As the end of the year rapidly approaches, I sit here in the humid, Townsville heat and think back to the year that was. When I did my first Brew Years round up last year, I had really only been in operation for about 5 months, with all but a mere 2 weeks being in the city I purported to be a blogger for. This year, however, was much, much different. This year, I was home. This year, I was able to go to events. This year, I was actually a Brisbane based writer (I do use the term ‘writer’ loosely).
And what a year it’s been! I’ve attended some great shin-digs and met some absolutely amazing people. Admittedly, this makes this year’s round up a bit harder than last years. My four top beer moments last year were really quite easy to narrow down as there was actually only four to talk about. This year, I have quite a plethora of items deserving of highlight, but to save myself typing until next year and save you from feigning interest whilst reading it, I’ve narrowed it down to 5, in no particular order
1. Beer inCider Festival – I was lucky enough to be invited to Beer inCider by a man who is crazy enough to quit a well-paid position as a lawyer to throw a beer and cider festival. I will admit, in my slightly intoxicated states, I’ve considered this to be a good idea, but when the haze of the previous evening clears, common sense has gotten the better of me and I keep plodding along my current course. I’m glad that Marty did not, however.
This year’s inaugural Beer inCider festival, was in my mind, a huge success. Not only did it bring in your usual suspects of Brisbane’s good beer scene, it also introduced a whole new demographic to the variety and complexity of beer we have in this great country. I must say, I am REALLY looking forward to next year’s showing.
2. The City2Stout Brew – This year, I had the privilege to join a team of brewers, bloggers, and bar staff and run 14km for charity in the City2South run. Aside from the normal pleas for sponsors, the good folks at Newstead Brewing (including Mark Howes, who is a demon when it comes to distance running) brought us into the brewery and we all got stuck into brewing the City2Stout, an Oatmeal Breakfast Stout, which went on Karma keg at Tippler’s Tap. Altogether, the team raised over $4900 for the Australian Cancer Foundation, and for myself, I got to make a little tribute to my past.
3. Grog Blog Squad – December 19th saw the resurrection of a long (kind of) forgotten keg of Hog Blog Grog. Earlier in the year, I convinced the good folks at Brewski to pick up the remaining keg of the final Bacchus Beer Bloggers Series. After a lot of back and forth, owner Matt and I had finally decided on a time and event to properly reintroduce it and, 1 year on from the initial launch, it was brought back to life.The Grog Blog Squad event brought together most of Brisbane’s beer blogging community. We had a few ad hoc words from myself as well as talks from Nick from ‘Chasing Ale’ and Judd from ‘Brewed Crude and Bitter’. Judd was asked only 10 minutes before going on if he could fill in for the late 250 Beers. What a champion! Afterwards, we mingled and had a meet-and-greet with the other Brisbane bloggers.
The night went off superbly, with quite a few people attending. I’d say the highlight of the night for me was just being able to put faces to names and sharing ideas with some of the other writers. We have a great little community going, and it’s good to see it growing. The beer was great as well and aged wonderfully, and the pizza that was made to match it was beautiful.
4. Brewsvegas – Arguably, Brewsvegas was the festival of the year here in Brisbane. With over 40 venues participating in a weeklong event. I managed to hit up 19 events and even then, it was but a fraction of what was on offer. The organizers of the festival did an absolute bang-up job, and I’m looking forward to the 2015 incarnation.
5. The people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made – My apologies for get a bit warm and fuzzy with this one. Between the beginning of the blog and the beginning of 2014, I had only really been writing about Brisbane for around 2 weeks. The remaining time was spent overseas and in Sydney. When I arrived back home at the beginning of January, I had not met anyone from our little beer community.That changed quite rapidly.
I met bar staff, owners, brewers, punters, and fellow bloggers in a whirlwind couple months. We drank, laughed, and shared ideas, all the while building connections. Those connection have grown into friendships and, unlike last year, I feel like I’m part of this community here. Through these friendships, I’ve gone on pub crawls through the Noisy Minor Shout and Brewsvegas. I’ve been able to have a lunch beer with a fellow blogger and highlight them through an interview. I’ve been able to run for charity with some. I’ve been able to start a new blog segment called “The Blind Leading the Blind” with another. These are experiences that has made this year the fantastic year that it was.To all of you out there who read this, and to those of you whom I’ve met, thank you for a memorable year. To those I haven’t met yet, I’m sure 2015 will cross our paths at some point.
Last year, I made some resolutions. The first was to write more to you wonderful people, which I feel I have achieved. I will admit, with the introduction of my new university life mid this year, it has put a bit of a speed bump in the way, and it will be continuing on into the new year as well, but I feel I’ve been getting out increasingly better content as time goes on. All in all, I got 38 posts in, so better then one a fortnight and less the one a week.
Resolution 2 was to use the term “craft” less. This one is debatable as to whether I met this one or not. My Instagram account still uses the ‘C’ word in a hashtag with each one I take, but the term hasn’t cropped up in much else. I’ll chalk this up to a win.
Lastly, I resolved to drink more good beer. By looking at the numbers on my Untappd, I’d say mission accomplished. There were many that stand out in my mind, but I will save my tops for the year for another post.
This year, I’m thinking along a slightly different vein as to what I want from 2015:
- Try and create more interactive and engaging content – It’s one thing for me to write something and throw it on the web. It’s a completely different thing to make it interesting and engaging. With the introduction of the collaborative post of Chasing Ale and me, I think I’m heading in the right direction.
- More collaboration – The above mentioned experience along with the interview with Darren of 250beers and my team up with Brewski really cemented in my head how great a collaboration can be. The blind tasting was one of the best posts I’ve done, and I believe that all stems from the fact I had such a good time doing it. This year, I’d love to get together with a few more bloggers and maybe brewers or bars to do some work together. I’ve got some ideas in the pipe, and would love to hear some from all of you. If you have an idea and would like to run some form of collab, fire me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Drink more Local Beer – Queensland has some of best brewers in Australia, in my humble and slightly biased opinion. From Brisbane’s Bacchus, Croft, Newstead, Green Beacon, All Inn, Brisbane Brewhouse, 4 Heart, Brewtal, and countless others, down south to the Black Hops Brewery, Fortitude Brewing, and Burleigh, and north to Beard and Brau and the Townsville Brewery, we are spoiled for choice as these folks turn out great beer. My goal this year will be to highlight what we have here at home, and pull forward on the “Drink fresh, drink local”.
- Up my knowledge – Some of you may remember my post about my internal struggle on deciding whether to increase my beer knowledge or stay blissfully ignorant. Through consultation with friends, colleagues and readers like yourself, I’ve decided that 2015 will be spent pursuing information. I’ll try and report on all the new things I learn and hopefully, this can be an experience for us all.
So there you have it folks. Another year done and dusted. I’d like to thank everyone who’s made this year so amazing and to everyone who’s had a read of my dribble in my little corner of the internet.
Happy New Year and may all your 2015 Brew Year resolutions come true!