Its hard to believe that the end of the year is just a few short days away, and with that I thought I'd join many folks in taking a quick look back at the year that was (don't worry no top 10 lists here). Looking back at the beer world in general, and this blog and Texas specifically it was a huge year seeing a ton of positives, and luckily only a few negatives.
- Currently 162 entries this year, my most productive yet. I was blessed enough to focus not only on a ton of beer postings, but news, beer dinners, and book and restaurant reviews.
- This year saw a growing list of establishments highlighting craft beer: Block 7, Anvil, The Drinkery, House of Taps, and many more. It seems all of these are packed, showing that Houston does have a great craft beer culture.
- Some big anniversaries hit Houston Institutions this year: Saint Arnold's 15th, Flying Saucer's 9th, Petrol Station's 4th.
- Speaking of Saint Arnold's they moved into their big new brewery not to long ago and maybe, just maybe this weekend they'll be able to support tours.
- While we are on Saint Arnold's some bad news: Another loss in trying to allow TX breweries the ability to sell their beer's directly from their breweries occurred. We can only hope that enough support is growing and next time it will pass.
- While we can't seem to get local beer's direct from the breweries, Texas is getting more beer than ever from breweries new to TX: Ska, Twisted Pine, Mikkeller, Moylan's, Harpoon, Otter Creek, and many others came into our great state. Many other's expanded like Brooklyn. A great year to be a beer lover to be sure.
- As many times as I've complained about it, there were more beer dinners this year. From small relatively inexpensive events like this one at Gingerman, to more expensive ones like Saint Arnold's one at Brennan's Steakhouse it's wonderful to see these occur.
- A little outside of Houston over towards Austin, we saw Real Ale not only celebrate their 13th Anniversary, but saw them start bottling more beer's beginning with their Coffee Porter.
- Our brewery up north in Conroe is growing as well, introducing their Pro-Am Saison, and hopefully at the beginning of next year their Buried Hatchet Stout in cans.
- Nationally, beer was in the news most notably by the "Beer Summit"
- We also saw a nationally distributed documentary on beer this year: Beer Wars.
Its been a pretty good year for beer. So what does next year bring? Well besides more posts from me? More beer books to be sure, although there were several good ones that came out this year. As much as things improved this year, I'm hoping for even more beer dinners and beer pairings from local restaurants and bars. I also think we'll see even more new beers to this state. Which ones I don't know but if history is any key, they'll be good. Some new things from our local breweries. More bottled beers from Real Ale, more anniversary beers from them as well, also it will be interesting to see how/if Saint Arnold's changes now that they are in the new brewery: What will their next Divine Reserve be? Some special release ales? Will we see more TX breweries join in on the trend of barrel aging their beers? These are just some of the questions I have heading into next year. What are yours?