As the chimes of Big Ben brought in the new year, I couldn’t help but look back on 2015 and smile at how far I’ve come on my beery adventure. On a personal note, my kids are that little bit older and more settled allowing me more time to explore my passion for beer.
And there have been so many beers this year that have blown me away. Early on in 2015 I was lucky enough to get hold of some Skull King from Beavertown which was delicious, only for it to be surpassed a few weeks later by their very own Power of the Voodoo which for most of the year I considered to be my beer of the year. Hats off to Logan and the cracking brewing team he’s assembled there for getting their beers up to an incredibly consistent level and also for getting that canning line dialled in to deliver the beer to its customers in tip top condition.
Cans have featured heavily this year. Both for better or worse. But without doubt they have been a welcome addition to the scene in my mind. I feel they keep those hoppy beers as fresh as possible longer.
October was a big beery month for me with Craft Beer Calling and the awesome Indyman. It was the month more than ever that made me feel part of a fantastic evening beer scene. I met so many people I’d only ever spoken to on Twitter.
The last couple of months of 2015 brought to me two of the most amazing beers in Brewdogs Born to Die and also Cloudwaters DIPA. Very close between the two but for me I got the Born to Die at its freshest and it blew me away. Sadly the DIPA was at least six weeks old and while it was delicious I know it has more to offer with fresher hops!
And so to 2016, January is a busy month for me in my line of work but I’ve got a cracking trip to Dublin and Alltech Brews and Food festival, lined up for February.
My biggest hope for 2016 is to get myself waist deep into the North East beer scene. I hope to get myself out on the road and visit as many of the North East breweries as possible. And I can’t wait to spread the word. I can’t wait to share what I find. There are so many folk doing great things in the North East. Those stories need to be told.
One event I recently attended really inspired me. It was a talk that the students running Stu Brew gave. Now Stu Brew is the student run brewery at Newcastle University. There’s a great deal to tell about that project, a blog for another time. But they were supported by the lads from Northern Alchemy. The passion and dedication from the speakers on the night was truly inspiring. Great night and a great pointer to the exciting things I look forward to this year.
So here’s to 2016. Be bold, get yourself along to as many things as possible, explore things for yourself. The opinions of others help but be firm and form your own opinions. There’s so much fun to be had!