Tag Archives: Craft Beer

Dressing the Part

One of the often overlooked aspects of craft beer culture is the dress code. Sure we blog about the beer, the breweries, the brewers, the beer labels and the beer events but attend any festival, tasting event, cask night, tap room etc. and you will begin to notice that lovers of beer love to share that love via the t-shirt.

Putting aside the well-crafted (notice that pun) aesthetic of the plaid-wearing, beard waxed, skinny jean sporting crowd, I am speaking about the other portion of the group that treats beer events like concerts i.e. show your love via your choice of attire. From the basic brewery logos to clever puns to pop culture spoofs there is no shortage of creatively dressed folks out there if you so choose to look around.

On that note (and since it is Friday, which by definition requires light reading), I would like to dedicate this post to beer wear. What follows is a mere drop in the bucket of some of the more interesting clothing options just waiting to be gifted to the beer geek in your life…

 

Brewers Shirts (Etsy)
Brewer Shirts 4 from Etsy

Brewer Shirts 5 from Etsy

Brewer Shirts 6 from Etsy

Brewer Shirts from Etsy 2

Brewer Shirts from Etsy 3

 

Hop Cloth (Etsy)
Hopcloth from Etsy 2

Hopcloth from Etsy 3

Hopcloth from Etsy

 

Twisted Twee Ltd. (Etsy)
Twisted Twee Ltd from Etsy

City Collection (Etsy)
City Collection from Etsy

Classic SciFi (Etsy)
Classic SciFi from Etsy

Sleazy Seagull (Etsy)
Sleazy Seagull from Etsy

Little Atoms (Etsy)
Little Atoms from Etsy

Unicorn Tees (Etsy)
Unicorn Tees from Etsy

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Of Bell Curves and Bandwagons…

As I enter my “veteran” years as a craft beer drinker I like to look back at how and why I got here.

Like. Any of you, I started by dabbling here and there with the occasional import offering, slowly learning that beer has a diversity not unlike the human race, and one day snapping, jumping right into the deep end. I shopped at the small independents, bought numerous best-after beers to stock my cellar, made cross-border excursions to hunt for whales, attended beer fests, hosted tasting nights, learned home brewing, made brewery visits, began beer blogging and so on and so forth. Basically if it was new I was going to try it.

Perhaps not surprisingly my blanket enthusiasm waned and I became more serious about my beer, my glassware, my palate and so forth. Eventually I was so picky I whittled the whole thing down to a couple of preferred styles and lately I seem to have let craft beer fall almost off radar.

This led me to a realization, the aforementioned trajectory was actually pretty familiar, I got on the bandwagon and rode the bell curve.

Bell curves are the graphic representation of a function wherein there is a small volume at the beginning, a fairly quick ascension to the top, and an equally quick descent down to a small volume once more. You know, like the outline of a bell.

Most typically used to illustrate distribution I think this graph nicely charts the path undertaken by many craft enthusiasts. Start slow, jump in with both feet, and taper off just as quickly.

While the initial tentative steps and resultant over-enthusiasm are easy to spot almost everywhere, the subsequent disengagement is only really just becoming visible.

I know I have read (and written) many posts discussing beer fatigue, market saturation, the perils of too much quantity, and just a general feeling that in the rapid resurgence of good beer there is potential peril if customers feel it all becomes a bit too much and decide to get back off the bandwagon.

So how do those of us who stepped off find our way back?

I like to think we will all come back to craft beer that stepping away only affords us the opportunity to see everything as new again and re-enter the world with a more nuanced and informed perspective. Personally, the way back for me has been the olive branch that is session beer and understanding my own unique palate, which lets me pick beer I will almost certainly enjoy and invest in beer with timeless appeal.

I certainly hope the next leg of my journey follows the brontosaurus head phase shown below, it looks like fun!

20140715-204957-74997833.jpg

*thanks to the Drucker Institute for the image of the bell curve.


My Year in Beer

It’s that time again where people gather to reflect back on the year that is passing and to look forward to what the future will bring.

For craft beer aficionados it feels like the bubble will never burst. Just when you think the seemingly insatiable growth of the craft beer industry may be leveling off a new brewery sets up tanks, a new tap room polishes its’ taps, a new beer festival celebrates an emergent style, a new hop farm plants a rhizome, a long-forgotten beer style is revised and revamped and a new beer blogger offers up their thoughts to the universe.

