Last January I wondered what beer adventures 2009 would bring. The Year in Beer experiences of 2008 would be a tough act to follow, that’s for sure. We definitely didn’t travel as much last year, but as I look back on it, I realize I have lots of great memories. Here are my memorable moments of 2009.
Making my Celtic sacrifice: While in Cork, Ireland for the Easter Beer Festival, I spilled an entire pint of Carlow Brewin’g Druid’s Brew, a Velvet Irish Stout, on our friend John (aka The Beernut). I have no idea what came over me. Chris described it as a “violent twitch.” I was extremely embarrassed and very apologetic, but John took my Celtic sacrifice in stride. Maybe the next time we make it to Dublin, I’ll bring him some California beers and a raincoat.
Holding onto my Easter eggs on Holy Thursday: In one of the roughest ferry rides ever, I managed to keep it all together for the four hour ride from Wales to Rosslare, Ireland. Bouncing up and down and rocking side to side, I stared at the floor as all around me people lost their Easter eggs. Chris made it to the bathroom (and toilet), which is more than I can say for some of the other passengers. I can still say, “I have never been seasick.”
Witnessing a match made in heaven: During our hosting duties at the Monterey Beer Festival in June, I met Mitch and Melissa. Due to some miscalculations earlier in the year, their wedding date fell on the same day as the festival. Rather than become Bridezilla, Melissa problem solved and they brought their reception to the fest. Melissa looked beautiful in her dress, the cake was yummy, and grandma of the bride was hilarious on The Brewing Network broadcast!
Partying like a punk star: In July we traveled to Germany for our friend Wolfgang’s 50th birthday party, which included an awesome performance by the Dreadnoughts. The next afternoon, we spent hours with the band, Wolfie, and Ute outside their Mannheim local, the Zentrale, drinking beer and listening to an impromptu acoustic performance. Listening to a classically trained Canadian violinist with a mohawk play traditional Irish songs in Germany is truly partying like a punk star.
Turning the virtual into reality: We had been getting emails for a long time from a woman named Andie, who told us that she enjoyed hearing about our travel adventures and that we even inspired her to start her own List. I loved getting her messages because it meant that our mission of encouraging others to find their own beer adventures was working. When Facebook came along, I could finally put a face to the name. Then, better yet, in August, Andie and her husband Greg traveled from Pennsylvania to meet us in NYC. That afternoon, a virtual friend became a real one. Thanks for all your encouragement Andie! You don’t know how much it has meant to me (well, I guess now you do).
Loosing my identity in an SFO bathroom: Not very fun at the time, but it is one of the greatest travel stories ever. On our way to Maine in October, I accidentally flushed my ID down the toilet at SFO. Already through security for the flight over there, my in-laws had to Fed-Ex my passport so I could get home.
Contributing to a revolution: Novare res means ‘to start a revolution’ in Latin. It’s also one of the hottest bier cafes in the country. We had a great time there during our visit to Portland, Maine in October. The beautiful interior, especially the beer cellar, and the upscale, yet not douchey attitude made it a night to (mostly) remember. We enjoyed many beers from the extensive beer menu with David Kleban from Maine Beer Company. Suffice it to say that the next day I felt the aftereffects of my revolutionary actions.
Experiencing a cool Australian summer: I love making connections in the places we visit and in Australia, it was Damian, Mark, and Todd from beermen.TV. They even allowed us to be in their Christmas Special 2009 episode! In one of the coolest things I have ever done (pun intended), we taped the California holiday beer tasting show in the 23 degree chill of the Ice Bar Sydney. While not exactly like the temps at home, it felt a lot more Christmassy than the 80 degree Sydney weather. Visit http://beermen.tv/ to watch the episode.
My 2010 resolution? Visit my 600th brewery.