This weekend, I reached a beer-drinking milestone. The Flying Saucer has a UFO club that you can join and once you drink 200 different beers, you receive a plate (saucer) with your name, date of 2ooth beer, and a saying of your own choosing that is attached to the ceiling for all to see. And when you reach 200, they throw you a party to celebrate! So my wife and I each received our plates at a joint party.
I actually reached this goal at the end of September but wanted to wait for my wife to finish so we could have our parties together.
Growing up, I can’t recall receiving a trophy or an award for achieving something. Our kids all have numerous sports trophies around the house. So for me, what better trophy to strive for than doing something I love?
We gathered with 8 of our friends and family members to celebrate this milestone, some of which traveled many miles to join in the celebration. But getting here, in addition to drinking a lot of beer, took some time, a lot more time than I thought it would take originally.
It was in the summer of 2011 when we joined the club at the urging of one of our son’s school friends. At the time, our son’s friend and his wife were working on their 2nd plates. For just a nominal membership fee, we got a t-shirt and a member card to swipe whenever we picked out a beer to track what we had had.
Interestingly, we had been going to this restaurant for quite some time but never thought about joining the club nor were we encouraged to do so by anyone at the restaurant. But then again, we were in our 50’s when we first started going there and maybe we didn’t look like their typical UFOer.
For someone who loves beer, it was easy at first to pick out three different beers—the maximum you could get credit for per day. I have written before about my fondness for beer and in particular, India Pale Ale or IPA beer. But soon, I had tried all of those and had to move on to other beers. Still with rotating taps, there was usually something new and interesting to try. To encourage you along the way, whenever you reached a milestone of 50 or 100 beers, you received discount coupons.
At 150 beers, you receive a hat for your continued effort (drinking). And this is where I hit a wall. It was not that I couldn’t drink more beer; it was just that most of the beers I had left that I had not tried were Belgian ales. And with that countries’ Trappists, Abbys, and all sorts of different styles, probably the most variety in the world, there were naturally a LOT of Belgian ales. While one of my brother’s favorite styles, for me, it is rare to find a Belgian ale that doesn’t have a taste of clove or isn’t a fruit Lambic. And clove or fruit is not what I want to taste in my beer. Being an IPA lover, hops are what I want to taste.
I began to count how many beers I had left that weren’t Belgian and that I would want to drink to reach 200. Around this time, my wife and I would also swap beers. I’d get something light that I wouldn’t necessarily want and my wife would get something hoppy that she wouldn’t necessarily want. I don’t know if this violates the UFO rules; at least we were never told we couldn’t and the server never frowned whenever we swapped beers. Besides, we still drank 200 beers.
It was this last effort of swapping that helped us achieve our goal and bring us to this party. And considering it took us over 3 years (on average less that 0.20 beer per day), it was easy for me to come up with my saying for my plate. Inevitably, whenever I start a project, it always takes me longer than I think. I know my wife has heard me say that many, many times. So naturally, my plate is inscribed with:
“Took longer than I thought.”
When it came time for our big plate reveal, our server grabbed a microphone and got the attention of the entire restaurant. She read our names, our saying, and then everyone applauded. The plates were covered with a black cloth and a string hung down for us to pull off. Pulling the string proved to be a challenging task, as the cloth seemed to be sown to the plate. After several hard tugs, the cloth came down and then my wife revealed her plate.
I know this photo is very fuzzy but then again, if you had had 200 beers, it might look this way anyway.
Will we go for a 2nd plate? Our server actually asked me that question. Now that we’ve achieved our goal, it will be nice to walk in and just order whatever beer we want without looking at a list or realizing we’ve already had that one and then have to pick another one. However, the discount coupons do offer an attractive incentive along the way with the enticement of that second party at 200 beers. But a second plate isn’t really necessary because, maybe not for perpetuity, but at least for as long as they are in business at that location, we will have that trophy hanging on their ceiling for all to see.