Fifty-Two Bottles, the Year that Was and the Year that Will Be

7 01 2012

What started as a simple New Year’s resolution turned into a year-long journey that evolved into more than just beer. I wasn’t sure which direction this project would take at the beginning, but I’m quite pleased with the outcome. Over the course of 52 weeks, 52 beers, I not only experienced some great beers but I also indirectly told the story of my life in 2011.

Let’s talk about the beer first. The 52 beers ranged several different types and, for the most part, were all quite enjoyable. I also varied my selections from some seasoned favorites to several that were completely unknown. The biggest development that occurred was my new-found love for IPAs. I entered this project with complete disdain for IPAs only to find myself now craving them.

Despite that newfound love, the numbers reflect exactly what I expected to happen. While the stats show ales as the most consumed beer on this blog, it needs to be known that I got lazy and categorized all types of ale into one category. So those numbers are a little skewed. Coming in second, to no surprise to me, were stouts. But I feel if I had correctly categorized the ales, stouts probably would have taken the top spot.

The next set of numbers that really jumped out at me were how many beers got high accolades from me. Of the 52 beers, all but two were given a “Thumb’s Up.” I’ll just chalk that up to my ability to select a good beer! And I can back that up with the fact that the other two beers were given a “Side Thumb” without a single beer getting a “Thumb’s Down.” That really says something to me.

While I was quite liberal at extended my thumb in the air, I wasn’t as giving with the highest honors bestowed on these pages. When all was said and done, I annointed 33 beers as one of “52’s Faves.” Don’t get me wrong, that is still a fairly high percentage. But they were all deserving.

Now comes the (not-so) fun part. Before I get into what the future holds for Fifty-Two Bottles, I would first like to take a moment to list my top-10 beers. These were the cream of the crop. The beers that I can’t wait to get my hands on again. So, without further ado, here goes nothing.

First, receving honorable mention are Namaste, Velvet GloveLa Fin du Monde and Speedway Stout.

10. Dad’s Little Helper
9. Allagash Black
8. Gauntlet
7. Outer Darkness
6. Oak Aged Yeti
5. Stone Imperial Russian Stout
4. Lukcy Basartd
3. Curieux
2. Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

And the beer of the year was…

1. Cuir

Wow, that was tough. In picked my top-10, I only considered beers that were one of “52’s Faves.” Next, I weighed them out one by one and I feel pretty confident in my final list. I considered doing this list somewhere around beer number 50 because I thought I knew how the last two beers would be. I’m glad I waited because La Fin du Monde ended up surprising me. That, and we’re not the NFL. I’m not naming who “the best” is until I have a full body of work to look at.

As for the number one beer, I’m pretty sure I called it when I drank it. It truly was the best beer that I have EVER tasted. The beer that came close to it was Samichlaus because they were very similar in taste. That similiarity, however, is what kept Samichlaus off the final list.

Finally, I stand by the fact that there are three Stone beers in my top-five. You can call me biased all you want but the fact is, those are all truly amazing beers. Unfortunately for me, I won’t have many opportunities to drink two of those beers again. I have a bottle of each stashed away and then, they are gone forever.

So what’s next? I’ve teased several times that this blog isn’t ending and I am now going to give you a sneak peak of what is to come in 2012. I won’t be drinking just one beer a week. In fact, I can’t even count how many I’ve had since the turn of the new year! I will, however, continue to pick top beers to review here on Fifty-Two Bottles. There just won’t be a structure any more.

More so than just beer reviews, I have a few different directions I would like to try and take. One of my goals for this blog, which I will probably start referring to as F2B more often (because I’m lazy), is reviewing more breweries as a whole. Translation: going to the brewery itself and taking tours and drinking beer. So, that could be fun.

Another route I would like to take is to try and do some more Cooking with Beer. Unfortunately, if you click that category in the left column, you will find just one post. So, I would like to expand on that more and explore the world of cooking with beer more in depth.

On top of those, I will probably just keep writing about life in general. The original goal of me starting my own blog was to give me an avenue to write personally more, rather than professionally which I do everyday. So, posts could range from music and concerts to sports and everything in between. But, I will always remember my roots, BEER!

So there it is. The year that was and the year that will be! Thank you for the last 52 weeks and here’s to the next 52 weeks! CHEERS!

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