The Session #23: Old and New


Whenever New Year’s Eve approaches, it’s inevitable that people will begin to reminisce about the past year while looking forward to the new year. For many reasons, we get nostalgic about things. You never see this happen at the end of the month, the week, the day or at the bottom of a bottle of beer. It’s only when the year changes do we get all, “aww, remember when…”. It’s only fitting then that this month’s session, hosted by Beer and Firkins, deals this topic. Simply stated:What will I miss from 2008 and what will I excitedly await in 2009? (Beer related, of course).

When thinking back to 2008, I can’t help but realize with a sense of shock and awe at how much we’ve (my wife and I) have done in the past year that is beer related. Between the festivals, the beer and food tastings, the beer reviews and the homebrewing, we have experienced so much that it’s hard to pinpoint just a few things that I’ll be missing.

Unlike other beer bloggers, or even other beer aficionados, I haven’t been paying much attention to specific beer releases or vintages. While I have appreciated good beer for quite a while, this past year is the first time I’ve been really paying attention and documenting my thoughts and experiences via this blog. That being said, I can’t say I am going to miss the 2008 Sierra Nevada Bigfood Barleywine or even the Firestone Walker 12 as this is my first experience with either. In fact, I didn’t even know about Firestone walker until this year, let alone the past 11 years worth of anniversary ales.

Unlike other beer lovers who have been around the block a few times, I can’t say I’m going to miss any of the festivals we’ve been to as this past year was the very first time I’ve been to almost all of them. This is my base year, this is the standard by which all future festivals will be measured by. I can say pretty much the same thing about all the different beers I’ve drank this year as well.

Truth be told there is only one thing I can say I will miss about 2008: my innocence. 2008 was the year I decided to go full bore with this blog and document as many of the beers I’ve drunk, the festivals I’ve gone to, the beer and food pairings we’ve done and beer I’ve brewed at home. 2008 was a year that I spent a great deal of time learning and re-learning beer. I approached every beer, every festival, every brewery and brewpub with the doe-eyed enthusiasm that only an innocence (ignorance?) can give.

It’s like when going to Disneyland for the first time as a kid. The night before, you can’t sleep just knowing all the things you’ll be seeing and doing the next day. Then, when you finally get to Disneyland, it takes all your parents’ energy and will to keep you from going bat shit crazy in the Magic Kingdom. It’s a Herculean effort really, to keep your kids from exploding because of all the attractions, rides and sightings of their favorite Disney characters. After all of that, they can’t stop talking for the next 6 weeks about how cool Mickey was, how beautiful Princess Jasmine is or how scary Pirates of the Caribbean was.

That’s how 2008 was for me and that’s what I’ll miss most.

There is much to look forward to in 2009 that is not so different than what I experienced in 2008. I’ll be one year older, arguably one year wiser. I’ll have gone around the block for the first time and finally have the experience by which to measure things by. Of course, the huge caveat to all these looking forward to‘s is that that we’ll be able to afford it all. While that is the reality of today, I hope that is will not be the reality of tomorrow.

And that, my friends, is what I look forward to most in 2009: hope. As 2008 was defined by innocence, 2009 will be defined by hope. I hope that I will be able to attend as many beer festivals as I did in 2008. I hope that I will be able to drink as many different beers as I did in 2009. I hope that I can brew as much and as well as I did in 2008, if not more and better. I hope that I will still have a job to go to in the morning as blogging by night isn’t going to be paying the bills any time soon. Hope is a powerful sentiment and sometimes, after the shit’s hit the fan, it’s the only thing you have left.

So, raise a glass with me in wishing the innocence of 2008 off and ushering in the promises of hope 2009 offers. Mabuhay! (Salud! Prost! Cheers!)

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