It is, once again, that time of year where a lot of beer bloggers submit their nominations for the Golden Pints. I’m not going to pretend and say I think it’s all below me. I just can’t be bothered to go back over my year and put that much effort into thinking. It’s an attitude that has had an effect on the blog over the course of the year. There have been a number of posts that have been written, and then just sat there, not being posted, I may refer to some of those occasions in this post.
Going back to the subject of Golden Pints, I was pleasantly surprised by Hobgoblin Gold when I tried it this year (the second and third bottles confirmed it was a beer I’d be fine drinking again). Whilst I love Hobgoblin (the beer, not the marketing), I’ve often struggled with some of Wychwood’s other beers. I ended up pouring most of a bottle of Bah Humbug down the sink yesterday for example.
This year’s Friday Pint theme was supposed to be local beers. Living as I do now, in Slough, my choice of breweries was somewhat less than it was when I lived in Chiswick. That being said though, I did manage to visit Windsor and Eton, Binghams in Twyford and Rebellion in Marlow.
Of those three, it is only Rebellion that I wouldn’t rush to return to. Bingham Brewery produce a wonderful range of stouts (my personal favourite being the Vanilla Stout), and Windsor and Eton win through being closest, and also producing Conqueror Black IPA.
Meanwhile, closer to my hometown of Southampton, two breweries were preparing to move to new locations.
Vibrant Forest had been operating out of their location on Jacobs Gutter Lane near Totton for a few years. Their rise in popularity amongst their customers meant they needed to move to a new location and expand. The brewery is now based on an industrial estate just outside of Lymington, and has a small shop and bar. It’s open to the public on Fridays between 12pm and 6pm, and Saturdays between 11am and 3pm.
Dancing Man Brewery also found themselves wanting to expand to meet the demand of their customers. The start of the year saw opponents to the plans to convert The Wool House into a brewpub and restaurant submit a petition to the city council, which was responded to in support of the brewery.
2014 was a year of many delays for the Wool House project, a factor which head brewer Aidan Lavin believes has led to better decisions being made, which will ultimately result in a better experience for people once the Wool House opens next year.
(A more indepth look at The Wool House and the road to it will be appearing in the run up to opening).
Even closer to home, my brother got married back in May, and I messed up the beer I brewed by sticking too many high alpha hops in too early, resulting in a beer too bitter for even my tastes.
I didn’t get as much chance to do much homebrewing this year. My Nelson Sauvin based sour is now bottled, and I have a beer on the go at the moment, in which I have used everything up. Hopefully it will turn out fine.
As for next year, I’ve got a wedding to save for, along with all the other costs that go with it. As such I’ll be spending a lot less money on beer (I’ll also have less time, what with all the overtime I’ll be trying to do). All this is perfectly fine though, as I have two shelves worth of beer (and still a couple of boxes) I need to drink most of before I leave.
Given that the majority of it is beers that should have aged well, next year is going to be a treat.
I’ll be back soon with more writing. Until then though, have a great weekend.