We decided on two different lists primarily because we have differing criteria upon which we base our determination of what is the “best”. Our lists overlap a bit and since I had the honor of publishing mine second, I risk looking unoriginal. Please bear with me as I offer to you my top-10 experiences from the Year in Beer (in no particular order).
Meeting our friends Matt and Michelle
Meeting them in Alaska for the first time, Matt and Michelle helped create a great kick off to the Year in Beer. Had it not been for a shared love of beer and our determination to pull this whole endeavor off, we would have never met them. It’s reassuring to realize that you’re not the most geeky of all the beer geeks in the world.
Getting stuck at Pug Ryan’s
Going to a pub and expecting to catch a cab home is not always a given, as we found out at Pug Ryan’s in Dillon, Colorado. There are apparently no cab companies in Dillon. Completely shocked and dismayed, I felt like a big city folk mocking the small mountain town, but it really was just absolute surprise. The owner was good enough to offer us his bartender as a ride home. Thanks, Chris the Bartender!
Showing our German friends around Munich
It was a bit strange and even a little awkward to have known Munich better than our German friends. Chris acted as tour guide and successfully wrangled our group to several of our favorite Munich beer halls. Wolfie thought Chris was the best tour guide he had ever had, even if he was the only one he had ever had.
Surviving 9 days of drinking real ale
I can’t say that our trip to England made me want a hand pump in my house, but surprisingly my complaining was minimal during the trip. I think I had a German-style lager on only a few occasions. Quite a personal accomplishment. You afraid of a little taste lager girl?
Volunteering at Great British Beer Festival
We had no idea what the beers were. We couldn’t handle the money without turning over every coin to check the denomination. But festival goers and fellow volunteers alike were incredibly nice and it was a fun time. Plus, where else can you watch a guy in drag sing traditional English drinking songs?
The Year in Beer tastings
Packing the beer for travel home is always a pain and not one of my favorite activities. However, our Year in Beer tastings made it all worth it. The tastings united the Monterey Peninsula beer community and I really enjoyed sharing our discoveries with others. Those others are now people I consider to be my friends.
Wearing my dirndl to Oktoberfest
Despite being cold, I felt very festive being at Oktoberfest in my outfit. This year, I participated in Oktoberfest, not just attended it. Now if I can only get Chris in some lederhosen.
I’m not thrilled about careening towards 40, but what better way to celebrate a birthday than a trip to one of the best and most famous beer cafes in the world, ‘t Brugs Beertje. Daisy and her staff were awesome and I even have a little stuffed brown bear to commemorate the occasion. If he only had a beer in his hand…
Our kind of festival. Out-of-this-world beer in a mellow, yet lively and fun atmosphere. Dignified without being douchey. We met a few new people and ran into Tom Peters. “Dank u” to the festival organizers for creating a great event.
Developing an appreciation for Belgian beer
For those of you who know me, know that I am generally defined by what beer I don’t like and Belgians were at the top of the list. Not so anymore. I think they’re pretty darn good.