I suppose it is good having my birthday at the end of the year as it means I can reflect on where I am in life in general while I think about the year that has been. The past few months have been busy so haven't had much personal reflection happening, but at least this blog has been a bit of a substitute over the year, to at least look at the growing connection beer has in my life. From a little dissolution at the start of the year, things improved in my personal experiences and thoughts, I found some contentment and started my series on Situational Drinking (1, 2, 3, 4).
In term of homebrewing, it has been great having Brad back in the brewing team and bring success in trialing a Mulberry beer that made a special appearance for me at my brothers wedding. However, I am still wary of my personal approach to homebrewing, and see I have much growth in this area to do if I am going to make it in brewing beer on a more serious level. Still it has been great brewing with these guys and going up against Team Harrod in our homebrewing contests to keep the fun aspect in it. As well as the Mulberry, it has been good to throw myself in the deep end trying the Hickory Stickory Bock, Stass with his Coffee Nut, and putting together another batch of Russian Imperial Stout. Unfortunately I had a casualty with the Milo beer, but hopefully will find another path for it in the future.
A year ago I well and truly celebrated my 30th birthday, including a big night with family and friends and Mountain Goat Brewery. For my birthday this year, it was nice to see that after having my first day of work there in March, it looks like I will become a permanent (part-time) member of staff, and wore my full Goat uniform for the first time, to celebrate birthday 31. While the 11 hours was a bit longer than I had hoped, I managed to pull myself together enough to go to the Royston by myself for a parma and try the Feral 'Raging Flem' Belgian IPA (pretty muddy looking with golden body. Get big hop smell and taste while cold, but an earthy funk takes over after 10 minutes of warming up, which also gives it a bit more body). A bit of a contrast to last year, but still visited Mountain Goat and Royston for it.
There have been some good beer events again this year, with beer launches and the usual Microbrewery Showcases, but by far the biggest was Good Beer Week, where I took the whole week off work to enjoy/recover throughout. I have heard it will be back next year, so that is definitely something to look forward to. Crafty's Festival of the Froth was also a highlight, especially seeing the team I was in won in the trivia.
In terms of my own journeys for beer, heading back to Hobart, trips to the Wheaty in Adelaide for Moo Brew and Rogue beers, and even heading North, to see how beer is growing in Sydney have been great to fit in earlier in the year, when I had time. As a faithful companion, the trip Stass and I took out to Beechworth was also special for me, and to finally hang out at Bridge Road Brewery.
I also managed to have a few beers during the Rugby World Cup (and probably went a bit too far trying to connect rugby to beer), and make sure there was beer not just at my brothers wedding, but also my cousin's. It was a good experience also this year to take a couple of my journeys with beer and turn them into entries into a beer writing comp, which while nothing came of, at least showed I should stick to just blog writing, and that any appreciation I try to give to others on beer should be done with a beer in our hands.
Speaking of which, I should probably talk about my favourite beers of this year. I don't normally do this, seeing I keep it very personal and is always hard to say what are my favourite beers. Still, after having done this for my European trip last year, this year I think I may be able to to do, so strap yourself in for a very biased list.
Yep, definitely a trend in the beers I like.
Well, I think that will do. Am pretty content with the year I've had, and what I have to look forward to in my 32nd year of life. Speaking of which, I'll be back on here soon for a beer tasting I am hoping to have at Josie Bones of Chrissy beers (tis the season), so even with only a couple of weeks left in 2011, may still be a highlight to come...
Cheers to more beers,
PS: As always, thanks to you for checking out the blog over the year, culminating in nearly 6000 views over the past couple of years, and now over 230 posts (which would make for a boring week if anyone was to read over all of them).