It appears that whenever I dont write for a while on this crap blog I end up in a bar somewhere with my little $299 random netbook that i book in Portland about 18 months ago on my Bachelor weekend in PDX. Didn’t know it was the stripper capital of the US until some 48 Hours “special investigation”.. though I only went to Portland for great Beer and Ugly Bartenders..
So 2011 Has been a mixed year in terms of beer and though most dont know me, and I imagine that most find me from random Google Searches that relate to Beer or Porn or both.. You do know that somehow searches for ‘Big Tits Coors Twins’ is a regular hit for this page. No I dont have big tits, nor drink coors.
So this year was my 1st Full Year back in Australia since 2003, and I had a 22 beer filled trip to California in April, so I can safely say I have spent half the year depressed at the fucked Aussie Beer scene and unfortunatley the tyranny of distance. Even if Australia gets the good US beers, it has spent 6 weeks at sea being swayed and fucked in the swells. Think about it!!
1. Vancouver BC Beer Scene..
I am an Aussie/Canadian and can appreciate when my fellow beer drinkers are getting a better deal than they had previously and right now is a peak period in Vancouver beer knowledge, bar scene and beers getting into the Province. As much as every bags about the BC Liquor Board they are letting the beer over the boarder and based on teh events being held in the city, its a definitely growing mecca for beer. Brewers like Deschutes jumped in early as did Brooklyn and it forced many other breweries to step up their game.
This year Driftwood Fat Tug IPA won the Northwest Brewers poll for best IPA in 2011 and having tasted it, i can attend it being a great IPA and different to Central City IPA, it is a great boost for a Brewer on Vancouver Island. But I would have given the brewer award to Howe Sound Brewing for their beers they are pumping out, as I’m not a fan of their basic beers, but their pumped up special beers I am.
Bars in Vancouver have definitely changes with ‘Biercraft’ joining the mix in terms of similar menus to St Augs and Alibi Room, whcih now gives drinkers 3 choices in Vancouver which definitely wasn’t the case when i moved there in 2009. Yes more bars and restaurants are carrying more bottles, but at the of the day I saw the same beer dweebs at teh bars. So well done Vancouver you have moved on beyond Dix Hey Days.. though I hear Big Derick is in Whistler.
2. Russian River Brewing
In Wine terms you can’t talk shit unless you have been to Bordeaux, Rhone, or Burgundy and of course our own Barossa in Australia. Russian River is a brewpub that is situated in wine country California north of San Fran, it is where the workers within wineries go to drink.. as wine workers drink beer not Chardonnay. Visiting Russian River was a pilgrimage that was well worth it. Yes the Pliny the Elder is amazing off Tap FRESH, and I got to buy 1 Case of Elder to take up to my Beer Nerds in Vancouver. So that was definitely my 2nd best Highlight.
3. ABInbev & Big Boys Sales in Craft Beer
It is not a miracle, it is obvious what happens when CEO’s and CFO’s look at how they can make money. This year Goose Island and Terrapin both got bought out, or large chunks bitten out of them, but thsi was always going to happen. I read a cool blog earlier in the day with a title of Year in Disappointments that discusses his misses of the year. Fosters in Australia admitted that though beer sales are down or in Minus territory its the Import/Craft market that is UP 30% and that is a great boon for these companies.
I read the other day that the CEO of MolsonCoors is expecting a 60% increase in 10th & Blake the Craft Beer division over the coming 3-4 years. This is great news that I think it means they are waking up to the surge in Craft Beer, and they have the ability to put those better beers on taps in pubs we want to drink in but can’t. THe big boys get it and though they have to keep marketing to dumb fucks they are waking up to Profits..
4. Sierra Nevada in Australia
So the Aussie Dollar is on Parity with the US$ and it means importing beer/wine into Australia is cheaper than it ever has been. So Sierra Nevada is now importing their Torpedo IPA (7.2%) and through beer a beer store in Melbourne I got some Celebration Beer this year, that is Fresh, or as fresh as it can be. A mate of mine buys a case of it, kegs it and dry hops it..
5. Twitter Tweeps & Beer Blogs..
Its funny I’m a cranky bastard and dont give credit that often to where its due, but I enjoy Twitter and Read Beer Blogs on Beer with an opinion. I will comment on strong views and give my view as well as that is what this discourse is about. I Dont rate beer, and dont care if you do, but I’m of the opinion that your 1/10 is my 9/10, and my 9/10 is your 1/10. But sometimes we can agree on the 5/10 beer we’re undecided. But your story of missing the last bus home, or drunken night where you learnt something about beer I find fun reading.. whether in tweet or blog.
1. Stone Brewing
I’m not going to kiss anyones ass here when I say that it was heart breaking visiting Escondido was like driving through Vegas as 6am in the morning. Stone was bland, filled with Rocks and a scene from Beverly Hills Bored Housewives would not be out of place. I used to love their beer before I visited and I’m sorry but that was disappointing. The staff were rude, the beer was too cold and it was just uninviting even though its in the middle of an industrial park disguised.
I would love to say I loved it,and I know Dr Bill is great for the industry as is Greg Koch, but it was brutal. Sorry Stone.
2. Beer IS NOT Wine..
I love Wine and I love Beer, and I dont try and compare the two, except that Beer does not Cellar/Age and Wine does. In my travels back to Australia I had a few examples of bottles that I was told would get better with time. I am talking about Imperial Stouts here not Pale Ales.. and look I dont agree with those that say ‘Age for 3-5 Years’. If you want a soft beer where the hops have dropped then go for it, but if you like the ‘fighter’ element to dark beers like I do drink them young.
Examples Your yelling into your drunken computer Screen.. no problemo dear Sir.. Goose Island Bourbon county Stout/Lost Abbey Angels Share Bourbon/ Deschuttes Black Butt XX?? were all beers that were several years old and didn’t hold up. My mate loved the non-bourbon one, but I liked it when it was younger and more fightie.. (dont think thats a word).
3. I’m not Liking You on Facebook
I will follow you on Twitter but I will not LIKE you on Facebook..
4. UnTapped UnCare UnLike..
I honestly dont care what fucking beer your drinking! I want to read about when your at a bar drinking something interesting via Twitter or on your blog, do you really have to update me that your drinking fucking some random Pale Ale? would you care if I did that? No Didn’t think so.. Drink beer to enjoy it not gloat.
Drinking a Hef while I write this..
5. San Diego is Not Craft Beer Central
Oh okay this is a beef that has me as I wanted to hit San Diego years ago when it kept beating Portland for Beer Capital of America and it had me many other beer dweep going we must check it out. SO I did.. and everything is so spread out you need to drive between pubs/bars/brewpubs.. that is not a beer city. Esciondido is not in San Diego, its actually half way between SD and LA. I loved Hamiltons/Churchills and Neighborhood, but Coronado was a sham. I loved Lost Abbey/Port Brewing/San Diego Pizza/Alesmith so dont let me think your fucked.. but come on its a Car Town.. Portland Oregon is at least walking friends and transit accessible..
I would only go back to San Diego to fill growlers of Ballast Point Scalpin IPA.. what a fucking great beer..
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