 

SRB Beer Tasters

 

2013 was an enjoyable year in beer for me. I went to a few of my favourite beer festivals, I visited some new local breweries here in British Columbia and in Washington, I took a road trip to California, which included brewery visits of course, and I tried some very memorable beers.

Also, this year I really tried to focus on quality over quantity when it came to my craft beer choices. For awhile the market was small enough that you could (reasonably) try each and every new thing but this is no longer realistic. I have been sampling my way around long enough to really know my own palate or I know what I like dammit so why not invest in what I enjoy.

 

Bottle Caps

 

Here are some of my highlights from the year the was:

Visiting Russian River Brewing Company – I had put Russian River on a pedestal for so long I knew my visit could never meet my expectations; nonetheless it was so worth it to sit down in front of the massive sample try and enjoy some of the world’s best beers on tap in the place where they were born.

Discovering The Bruery – This year saw me introduce myself to what just may be one of my all-time favourite breweries. Focusing on barrel aged creations, The Bruery really caught my attention with Tart of Darkness a sour stout. Any brewer that can successfully merge these two stellar beer styles deserves our devotion.

 

 

Drinking a Manhattan – The beer that really blew me away this year came from a very reliable source, Cascade Brewing in Portland, OR. An amazing fusion of sweet, rich cocktail meets sour beer made this a beyond memorable brew.

Pulling into Elizabeth Station – This little tap room that can in Bellingham, WA has become a must visit every time I am cross-border shopping. An incredible bottle selection accompanied by a well thought out tap list.

Out of Province Beers – I had the chance to sample craft beers from Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Quebec that never make there way out to BC and it is always fun finding something new that none of the local beer geeks have got their hands on.

 

Westvlelevern

 

Tasting the Best Beer in the World – Unintentionally stumbling across a case of Westvleteren 12 at a local liqour store meant I could finally see for myself what all the hype was about. The best? Maybe not definitively but pretty damn amazing that’s for sure.

Blogging about Beer – Always a highlight coming up with topics of interest and subjecting fellow beer geeks to my personal views on whatever comes to mind. Some of my personal favourite posts were Four Word Beer Reviews, Putting the “I” in Beer Review, Decoding Duchesse and Re-Inventing Rodenbach, The Art of the Beer Label BC Edition, Out of the Cellar and finally, Beer with (insert current foodie fad).

 

FW Tasteroom Tasters

Looking forward to another big year in beer. Happy New Year!


Craft Beer Market, the Vancouver Edition

I am a little slow on the draw so while I was aware of the fact that a behemoth tap room opened a location in Vancouver, BC it took me until last week to actually visit and, to be honest, I only went in because I was at nearby Legacy liqour store and managed to snag a free parking space.

Craft Beer Market

Craft

The Vancouver edition of Craft Beer Market is located in Olympic Village (False Creek) in the gorgeous Salt Building. Before I get to the modern incarnation of the building here is a little history courtesy of Scout Magazine

“Thanks to its crisp, polished finishes and bold color scheme, the Salt Building could easily be mistaken for a brand new structure leaning on our city’s penchant for industrial design. The truth, however, is that this spot is the real deal featuring a long history that reflects much on our city’s changing industrial landscape and operations. 

Built circa 1930, the original 13,000 square-foot space served in partnership with the Bay Area salt trade in San Francisco, whereby unrefined salt was shipped to Vancouver for secondary processing and extraction… The structure features a complex roof truss system bearing weight onto numerous columns, with a large clerestory of windows brightening the long stretch of working space.” 

Craft Beer Market Kegs

Craft Beer Market Inside

Craft Beer Market a self-described ‘premium casual restaurant’ boasts 140 taps with over 100 of said taps devoted to beer, Canada’s largest selection. The sheer logistics of the volume of beer being tapped here is staggering and the sight of a mountain of tapped kegs sprouting silver tentacles, filled with numerous beer lines, is worth the visit alone.

Now I have to interject with a bit of a personal hang-up before I continue. Typically, I am not a big fan of big. Big beer, big box stores, big vehicles, big homes, (big hair is cool though), I feel like it all screams over-compensation or, even worse, it is simply big for the sake of being, well, big. As I sat down to peruse the menu I did my best to shelve this bias and be the objective blogger I was destined to be.

Craft Beer Menu

Lo’ and behold there are many beers on tap here so it is as advertised. Beers are broken down by style to help guests manage the mega-menu. Rotating guest taps and cask night on Tuesdays add some new items into the mix, while pre-chosen flights offer guidance to the overwhelmed – though the ‘what the locals drink’ menu boasting two Stanley Park beers did set off some alarm bells.

