2012 is now past--fading quickly in the rear view mirror of life, to be replaced by a new year of events and happenings. And beers of course.
Last year was a good year for me and seemed to be busier than most. I started this blog which has been a fun way to document and remember what I did (mostly beer related) over the year. I did do non-beer things too, I swear! Highlights of the year include:
1) Our nearly 2 week trip to the beer Mecca of Belgium where we sampled nearly 150 different and amazing beers and got to hang out with some great friends. This is also where I got to try the most elusive of beers: the Westvleteren 12. Yup it was worth the hype! Getting to visit that country with all of its breweries, beer bars, amazing churches, and great restaurants was a high point of my life so far.
2) A fun trip to St. Louis with Sj where we went to at least 8 different breweries and brewpubs. While there we stayed at the hipsterific Moonrise Hotel and ate amazing barbecue. On our last day there before hopping on a plane we went to the City Museum which is one of the coolest places I've ever been to. I would make a trip to St. Louis just to see this place again. Cross House On The Rock with a giant McDonald's Playland and a human sized hamster habitrail made entirely of recycled materials and that kind of describes the place.
3) Beers! This year I managed to try many of what I consider to be the best beers I've ever had. See above for one of the best. By being involved in the Limited Release episodes I got to try Kate The Great, Three Floyd's Dark Lord, and Surly Darkness 2012 (thanks Rob!) By hosting a Darkness 2008-2011 vertical tasting and Imperial stout taste-o-rama I got to try many of the most sought after beers around. Black Tuesday! Rob brought me back Pliny The Elder and we had a Pliny vs Surly Abrasive smack down. I finally got to try Sam Adams Utopias (and I will post a separate entry on that one soon.) We were able to get into Winterfest with scalped tickets and Autumn Brew Review. We also froze our buttocks in line waiting for Steel Toe Lunker. I also got to meet Garret Oliver, Mitche Steele, and Charlie Papazian. Also we went to an amazing pre-ABR brewmaster's dinner at Blackbird and a bunch of great Happy Gnome beer dinners.
4) We had a sour beer tasting at Andrew and Janelle's place that really got us excited about trying more sour beers. Whilst in Belgium we were able to visit the grand-daddy of all sour producers--Cantillon. We lucked out in getting to visit there during a special food and beer pairing event where we got to try nearly every beer that they produce.
5) Homebrewing! This was a great year for Jack Of All Brews as well. We helped organize the Renaissance Festival competition this year and had a great time doing it. We had a lot of great meetings with members old and new joining in on the fun. I tried homebrews that rival the best commercial beers I've tasted. We had a tour of Steel Toe Brewery as a club event. Several of our members won medals at various competition and brought us some brewcred. We were nominated for The Growler's Kind Of A Big Deal Awards and had a nice little article in the Southwest Metro magazine was written about us as well. We also organized and put on a great Inter-Club camp out this year!
6) NHC! I took an extended trip to the National Homebrewer's Conference in Seattle where I had two beers that made it to second round of judging for the competition. No medals but had a lot of tasty beers as consolation. I was able to meet a ton of people, visit a plethora of breweries and hang out with the Primary Fermenters.
Where do we go from here? For 2013 we already have tickets to Winterfest, Duluth's All Pints North, and Autumn Brew Review. We also have a family wedding in Bend Oregon that should be quite a trip. I'm looking forward to a lot more fun and an even better year. Thanks to all of you who have helped make this a great year for me...I appreciate it!