My Year in Beer – 27 Best Beer Moments of 2015

(L to R): Cat Wolinski, Beer Affair and Pat Phillips, cameraman and co-founder of Team Biscuit Films check to make sure they are really here.

It’s time for some BeerAffair birthday reflection.

Today is my birthday. Although it feels narcissistic and ridiculous to celebrate the day, unbeknownst to you, a woman decided to push you into the world, it’s also a day to give yourself a pat on the back for making it another year. For me, this year was one of transition, and between New Year’s and the 21st, I’ve taken a bit of time to reflect on what’s happened in my beer life here during my twenty seventh year on Earth.

27 Best BeerAffair moments of 2015, in roughly chronological order:

  1. Finally becoming a full-time freelancer, devoting myself to the two most meaningful crafts in my life: writing and beer.
  2. Helping launch an app, Happy any Hour, which left me on my ass almost as soon as it appointed me a core member of its team (#startuplife)
  3. Brewing what’s still my favorite homebrewed beer, the Pot that Called the Kettle Black IPA, a black IPA we (Pat and I) crafted with our good friends, Chuck and Chelsey.
  4. Attending Chris O’Leary’s (AKA Brew York‘s) bottle share and blind tasting of IPAs, an intimate and gustatorily stimulating beer affair.
  5. Taking our first trip to Portland, Oregon, where we visited 15 breweries in 5 days, recorded video interviews with Ex Novo Brewing Co., Baerlic Brewing Co. and Base Camp Brewing Co., and experienced the magic of the Pacific Northwest coastline at Pelican Pub & Brewery.
    Pelican Pub and Brewery
  6. Curating and copywriting the first-ever Queens Beer Book, a guide to the craft beer bars, breweries and beer-centric eateries of Long Island City, Astoria, Ridgewood, Forest Hills and further neighborhoods in Queens.
  7. Being interviewed for TV about the Queens Beer Book for NY1.
  8. Being quoted by Ale Street News editor, Tony Forder in his editorial column, “What is Craft Beer?”

    “From a craft beer-crazed Millennial to the Curmudgeons of Craft, thank you for your early and continuing insights on this awe-inspiring, exciting, absurd, barrier-breaking beverage. ‘Craft beer,’ as it is so ubiquitously named despite its may nuances, is changing and growing as fast as (is not faster than) we can drink it, tweet it or blog about it. Yet even in this super-saturated, media darling market, we must turn to the ‘Legends of Liquid’ to remind us that what we’re drinking is history in motion, and it would do us good to stop and smell the hops every once in a while. This is what craft beer means to me. Thanks for the moment of reflection.”

  9. Camping at Indian Ladder Farms with Other Half Brewing Co. & friends.
  10. Traveling to Montréal for Mondial de la Bière, a worldly festival that introduced us to a theretofore unknown palate pleasing plethora of Quebec-brewed beers.

    Pat sips on LTM's Le Meilleur Des 2 Mondes, a double IPA/Baltic porter blend served on cask.

    Pat sips on LTM’s Le Meilleur Des 2 Mondes at Mondial de la Bière, 2015.

  11. Attending our first American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Rally at Keegan Ales in Kingston, N.Y.
  12. Publishing my first piece for Thrillist, a guide to drinking day trips in N.Y.
  13. Belgium Comes to Cooperstown (BCTC), always a favorite, but especially this year, our first year attending the VIP dinner as press, seated at the table with Ommegang brewmaster, Phil Leinhart, with Tony Forder on my right, and interviewing Phil Leinhart for a future story I hadn’t pitched yet.
  14. Publishing my first piece for Ale Street News, a BCTC recap.
  15. Spending the summer working part-time as copywriter of Brooklyn Brew Shop, where I met awesome people, edited a ton of blog posts, and made a really great beer with the girls’ team — Honey, I Ain’t Got No Figgin’ Thyme for That! (A Belgian-style blonde brewed with honey, caramelized figs, orange peel and thyme.)
  16. Drinking an Otter Creek on Otter Creek.
  17. Signing on as the first Craft Beer Correspondent for Eventbrite Rally.
  18. Interviewing Julia Herz, whose many accolades inspired this story.
  19. Publishing my first long feature in Civil Eats, the James Beard Foundation Publication of the Year, about bringing hops back to New York StateIMG_1030
  20. Taking my first trip to Belgium with my partner in BeerAffair and life itself, Patrick Phillips. Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, and various villages in Poperinge…

    -Staying on an artist’s houseboat for three days in Amsterdam, with all the beer, cheese and chocolate we could imagine
    -Attending the Modeste Festival in Antwerp, meeting Belgian Family Brewers like Brasserie de Blaugies
    -Taking a late night trek in the rain to Kulminator, an impossibly magical beer cellar helmed by an old Belgian couple, and drinking a 27-year-old lambic

    -Hopping in the van of the owner of Belgium’s best lambic bar, who delivered us to the world famous Cantillon Brewery 

    -Staying at St. Bernardus brewery, a bed and breakfast and the most beautiful, profoundly quiet countryside on the Belgian-French border.
    De la Senne, De Struise and 3 Fonteinen…and finally…
    -Sipping the sweet St. Sixtus Abbey’s Westvleteren 12, voted “the best beer in the world”

  21. Attending the premiere of First We Feast’s‘s That’s Odd…Let’s Drink It!, where I met and interviewed Sam Calagione for my next Ale Street News piece: the Rise of the Beer Web Series.
  22. Appearing in an episode of That’s Odd…Let’s Drink It! with Other Half.
  23. Being appointed as a beer judge for the sixth annual Battle of the Belgians.
  24. Being quoted amongst admired New York beer experts in First We Feast‘s Best New Beers of 2015.
  25. Finding out my parents went to a beer shop, the Craft Beer Cellar in Port Washington, Long Island — special thanks to Darwin Goh (Darwin’s Beer Reviews) for showing them the way!
  26. Being selected as the new NYC columnist for Ale Street News.
  27. And finally, meeting Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin at Tørst, and telling him I chose his and Two Roads’ Geyser Gose as best beer of the year.

And a bonus no. 28: finishing signups for the 2016 Brooklyn Beer Book, on sale in February!

BeerAffair AHA Rally

Thanks for making it to the end of this gratuitously lengthy #humblebrag!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s