Some beers turn out more symbolic than you intend. I’m an avowed fan of the Occasion Beer — a drink somehow keyed the moment of its drinking by whatever punning or poignant link of timing or theme takes your fancy — and decided I’d end my shift on Christmas Eve with a Midnight Mass of good-old bog-standard German lager. (Geddit? It’s a homonym. A late-night religious observance and a one-litre serving size, most familiar from Octoberfest. Right? Anyway. I make precisely zero apologies.) But the day, like a great many of them in the tail end of the year, got busy and got away from me and left me underenthused at the prospect of four standard drinks before bed just for the very-minor joke of it. Midnights, though, do just keep coming around fairly regularly. And so, after a much-calmer shift on New Year’s Eve1 — and a few very-civilised beers at Malthouse on the way home — my first Beer Diary entry for 2016 was this. On reflection, it nicely encapsulated the year before — it was big, enjoyable, pleasantly exhausting, admirably simple and uncomplicated, and just generally a fine idea delayed (but not defeated) by circumstance.
2015 included a great-many wonderful beer-related moments, for me. Not enough of them happened here on the blog, for my liking, but still. It’s lovely being back on the front lines and bartending again, there’s a steady stream of people for whom to host tours and tastings2, and I had buckets of fun giving talks in front of festival-going beer drinkers and conferences of food writers and historians and such. It’s a privilege to be able to cobble-together a (vaguely) financially-viable life out of all this — and to remain entirely capable of enjoying beer in its many forms from cheerful and companionable to cerebral and challenging. And the genuinely-delightful thing is that there’s just always more to do and to learn and to discover. Roll on another year of that.
I’m Phil Cook, and I’ve been keeping a Beer Diary for twelve years. It’s never once felt in danger of being close to finished.
Original Diary entry: A Midnight Maß — 31/12/15 – 1/1/16 @ home, after a work-filled end-of-year. 1L of Höfbrau Original in a stein, I suppose, rather than a maß as such. Not sure. That’s a lot of liquid, nevermind a lot of beer. Delicious, though, in its way. RESOLVED: Use this more often. Most-recent entry in October is inexcusable. 2015 was an excellent year of transition. More to do. Unfinished. As it ever is. This litre is, but. At last. I feel like a videogame character after a [drinking] montage. The controls don’t respond quite right. Ah well. ’tis the weekend at last.
- Golding’s, with its relatively-early midnight closing time, basically checks out of the end-of-year festivities entirely and shuts by nine p.m. on the 31st — rather than annoying revelers by throwing them out just as they get started shouting their countdown.
- Which I do via Craft Beer College — he says by way of habitual disclaimer and shameless plug, insofar as you can combine those things.