02 January 2009

New Year, New Beer, New World

Beer and Firkins are hosting the first Session of 2009, and asking "what will you miss about 2008 ... and what do you expect will excite you most in 2009, in the 'Beer World'?". Easy one for me, as there's only one thing for which I am even more of a ticker than I am for beer, and that's countries. I'm writing this while on a late-night packing session for my New Year's trip to Switzerland, and by the time you read it I'll be swanning around in gnome-ridden Zürich. This brings my total countries visited for 2008 to 9, with Switzerland as the second new tick after Cuba. In the meantime I had some wonderful beery breaks like Amsterdam where I discovered the unalloyed joy of 't Arendsnest and Copenhagen for the magnificence of the European Beer Festival. So the answer to both questions for me is just this: drinking more good beer in other countries.

Plans for 2009 are still somewhere south of sketchy. Apart from one night in Brussels in the very near future there's nothing definite, and the destinations being talked about, while fun, aren't exactly beery (this is what happens when your friends move to the middle east. Gah!). I'm very much playing it by ear, which is part of the fun even for someone like me who thinks fifteen months' advance booking can be cutting it fine.

While I'm pondering future destinations, and the appropriate thickness of sock for mid-winter Switzerland, I'm drinking a beer from Avery in Colorado. New World Porter is an interesting chap. It's one of those American black beers hopped with very citrus varieties. I'm used to this in big, heavy imperial stouts, so to have it in a porter of a mere 6.7% ABV is rather odd. Pleasantly odd, though. You get a lot of the neat features of American pale ales which clock in at similar strengths, coupled with the smoothness of a porter. Of roasted flavours, however, there are just about none -- just a slight porterlike dryness on the end.

Despite appearances, this to my mind is a hybrid of porter with an American IPA. It's not particularly balanced, but it still works, and is fun to drink.

Strange new taste sensations and challenges to expectations: that's what I'm hoping for the coming year. That, and the thrill of chasing them across the globe.


  1. Happy New Year!

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I like citrus hops in dark beers. I wouldn't want it in every beer, but it can work really well.

  2. Laurent Mousson6:28 pm

    It's pretty cold these days in Switzerland, so pack them thicker socks... BTW Zurich isn't really the most interesting place in Switzerland for beer huntng. But do make sure you find the Drinks of the World shop in Zurich main station's undeground mall. It does stock both BFM's and Trois Dames' stuff, that is beers from both the most interesting micros around. Even the much-touted Brasserie Fédéral, il the station main hall, with it 100+ swiss beer list, does not stock them, concentrating on Swiss-German offers which depart very little from germanic ordnance styles.

  3. Cheers, Laurent. I did, and there was no sock-related misfortune.

    I think I may have missed the best of Swiss beer -- germanic ordnance was very much what I found. Agonising detail to follow...