Happiness Buy Experiences, Not Things”

Whole Foods Mason: Tuesday on Tap

I’ve been meaning to come to one of these for months but things keep coming up and it’s not all that close to me. But I finally prioritized it and I’m so glad I did.

First of the important stuff, the beer list:

Those prices are pint/32 oz growler/64 oz growler… yeah $12 for 64 oz of PsycHOPathy… so mad I didn’t bring my growler.

The way this works is that there are 6 tables each with 1 beer and 1 snack. The tables are spread throughout the store, but I got here early so I snagged a seat at the bar for a pint before everything started. While the bar does count as 1 table you still have to get up and walk around so getting here early isn’t a huge advantages. The tables are setup 1 – 6, light – dark, Hors d’oeuvre – desert. I’m not sure, and didn’t ask, if they were consciously pairing beer & food, but for the most part it seemed like they did.

You start at register 7, its $6 for a mug and the tasting but if you bring your mug back you save a dollar. At each table they hole punch your list of beers and give you an appetizer. Pretty simple setup that keeps things easy and awesome.

The first station was Bell’s Oberon and vegetable medley, both were delicious however I have problems with drinking a summer ale while it is snowing.

Station 2 is Left Hand JuJu brewed with ginger and paired with cajun catfish. That catfish was quite spicy and paired a little weird with the ginger.

Station 3 is MadTree PsycHOPathy paired with quinoa and farro topped with haloumi cheese. I love quinoa and have now discovered that farro is another awesome grain. This whole thing went great with the hoppy/bitter IPA.

Station 4 matched Kona Koko Brown Ale to a pepperoni pizza. They went well together but not outstanding.

Table 5 was a winter fruit cracker topped with brie cheese and spicy plum chutney paired to Ballast Point’s Dorado Double IPA. The Dorado packs a vicious kick of alcohol and bitter hops. It washes off the strong flavors of the cracker. I didn’t dig the snack but loved the beer.

Station 6 brought out Founders Imperial Stout and matzo crunch, which is a matzo cracker dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with walnuts. This pairs amazingly and the Founders imperial stout is just plain awesome! The interplay with the chocolate and the Imperial Stout was absolutely amazing.

Overall this was a fantastic experience that was well worth my $6. However the beer list and apps changes each week. They post the beer list on their Facebook page before hand, seems to be around noon on Tuesdays, so I’d suggest to check and make sure they have beers you like or are interested in first, hopefully they’ll start posting what the snacks will be as well. The store also has a decent bottle selection that includes a variety of single bottles.

Seriously I strongly recommend checking out one of these events and will definitely be back myself. This store is also hosting it’s own Whole Foods Craft Beer Festival on May 18th, so we have that to look forward to as well!

Beer Review: Bell’s Hopslam

The Midwest is not historically known for it’s IPAs but that is changing quickly. The west coast has been knocking out bitter IPAs for more than a decade, recently Heady Topper has started to put the (north) east coast on the map. As for the midwest we’ve got a few serious contenders leading the way in Fat Head’s Head Hunter and Bell’s Hopslam among others. I prefer the Hopslam because it’s much more flavorful to Fat Head’s bitterness. Hopslam is a seasonal release with a somewhat small foot print, luckily Ohio and northern Kentucky are well within that footprint!

Here’s what Bell’s has to say about it

Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.

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The Three Best Things I’ve Drank in November

Because I like to think that people actually read what I’m writing here and hopefully they do so because they trust my taste, I’m going to start a new series that I’ll try to get up at the end of each month. In it, I’ll give a brief memorial for the three most stellar things I’ve drank over the month. They might not all be beer; spirits, wines, hell, even not-alcoholic things are fair game. Maybe the other QCD contributors will decide to post theirs, as well (hint hint), and we’ll get a wide spectrum of ideas.

Note: since some of these beers will be limited or draft-only, you may be SOL on trying to get ahold of it when the monthly post goes up. Also note that these are in no particular order.

