2017 Best Nine // My Year in Beer

2017 Best Nine

2017 Best Nine

2017 Best Nine // My Year in Beer

It’s Golden Pints season here in the UK, which sees beer geeks across the Twittersphere rounding up their favourite beers, bars, and breweries from 2017.

Perhaps I’m not as diligent as I should be when it comes to writing tasting notes when I drink (or maybe I’ve just drank too much and my memory is not as good as it used to be!), but instead of rounding up my favourite beers/bars/breweries/etc., I’ve decided to use my best nine posts on Instagram to sum up my year in beer (as I don’t post about anything else!).

When I first sat down to write this year-in-review, if you will, I figured I’d write a little blub about each picture in one tidy blog post. But I soon realized I had A LOT more to say about these pictures than I thought.

Perhaps because it’s been a while since my last post? (Apologies!) Or it could be that there were trips I’ve taken this year that I’ve been meaning to write about, but the only coverage they got was in an Instagram post or (even worse!) no mention at all.

Each of these images represents an important memory from my beer year, so I decided to take some time to unpack them properly (and give you all a little more insight into what I’ve been up to this year!).

From beer talks in Belfast; to beercations in Cologne, Tallinn, and Pilsen; to blog posts and beer festival-bonding back home in London, it’s been one heck of a year in beer.

BUT! There are quite a few experiences I’ve yet to pen. Like my afternoon at Firestone Walker Barrelworks when I was back home in Southern California last February (the whole family came along!); to visiting a whole host of breweries on my first trip to Portland, Oregon; or drinking Altbier in Düsseldorf and Rauchbier in Bamberg and Augustiner Edelstoff in Munich. (Did I mention I’ve been to Germany loads this year and that I really like traveling?).

Now you’ve got an idea of my first few posts in the new year. And don’t you worry, there will be plenty more to come.

But let’s get back to the matter at hand and kick off my 2017 Best Nine with picture #1.

#1 // Chatting beer at ABV Fest in BelfastChatting beer at ABV Fest, Belfast

Fittingly, my most liked Instagram post was one of my biggest accomplishments of the year – being invited to speak at a beer festival.

Belfast’s ABV Fest, now in its 3rd year, brings some of the best beers (and brewers) from the UK and abroad together in an absolutely beautiful setting, Carlisle Memorial Church – a deconsecrated church in North Belfast.

I met two of the festival’s organizers, Darren and Felicia, in 2016 at Craft Beer Rising here in London and they suggested I plan my next trip visit my family in Belfast at the same time as their festival, ABV Fest, in September 2016. So I did. (I brought two beer-loving friends along, too, and we had an absolute ball!)

Earlier this year, I achieved my Cicerone certification and started offering beer-focused talks and tastings here in London to help share with (well, anyone who would listen, really!) all the great things I learned about beer during my studies.

Well, boy, was I delighted when Darren and Felicia gave me my first speaking engagement across the pond (/Irish Sea) by inviting me to speak at ABV Fest 2017! I rocked my Watson’s Corner tee (made my by amazing cousin, Megan, spotted in picture #8) and talked to a packed tent about how to make sense of “beer geek speak” – terms like DDH, ABV, BA, NEIPA, etc. (If you’re not familiar with these abbreviations yourself, not to worry; I’ll be putting a handy glossary together on my blog in the new year!).

I also got to meet Belfast’s equivalent of the Crafty Beer Girls, the Belfast Women’s Beer Collective, who were a really friendly and inspiring bunch. Then once I finished my talk, I proceeded to drink my way through the beer list and chat to friends (old and new) from the British and Irish beer worlds. It was a top night.

And as you can see from that big cheesy grin in the picture, I was pretty pleased with how the talk went, too.

Here’s to more speaking invitations in 2018. (When it comes to beer, I’ve got plenty to chat about!)

What was your biggest accomplishment this year? Let me know in the comments.

And check back tomorrow for a few words on picture #2!