Flight at Craft

Odd as it may sound in this veritable sea of options I had a really hard time choosing something to drink, not because there were so many beers I wanted to try but rather just the opposite because there were so few.

The beer menu was predictable in the sense there were no surprises to be found.  It was like walking into a provincial liqour store and seeing the familiar beers we know and love from the familiar brewers we know and love and feeling that slight twinge of disappointment that there is nothing to get excited over, nothing different to be discovered. For the non-craft beer nerd it must seem like a cornucopia of choice but for the veteran it felt a little stale. Granted the usual suspects are on tap so if draught versus bottle turns your crank you will be pleased.

I settled on an Elysian Oddland Series Spiced Pear Ale, a hoppy ale, and the hubby tried Ommegang Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout, a pretty standard stout. Overall, both beers were pretty middling. When our server asked what we thought I mentioned some thoughts on the Elysian but they pretty much tuned out so I figured we were not going to talk shop.

Elysian Spiced Pear Ale

Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout

Personally, the whole thing felt a little corporate lacking in the ambiance, engaged staff and unique and/or challenging beer options that really make a tap room worth its’ salt. While I understand the need to have the majority of beers be something accessible I felt like there was no heart behind brand, that behind the beautiful facade there is no real love of craft beer here.

Beer on Tap


Pulling into Elizabeth Station

As a frequent cross-border beer shopper I thought I knew all the hidden gems for finding the best craft beer selection in Bellingham, WA but apparently I did not know squat because I had not been to Elizabeth Station.

Elizabeth Station Entrance

Elizabeth Station is an impressive shop brimming with craft beer fridges organized geographically, a decent wine and spirit section and quite possibly that largest selection of junk food I have ever seen.

Beer Fridges at Elizabeth Station

From jars of candy to a cereal bar to towering shelves of chips to sandwiches Elizabeth Station basically has all manner of food stuffs any self-respecting person with the munchies may or may not have to good sense to ignore.

Thankfully they also have a three beer limit so I won’t inadvertently become compelled to purchase a Ring Pop for each finger after a few too many.

Candy at Elizabeth Station

 

Cereal on Tap

In addition, and perhaps most importantly, Elizabeth Station boasts a small selection of taps, growler fills and bottle service – see something you like in the fridge and they will open it for you and you can consume in store.

On Tap

While there I had the pleasure of trying Petrus Aged Pale from Bavik-De Bradandere on tap, a lovely crisp, bright sour that serves as the mother (the starter beer) for the rest of the beers in the brewery’s line-up.

My hubby asked for a porter recommendation from the resident beer guy and was very impressed with the suggested Anchor Porter.

We took home a bottle of Vlad the Impaler form Cascade and a four of 90min IPA from Dogfish Head to commemorate our visit.

So next time you find yourself in downtown Bellingham stop in and be impressed!

Petrus Aged Pale

 


The Future of Craft Beer

As I was contemplating this post I ran through many different titles; Can there be too much Diversity? Are we fickle? Whither the craft in craft beer? Do we have too many choices? Always chasing the next big thing? The underlying theme being my general misgivings about the direction craft brewers have been taking in relation to the sheer size and diversity of their beer line-ups.

 

Deca-tuplets (?)

 

So I thought a little more about this.

 

Basically I feel like every new and established craft brewer, as of late, seems intent on creating and selling as many different beer styles as possible. Take a random sample of breweries from the Pacific Northwest and you will find many of them producing IPA’s, Pilsners, Pale Ales, Hefeweizens, Belgians, Porters, Stouts, Fruit Beers, Flavoured Ales, Reds Ales, Brown Ales, Dunkels, Sours and those are just off the top of my head AND that is not even counting variations on major styles or seasonals.

 

To be clear, I do not mean a single brewery is specializing on one or two of those styles but rather individual breweries are trying their hand at all of the styles.

 

Don’t get me wrong I am not against experimentation, I believing brewing is as much and art as it is a science and we need to push our boundaries from time to time in order to test our skills and move the craft beer culture forward.

 

But can we really move forward if everyone is trying to master everything? True quality may take lifetimes to master. Have you ever drank a trappist beer? Any idea how long they have been brewing that particular beer? Do you come across many blackberry chai Belgian Triples?

