Monday, January 14, 2013

The Year in Beer - 2012

Another crazy year in craft beer has come to a finish, and here we are already kicking of 2013! After going back to read the previous Year in Beer posts from 2010 and 2011, there always seems to be a few things we couldn't get to. I suppose it's like coming up with New Years resolutions and leaving them unfulfilled...but, it's never bad to set some goals.

2012 was another great year in beer! More breweries opened, new breweries and brewing companies produced more/new beers, and we did our best to drink them all. It's not an easy thing to do, but we try to do the best we can.

It was another great year for Sarah and I in our personal lives, albeit not as crazy as 2011.

We headed to Philadelphia in January and got to try some amazing beers not currently available in New England (sadly). Needless to say, we had a great time eating and drinking through the city.

We again took on the role organizing a fantastic beer tasting as part of the 2012 Cure Me I'm Irish event at Lombardo's in March. We had 10 amazing breweries/brewing companies pouring for 1,000+ thirsty guests and volunteers. It was double the capacity of the previous year, and even more fun! I (Adam) began a new position in Boston in May, which occupied most of my time. It also was great, because I was closer to some really great bars that serve craft beer - notably, Lower Depths, Deep Ellum, and the Publick House, but many others I still have yet to stop at!

We made a return trip to Chicago in June to celebrate our first anniversary, as well as return to our favorite city. We got to visit some more places we didn't get to the first time we went, including Unity Temple, the Shed Aquarium, Buckingham Fountain, and we even took a architectural river tour (which was one of the highlights of the trip).

We also moved in September from Braintree to Somerville, which was a city we had hung out in many times during 2012 after hanging out with Jeff and Caitlin of Slumbrew in February at their nano brewery. We couldn't be happier with our new place and now we're so close to great bars and restaurants in Davis, Porter, and Harvard Squares. There are some seriously good places out there!

Our Social Media presence continued to grow in 2012. Last year we had 743 Twitter followers, which has grown to 1,308 followers presently. Additionally, Facebook went from 447 Fans to now having 850 fans! We also joined Instagram, where we (mostly) post pictures of the beers we try.

Anyway, on to the highlights of beer in 2012...

Top Beers of 2012:

Somerville Brewing Company "Slumbrew" Flagraiser IPA - We're biased as we help out our friends Jeff, Caitlin, and Chris a lot, but we fell in love with this beer before we befriended (and more or less became neighbors) them. Big, Bold, and Delicious are three adjectives I like to use in describing this Double IPA. It has that right amount of balance between malt and hop that is needed in a great IPA. It also doesn't hurt that it's 7.5% ABV.

Notch Session Cerne Pivo - Say it with me now...Cerne Pivo. Cheer-nay Peevo. Dark, full bodied session dark lager that goes down smooth and is overwhelmingly flavorful. Chris Lohring does a fantastic job with his beers and if you haven't had them yet, you're doing yourself a grave disservice.

Watch City Brewery Rescue One Kรถlsh - Watch City Brewery our of Waltham, MA started showing up on more draft lists across the city last year and we were happy to enjoy some WCB beers outside of their brewpub. The beer had a great golden hue with a nice malty backbone and went down easy. It was also drinking for a great cause. Click the beer name to read more about the how this beer helped raise some money for a great cause.

The Alchemist Heady Topper - We had it at the end of 2011 for the first time, but got to have more of it last year thanks to some great beer bars in Massachusetts getting small quantities of it. Also, our good friend Pat gifted us a four pack in November. That's what friends are for!

Jack's Abby Brewing Co. Brett Bier de Garde - A very funky smelling beer with a subtly sour flavor made this beer overwhelmingly drinkable and enjoyable. We still have a bottle sitting in our fridge. I think we need to review it.

Baxter Brewing Co. Phantom Punch Winter Stout - A fantastic extra stout, the beer packs a punch at 6.8% ABV without feeling too heavy. This one was reviewed as part of the 31 Beers of Christmas collaboration between and Seacoast Beverage Lab. We will post the review here soon!

Wormtown Brewing Norm - A coconut porter with just enough coconut to make it incredibly enjoyable.

Hill Farmstead Edward - By far, the best Pale Ale I have ever had. Period. Thank god Armsby Abby in Worcester, and occasionally Lord Hobo in Cambridge get stuff from this brewery. Must. Have. More.

Very Honorable Mention: Rising Tide Zephyr, Backlash Beer Co. Conquest, Night Shift Brewing Co. EverWeiss, Blatant IPA, High & Mighty Beer of the Gods, White Birch Brewing Olde Timey, Sam Adams Merry Mischief, Cody Brewing Carrot Cake Porter.

Favorite Beer Event:

Slumbrew Beer Dinner at Chatham Bars Inn - This was the first event for Slumbrew, who at the time had been producing production beer for just four months, had the best beer dinner we've ever attended. The food was spectacular, not to mention paired incredibly with the Slumbrew beers. 

So what's up for 2013?

We had a downshift in postings, and especially in beer reviews, so we want to get our act together and post more reviews. We try a ton of new beers each month, and would love to share them with you all. Homebrewing is going to make a vibrant return and it would be great to get our Boston Brewin' Homebrewers Club back up and running.

Of course, 2013 will be the third year in a row we set up a beer tasting as part of the Cure Me I'm Irish annual event. Five breweries will be pouring fantastic beer samples for those in attendance. More to come on this.

A trip to Portland, Oregon is in the works. Some of our family just purchased a house, and they are begging for us to come out. It sounds like a place that's right up our alley, and we're trying to figure out when we can head west!

The Beer Bloggers Conference is set to take over Boston in July. We plan on attending some or all of the events. We'll be registering soon enough to take part in these great festivities.

Great American Beer Festival is ALWAYS on our wish list of things to attend each year, so once again we are hoping to head to Denver in October. 

2012 was great, but we are looking forward to an even more exciting 2013. Thanks again for reading and supporting Brew England and New England craft beer!

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