2016 Year in Review

2016 was not a good year for me. Sure plenty of well known celebrities passed, and there was an extremely contentious election and political environment but my trials and tribulations were mostly personal. Almost four months ago my mother passed away after suffering through several years of lung cancer. Watching her slowly suffocate and wither away were the most difficult moments of my life. I have been drinking occasionally, but I often haven't felt like drinking over the past several months. I haven't felt like doing much of anything actually. I have tried to do my best to cope but many aspects of my life that I find joy or pleasure in have been pushed by the wayside including this blog. I'm hoping to turn that around in 2017. Hopefully I will start a new beer focused career and raise my knowledge of the liquid up to a tsunami.

Favorite Beer

I'm always trying to expand my knowledge on beer and that lead me to the book Wild Brews: Beer Beyond the Influence of Brewer's Yeast. I've had mixed feelings about sours after but find them fascinating. I enjoy the easy drinking lactic tartness of a kettle sour but have found the "barnyard" and "horse blanket" notes of lambic to leave me furrowing my brow and nose. I'd never had a Flanders Red before, so I figured I should change that and get a better grasp on the world of sour beers. Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge from Omer Vander Ghinste Brewery was a revelation for me. The depth of flavor and enjoyment was almost incomparable. The sheer intensity of the flavor means I couldn't drink it everyday, but I have a new found love in the beer world. As a side note I think this would be the perfect beer for a red wine drinker who doesn't like beer to try.




Best New Beer

Luponic Distortion has easily been the best new beer of the year. I've tried all four and they have all been excellent. Amazing hop flavor combined with a crisp easy drinking 5.9% ABV has had me captivated and coming back for more. I'm hoping the trend keeps moving toward fresh hoppy beers which don't just sit on the shelf. I guess I will just have to do my part to help with the turn over.







Favorite Local Beer

Unfortunately I can't choose just one. I always enjoy Union Double Duckpin and RAR Nanticoke Nectar. Despite the DIPA IPA categorization these beers aren't that far off in alcohol, hop flavor, body or drinkability. If you ever see these out in a bar or in your bottle shop give them a try. They often have excellent dates on them which just makes it better.




Most Memorable Beer

I bought a 22 oz of Southern Tier Warlock for my mother back at the end of 2015 after she tried a sample of an earlier one I had and thought it was the most interesting beer she ever had. My mother rarely drank and the bottle sat in her kitchen cabinet and then fridge for over a year. She never drank it. As we were cleaning out her house my sister and I shared it. While the flavors were slightly rounded it tasted similar to how I remember fresh Warlock tasting, although it is impossible to know without doing a side by side comparison. The beer was delicious but the memory of the experience and not the flavor is the one that will stay with me. Often a great beer is about the people and place you drink it and not the contents of the bottle.



There has been seemingly endless negative for me this year, so I won't reflect on any subpar beer, travel or drinking experiences in this post. I will save all my curmudgeonliness for another day!
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About Colin Smith

Hi, I'm Colin, I love a good hoppy IPA, but I can find immense enjoyment in a solid session beer, imperial stout, quadrupel or a nostalgic beer from my past.

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