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