Yep, I think I’m prepared for New Year’s Eve. Oh, wait, just one more thing; I need to do one of those slapped-together retrospective re-caps of 2011. So, what happened this year in beer?
- Beer in Colorado is conceived, gestated, and birthed. A result of boredom and a passion for the Centennial State’s brews, this blog, once only read by the author’s mother, has grown so that now the author’s mother’s friends are also entranced by its prose.
- Nicole and I visited 13 new (some actually new, some only new to us) Colorado breweries: Big Beaver Brewing Co., Funkwerks, Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Estes Park Brewery, Elk Mountain Brewing, Crystal Springs Brewing Company, Dostal Alley Brewpub & Casino, Renegade Brewing Company, Denver Beer Co., Pateros Creek Brewing Company, Arvada Beer Company, AC Golden Brewing Company, and Lone Tree Brewing Co. We re-visited many old favorites, too.
- We visited many non-Colorado Breweries as well: The Bruery, Coronado Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Co., Iron Fist Brewing Co., Green Flash Brewing Company, Sun King Brewing Co., Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company, Broad Ripple Brewpub, Bluegrass Brewing Company, Jamesport Brewing Co., Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery, Boscos Squared, and Freetail Brewing Co.
- Hell, we even went all the way to Australia just to have a few pints at The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, Redoak Boutique Beer Café, James Squire Brewhouse, Blue Sky Brewery, and no Foster’s.
- We attended more beer-related events than you can swing a bottle at: Colorado Beer Week, inaugural tapping of Hoopla at Boulder Beer, Strange Brewing’s first anniversary, Star Bar’s Beer Cocktails event, Brew at the Zoo, Yippie-Rye-Aye tapping at Paramount Café, Denver’s Littlest Big Beer Fest featuring Upslope Brewing Company, Apps ‘N’ Ales, Paramount Café Beer Festival, Barleywine Burritos Brewer Breakfast, the Great American Beer Festival, Oktoberfest 2011 at Denver Beer Co., Battle of Beer Supremacy, Trick or Beer, Upslope’s 3rd Anniversary, and the Parade of Darks.
- I have had local businesses link my beer musings to their websites or Facebook pages: Renegade Brewing Company, Denver Beer Co., Denver Zoo, AC Golden Brewing Company, and Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company (not local but, because of that fact, all the cooler that they linked to the blog).
- I had the opportunity to interview Kyle Hollingsworth of The String Cheese Incident fame about his homebrewing and collaboration with Boulder Beer.
- Besides Beer in Colorado, I also started writing reviews and short articles for Examiner.com as the Denver Craft Beer Examiner. I’m also one of the newest members of the Denver off the Wagon team.
- I let the blog evolve a bit. I’ve started embedding links instead of just pasting them to the end of each post, I un-italicized Nicole’s comments, I received a snazzy logo courtesy of Jeff Lada, and I (hopefully) have had fewer and fewer typos and spelling errors (seriously, if you see a little mistake, let me know; dows tings drive me crazt). Also, Beer in Colorado now has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
That’s pretty much everything that happened this year. Here’s hoping 2012 is as beer-soaked as 2011.
A beer in review 2011
Looking back at the blog posts from this year is like looking at a scrapbook of my life. I have been meaning to sit down and actually make an actual scrapbook of the breweries that we have visited and, so far, I have about three pages done. I have promised Chris that I will get to work on that right after I finish knitting the blanket I started, reading the current book on my nightstand, grading the stack of papers I brought home, etc.
A few things about this year:
- I started drinking outside the box. My "go-to" beer is no longer the wheat beer on tap. In fact, I don't even think I like wheat beers any more. I am willing to try any beer that Chris sends my way, even an IPA.
- Unique beers keep the people wanting more. Last January, Chris and I visited Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs after a day of skiing. I had the Tundrabeary and Chris had the Bocknog. Both were great seasonal beers. So good that when we drove through Idaho Springs a few days ago we stopped in to see if they had the Bocknog again this year. Sadly, they did not. What a bummer! It is a big let down when you find a great beer and they aren't going to make it this year. Here's to hoping they make it next year.
- Beer is a great way to catch-up with friends. Whether it was going to a beer event or just tasting a new beer in our living room, we had some great times this year with friends and brews. We dressed up like rock stars for Chris and Robin's birthdays which garnered many stares from the people at Hops and Pie. After Geek Bowl, we watched as one of Chris' homebrews rivaled Old Faithful in the middle of our friends' kitchen. I ran into someone I knew from elementary school at Amato's Trick or Beer and a friend from college at the Parade of Darks. Plus, we met a lot of great beer geeks along the way.
- When the weather doesn't want to cooperate when you're traveling, finding the closest pub/brewery is the best way to pass time. Our trips to California and Australia were rainy but breweries saved the day. During Spring Break, Chris and I had planned to ride as many California rollercoasters as time would allow but, when we drove up to Six Flags Magic Mountain it was pouring rain so we had to make a plan B. That plan involved visiting The Bruery and going to a Lakers game. This summer, we had planned on visiting the sites in Sydney and Melbourne but it was winter in Australia and we couldn't walk across the street without being completely soaked. So, we stopped into several breweries and pubs to check out the local culture and warm up before moving on to the next stop. Basicially, we saw a lot of churches, breweries/pubs, and bookstores.
I look forward to the new beer adventures in 2012. We already have some plans in the works to visit some of the Colorado mountain breweries this summer. Hopefully, we can bring you at least one international post and a few "Beer not in Colorado" posts as well. And maybe 2012 will be the year I get a few more pages done in the scrapbook.