beer of the year

across the various websites, the many many blogs out there and even looking at local paper there was some sort of allusion toward a year in review and a mention of a new local brewery.  So, being really lazy, extending on a scratched out bunch of notes, here’s my year of beer in review.

IPA’s, sour ales, imperial stouts, even a touch of barrels normally feature in those beers that are celebrated today.   When I was starting to write this, I was looking back over  an old Michael Jackson text, it was notable that the festive ales, rich pruny, raisiny numbers featured on the brew schedule of the brewers calendar, have we moved on and we haven’t lost the celebration of beers that are released seasonally here.

All said, it’s been a crazy year in beer for me, both brewing and beers that I have had the priveledge of trying and sharing and great beers with friend and the moments then. 

Birrificio Italiano Scires

Sat with my Mum who really isn’t into beer at the brewpub, a few lovely glasses of their excellent Tipopils, served oh so well, we  decided to close out with a bottle of this, served in a big jug and a couple of stemmed iconic glasses. Big pink foam, lacto/pedio, sour kriek.  I drank it. It was lovely!

Bruery Melange #3

Sat drinking in Triple Rock’s Barrel Aged Fest, I met Brian Yaeger of the book, Red White and Brews.  I’d previously bought the book, probably the first book that I could recall chunks of when under pressure.  Unlike my education.

Bruery Hotenroth Berliner Weisse

Served at the Sour Fest at Triple Rock, watching people puckering up to all manner of sour’d ales, gueuze, flemish reds, brett’d ales.   I think I went off to the Brewing Network that night, or it could have been the Barrel Aged fest.  Meh, who cares. Two great festivals.

Mikkeller BG Kopi Luak

Mikkel went to some lengths to bring the coffee together to get this great beer to everyone.  Borne of a smaller batch, then evolving to many many opportunities for people around the world to sample the delights of coffee infused imperial stouts.   Shared with @gabriolet on the beach by where I live.

DeCam Lambic

Sat with Kim from and @Terry_Tibbs. Gooik, sounds like an odd place and to be honest I haven’t really spent much more time in the place, other than at the volkscafe.   The Lambic served in the little ceramic mugs, with a brewers plate  is a great time.

Southern Tier Iniquity

Shared with Justin from Moor Beer and James from the Queens Arms.   We were all fighting over the bottle.  Between this and Back in Black from the 21st Amendment for the best black IPA that I have ever had.

Zinnebier Zwarte Piet

Blend of Stouterik and Cantillon Gueuze.  Really nice, crazy sourish stout.   From Joe in Uccle, Joe Stange,  of The Thirsty Pilgrim

Dubisson Bush De Nuits

Barrel aged Bush, but in Nuits St. George casks.  Berry fruit barley wine.  This, the syrah barrel barley wine from the Bruery and the Reserved Barely Wine, from Gadds made a trio of wine barrelled barley wines to really celebrate with!

Cantillon Crianza

If the above were to celebrate with,  this was the pinicle.  A blend of selected lambic aged in three different casks, to produce an amazing layered and textured gueuze.   Born to mark the birth of an amazing couples first Child.  Get to the Heeren.

RR Concecration, draft and bottle #1

The out of the box stunner from Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River.

Triple Rock Imaxx

Rodgers slice of magic with a new hop.  More memorable as the first and last beer that I shared a moment over with the dear and incredible Bill Brand.  RIP Bill.

De Dolle CNDP reserva Oerbier

Again, sat with Rodger and Claudia at De Dolle, with Kris.  Awesome, to the point of an early night. woah.

De Dolle Kosmos

With Paxton and Freccia at De Dolle.  Sour, funk fest, but with the most incredible spread of fish, cheese and bits and bobs, with two great beer peopls.   Aromatised with

Toccalmatto Surfin’ Hop & Jadis

Opening a bottle out of the blue, the real gem the Surfin’ Hop.   Then the Jadis, a complex yet drinkable exciting brew – clearly italian in it’s crazy makeup.

