Wow. It’s been way too long since I’ve written something around here. The Holidays really took it out of me. Party after party after party then getting sick didn’t help matters with getting some decent writing done. Without further delay, I present to you 2012′s year in review.
This year was the year I dove head first into craft beer. I’ve been dipping my toes in the water for a while now, mostly relying on what’s available locally. It started with trying as many variety packs as I could, to visiting close by breweries like Ommegang, to trying stuff that looks interesting or maybe has a high number shelf talker on it. I made my first two trips to The Alchemist in the last few months of 2011, and while that was a big step into craft beer for me, 2012 was definitely the year I went kinda nuts about it. It’s also been a great way to meet a lot of awesome folks this year:
- Merc - The first and foremost person I’ve met this year would have to be Merc (and the tons of great BAs I’ve met through him, who I have no idea why are friends with him). Like I said, I was dabbling in craft beer coming into 2012, even as far as hitting up Hunahpu Day in March. But Merc has definitely helped with getting my head out of my ass to not be complacent with what’s available in the Capital District, getting involved with beer trading, participating in the Gang Bang BIF #2, meeting up with Cavedave and the rest of the Doom Saloon crew, countless nights of bottle shares while he’s been in town, and most importantly: getting into sours.
- The Vermont Beer Scene – Joe, Ruth, Mark, Adam Jackson (I’m going to lump him in here even though I met him at BCTC, more than a handful of our adventures have been in VT) and a multitude of others have been another great source of getting my beer learn on this past year. It all started with the Summer Vermont BA Meetup followed by some great dinners and brew tours. Then we finished up the summer with Hen of the Wood and the Hill Farmstead Harvest Festival, and kicked off winter with meeting with with Ruth and Adam at Zwanze Day. Looking forward to seeing more of this crew in 2013.
- Fourteen Stone Drinking Crew – Other than Bill, all of the Fourteen Stone Drinking Crew were met over the past year. They’ve been a great bunch of guys to share and split beers with. I’m not big on drinking a bomber all by myself these days, let alone those times when I visit a brewery and grab a growler of each beer they on tap and need to drink it all relatively quickly. Tons of great bottle shares and day trips with these guys happened over the past year. Glad to find a local crew I can share beer with.
- People in the Biz – Alec from Armsby Abbey, Shaun from Hill Farmstead. The whole family at Tree House Brewing. And Night Shift. Jeff from Stone. Sean from Spirited. Countless other people I’ve met over the past year who I follow to keep up with the latest beers releases and events upcoming within a day’s travel of my little VW diesel. Doing so has lead me on a great journey over the past year.
When I started blogging back in January, I didn’t really have a good direction for where to take this. I knew I enjoyed photography and wanted to get more involved with it, and thought a blog would be a good way to share the photos I loved with friends and family. Little did I know that it would be the brewery, bar and restaurant owners who would be the ones who appreciate the photos and the stories that go along with them the most. Praise, retweets, pingbacks, etc. have come from all sorts of business owners and without them my blog wouldn’t have half the traffic it has today. That said, let’s check out the Top 5 most popular posts of 2012:
5. Fail Times Four at Johny’s Diner - Unfortunately while Johny’s Diner has come and gone, we did have some pretty great meals there. The first was with GTFO (minus KFM) to tackle the burger challenge. We all failed, but good times were had by all. 4. A Visit to Tree House Brewing Co. - One of, if not my favorite brewery tours this year ( the Southern Tier Brewery Tour gets an honorable mention) and I’ve been back several times since then. Such a great little small scale brewery with a very welcoming crew. With the delivery of their 5 bbl system, beer should be flowing even more so soon. Capital District and New England readers alike all need to make this trip. 3. Soft Opening at The Bier Abbey - Without a doubt my favorite new Capital District beer bar of 2012. With the slow demise of Mahar’s and the relatively safe (and stagnant) tap lists at most of the other beer bars in the area, the beer scene in the Capital District has been rather bleak. Luckily with George’s impeccable tap lists and attention to details we have a great beer bar in the region that never fails to offer something new on tap. Looking forward to how this place progresses over 2013. 2. Spicy Garlic Dill Beer Pickles - Looking for something interesting to bring along to the Summer Vermont BA Meetup, I came up with this one. It was a pretty simple affair: replace crappy, boring water with beer, then make pickles as per usual. It got picked up by IPA Day and the traffic has been rolling in ever since. 1. Hill Farmstead Dinner at Armsby Abbey - One of if not the best dinner of 2012, hands down. Chatting with Shaun Hill, meeting Alec Lopez and his crew, all while eating and drinking some of the best god damn food and beer in New England. What more can you ask for?
I’m looking forward to what 2013 will bring. Hope you guys stick around!