There’s still a few weeks left in 2017 but all of the major beer events are over for the year. Competition season has wrapped up, festivals are long since over, our homebrew club holiday party was this past weekend putting a bow on the club year as well. This past year was pretty interesting when I looked back on it even though some things didn’t go as planned.
Brewing: I didn’t brew as much this year as I have in the past couple of years. I am brewing today what will be my 8th and final batch of the year, a repeat of my Rum “Barrel” Aged tropical stout. For comparison, I brewed 12 batches in 2016 and 11 in 2015. However, what I lacked in quantity I made up for in quality. As I outlined in my Competition Review post, I managed to win 8 awards with three different beers. 2 Bronze and 3 Silver for my Belgian Dark Strong, 2 Bronze for my Belgian Wit and a Silver for my CDA. I have some lofty goals for 2018 so hopefully this momentum continues.
Judging: I also didn’t judge as much this year as I have in years past, which was unfortunate but things just didn’t line up as well. I started the year with a really unique opportunity to judge commercial beers at the Best of Craft Beer Awards in Bend. My wife and I will be returning to BCBA in 2018, myself as a judge and her as a steward. Besides schedule, another reason I didn’t judge as much is I got more involved in the administrative side of competitions, serving as Cellarmaster at SheBrew and Judge Director for both Heart of Cascadia and Fall Classic. This year I took the 10 week BJCP styles class offered by the OBC and took the tasting exam in June. I wasn’t happy with my score, but I did increase from a 68 to a 76 and increased my rank from Recognized to Certified. I re-took the tasting exam again in November and have not received my score yet, but based on talking to the proctors afterwards I feel really good about how I did. I’m nervous about taking the written exam, but I am hoping to eventually make National rank.
Travel: The highlight of this year had to be the trip to Denver. 15 breweries in 4 days and that just barely scratched the surface of the beer scene there. New Belgium was awesome, I can’t recommend strongly enough doing the tour there. Our friends who we were visiting there have now moved back to Oregon, which is great, but now that means we need another excuse to go back. Someday, I’d like to attend GABF. We also visited new breweries in Astoria (Reach Break), Salem (Xicha) and a couple places in Seattle (Reuben’s Brews and 9 Yards).
Job: June marked 1 year at my job at Portland Brewing, so now I’m at about a year and a half. Things are still going well. I’m hoping I might have an opportunity next year to do some Siebel training courses. If I do I’ll be sure to write about it here. I’m still learning a lot and the networking opportunities have been pretty crazy. I’ve been doing some testing for smaller breweries in our lab and it feels really good to help out other members of the community. There is really a lot more cooperation for us than competition. At least in Portland.
Looking Ahead: 2018 looks to be pretty interesting, starting the year out with a trip to Mexico and returning to Best of Craft Beer, then over the summer we’re going to be travelling to Houston to work as volunteers at a large event there and then visit family in Austin, so another “not beer” related trip, but we’ll squeeze a few places in, especially in Austin. The National Homebrewers Conference is coming to Portland next year, sadly the same weekend that we’ll be in Houston so we’ll miss it, but we’ll get to help with some of the set up and I plan on judging the preliminary round of the competition which will be in Portland this year as well. Also, next year it’s my wife’s turn on the Board of the OBC, serving as Secretary, so our club involvement will ratchet up yet again after taking it kinda easy this year.
So, cheers to 2017 and here’s to 2018!