Del Ducato Winterlude

yes it’s sweet, yes it’s yeasty, but my god is it different.   Shared with Rodger from Triple Rock brewery

Thornbridge Seaforth

Sat with Kelly and Mark from DarkStar.   A beer that I could have quite easily ruined myself on.   One of the best UK IPA’s, share with two of UK brewing’s hero’s.   This beer is a true star and one that I hope many more people will get the chance to experience in 2010.

3Fonteinen Vintage ’05

Aroma to die for.  First shared with Steve from Gadds and Saints and Sinner, and later with Colin from Cavedirect.  It’s become a marker gueuze.   truely incredible aroma.

Kook’s Dark Funk.

A homebrew.  one of those BOOM moments.    Sincerley one of the best beers that I have had this year, well deserving being part of this list – shared with many at the Chris_O bash, pre GBBF, or the night that Greg came  to town.  one of a few homebrews that I have had the sincerest pleasure of trying this year; from Tasty McDole, Mike Mraz, Chad Moshier, a young chap who came to the Ratebeer Gathering in San Francisco. 

Lost Abbey CDT 2009

Sat with Steve, messing about, sometimes we just open stuff at completely the wrong moment, but what the hell.  This was awesome.   Fruit, barrels, vanilla, oak, mellow belgian yeast notes, sweet and sour.  Truely complex and amazing.  this is one beer that exemplifies the idea of post fermentation blending, creating a truely incredible experience in beer.

Norrebrau Seven Barrel Niewport

There is one person that I look out to meet around the world, Jesper K.  Jesper a seasoned travelling beer lover, has the ear of many a scandinavian brewery.  Such was his luck, he was able to bring a bottle of this to the Ratebeer Summer Gathering, in San Francisco, well, San Leandro.    Jesper was really excited to bring this beer, as I was to try it.

Harvey’s Imperial Stout, this years release in the crown cap.

I have tried a few different vintages of this amazing beer, some great, some overly soy sauced.   This year I had the pleasure of a 2000 bottle and the most recent.    We were invited down to the Harveys brewery, to share the excellent company of Ian, the senior brewer and most excellent person.    He was delighted to meet a bunch of beer lovers, and shared his insights and opened his brewery log – a feat many a brewery wouldn’t.     Later, at the British Guild of Beer writers, at some bar on the Thames, we those beer writers had the pleasure of this beer in it’s finished article.     I took the liberty, *cough*, of stuffing a glass of this 2009 release in Roger Protz’s hand, but that sport wasn’t as much as hanging with the excellent Dave, aka, WoolpackDave and Jeff Pickthall.    Then digesting this beer with Mitch Steele of Stone, one of the most charming interesting and keen brewing minds that I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Schooners IPA

There are few things that take you to Antioch, California.  This is top of the list.   A bright shining light from, a true gem of a much produced style of beer, but this effort from on of the best brewers in the US, is one to be celebrated.   Shared with many good people, at the Schooners Valley event.

Valley Brewing Decadence.

Barrel aged triple. truely awesome, fruity belgian funk.   shared with Steve Cummins, a chap who brings wine culture and beer culture to the table, respecting both, celebrating them and most importantly Sharing them!

De Molen and De Struise Black Damnation

Hanging at the PreZythos fest with Terry Tibbs and Steve from Gadds and S&S, this, with the Keralensis (a blend of Struiselensis and Kerasus) were the stars of a coming together of two of europes most celebrated breweries.

’95 Magnum of Liefmans Kriek,

Shared with @ Terry_tibbs and Steve from Saints and Sinners/Gadds of Ramsgate and Rodger.  This beer was awesome. Fruity, sour, warming, spicy, and all that this beer…

Minor edits. You’dathunk that I’d learnt not to post stewed. Looking back 2009 has been a mental year… Kinda hoping that these all happened in 2009?! Still, considering the changes in my life over the last month or so, 2010 is lining up to be different and oh so much fun…