A look back on 2012

Well here we are.. it's December 31st, and as expected, it's a gloomy, cold bitter winter like most years (except the last two). It's time to look back. This past year was one of the most up and down years I've had. Battling with depression for my entire life is hard, but battling it sans employment makes it even harder - especially when employers wouldn't even give you a shot.. but all that changed and I now have a job.. finally.

This blog has helped give me a bit of a positive outlook on life, I'm still cranky (and hey.. criticize me all you want, it's in the blog's name), but meeting so many awesome beer geeks, trying new beers I would have never gotten to try otherwise and people pushing me to blog more really helped me out this year. Also, my theme for 2012 was drink less; drink better.. Like most people, I drank 6 too many this year because hey.. it happens, but moderation is key. I was able to treat beer like a special treat instead of something to numb the pain... a reason why I hoarded so many beers for so long.

One of the memories that sticks out most for 2012 is my friend Stephen (AKA PaddockWoodGuy on Twitter) coming by to Brandon on Canada Day. Half of his vehicle was filled with beer, just to share with fellow beer geeks he met along the way across Canada! PS - You also have to check out Stephen's guest blog appearance! Also, thanks to the blog, I now have to make a stop at Fort Garry whenever I'm in Winnipeg to check out what's going down at Fort Garry, head brewer Matt always makes sure I get to try the new releases and hints on potential future products!

The beer advent calendar was a damned blast, even though nobody really seemed to notice, but hey.. a beer day until Xmas? Sign me up! I'll do it again next year.

Out of all the beers I tried in the past year.. I've made a short list of what I found were the best beers I had in 2012:

  • Siné Nominé - A Paddock Wood beer, this is at very top of the list because it marked a new phase in my life, where I stopped having to look for a job for the first time in 3 years. I popped open this beer (thanks Stephen!) the day I got a call that I got hired at my current job!
  • Hop Ottin IPA - I love IPAs, but this one stuck out, maybe it was because it was foreign to me, as it was an American IPA, but Hop Ottin by Anderson Valley Brewing from California. Turns out I never reviewed this beer but it was a piney, hoppy, citrusy beer that was enjoyed on every sip.
  • Barrel Full of Monkeys - Another Paddock Wood beer to the list, but this was honestly one of the best stouts I've ever had in my life, take a great imperial stout, age it in an oak barrel and you get a party in your mouth.
  • Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve - Boo and hiss me all you want, Unibroue is my go to brand. Aside from the Éphémère Pomme, they don't make a bad beer. Their beer is consistently good and when I'm depressed and want something to spice up my evening, Unibroue is guaranteed to please. Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve was one of my favourites of 2012, the mixture of oak, dark Belgian ale, dark fruits and an overall complexity made me smirk after taking every single sip.
  • Muskoka Spring Oddity - When I want a patio beer, I generally want a citrusy wheat ale with a great balance of coriander and fruit - this is right on the money. While it is pricey at $10/bottle, I found that it was worth every sip, in fact - if I had the money, I would purchase this over a Blonde de Chambly easily.
  • Black Boss Porter - I trash talked Eastern European beers more than most, because they were generally the usual Eastern Euro lager. Black Boss Porter was different, it was a strong roasty porter at 9.4% ABV. Not only strong on alcohol, but it was good for the budget at $3.30 for a 500ml bottle. Unfortunately they stopped selling this in Manitoba so I may not get to have another one anytime soon.
Some very notable beers I have to mention as well include Fort Garry Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale, Les Trois Mousquetaires' Porter Baltique, Half Pints' Black Galaxy Black IPA and Lighthouse Switchback IPA (Thanks Jonny!)

For 2013 I hope for three things: More great beer, more great memories, and meet more great people! I'm hoping for a possible beercation in Quebec City in April, or else a visit to Mondiale de la bière in May in Montreal. 

Lastly, if you are on Flickr, as everyone's gone away from Instagram now, I have a Beer Flickr Group you should check out.


Anonymous said...

Hop Ottin beats out DFH 90 minute?

Unknown said...

Hi Cody:

Thanks for those picks and congrats on the new job in 2012! I did try and agree with your thought on Unibroue 17 GR.

I was fortunate to take a short beercation last summer and if you decide to drive to Quebec... Minnesota and Wisconsin have some fine micro and small breweries. Surley brewing in MN might mix well with your cranky blog. Some of the specialty items from New Glarus might were also memorable...