While everyone else starts marathon training and fad dieting, we’re vowing to get our beer game back on track with these resolutions. Join us: Pick one, or do them all!
1. Attend a beer release.
Be the first in line to taste what’s new, whether it’s amid the rock ‘n’ roll chaos of Dark Lord Day, or simply enjoying whatever your local brewer’s putting on tap for the first time. You’ll meet people who are as stoked about beer as you are, and get first dibs on tasting what could be the next 100-point beer.
2. Stop hoarding beer.
The madness that is our beer cellar (764 bottles and counting!) has got to stop. If you’re like us, you save a few prized bottles for a rainy day or a special occasion, but when “a few” becomes your entire basement, you’ve crossed into hoarding territory. Most brewers bottle beer to be drunk now, not later, so stop saving and start pouring. We vow to be better about drinking beer fresher in 2015, and so should you. (The good news: Drinking through all that silky aged beer is not the worst way to spend a work day.)
3. Keep it fresh.
While you’re at it, start marking your bottles with the date you purchased them. (We slap a date sticker on every brew.) Don’t keep anything older than three months.
4. Evalu-rate your beer…
Use your words! Join the beer rating conversation online, but share your score and your thoughts on sites like BeerAdvocate.com or RateBeer.com. You’ll stretch your beer vocab beyond “hoppy” and “malty,” and make a meaningful vote for what tastes great. Plus, you’ll be journaling your beer-tasting journey.
5. …but have real conversations, too.
Join a homebrew club or a ladies’ drinking group (Barley’s Angels, Girls Pint Out) or a beer-running club (Running for Brews, Hash House Harriers), and find kindred spirits who share your
love of beer.
6. Learn by drinking.
The best way to learn about new hops? Drink ’em. Watch for beers brewed with brand-new hop varieties: Equinox hops are fully loaded with lemon-lime, papaya and green pepper notes; Kohatu (from New Zealand!) hops are mild and known for a tropical twist on pine; and Neomexicanus hops bloom with melony flavor.
7. Try the beer-and-food thing.
Cook even just one dish with beer, and taste how wonderfully it flexes its muscle in food. You’ll do it again.
8. Update your glassware.
If you’ve gotta wash your lone tulip glass every time you pop open a sour, re-up your glass cabinet. Invest in glasses that reflect what you drink: If you’re a sucker for stouts, you don’t need fancy Belgian flutes; if you’re obsessed with IPAs, stock up on a few curvy IPA glasses.
9. Get to Vermont.
Hill Farmstead is collaborating with world-class brewers for its Grassroots label. The Alchemist recently launched Focal Banger IPA, the baby brother to the coveted Heady Topper. Magic Hat is still pulling rabbits out of the kettle with new brews. And has Lawson’s Finest Liquids ever made a bad beer? Right now, Vermont is beer paradise. Download a passport from the Vermont Brewers Association, get it stamped at breweries around the state and the T-shirt you win will be a solid second runner-up to the beer experience you’ve had.
10. And Bruges, too!
Brooklyn brewmaster Garret Oliver and beer-minded chef Sean Paxton both call it one of their favorite beer cities in the world. Enough said.