10. Growing Hops
As a homebrewer and a do-it-yourself'er I wanted to get into beer gardening. I started out with hops in the spring and got 3 full grown hop bines. I only produced a dozen or so hops but that is typical when you're not using miracle grow for the first year. Next year should bring me quite a few more and I should be able to start brewing with them.
I decided that kegging my brew was much, much easier than bottling. I tore apart an old fridge to build a custom kegerator into my cabinets. I continue to make it more efficient and better looking but it is pouring like a champ right now.
I started my beer bottle collection in 2007, but added the most bottles during the period of this blog. I have roughly 800 bottles and will probably stop it right around there. One of these days I'll probably donate or sell them. I was able to try some of the best beer in the world and drank 44 out of beeradvocate.com top 100 list.
Motorcycle's have always been a part of my life and it was great to make trips to visit breweries and sample beers from far away. Whether it was dirtbiking or road trips I am always able to incorporate some great beers into the trips.
One of my favorite beers is Schlafly's Tripel, and not because it's too style so much as the wow-factor with the sweetness. I got a hold of brewer Stephen Hale and he guided me to making a great tripel, or triple. Although some of the bottles had a little off flavor, I thought the kegged version was great.
5. Brew Days
The Worthog and I were able to coordinate some great monthly get-togethers that formed the name of 'brew days'. The idea started out with helping people learn to brew and grew into tastings of home brew and commercial brew. Gallons and gallons of beer had been brewed. Great food and great beer were consumed and I hope that the events carry on with everyone as the winter melts away.
My interaction with Boulevard has been a big surprise to me. They have been very responsive to me and they really pay attention to the fan base and keep up with the latest gossip or news. Everyone I've met there has been very friendly and open. A typical business wouldn't be as inviting and sharing of their knowledge and products. During my blog Boulevard released a huge range of beers (Single Wide, Bourbon Barrel Quad, Imperial Stout, Pilsner, Two Jokers, Seeyoulator, Harvest Dance, and the Collaboration Imperial Pilsner). Great job guys and thank you for the great times down at the brewery.
I have to give a big thank you to my followers. 38 of you follow me publicly but it was a blast to meet someone at a bar or even at work that had been following my blog and I had never known. Kyle, one of my followers, is in the military and stationed overseas. He once asked kcbeerblog and I to post something about the beer summit with Obama. I thought it was fun to get a post request.
Pictured in no particular order is the list of bloggers that kept up with their blogs and I enjoyed to read. Some of them are the reason for starting mine and some of them started theirs because of my blog. It was great to meet all of them and learn from them. I met Bull, Chimp, Worthog, Muddy Mo, Jennifer, Drunk Monkey, Sara, and Hop Frog. Also trading beers with bloggers is great. Thanks for keep eachother on our toes.
Something that I will keep doing is brewing, just not so publicly. My blog pretty much started with my first home brew and I wound up brewing close to 50 gallons. So far I've made a blonde, wheat, double IPA that exploded, milk stout, oatmeal stout, tripel, another double IPA, and a hefeweizen. I've learned some great techniques from pro's and home brewers. I have also talked several people into starting the hobby so I feel pretty successful.
Thanks again to everyone for making the last year my "Beer Year". Feel free to drop me a note through a comment or email.