I love these lazy days between Christmas and the New Year, don’t you?
These are the calendar’s ‘forgotten days’ when time slows down, days smudge into each other and the normal rules of life are momentarily suspended.
It is only during these ‘in-between’ days that it’s perfectly OK to spend an entire afternoon sitting on the sofa flicking through the TV channels hunting for old movies while eating dripping slices of pizza because the health drive is going to start soon.
Not yet, not right this second, but soon.
It is only during these few precious days that you can play on your children’s Xbox and not have to lie about enjoying it, that you can eat ham with every meal and justify it by saying you’re only ‘making room in the fridge’ and when you can push work away by reasoning that no one else will do anything about it until the New Year anyway. Even if you know that’s not really true.
In these lawless few days it’s also a good time to reflect on the year as it gasps its last few breathes. It is now you have the downtime to recall the good things 2012 has given you, the crises and the near misses, the successes and the failures, the ones you loved and those who slipped away.
For beer enthusiasts like us it’s also time to take stock of what beers we drank and even more importantly where and who we drank them with.
Trying to recall a whole year’s worth of beery experiences is never easy (I’m the kind of guy that has difficulty recalling what I did last week) but it’s something I always force myself to do because by preserving them in words I can always come back here if ever I need to remind myself how fortunate I am and relive them again.
This year I’ve tried to trim the entire year down into just 5 of my most memorable highlights. It’s a task about as impossible as finding all the receipts for your unwanted Christmas gifts but here goes anyway.
1. The Craft Brewers Conference and World Beer Cup 2012
In April this year I flew to San Diego (after a near death experience) to attend one of the biggest beery events on the planet. In fact the CBC is an almost obscene triple header event that combines the Conference with BrewExpo America (where brewers go to buy shiny things) and last, but certainly not least, the World Beer Cup.
But on top of all that it’s simply the beer party to end all beer parties, where you get to share suds with beer personalities you see almost every week on the Internet. The only difference is here they are in high definition 3D and buy you drinks.
There were so many highlights from this trip I would fill the Internet up if I attempted to list them all but getting served a beer by Tomme Arthur at Lost Abbey/Port Brewing (and drinking it in their cask ageing room) was pretty spectacular, as was the crazy late night dash in a clapped out camper van with the Ska Brewing boys to watch a Ramones tribute band while slamming shots of JD and Bitburger. Oh and the vertical tasting of North Coast Brewing’s Old Stock Ale from 2012 down to 2000 in a posh hotel overlooking the ocean wasn’t too bad either.
2 The ‘Other’ CBC
Getting back from the USA was nothing short of a nightmare and meant I only had a couple of days to recover/dry out before heading to the next CBC – this time being held in Copenhagen.
The Copenhagen Beer Celebration was the brainchild of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (yes, him) and Danish craft beer importer Drikkeriget ruled by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø (of Evil Twin Brewing fame) and Henrik Boes Brolling.
It promised to deliver a new type of beer event. Stripped back to the point of being minimalistic. A show where the beer and the people that made it were the only important things.
It worked. The CBC contained the best line-up of beers I have tasted on European soil. Ever.
As if that wasn’t enough the CBC was preceded by a Sour & Bitter event in which just 250 lucky people were invited to a remote waterside warehouse filled with beers so rare and so exquisite that after three days in CPH I eventually capitulated and used that one word any self-respecting beer geek hates to mutter.
Enough amazing beer thank you very much. Enough limited edition, one-off never-to-be-repeated batches, enough sour ales so rare people will fly half way around the globe to try them and enough barrel-aged, fruit-infused, style-stretching beers already.
In Part 2:
Of course enough is never really enough so tomorrow I reveal 3 more beery highlights of 2012.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Beer trending – what can we expect in 2013? : BeerSweden | december 30, 2012