I think I've made it quite clear by now that I'm a fan of beer.
But as my friend and I teetered away from our emptied Strong Island pitchers at Half Fast earlier this week, we thought back on the days when I shuddered at the thought and smell of beer. Brewery tours were unfathomable and I stuck to my vodka mixes on pain of death.
The dark ages of my drinking life.
For those of you who share my affection for brewed libations, this weekend's cup shall runneth over with fun that's right up your alley -- and Saturday, it's for a good cause.
It's Firefighter Appreciation Week, culminating Saturday with an aptly named Fight Fire with Beer Festival , free and rife with good food, live music and quality refreshments.
Running from noon to 10 p.m., the festival will consume Twenty Ninth Street Mall, hosting state senators and Governor Hickenlooper alongside the men and women for whom the festival is held.
Yep, even the big-wigs enjoy a nice cold beer. The state's fire chiefs are uniting with Hickenlooper to award the Fight Fire with Beer Governor's Cup, the top craft beer submitted by local breweries.
What do they win, you ask? Bragging rights and a label that will be spread throughout bars and restaurants statewide all year as the Fight Fire with Beer brew.
So cheers to your state's firefighters, and tip your caps and glasses to a festival with a great cause behind it.
Info: Noon-10 p.m. Saturday at Twenty Ninth Street Mall; firefighterappreciationweek.org
There are myriad ways to keep the merriment going, but I'm here to keep the beer train rolling.
Why? Because in my own experience, the old saying "Beer before liquor, never been sicker" was built upon not just a nugget but an unforgiving boulder of truth.
So while you youngins out there mix things up -- literally -- I'll be sticking to brews in hopes of avoiding spending the next day ruing yet another night of bad but oh-so-good in the moment choices.
By wrapping up my Oktoberfest mini tour.
Old Chicago's has this delightful thing called a World Beer Tour , in which aficionados like myself collect points for each beer we drink, locally brewed or internationally imported, receiving prizes along the way.
And with October just a few weeks away, they've begun their Oktoberfest mini tour: eight beers, all hailing from German roots. Your reward? A T-shirt and a few great nights of drinking.
For me, this will complete my first full tour -- 110 beers, and countless nights out with my closest friends.
Beertastic, if I do say so myself.
-- Follow Alex on Twitter: @ansieh