On January 1st, 2008, I took a look back at my beery adventures of 2007 by using posts to this blog as my guide. It’s a common way of wrapping up the year – Troy, for example, did it for 2008 – but due to the Three Month Gap and other periods of sporadic posting for me last year, it’s not really gonna work for me this time around.
Instead, I’ll just give some quick thoughts on a few highlights from the year recently ended:
Beer Dinner of the Year: As much as I would love to put the Southern Tier dinner at the top of the list (mainly because I helped out in the planning and promotion and acted as a co-host for the evening.), I’m afraid that there’s no competition with this one – the winner is clearly the Dogfish Head dinner at beerbistro back in May. I can only hope and pray that Sam Calagione was serious when he said that he’d like to make it an annual event.
Beer Event of the Year: This is a tough one (especially since I never got around to writing about a lot of ’em – links will be provided elsewhere where applicable). Cask Days 2008 is an obvious choice, since Ralph and co. at Volo outdid themselves yet again with an absolutely stupendous weekend. There were some great new events, such as the Hart House Craft Beer Festival & Summer BBQ and the Victory Summer Cask Ale Festival. But I’ll have to give the nod to The Brewer’s Plate, a tasting event that partnered local fine dining chefs with local breweries in support of Green Enterprise Toronto. It was great to see such a wide array of people enjoying great food with great beer, and I really look forward to this year’s edition.
New Bar of the Year: While they don’t really promote themselves as a ‘beer destination’ per se, I have to give props to The Cock & Tail. The tap line-up is solid, with lots of local favourites, and the bottle selection of (mostly) imports is quite impressive for what is essentially a neighbourhood hangout and watering hole. A lot of new bars are lured over to the dark side with promises of discounts and kickbacks, and end up with the standard line-up of bland macros and shitty imports available at so many other places, so it’s great to see that some owners are willing to stick with their principles to serve the good stuff. (Runner-up: The Football Factory)
New Local Beer of the Year: There were probably a few new beers that I enjoyed more last year, notably festival one-offs and the like. But my favourite new brew that’s regularly available is Granite Hopping Mad. As a hoppy pale ale, it’s a beer that would probably seem pedestrian to many, especially any Americans reading this. But here in a province where hop-forward beers are still a bit of a novelty, it’s nice to have another addition to the few that we have.
I’m sure if I stewed on this a bit longer, I could come up with a few more things to add to the list, but I’d like to get this done before the next new year comes around. So let’s leave it at that.