 

1201 choices

1201 choices

 

When I walk into a beer store and I see a thousand different craft beers to choose from I feel like the floodgates have opened and it concerns me to think that breweries, in their rush to put out a wild ale for the summer, are moving from style to style so quickly that we never really get to see them develop a signature beer or signature style that could become their hallmark.

 

Personally, I would welcome more breweries that dedicate themselves to perfecting a few styles of beer. Breweries who could rise above the masses due to the quality not volume, of beer they are producing.


Does this Beer make my Butt look Big?

Craft beer is the future, we all love the little guy, quality trumps quantity every time but alas there is one downside to this explosion of craft beer culture.

Much like mass market beer craft beer contains …wait for it … (insert ominous music here) calories and not just a few of them.

Beer your the Devil!

Beer you’re the Devil!

No one could argue that beer quality and taste has not improved immeasurably thanks to the efforts of the small scale breweries but sadly the ugly truth of the matter is our body does not discriminate when it comes to the source of our caloric intake. Our bodies cannot and do not appreciate discerning palates by magically flushing all the calories away when we reach for a Deschutes Abyss instead of a Bud Light (stupid bodies). In the end we may all have to come gut-to-gut with the dreaded beer belly.

Homer's Beer Belly

So just how bad is our craft beer habit on our waistlines?

Oddly (or maybe not so oddly if you are the skeptical sort) the answer to this question is not readily available and in the few cases where nutrition information is  accessible it is usually in conjunction with the promotion of a ‘lite’ product or hauled out as an ambiguous justification to assure you that of course beer is good in moderation. Some articles herald the vitamin B content of beer while others suggest beer has no fat so it really can’t be that considered a poor nutritional choice.

Beer bad or beer good? Well you can convince yourself either way but the irrefutable fact remains that beer contributes to our dietary allowance and as such we must be cognizant of what (and how much) we are ingesting.

calories

The internet tells me the most popular beers weigh in at between 140 and 180 calories per 12oz serving; in this instance most likely referring to a lager style beer with a fairly low ABV. There is no shortage of tables listing calories and carbs for various beer brands but there seems to big a rather large shortage of accurate and consistent information.

The problem is most craft beer drinkers tend to consume beers of all different styles, sizes and strengths meaning one day we may have 4.5% pale ale but the next we may imbibe in 12% barley wine. A general statement like a 12oz beer has 140 calories may be waaaayyyyy off the mark in the craft beer world affording us a distorted sense of how much we could and should drink.

If there is so much arbitrary information out there why are there no nutrition labels on beer?

Turning once again to the great-and-powerful Google I learned that in 2007 the United States decided that beer, wine and liquor would have to include the familiar nutritional labels on their packaging. A three-year window was allotted to provide businesses with time to implement the packaging changes. Well 2010 has come and gone and a quick look through my fridge reveals that my assortment of Canadian, American and UK beers are not providing us with nutritional content and the question of why not remains visibly unanswered.

Nutrition Label

It seems more than a little condescending to me that consumers cannot be trusted to continue to enjoy their favourite beers if we are presented with cold hard truth that beer, like everything else we ingest, will have an impact on our diets.

For years, the fast food industry lobbied to not provide nutritional information to customers in fear that we may learn the shocking truth that fries, soda and burgers are not the most nutritionally sound foods on the market. Well duh, people are not quite as unaware as we may appear.

Personally, I would like to know just how many calories I may be consuming if I reach for a second stout. Knowledge will not force me to shun craft beer but it will create a better informed beer drinker one who can make choices based around the other foodstuffs I consume. It will also continue the push forward for craft breweries to turn their attentions to session and lower alcohol beers that we their patrons can enjoy with more regularity without the ugly trade-off of no longer fitting on the bar stool at our favourite tap room.

*Thanks to Avery Brewing for the Mephistopheles Badge image, Irish Taxi for the image of Homer Simpson’s Beer Belly, Beeriety for the diagram and Drinking Beer fir the conceptual alcohol nutrition label.


Should we Fear Big Beer?

Eons ago, when I first became a craft beer drinker, I watched the documentary Beer Wars. Like many other documentaries it warned us about the evils of mass-production, globalization and monopolies while highlighting the David and Goliath like struggles of little companies against the big guys that are out to squash them. Beer Wars spoke of the big brewers buying up retail space to highlight their brand, throwing millions of dollars into ad campaigns designed to fog the mind and tug at the heart strings (thanks Simpsons) or at least stimulate the thirst centres of our brains, manipulating distribution in a Machiavellian fashion and just generally being jerks.