IMAG0313
Bell’s Black Note
Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

This is kinda cheating because I knew it was going to be on my list before I even drank it. I’ve had it once before during last year’s Cincinnati Beer Week, and it blew my mind. A blend of Bell’s Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout aged in bourbon barrels, this beer hits every check box for a beast-like imperial stout. Sweet, yet countered by a slight roast, this beer treads all over your average barrel-aged stouts without even trying. If you see it on tap and don’t order it, that sound you hear is my head shaking at you in shame. If you need any indication of how good this beer is, when I saw it was on tap, I connived to have family in town for Thanksgiving go to the Lager House for lunch the day it was tapped so I could get a pour. Not moving mountains or anything, but still.

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Quaff Bros
Sour Grapes

Though this local beer could have qualified on creativity alone, it scores massive bonus points for being really tasty. Take a hearty red wine, mix it with a brown ale or porter, aged that in a bourbon barrel, and then pretend it doesn’t sound disgusting. That’s what Sour Grapes is like. They were barrel-aging a brown ale, when – OOPS! – it sprung an infection and soured. In trying to salvage the beer, they added Sangiovese grapes and let it ride. The fact that this “by the seat of their pants” project worked out is pretty amazing. Sadly, unless you rob my cellar, good luck getting a bottle. Like every one of the Quaff Bros bottles, these went pretty quickly.

If you’d like, feel free to check out my full review.

Quaff Bros
Joseph

Believe me, I was just as surprised as most of you are to see two local brews on this list. It’s probably the first time I would have ever been able to do this and I think it speaks highly to the improving quality of beers brewed in this area. Not to mention the ass that Quaff Bros are kicking all over the block with the stuff they’ve been putting out.

Joseph is a mild coffee stout (coffee provided by Taste of Belgium) aged in Elijah Craig barrels. This is easily in my top five of any beers drank by yours truly with coffee influence. The coffee takes a slight back seat to the bourbon, which is preferable, in my opinion. Perfectly balanced and dangerously drinkable (at 9.5%), if Quaff Bros don’t put another batch of this together on their own regards, I think I’m going to kidnap them and force them to do so. If you move quickly, you can still pick up a growler of this at Party Source ($9.00 for 32oz, $ $17.99 for 64oz) and I urge you to do so. Not only is it delicious, a growler of this might be one of the best barrel-aged beer deals you’ll ever find.

That’s what impressed me this month. Did anything blow you away in the month of November?

Top 3 Tips to Help You Cellar Beer

Recently I’ve embarked on a voluntary freeze on cellar beer purchases so that I could force myself to:

  1. Put more effort into brewing beers to drink
  2. Begin drinking down the beers in my cellar that I haven’t tried yet

This has had me thinking a bit about proper cellar technique. I thought I’d pass some tips on to those of you who are new to cellaring beer or are considering starting to do so.

cellaring beer

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Beer math: Is a 5L mini keg of Bell’s Oberon a good deal?

Bell's Oberon mini keg
(Picture courtesy of Premium Beverage’s Facebook page)

With the announcement of Bell’s Oberon 5L mini keg hitting shelves in the Cincinnati-area just in time for the long holiday weekend, the question that must be asked (or maybe not, but I’m going to ask it anyways) is whether or not buying one is cheaper than buying a few six-packs of the same beer. To figure this out, I’ve done the math for you.
Continue reading “Beer math: Is a 5L mini keg of Bell’s Oberon a good deal?”

Beer Review: Bell’s Oberon Ale

Brewery: Bell’s
Beer: Oberon Ale
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 5.8%

It’s summertime and that means American store shelves are getting crammed with wheat ales like this one. This beer pours out a very cloudy dark yellow kinda burnt straw like color with a light off-white head.

Smells like there is some kind of fruit in here like lemon, or orange, something citrus and zesty… which is pretty standard for these summer wheat ales.

The first, as well as last lingering, sensation that hits my mouth is best described as smooth and cool. That would be really nice on a hot summer day out by the pool.

The taste is definitely of wheat with a light hint of citrus in the background. There is also a fair bit of carbonation going on in the mouth which is an OK feature, but not a great one, in my opinion.

Overall I think it’s just a mediocre summer wheat ale and I’ll stick to Sam’s Summer Ale.

I’ll give this one a 3/5 rating.