Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: The Year in ReBrew (in pictures)

Looking back at my iPhoto bank, there are many photos related to beer events, beer drinking, friends and fun. I did this photo essay thing with Darkness Day and Firkin Fest. Unfortunately, I forgot with WinterFest and Autumn Brew Review, and most of the major beer events I hosted at the Blue Nile, but I did snap picture randomly through the year, and here are some of the highlights. You are best off reading them from bottom to top, that's just the way they got sorted, and after spending hours on this, only to find they get stacked upside down, I don't want to spend any more time fixing it, so..behold, a glimpse at my year in beer, 2011!

the final stop of the crawl, Town Hall Tap, where Tom gives me the evil eye, and Scott gloms onto his wife's chest. Once home, I needed a nap. I don't normally start drinking at 1 pm. Heck, on days that I work, I don't drink until 2 am!
Cheers, from Jason and Kat!
December 26. Pat's Tap. Kim Bartmann (owner, as well as BLB, and other bars/restaurants) loves palindromes, hence the name. Also, the mens and womens rooms are labeled "Anna" and "Otto" (who will  figure that out, we wonder, as people walk out of the wrong room), and on the beer list, "Lager, sir, is Regal." This was my first visit to this new bar, inside an old bar, and the second visit on a pub roll, with Jason and Brandon. Kat and Scott drove.
Why do my pictures at Bryant-Lake Bowl turn out so terrible? Brandon is at right having a laugh, Jon is at left, and he was there to tap a special "randall" of spices to run through a Goose Island Christmas Ale. Jon was the reason Stub & Herb's became the type of bar to hold a Stone kickoff party, and now he represents Goose Island locally. My fingers hold a glass of aged Corsendonk Christmas Ale, and off my right is Laura Preston, who I urged to go in the basement and bring it up so we could drink it. December 20.
The aforementioned Rooster, looking good!
November 9. Rob really wanted to do a Tallgrass Velvet Rooster  release event at the Nile, and I really wanted to let him. He's at right, with Brandon Smith at left, and the rooster at left foreground. In the middle? I forgot her name!
November 8, hanging out at the Harriet Brewery, drinking beer with Jason (his back to us) and Paul, who joined them as a brewer halfway through the year. I've known Paul for a few years, and was glad to see his Siebel-trained brewing skills join the Harriet team.
Scott's giving love to one of the pups. My, how they've grown!
11/6, holding a BrewFarm beer (forget which) in my hand, over a roaring fire.
November 6, my final BrewFarm visit of 2011, Sharon is talking to Dave, and soon she's telling me, "you'd better not post these, Al." Too late.
November 1. Rob Shellman of Tallgrass Brewing, getting a trim from Moustache Jim at the Nomad. I only showed up so he could get me a sample of Velvet Rooster, and ended up joining in on the Movember festivities, having my lip and chin follicles shorn for the first time in 5 years. 
The Original gets fresh with her duplication.
10/30. Before getting to the Darkness bottles, a 3 1/2 year old bottle of Two, the anniversary beer that I painted the label for. Someone has a bottle on eBay for $500, and my family members who bought it (or given one by me) fresh should really cash in, because it's way too funky for their tastes.
October 30. Early in the Epic Darkness Vertical Tasting, Dennis, Peter, Eric, and Jeffrey's knees at my apartment. We have just enjoyed the DeMolen/Flying Dog collaboration beer Eric brought, and we've yet to taste Dennis' cranberry mead. I've been putting off doing a full report on this night for almost two months, but it's coming, patient readers, fear not.
October 29. I snapped a shot of one of the few Darknesses I managed to drink on tap at the Nile this year, and tried to write about it as well, but it trailed off into gibberish.
May 17. Blue Nile, me and Farmer Dave, without the SpongeBob cap. This was the middle of MN Craft Beer Week, and one of my four events was a tapping of Matacabras, which Dave came all the way from Wilson for, what a heck of a guy. 
May 4, Dean and Rita at Groveland Tap, the occasion being another cask offering of Lift Bridge beer, this one being the excellent Hop Prop IPA. Jason was also at the table, and we visited the bar to hang with the brewery crew.
May 1. BrewFarm. Farmer Dave is a dog man, but I think this photo shows the influence they have on him.
patio of Acadia, again. Steve Rinker is laughing about something, and Kat is checking her phone for some reason. A cask of Lift Bridge is the occasion.
April 12, patio at Acadia Cafe, Michael's giving me the evil eye for some reason. Must have been something I said.
same event, this time I finally found a seat at the bar and got a sampler set of something.
Alvey is at Stub's for the occasion, too, one of the many many people squeezed in there to drink Stone for the first time in Minnesota, and meet Greg Koch.
March 29, Jason is at Stub and Herb's for the Stone release party, raising a glass of Old Guardian (I think).
Ryan appears to be a Bell's supporter, but he's waiting for the right moment to give Larry the what-for.
March 27, Ben at BLB, protesting the abolition of spiritous beverages, and happily imbibing in them. The occasion was a Bell's Oberon tapping.
March 19, the scene at a little tasting at Dan and Beth's, ahhh, Cantillon!
March 4. Gera celebrates her 40th at the Blue Nile, a complete surprise to her, with Chip Walton at her side. There was surprisingly no homebrew kegs, so I opened bottle after bottle.
Farmer Dave looking dashing in his SpongeBob cap.
Dave's BrewFarm, 2/27. Chelsea playing with one of the pups, back when they were little.
Dean gives me a sideways glance, BLB, 2/23.
Feb. 16, vapor exiting a mash tun at Harriet Brewing.
February 8. Todd Haug at Acadia Cafe for their Surly 5th Anniversary Party. It was the day after they announced their expansion plans at the Muddy Pig's party, and there was a lot of excitement about it. I sat with Omar for a while, and he described his day as stressful, with tons of calls and emails. A foreshadowing moments was when he read a text from Todd (before he showed up for the event), "Frank Ball wants you to call him." Omar's typical response: "Why doesn't he call me?"
January 7. A full month before the official release party for Harriet Brewing's West Side IPA, Jason brought some beer in a growler, and a tap handle. I was fairly proud of what would happen and shot them together.
Feb 23. It's Bryant Lake Bowl's turn for an anniversary party. That's Laura Preston helping out behind the taps. I arrived a little late, but she hooked me up with some Pentagram. Omar thrust a raffle ticket in my hand, and what do you know, I won the first prize, a 2007 bottle of Darkness. Very cramped that night, cramped and crowded.
October 30. The Epic Darkness Vertical Tasting. Rollie the Cat sat with us, but, like some people, he just couldn't be converted to join us in craft beer geekery. That's Cal, urging a Surly Darkness into his reluctant snout.
At an event at the Blue Nile in October, with at least 6 Odell beers on tap, here I am toasting Doug Odell, found of Odell Brewing Company, 

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