Friday, 6 January 2012
Welcome to Part Two of A Year In Beer which looks back and reflects upon the year just past as witnessed from not just my own personal experience but also through the eyes of other beer bloggers. We've already had January to June in Part One, so let's now look at 2001 from July through to December. Hang on to your hats. Here goes.
The beer festival season is in full swing by July and not wanting to miss out, I take myself to Staveley in Cumbria for the Hawkshead Summer Beer Festival. Three days of glorious sunshine, over 70 beers and one of the most chilled out and enjoyable beer festivals that I was to attend all year. The cream of British beers and British breweries were on show and I got my first taste, as did many others, of beers by the new kid on the brewery block, The Magic Rock Brewing Company.
They showcased four of their beers at Hawkshead (Human Cannonball, Curious, High Wire and Rature) and were fantastically received by the hot and thirsty scoopers who drank the Magic Rock beers dry by early on the second day of the festival. For Magic Rock, it set the tone for the rest of their year in beer. They have gone from strength to strength since their inception in May of 2011 and have picked up praise and plaudits not only for their excellent beers but also for their use of social media as a vehicle to raise the profile of the brewery and increase the customer base for their beers. Despite the circus themed pumpclips and beer labels, 2011 has shown that Magic Rock Brewing Company are no clowns.
In other news, Molson Coors announce the launch of their 'female friendly' beer range, Animee.
According to Molson Coors, Animee is an "exciting opportunity to break down the barriers between women and beer" with a brand plan and product design that are "feminine and sophisticated without being patronising.”
The arrival of Animee results in various bloggers questioning whether women really need their own beer.
Meanwhile, Melissa Cole alerts us to another 'female friendly' beer.
In more beer news, this guy has an IPA every day in July, some students make evolutionary beer, Ghostie fights the IPA wars so we don't have to and BrewDog and Camra fall out.........again.
Yay! It's finally arrived. August is a great month to be a British beer drinker; the largest amount of pork scrathings assembled in the world, a tombola, the crack and tinkle of glass and then the cheer as someone drops their pint pot on the concrete floor and some beers to keep you occupied for a few hours can only mean one thing - The Great British Beer Festival at Earl's Court. For me, the foreign bars dominated as I drifted between them lingering longer each time at the Czech beer bar.
It would appear that everyone had a grand old time even if some people weren't happy about a perfectly serviceable and rather nice pint of Mild winning the Champion Beer of Britain.
Elsewhere in the beer world, the popular beat combo, The Elbow brew a beer which makes this man very happy, a lively debate takes place when one beer drinker visits a new Glasgow pub and doesn't like what he sees and Cookie looks into his crystal balls. And, Dave from Hardknott brewery makes a video.
Sainsbury's launch their Great British Beer Hunt and many beer bloggers, myself included, swore by and got all hot under their collars over a beer thought up by students and cuckoo brewed at Williams Bros brewery. The beer was Profanity Stout and it was rather nice. It still didn't win, though with that honour going to Ridgeway Bad King John. A Williams Bros beer, Caesar Augustus was second.
In other beer news, some American Evangelist tries to convert me when I pop out to the shops, I ponder the importance of good cellarmanship, Boak and Bailey goes beyond the grave in their search for beer and Ghost Drinker hires an Assassin.
October the First sees the introduction of some laws the will see drinkers paying more for their beer. In Scotland, new laws are introduced including minimum pricing per unit of alcohol. Some supermarkets attempt to get round some of the legislation by moving their warehousing operations south of the border where the legislation does not apply. In a move echoing this, BrewDog move their operations south too.
Also introduced, this time by Westminster, is a UK wide increase in the beer duty on beers over 7.5% ABV. This coincides with the decrease of beers which are less than 2.8% ABV. Naturally, a few bloggers had something to say about these new pieces of legislation. One even went an entire month drinking only beers over 7.5% ABV beers until his liver turned to pate in protest.
In other news, a book about beer was published that some described as a 'dreadful disaster', others as "essential", Maltworms finds stainless steel sexy, The Tap East opens, Ghost Drinker has a threesome and I make history at the Wetherspoons Beer Festival.
November means Toon Twissup in Newcastle as over 30 beer bloggers and twitterers turn up at the Tyne for a great days beery fun. A few beers in Bacchus, followed by a tour of Tyne Bank brewery and then on to the excellent Free Trade Inn at Ouseburn. It was a grand day out which got blurrier as things progressed, especially after some of Hardknott's Vitesse Noir.
International Stout Day came and went without me remembering that it was on, but these guys remembered.
In other news, Simon Johnson has a beery confession, Boak and Bailey try to spot a craft brewery and Tandleman goes to Glasgow.
December is usually a good month for new arrivals, just ask Mary and Joseph, and this year was no different. December brought the arrival of a new, much anticipated, bar to Glasgow in the shape of Bruadar bar in the West end.
An Aberdeenshire brewery and pub chain expanded further into the tied pub game with the arrival of their new bar in London's Camden which brought out the Capital's beer mafia on opening night to give it the once over and say 'Awesome!'.
In other news, Police and Cats Protection League officers wish to question an Aberdeenshire beer entrepreneur for alleged over affection towards felines. Simon Johnson writes my favourite review of the year, Neil joins the Circus and Dave from Hardknott wishes goodwill to all brewers.
On reflection, I guess it wasn't a bad year to be a beer drinker.
Right. That's me done. Can I go for a nice beer now?