It’s hard to believe that today marks the three-year anniversary of AJW’s Taproom. Every Friday for the past three years, this space has been occupied with a column intended to get you talking, thinking, sharing, and drinking. It is as true today as it was three years ago when Bryon and I hatched the idea of the Taproom: the purpose of this column is to provide topics of conversation that you can enjoy with friends out on the trail and in your favorite watering hole. We hope we have done our little part to do just that.
All told, this is the 158th consecutive Friday column and the 161st column in total. Some have been funny, a few have been awkward, and many have been stream of consciousness. One thing is true; over the past three years, we’ve been on this great trail journey together.
It is in this context that I present two self-curated top-10 lists. The first is the listing of my top-10 favorite columns and the second is a simple list of the 10-best beers reviewed herein.
[Editor’s Note: We, Bryon Powell and Meghan Hicks, want to thank AJW for his perpetual dedication to the iRunFar community. We know it’s taken a lot of time (and a lot of beer) to bring this column to fruition each week, and we’re incredibly grateful!]
Top 10 AJW’s Taproom Columns
Here are the top-10 Taproom columns of the first three years:
10. Aptitude Versus Achievement: A Running Metaphor — A somewhat esoteric look at the connection between nature and nurture in school, running, and life.
9. Running And the 10,000-Hour Rule — Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite social commentators and this column on his 10,000-hour rule struck a chord with many.
8. Running And Our Mental Health — Are you running to something or away from something? Some simple ruminations on running and what it says about our psychological and emotional well-being.
7. One Of Those Runs — A simple expose on the beauty and elegance of the run when everything just clicks.
6. Grit: Have You Got It? — My initial commentary on grit. To me, the ultrarunner’s essential metacognitive skill.
5. Unitasking: The Simple Beauty Of The Solo Long Run — Long-distance running in a multi-tasker’s world. An antidote.
4. Flow: The Path To Optimal Experience — Reflections on the work of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and his notion of flow as applied to the runner’s life.
3. Ultramarathon Running And Meta-Cognitive Skills — The introduction to my five-part series on running and metacognitive skills. I am actually nominating the entire series with this piece, so here are my columns on Ultrarunning Skills #1: Persistence, #2: Resilience, #3: Patience, #4: Courage, and #5: Grit.
2. Constellations And Supernovas — One of my early columns on longevity and success.
1. Western States Announces Changes — Quite simply, the best April Fools’ column ever!
Top 10 Beers Reviewed in AJW’s Taproom
And here are the top-10 beers reviewed here in the Taproom:
10. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, California
9. Dale’s Pale Ale, Oscar Blues Brewery, Colorado/North Carolina
8. Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, KettleHouse Brewing Company, Montana
7. Hardywood Gingerbread Stout, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Virginia
6. Zombie Dust, 3 Floyds Brewing Company, Indiana
5. Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale, Lagunitas Brewing Company, California
4. 395 IPA, Mammoth Brewing Company, California
3. Deviant Dale’s, Oscar Blues Brewery, Colorado/North Carolina
2. Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing Company, California
1. Heady Topper, The Alchemist, Vermont
AJW’s Beer of the Week
Heady Topper tops this list as it stands out as a delicately hopped, creamy DIPA that is eminently drinkable. Often imitated, never matched. Still, the gold standard in my view.
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- What have been your favorite moments emerging from topics discussed in AJW’s Taproom? This can be conversations you’ve participated in or listened to in the Taproom’s comments section or conversations you’ve had out on the trail with other runners who read the Taproom?
- As AJW said, sometimes the column and resulting conversation has been funny, awkward, stream of consciousness, but always a part of the journey. What moments do you remember most?
- Of the columns that made AJW’s top-10 list above, which have you enjoyed the most and why?
- And, among these top-10 beers, which have you tried and enjoyed? Why?
- Finally, as we look forward to the future of AJW’s Taproom, what would you like to see more of? What are some conversation topics AJW has not covered?