A couple of self-described "beer geeks" have passed the six-month point in their year of searching out great beer around the world.

Chris Nelson and his wife Merideth Canham-Nelson of Carmel Valley, Calif., started their year in beer in January with a visit to Anchorage, Alaska's Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival.

Since then, they've attended a beer festival in Germany, downed Guinness in Ireland, and visited breweries and beer events in cities ranging from Boston to Seattle.

The next six months will take them to England, Denver, San Diego, Belgium, and back to Germany for (what else?) Oktoberfest.

Nelson says they've stuck with their plans despite high gas prices and the low value of the dollar, and they're trying hard to offset the carbs from the suds with hiking.

In August, they'll be starting their visit to England with a tour organized by Real Ale Walks in Somerset, where you trek between villages going to different pubs.

Their favorite place to hike is the Alps, because they can combine their love of beer with exercise. "Along the trails they have little restaurants where you can usually get a simple meal of bread and cheese and a beer," Nelson said.

Nelson has a Web site design business and his wife is a clinical social worker.

They're paying for their trips out of their own pocket and are not sponsored or affiliated with any beer companies. You can read about their beer travels at http://www.yearinbeer.com.