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10 New Year’s beer resolutions

Ten must-dos for the next 12 months. No dieting.
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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.

 

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6 Comments

  • lol says:

    I’d say that a trip to Nor Cal’s Russian River Brewery would be more desirable. Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig and Sours.

    • chris says:

      Ive done the Russian River trip. It was good but not great. Small taproom, long lines, arrogant bartenders, and slow service.

      Of the trips ive done i would recommend Southern Cal along with Oregon Beer Trail. Way more variety and more fun. Ive had friends do the Vermont trip and came back and said best trip ever and came back with tons of awesome beers.

  • lolwut says:

    And has Lawson’s Finest Liquids ever made a bad beer?

    Red Spruce Bitter, Steve’s Back Yard Red, Spruce Tip IPA, Maple Nipple…

  • Pam B says:

    So let’s see, “LOL”. You’d pick one brewery with about 3-4 beers that you can list as wanting to try over visiting an area with more breweries per capita than any other state, many of which are top-rated (Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s, Alchemist, Fiddlehead, Backacre etc.), many great up and comers (Burlington Beer Co., Four Quarters, 14th Star, Queen City…) most within reasonable driving distance of each other. That makes so much sense (not). Oh and just so you know I’ve lived in both Vermont and California. The Vermont experience is head and shoulders above CA.

    Oh and to the other commenter: Red Spruce Bitter happens to be one of my favorite LFL beers and gets strong praise from most of my beer drinking friends (along with the others you mention). Spruce TIp IPA is about the only one that seems to get lots of negative comments. I enjoy it but it is very, very strong on the spruce. Just like HF’s collab Lemon Cello is super lemony. If you don’t care for those flavors you ain’t no way gonna like those beers. But for what they are going for they are quite good.

  • TallPour says:

    Having never been to (but hope to one day) Vermont – I have yet to personally experienced much of the offerings and cannot comment on the scene, let alone presume my local scene to be superior. What I can do is implore anyone reading this – should you happen upon the Midwest or North (as local hipsters have now dubbed) make your way to each side of the mighty Missisippi (river) – Minneapolis & St. Paul. The scene is burgeoning with new breweries opening on a seemingly bi-weekly basis! Some notables: Surly (Darkness/Furious). Harriet (West-Side BPA), Indeed (Day-Tripper PA), Dangerous Man (Choco-Milk Stout), Hammerheart (Celtic/Scandinavian inspired Ales ), Steel Toe (Rainmaker x2 Red Ale), Town Hall (Mango Masala – Mango IPA), Hayes Public House (traditional British Ales), Northbound Brewhouse (Array of PA & IPAs and the best porketta & bahn mi sandwich(s) on the planet) and of course the Minnesota craft pioneer – Summit (Summit EPA)!

  • Ride Runner says:

    Yes folks the rumors are true! While the above mentioned VT beers are great, so many more in the pipeline you will soon start hearing about:

    -Bent hill brewing (and you thought Hill Farmstead was in the middle of nowhere!) Guy owns a sugar house as well so many of his dark oriented brews feature that. Iron Heart Canning needs to go up there and can some Maple Red ale. Lavender Porter was unlike anything I’ve ever had

    -14th Star was mentioned but more specifically, Maple Breakfast Stout

    -Infinity Brewing is filling the void left by Trout River with what I consider the new best Red Beer in the state

    -1st Republic specialize in Amber Ales and although they are currently being run out of a convenience store in Milton, they have plans to open a store front in Essex Junction. Very few people outside Milton have tried their brews but they are great

    -Stone Corral is working on their new storefront and while I’ve only had two (Black Lager and an IPA), they will have a key location and great lineup for state brewery tours.

    Folks, make your way out here. The IPA craze is finally starting to die down and some of the newest brewers in the state are leading the charge with delicious browns (A Dog Ale from 14th Star) and Stouts (Bent Hill Brewing Imperial Maple Stout). I’m working on a website to help those visiting locate the harder to find stuff (vtbeerfinder.com)

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