It’s time to say goodbye to 2016! (Bye, Felicia!)
But first, let’s take a look back at the beer stats, “beercations”, festivals, new brewery visits and more that make up my 2016 review of my year in beer.
Let’s start with the number of new breweries I’ve visited this year! This year… drumroll please…
I visited 56 new breweries this year! This is 1 more than last year, which is really impressive, considering that any brewery I’ve set foot in before doesn’t count for this list. In 2016, I averaged more than 1 new brewery visit per week.
Here’s the list!:
1. Ponysaurus, Durham, NC -1/9
2. Cascade Brewing Barrel House, Portland, OR- 2/3
3. The Commons Brewery, Portland, OR- 2/3
The Commons Brewery
4. Basecamp Brewing, Portland, OR – 2/3
5. Hair of the Dog, Portland, OR – 2/3
6. Pelican Brewing, Tillamook, OR – 2/4
7. de Garde, Tillamook, OR – 2/4
8. Block 15 (Downtown Pub Brewery), Corvallis, OR – 2 /4
9. Block 15 (Production Brewery), Corvallis, OR – 2/4
10. Ninkasi, Eugene, OR – 2/4
11. Fieldwork, Berkeley, CA – 2/6
12. Barrelhouse Brewing, Paso Robles, CA – 2/6
13. Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, CA – 2/7
14.Firestone Walker Barrelworks, Buellton, CA – 2/7
Firestone Walker Barrelworks
15. Phantom Carriage, Carson, CA – 2/7
16. Smog City, Torrance, CA – 2/7
17. Karl Strauss, Costa Mesa, CA – 2/8
18. Bagby Beer Company, Oceanside, CA – 2/9
Bagby Beer Company
19. Modern Times, San Diego, CA – 2/9
20. Toolbox, Vista, CA – 2/9
21. Council, San Diego, CA – 2/9
22. Bhramari Brewhouse, Asheville, NC – 3/27
23. Hi-Wire Brewing Big Top, Asheville, NC – 3/27
24. Free Range Brewing, Charlotte, NC – 4/14
25. Legion Brewing, Charlotte, NC – 4/21
26. Switchback Brewing, Burlington, VT – 5/19
27. Burlington Beer Co., Burlington, VT – 5/19
28. Hill Farmstead, Greensboro Bend, VT – 5/19
29. Prohibition Pig, Waterbury, VT – 5/19
30. Liquid Riot Bottling Company, Portland, ME – 5/20
31. Allagash, Portland, ME – 5/21
32. Maine Beer Company, Freeport, ME – 5/21
33. Sunday River Brewing, Bethel, ME – 5/21
34. New Belgium Brewing, Asheville, NC – 6/25
New Belgium Asheville
35. Zebulon Artisan Ales, Asheville, NC – 6/25
36. Joymongers, Greensboro, NC – 6/26
37. Bond Brothers, Cary, NC – 7/3
38. Neuse River Brewing, Raleigh, NC – 7/3
39. Brown Truck Brewery, High Point, NC – 7/10
40. The Veil, Richmond, VA – 7/12
41. Brew Gentlemen, Braddock, PA – 8/14
42. Horse and Dragon Brewing, Fort Collins, CO – 10/4
43. Vail Brewing, Vail, CO – 10/5
44. Casey Brewing, Glenwood Springs, CO – 10/5
45. Avery Brewing (new location), Boulder, CO – 10/5
46. Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar, Denver, CO – 10/6
47. Lowdown Brewery and Kitchen, Denver, CO – 10/6
48. Black Project, Denver, CO – 10/7
49. Weldwerks Brewing, Greeley, CO – 10/7
50. Wiley Roots Brewing, Greeley, CO – 10/7
51. De Steeg Brewing, Denver, CO – 10/7
52. Westbrook Brewing, Mt. Pleasant, SC – 11/5
53. Durty Bull, Durham, NC – 11/17
54. Dovetail Brewery, Chicago, IL – 11/19
55. Goose Island Production Facility (W. Fulton), Chicago, IL – 11/20
56. Goose Island Barrel Warehouse (N. Sacramento), Chicago, IL – 11/20
This all brings my grand total of breweries visited to 217. Not bad, considering that I didn’t even start keeping track until 2014! (Anything before that, even if it’s somewhere I know I went, doesn’t count. Because rules.)
And here are some stats from this year, courtesy of Untappd! Looking at this is always fun every year. (Note that I’ve really scaled back on religious Untappd check-ins. Sometimes, it’s just more fun to drink without that worry.)
Total Beers in 2016: 1,363 (70 less than last year. Again, keep in mind that I scaled back my Untappd check-ins.)
Total Unique (new to me) Beers in 2016: 957 (61 less than last year)
New Beer Ratio: 70% of the beers I consumed were ones I had never tried before (only down 1% from last year).
