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For Part Two of my 2018 retrospective I am going to look at the beverage portion of my blog.  I feel like I occasionally struggled in this area last year and there were at least a few times I got pretty burnt out on reviewing beer.  After some reflection on why this was happening, I realized that I was spending too much time chasing beers solely for making a review and not paying enough attention to what I actually wanted to drink.

I blame no one but myself, but I think NEIPAs in particular got me into that situation.  Yeah, they’re popular and tend to have names that sound like they’d be fun to post about, but the reality is that there are a lot of incredibly similar, perfectly-fine-but-not-inspiring examples of this style that are for the most part indistinguishable.  At one point I felt like was just writing the same review over and over again and quite honestly failed to find joy in it.

To break myself out of this rut, I started revisiting some old favorites and even (gasp!) sat back and drank some beer without having any intention of reviewing it.  I’ll say it now that some of the best beers I drank last year didn’t even come close to making the blog. In previous years I would have been incredibly disappointed by this, but with my current mindset I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Having said that, reviewing beer is something that will still be a central part of my blog, but it may look a bit different going forward.  I was already not one to chase the latest and greatest (not to mention rarest) brews available, nor do I have the luxury of regularly hitting up breweries.  Instead, I am going to focus more on personal tastes and quality over my previous desire for quantity. It may mean fewer posts, but I am confident it will be a better experience for me.  I’m sure my wallet and waistline won’t mind, either.

Let’s close with a look at my top five most-viewed beer reviews from last year:

  • Trillium Brewing Company & J Wakefield Brewing – Affogato
  • Trillium Brewing Company – Dialed In, with Pinot Gris Juice
  • The Alchemist – Beelzebub
  • Stone Brewing Company – Fruitallica
  • Central Waters Brewing Company – Barleywine Ale

With the exception of the final spot, I probably could have guessed these results.  That the top two spots went to releases from the popular brewery in my area was certainly no surprise, and the brew taking top honors was certainly much sought-after.  The same could be said for Beelzebub and Fruitallica was a national release from a well-known brewery with some crossover appeal on account of the name. And that leaves the Central Waters Barleywine which was my one minor surprise.  To my knowledge this isn’t a particularly popular beer, but considering how good it was, I am certainly happy it got the attention.

Well, there you have it.  My 2018 year in beer. I hope you all join me for a few pints in 2019 as well!