 

Beer Thirst Poster

 

But when you get right down to things is Big Beer a threat to the craft beer industry (and oh yes it is an industry)? Are we even talking about competition for the same market? Does Big Beer put under many up-and-coming craft brewers today? If there are restrictions holding back the craft beer industry who or what is responsible?

 

If we look to history as our teacher when beer production first emerged there were many small players but through competition and consolidation Big Beer emerged to dominate and unfortunately homogenize the beer scene. As Big Beer continued its slow and steady march towards mediocrity it is true that many small breweries fell victim to its expansion BUT in these cases we were almost always speaking about small breweries that had been established for many years succumbing to outside pressures not emergent craft brewers selling out to the highest bidder.

 

Beer Taps

 

If the 1970’s were a veritable wasteland for beer lovers, the 1990’s bore the brunt of developing small breweries who attempted to start at the top and dominate this re-emergence of craft beer enthusiasts; however, the big business tactics that worked so well for the top three did not fit this new beer culture. Early missteps fostered an environment for the sustainable growth of craft beer as quality became a mantra, loyal customers supported the small breweries and business sense was tempered first and foremost by the aforementioned traits.

 

Total Breweries

 

If the craft beer movement as we know it today emerged as the antithesis of Big Beer than no one can argue that craft beer has made astonishing progress. There are new breweries opening faster than bloggers can commentate, craft beer is increasingly popping up on the menus at local restaurants and pubs, craft beer festivals, communities of home brewers, beer judging etc. etc. etc. all indicate that craft beer has created not a niche market but rather a viable and thriving alternative market to the big beer complex. If the Big Beer market has become stagnant craft beer market is a bottle conditioned beauty brimming with possibilities.

 

Alibi Room Samples

When it gets right down to it I am not sure Big Beer and craft beer could even be considered to be in direct competition with one another. I mean, honestly, do you know anyone who goes to their local beer store and cannot decide between Labatt’s Blue and Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA? Are Molson and Parallel 49 really in competition for the rights to distribution at your local arena? Is Brewery Creek worried about allocating enough floor space to 24’s of Lucky Lager that R&B Brewing is in danger of being pushed out of the market?

 

Perhaps our biggest fear should be the feeble attempts of Big Beer to market faux-craft offerings but to any savvy beer lover (one with taste buds and a smartphone) there really is no danger of mistaking Molson Canadian with a old-time bike on the label as a craft beer.

If you really want to get right to the heart of the matter the biggest obstacles to the continued growth of the craft beer industry have more to do with local, provincial and federal laws and regulations than direct competition from Big Beer. Convincing Big Beer drinkers to make the switch …well that’s a whole other blog post.

 

*Thanks to CNN for the tap handle photo and the Brewers Association for the craft beer charts.


An Ode to my Beer Spouse

Fellow beer bloggers (and bloggers of all things), I am sure you are only too aware of how much time our respective hobbies consume. For normal people enjoying craft beer and beer culture is merely the by-product of a fun evening out with friends or an unexpected bonus during a weekend away. It is something done casually with little ‘work’ required before, during or after BUT for blogging beer geeks our hobby is anything but passive.

 

Cross-border weekends away are scheduled to coincide with beer festivals, tasting events are mandatory attendance, new beers are must-tries and new breweries are must visits. Conversations with unsuspecting liquor store clerks and cicerones can easily degrade into quasi-interrogations or better yet opportunities to pitch my latest blog topic. ‘Free time’ is spent taking pictures, taking notes and generally whiling away my time in front of WordPress.

 

Obviously this sounds like a lot of work, more than one mere mortal can endure, and so I would like to use this post to pay homage to the oft underrated and oft unheralded person behind the scenes… my long-suffering beer spouse.

 

Without the unwavering support of my beer spouse blogging would be much less fun. Sharing this whole adventure through craft beer is made infinitely more enjoyable with the company of a willing co-conspirator. My beer spouse acts as my sounding board and my editor-in-chief. He takes arty shots of glasses on tables and prettily sits for pictures in countless brewpubs. My beer spouse generously samples every new brew that comes into our lives, finishes those I dislike and offers opinions (sometimes begrudgingly) on nose, taste and finish. He dutifully drives the overindulgent blogger in his life home and puts her bed after a few too many. He functions as jack-of-all-trades to assist my home brewing attempts. But above all else and most importantly my beer spouse unequivocally supports and nurtures the crazy person in his life.