Average Beers Per Day: 4 (The same as last year. Again, I go to lots of bottle shares! Lots of these are smaller pours. But thanks for your concern!)
My Top Venue: Aside from my house, it’s once again… Haw River Farmhouse Ales!
My Most Consumed Beer for 2016: I have no clue how I pulled this off, but it was Pliny the Elder. Damn! *high fives self* (It was Major Arcana from Haw River last year. Lucky me again!)
And obviously, you know we went on some beercations this year. Aside from “beercations”, we live in a really great state for beer, so it’s easy to just take a day trip or an overnight trip to badass places like Asheville, NC, where we hit up the second annual Funkatorium Invitational Festival at Wicked Weed.
Here are the beercations!:
We hit up Oregon and California in February. We go out to Cali every year to pick up beer from The Bruery’s Reserve Society and The Rare Barrel’s Ambassadors of Sour programs. This year we added Oregon to the trip and made a week of it! De Garde was more that we ever imagined, and Toolbox was the new favorite by a landslide in California.
In May, it was Vermont and Maine. We can thank Sam and Julie for getting married in Maine for us going on this trip! Hill Farmstead was definitely the favorite brewery stop of this trip.
In October, we went to Colorado for our first experience with GABF! (No, Gram. This isn’t a drug.) The Great American Beer Festival is a must for a beer geek.
The events surrounding GABF were even more fun. Give me a Denver Rare any day. And the people we met? You can’t really top Garrett Oliver, Ray Daniels, Lauren Salazar and Patrick Rue. That in itself made for a stellar trip. I completely geeked out.
My hands down favorite brewery of the trip (and of all my 2016 brewery visits) was Weldwerks! And our favorite beer was without a doubt their Barrel Aged Mexican Achromatic! (I can’t confirm or deny if I may have cracked our one and only bottle to ring in the new year last night.)
And in November, our friends, Misti and Charles, won the Prop lottery and invited us to be their guests in Chicago for the release at Goose Island.
I almost missed the trip after my discovery on my 3rd wedding anniversary a couple days before our flight that I have horrific acid reflux. Thankfully, I recovered just hours before I needed to leave! And I may or may not have been enjoying some amazing deep dish pizza a couple hours after we landed. (Take that, acid reflux! NOTHING comes between me and Chicago deep dish!)
And that ended a crazy 2016 for us.
It’s also worth mentioning that in April, I found out that the brewery I work for was being sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev. That was a tough pill to swallow, and I don’t think anyone who knew me expected that to be easy for me.
Our COO had approached me after the announcement, which I greatly respected and appreciated. He lightheartedly asked me what the next blog post was going to look like. And he encouraged me to share my story.
It wasn’t the year at work that I expected it to be, but everything happens for a reason.
So, what’s in store for 2017, you ask?
For starters, I’ve decided to hold off a bit on taking my Advanced Cicerone exam. I love being a Certified Cicerone, and one day, I know I’ll join the ranks of the Advanced Cicerones. But for the time being, I want to focus on a few other things before I tackle the at least 8-12 months of studying I feel I’ll need to pass.
Also, I’m really excited to announce that I’ll be putting a lot more time and effort into my blog in 2017! Beer and marketing are giant passions of mine, but my love for marketing truly grew from my love of writing. I entered college many moons ago with the intended major of journalism, but changed it, not wanting to be a news writer making pennies and being influenced by the media’s agendas.
My blog has always been an avenue to what makes me most happy in life, and it’s time to venture further down that road. Maybe we can call that the “forgotten road” of 2016. It’s time to take it.
And speaking of taking steps to make myself happier in life, I’ve saved the best announcement for last…
(No. Get that having a baby shit out of your head. And sadly, if you were thinking “puppy!”, you’d be mistaken, too. For now.)
Ben and I have begun working on our own brewery! Ben SLAYS some homebrew. And we’re incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive network of friends/fellow beer geeks who already have had amazing things to say about Ben’s beer. We’ve wanted this for a very long time.
Together, I truly think we can do anything. (This isn’t a mushy head in the clouds sentiment. This is a Walking Dead Rick and Daryl kicking all the asses statement.)
Ben has a great entrepreneurial spirit and is an inspired brewer, and is just a really damn smart guy. (Don’t tell him I said that.) This guy works his ass off, and when he puts his mind to something, it’s as good as done.
And I’m passionate and driven, and definitely have a fun and challenging road ahead to build our brand and sell the shit out of some beer. If I can make a multi-billion dollar corporation (love you, Sheetz!) millions of dollars improving efficiencies, making fun beverages, and engaging consumers in my old job, then I can return to badassery with my own business.
So, 2017, I’m ready for you! Happy New Year!
And if you want to see how 2015 treated me, check out my blog post from last year’s “Year in Beer” here!