Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 Beer Travel in Review

Richard enjoying Pliny The Younger in multiples
2014 was another great year in beer for The Better Beer Authority and myself.  The BBA took two great road trips and experimented with multiple formats for our reviews.  For myself, I went to Europe one less time than usual, but hit the West Coast two times.  Below is my, Richard Hartogs, best of 2014 in travel.  Please note only beers, places and events I went to are on this list.

Best Brewery Visit:  Modern Times Beer San Diego, CA.  I went there because a cousin of a friend was an assistant brewer there.  While I didn't meet him, I was introduced to four great beers (see below for best beer). The brewery at the Lomoland Fermentorium was spacious and had awesome artwork all over.

Sampler from Modern Times Beer
Honorable Mention:  Reuben's Brews Seattle, WA.  Great beers in a small Ballard neighborhood setting.

Best Bottle Shop:  Chuck's Hop Shop.  Seattle, WA.  My initial reaction when I walked in, "Holy Shit."  I could rant about the selection of bottles and taps, but I would never stop.  This is the best beer place I have even been to!

Honorable Mention: Charleston Beer Exchange.  I had heard great things and was not disappointed.  I knew they would have a great bottle selection, but I was still stunned to come away with some great beers.

Beer Bar:  Toronado San Diego, CA.  Yes, I scored Pliny the Younger there.  However, I was there the day before enjoying many delicious beers, with the best beertender in the world and eating pork belly skewers.

Honorable Mention:  The Alibi Room Vancouver, B.C Canada.  Big, well curated tap list from the Pacific NW.

Honorable Mention #2:  Mikeller Bar Copenhagen, Denmark. A wide variety of Mikeller beer plus Three Floyd's, Off Color and Prairie....not to mention Hill Farmstead bottles for purchase, how can you go wrong?  OK, the prices in Scandinavia are crazy expensive....that is the downside.

Beer Festival:  SAVOR Washington DC.  World Class beer and people.  Shared a beer with Jim Koch and Sam Calagione and Garrett Oliver poured me beers from their respective breweries.  And every attendee went home with a special bottle of beer.




Honorable Mention:  Snallygaster Washington DC. BA Abraxas, Fou Foune on tap?  Yes please.

had to take some home
Best Beer:  Modern Times Fortunate Islands hoppy citrusy wheat.  Forget all the session IPAs.  This beer, at 4.8 percent has an amazing hop profile while the wheat addition give it a nice body.  I would say I had beers that I would rate higher, but this beer is one I could drink every day and never tire of it.

Honorable Mentions.  Three Brothers Resolute Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. Williamsburg Alewerks Bourbon Porter, Reuben's Crickey IPA, Maine Lunch, Three Floyd's Chevalier Bertrand du Guesclin.

Special mentions to Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and 3 Brothers Brewing for being great hosts on our BBA road trips.

Also, while I had some good trips throughout the year, nothing can touch Lance's Brewery Tour.  We were honored to conduct a Brew & A with Aaron Rice, the director of the project earlier this year.



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