Monday, 31 December 2007

Looking Forward, Looking Back

On this the last day of the year there is for me at least, an undoubted feeling of change. Being a Scot somehow makes the day somewhat special and I don't mean it in a "let's go out and get blasted" sort of way. I'll be going nowhere tonight.

Each New Year is a chance to renew, to set aside the old and to look forward. But this is a beer blog, so, looking back, what were the beery highlights? Well, my first visit to Bamberg, didn't suck as my dear Yank chums would say and though I don't like smoked beers one little bit, I thought Schlenkerla's Pub a world classic. My trip to New York in November, before this blog started, gave me a chance to renew my acquaintance with American craft beers first hand and to be reminded that huge amounts of hop, do not of themselves, make a beer great. Nor do I agree with the American brewer's predilection for using a yeast that doesn't fall out of suspension. I like my beer clear, not full of trub. And no, calling it "opalescent" doesn't make it any better!

Earlier in the year I'd been to Berlin with my mate Graham where the highlight was a trip out to the Berliner Burgerbrau, deep in the old east and a thoroughly smashing place with great beer. A beery trip to Glasgow with my Yank chum Jeff Frane brought great pubs and very good beer though not from the "West" Brewpub. where the beers were no more than ordinary and maybe not as much. Then to Plymouth with my Yankee Beer Chums, for a wedding and much poor beer; if I never see a pint of Sharp's Doom Bar or St Austell Tribute again, it'll be too soon. GBBF, various CAMRA trips throughout the UK, a visit to a proper old fashioned hop farm, Oldham and Bury Beer Festivals. All have their place. The highlight? Well abroad, Berliner Burgerbrau and Bamberg tie in a dead heat. At home? Sundays with my friends in my local drinking Lees. You see I'm just a simple pub man at heart.

Looking forward, I have the National Winter Ales Fest, my first trip to Prague, a return to Hamburg which was my first ever German destination, a likely trip to the Allgäu in Lower Bavaria and much more. I am looking forward to it all. So may I wish all of you a Happy New Year and good beer drinking ahead.

If you'd like to share your:

a) 2007 beer highlights

b) Your beery look ahead

Why not do so?


DonS said...

A combined comment and recommendation here: one of my 2007 highlights was in Prague, at the Pivovarsky Club, a short walk from Florenc Metro. Do not hesitate to visit this pub. Seven beers on tap, not a PU or Staropramen amongst them, and the bottle list has to be seen (and experienced) to be believed. It's a simple smallish space, with a non-smoking main floor and a smoker's den downstairs. On tap was a smashing 17-degree lagered porter. Superb.

Beery look ahead: less hops, more experimentation, dearer beer everywhere (60% predicted price rise in the UK probably mirrors the situation elsewhere). 2008 will be a tough one on the brewers.

DonS said...

Update/correction - that was a 19 degree porter, Pardubicky Porter, from the Pernstejn brewery.

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