Why does everyone make New Year’s resolutions? Don’t they realize that everyone else has resolved to lose all that winter weight and the gyms will be crowded? Don’t they realize that the grass smoothies are sold out because everyone else is on the same cleanse? Don’t they realize that most resolutions just aren’t very fun? They require – ahem – resolve.
So this year I’m making some “New Beer” resolutions. And since I happen to turn 30 today, here are 30 resolutions for my 2015 beer tasting slate:
New Breweries, New Beer!
For a lot of my brewery runs I’ve kept it fairly local or used other excursions to make a quick stop somewhere. I think that needs to change. With two kids under the age of one, I’m going to have to be a bit more methodical when I take a “daddy day” to go hang out. It’s impossible to get everywhere, but these are at the top of my list.
1. Crooked Run (2013)
2. Adroit Theory (2012)
3. Corcoran (originally 2011, new tasting room March 2014)
4. Old 690 (Reopening 2015)
5. Belly Love (December 2014)
As I mentioned in my review of Corcoran’s Oatlands, what was once a burgeoning wine corridor is also now brimming with breweries. There are even others down Route 7, from Barnyard Brewing to MacDowell Brew Kitchen, and in 2015 I’m going to make a point to take a day or two and swap out our typical wine tours for beer.
6. Lost Rhino
7. Old Ox
9. Bad Wolf
Anyone from NOVA is probably scratching their head at this group and muttering, “Ashburn and Manassas? No where near each other!” Au contraire, mon ami. Route 28 takes you from Ashburn and dumps you right at the intersection where Heritage and Bad Wolf reside. I considered looking at the food for Lost Rhino as well, but it’s much closer to munchies so we’ll keep it separate.
10. Flying Dog
Honestly, these guys are about #1 on my “must visit” list. Being out in Frederick, MD, that’s quite a bit of a haul but it’s one I’m definitely going to make happen this year!
How do you review a spot that is equal parts good food and good beer? I made one such attempt when I swung by 21st Amendment out in San Francisco last June, but around VA it’s a lot easier to make repeat visits and acquire more notes, which is just what I’ve been doing.
11. Mad Fox
13. Capitol City
14. Devils Backbone (base camp)
I’ve made at least one visit to each so far, and in Mad Fox’s case I have notes from multiple stops (I used to live in walking distance!) These will be more extensive reviews over several pieces, so you’ll see some features on the beers, flights (particularly on Fridays!), and eventually an overall review.
This is a harder category, but I already have approval to make the VA Craft Brewers Festival a weekend event! Tickets for SAVOR are a tough catch, and from others’ notes the Beer and Bourbon and DC Beer Festivals are fun gigs as well. My focus here is (yes) on the new stuff, which is why you aren’t seeing stalwarts like Oktoberfest, but also on events where it’s likely to catch some of the brewers themselves. There are a ton of little beer events happening almost every week it seems, but it’s more fun to actually “talk beer” with the folks who made it than a sudsy volunteer manning the tap handles, you know? Speaking of tap handles…
Now that I have the ability to throw two sixtels in a kegerator, I need to have a few lined up for when I run out, right? Of course, these beers also have to be available, which in some of these cases makes them a bit of a harder find (or specialty order).
19. Devils Backbone Goldleaf Lager
20. Mad Fox Kellerbier
21. Lost Rhino Final Glide
22. Forge Saison
23. Flying Dog Atlantic Lager
No, those aren’t the heaviest beers, but when you’re stowing away 40ish pints you need to balance style, ABV, and even crowd friendliness. As much as I love some Ambers or Stouts, they’re just harder to get through.
These are the beers I need to get a bottle, bomber, draught, or growler of come Hades or high hops. This isn’t a function of perusing my Untappd wish list and stocking up at Total Wine – these are meant to be limited run or region-specific beers that are actually hard to find without a bit of adventure! In some of these cases, I’ll be in that area so will have a chance to get them!
24. Natty Greene’s Wildflower Imperial Witbier
25. Blue Mountain Barrel-Aged Weizenbock
26. Crooked Run Red Kölsch
27. Austin Beerworks Pearl-Snap Pilsner
28. Flying Dog Cinnamon Porter
29. Port City FOUR (Quad)
30. Columbus Brewing Summer Teeth Helles Lager
That’s my list, and I’m sticking to it for 2015.