 

Often as I sit hunched over my laptop my better half wanders by and asks if I am blogging, usually I am, and then inevitably he asks (jokingly) if the post is about him. So this time out yes, this one is about you Babe! Love ya!

 

My Beer Spouse


My (Last Year’s) New Beers Resolutions

Last year I set out a list of my hilariously named New Beers Resolutions and as one notorious for both rarely making or rarely keeping resolutions I thought I would re-visit the list to see how I did or didn’t fare on my goals.

  1. Relax and enjoy the act of drinking craft beer i.e. take a break from diligent note taking and photographing in order to actually savour the experience. Actually I think I did pretty good with this one though those who know me will interject with the fact that I have become a little co-dependent with the Untapped app on my phone; however, I like to think I can now take a quick picture, write a few thoughts or just bestow a couple of stars and voila I am back on track to just enjoy the experience of savouring a great beer. I rarely carry around my rate beer notepad and I have taken to relying on my memory more than any physical proof that I really did try and enjoy any given beer.
  2. Learn more about the ‘craft’ aspect of craft beer. Hmm, this one is a little subjective but in the course of various blog posts I have done some further research into what constitutes a ‘craft’ beer or ‘craft’ brewery and while I cannot say with certainty that any hard and fast label will remain in perpetuity to distinguish craft from macro I like to think  it will always be the beer drinkers who decide what truly represents the ‘craft’ aspect be it size, motivation, quality or a combination of many factors.
  3. Visit more of our local BC Breweries and tap houses. I did do this, in fact, I even spent a day at Steamworks Brewery assisting with their beer production. I also made a point of trying several new Washington and Oregon brewers anytime I was down in the States instead of simply re-visiting the places I know and love.
  4. Be discerning in my beer purchasing habits i.e. stop buying bottles with cool labels and start cultivating a means of selection. I like to think I am getting better at this but then along came my Pumpkin and Christmas Beer countdowns and all my bad habits re-surfaced with a vengeance i.e. funny beer names and creative labels became a de facto means of selection. Though I have to say I did my best to only splurge on beer styles I know and love, which means I have a little cache of Russian River sours and barrel aged stouts on hand for emergencies.
  5. Go to the Great American Beer Festival. Just didn’t do it so I am putting this back on the list and if I don’t make it to GABF I will got to the GCBF this year.
  6. Drink more beers on tap. In conjunction with my quest to try more tap houses I fulfilled this resolution with gusto. I am a big fan of draft beer often preferring what’s on tap to what’s in the bottle so this one wasn’t too hard for me.
  7. Get out of my comfort zone with home brewing. Not really but I do have another batch of ingredients ready to be made into a beer and I chose a random porter recipe to try so I think that kind of qualifies as meeting this resolution. To be honest, reflecting back on my decision to make this resolution I have to say I do not ever see me being a big home brewer, I really like to try different beer and the thought of being saddled with a lot of any one style is somewhat distressing.
  8. Become a certified beer judge (I see this as working in conjunction with resolution 1 since I would have a designated venue for critical drinking). Nope. I looked into becoming a beer judge and becoming a cicerone, both require a lot of work and commitment and I am uncertain about the degree of my desire to pursue either of these avenues. I think both certifications would be interesting challenges but at the end of the day I don’t see an immediate applicability to my workaday life, perhaps if someone in the industry wants to hire me I could consider beer judge or cicerone as career extensions.
  9. Make myself a beer calendar so I can keep on top of my inventory. Not really but I have been more on top of my inventory to ensure no lager gets left too long and no barley wine gets drunk too soon.
  10. Find additional ways to bake with craft beer. I did do this by incorporating pumpkin ale into a batch of chili, reducing golden ale with garlic and onion for an Irish stew and adding ice cream to stout for beer floats (not technically baking but creating nonetheless).
  11. Do more blogging (posting and reading) to get to know more people in this amazing family of craft beer enthusiasts. According to my handy dandy year end report from WordPress I really stepped up my game in terms of output last year increasing not only the number of posts but more importantly the numbers of both views and visitors for which I am eternally amazed and grateful.
  12. Help my cat cut back on his drinking problem… Well it’s been a tough haul for Merl but we finally got him switched over to hard liqour.

 

Merlyn and his Scotch

 

Happy New Year to all my readers and I am looking forward to a 2013 filled with many great beers, great beer events and the company of great beer geeks!


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