Let's wrap up what all happened this past year.
I'm currently (as evidenced by the side number) sitting at beer 709. I'll probably add about 20-25 to that list tonight, so I should finish with about 730 beers (other than ones I had last year) for the year.
I visited more than thirty different breweries/brewpubs.
- Destihl, Normal Il (3 trips)
- Shoreline, Michigan City IN
- Mishawaka, Mishawaka IN
- Barley Island, Noblesville IN
- Flossmoor Station, Flossmoor IL (3 trips)
- Barley's Smokehouse and Brewpub, Columbus OH
- Elevator, Columbus OH (2 trips)
- Harrisons, Orland Park IL
- Gordon Biersch, Bolingbrook IL
- Three Floyds, Munster IN
- Granite City, Orland Park IL
- Randy's Fun Hunters, White Water WI
- Ale Asylum, Madison WI (2 trips)
- Grumpy Troll, Mt Horeb WI
- Goose Island Clybourn, Chicago IL
- Asheville Brewing Company, Asheville NC
- Highland, Asheville, NC
- French Broad, Asheville NC
- Bluegrass Brewing Company, Louisville KY
- Front Street, Davenport IA
- Blue Cat, Rock Island IL
- Bent River, Moline IL
- Brownings Brewing, Louisville KY
- Goose Island Wrigleyville, Chicago IL
- Water Street Brewery, Milwaukee WI
- Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee WI
- Barley's Alehouse #1, Columbus OH
- Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton DE
- Dogfish Head Brewpub, Rehobeth Beach DE
- Weyerbacher, Easton PA
- Victory, Downington PA
- Appalachian Brewing Co, Gettysburg PA
- Iron Hill, Wilmington DE
The event highlights would have to have been Dark Lord Day, because it's just awesome to stand in line for hours waiting to get limited edition beer; and The Great Taste of the Midwest (thanks to Noah for the tix; we'll be happy to go again next year).
I got to see some great concerts this year: Gogol Bordello was outstanding; Ministry with Meshuggah both times was as good as it could be (well, without any older music or guests appearing on stage); Killing Joke with Ascension of the Watchers opening was great and it was nice to talk to John Bechdel before. There were several Cubs games, which led to the gems of GI wrigley, and to West Lakeview Liquors.
I'd like to thank all my friends who contributed to my little beer hobby. Sammons, for the trips to Ohio and going shopping for me. Paddy for going shopping for me on his California trip. Rob, for sending me two packages of great beer and being very patient for my second box that will eventually be shipped back. Frank and Dana, for making (allowing) Kridz and I go to Asheville so many times, and for getting me beer from whereever it was that Frank was at. My uncle Helga for giving me a place that I want to stay at when I go to Georgia. My sister Joy, for a place to stay at that's near Chicago, and is a good launching point for places around there. My girlfriend Kriddy, who drives me to drink... and then drives me home.
I'd like to thank my friends who also got to try some of the beers so that I didn't have to drink all of it. Dirty Steve and Ann, who lets us drink at their place once. Ty and Linds, who did the same. Steve and Renee, who had us over many times. Josh and Audra, who are hosting tonight, and were at many of the other events. Kai and Janelle, who hosted a night, and Kai who tried it anyway, even though it wasn't cold. Skot was great in getting new beers too.
I went to some great liquor stores and met some great owners this past year. My new favorite, Kristina at West Lakeview Liquors, Archer liquors, Friar Tucks, Bruisin Ales, Jamie at From the Vine, and Party Pak Liquors. They provided me with so many great beers and have helped me with my cellar.
As to beer highlights, I think Mikkeller Black was one of the best this past year. Sweetwater Happy Ending was right up there, as was Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (why are they all stouts?). Alsakan Winter Ale (that I just had) was awesome, reminded me of cotton candy. Boulevard the sixth glass Quad was really good. Vanilla Bean Dark Lord was AWESOME. Brewdog's Paradox line (that I've had so far) have been great. Grumpy Troll Brandy Barrel Aged Spetsnaz was so good that I bought a growler of it for $60. Struiselensis Wild Belgian Ale was one of the most interesting and tasty tart beers that I think I'll ever have. Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Session 22 Steve Stewart's Firth of Forth was outstanding, it reminded me of adding hops directly to wort, amazing. Duck Rabbit put out the best barleywine and imperial stout that you'll ever get for less than $3 a bottle. Baladin Xyauyù was FRIKIN AWESOME, that and Avery the Beast, reminded me of Sam Adams Utopias. For the cost, the Beast is the best deal, but while Baladin Xyauyù may cost more, it's worth it if you can get one. The California shipped beers were great, Pliny, Supplication, Blind Pig, Santa's Little Helper, thanks for those again, Rob.
It was a fun year for brewing too. It started slow, but picked up towards the end of the year. Teach a Friend to Homebrew day was a good time, and I hope that the guys there will start brewing their own (the stuff is always at my house; just buy ingredients). The blueberry wheat was cool to have blow. The bean ex-beer-iment failed miserably, but was fun to try. The tap a draft system works pretty darn good, and the new brown bottles that stand on their own are a pleasant change (it's nice to not bottle).
I made some good online friends this past year, almost all are available at the Aleuminati. Check out the twitter people too.
IRL, the CU beer club was a great place to try new beers.
Drinking establishments that have been great this past year have been, Crane Alley, Jups 2, 7 Saints, Billy Barooz, Hooters, Blind Pig, and Radio Maria (locally). Thanks to the bartenders and staff at those places for putting up with me.
It's been a great year. Hopefully next year is just as good, or better. Thanks everyone, be safe.
Hope to see you soon.
*edit* Oh yeah, Wynkoop picked me as the first Rookie of the Year, Beerdrinker of the Year... how could I forget about that?