|Inspiration for 2014.... "Decide what to be and go be it!" |
(Billboard in Denver, CO.)
Well, time flies when you're brewing! And what a year it has been! Who knew at the beginning of 2013 that this would be the year I became a serious home brewer?! I had been searching for something... I didn't even know what it was at the time. I've always had a knack for home cooking, playfully experimenting in the kitchen, making my meals from scratch was important to me... and so it seemed only natural to expand on that with tasty things I loved to drink too.
Sometimes it's timing and the people you meet in your life that redirect you, to your path. I told my sister last month, I've finally found my people... My craft beer community. They are individuals ungoverned by pop culture, advertising/marketing persuasions, the more underground and undiscovered or obscure, the better. They are do-ers, critics, adventurers, seekers, cyclists, skiiers, explorers, experimenters, students of life and just as happy to share their knowledge to those willing to learn. I'm so grateful to have met all these wonderful people this past year, some were near, some were far, some in the brewing industry, and others were just peeps who loved and appreciated the craft. All of them seemed so effortlessly able to integrate into my life, as if they had always been there. I'm also, so thankful to all my family and friends who have been big supporters of my brewing, even the ones who don't drink, (yes, there are a few). They've put up with my new obsession, crazy brewing schedules, and backed me, as I've literally immersed myself into the suds. I've always believed that everything happens for a reason and there must be a good reason that my new passion fell into my life. Although, I must admit, sometimes it feels now like a second job... but in a good way. I actually like to wake up to; wash bottles, work on recipe formulations, shop for grain, rack a beer... I get excited about discovering new spices, and even packing up my supplies for brew day. I'll even share this secret with you... sometimes when no one is around, I'll turn up my itunes/spotify, which is probably playing Depeche Mode, Geographer, or Arcade Fire... and break out into a singing/dancing party of one, while my beer is boiling. This is how I know, that I love what I'm doing. Dance breaks... yes, dance breaks, people.
This past year I learned a lot about myself, part of me thinks I always knew, but it's for sure, confirmed now. I have always loved to create, that I knew, but I equally love to be active. I love working with my hands, to be physically engaged and moving. To feel exhausted at the end of the day, not just mentally from sitting at a desk stressed out, and drained from a project, but physically exhausted from moving my muscles. I love challenging my body, pushing it and making it stronger. To equally put my mind and body into something. To see, hold, and taste my efforts. These things give me much pleasure. I didn't know how physical brewing was before I started, but it is, it's an active and engaging process, it's literally a living thing, and I enjoy it as much as the creative development that surrounds it. The process of brewing and creating, seem to go hand in hand... to make something new from nothing... wow, now that, gets me excited! There are so many endless possibilities... I'm always thinking what's next?!
With so much new stirring about, I thought I'd take a minute to slow down and reflect on last year's new beginnings and accomplishments before moving into the new year full speed ahead. So, here is my year in re-brew!
My Year in Re-Brew... 2013
- Dated a super craft beer nerd, who further beer geeked me out, which then spun my craft beer interest into a serious passion. He might not have worked out, but the beer did.
- Tried over 1200 different beers this year... um yeah, that's about 100 a month (FYI: most were tasters). Thanks Untappd for being so addictive and thanks beer events/festivals for being so plentiful.
- Ran over 400 miles (including 4 half marathons in D.C., Napa/Sonoma, and Denver)
- Took a few home brewing classes through Ale Syndicate and BrewCamp
- Joined AHA and IMBIBE
- Visited over 30 new breweries in the USA
- Tried Crossfit and the Paleo diet, kept Paleo but then rekindled my love for yoga and got cozy with crow, wheel, and handstands
- Started my beer blog, encouraged by my friend Miraida in NYC who wanted to read about all my beer ventures in Chicago
- Biked over 1,200 miles all over Chi-town (I have to work off the beer somehow)
- Joined Chaos brewing club and met a bunch of awesome new friends and experienced brewers always willing to share tips and advice.
- Discovered over 40 new bands that I absolutely love... Thanks Spotify and an impossibly quite office with headphones. You should give a listen to... Tanlines, Noosa, Geographer, Future Islands, Cut Copy, The Cults, Bear Hands, Yellow Ostrich, Papa, Washed Out, White Arrows, Motopony, STRFKR, and Wild Child... just to name a few!
- Won 2nd place, twice, in two different beer competitions... accolades, accolades!
- Bought BeerSmith and started developing my own recipes after the first brew
- Met fellow Chicagoan beer bloggers MetaCookbook and SubBeerbia with shared passions for beer and writing
- Walked over 200 miles (see note above, about working off beer calories) Thanks for tracking Runkeeper and GymPact
- Started taking BJCP classes, I'm hoping to become a beer judge in 2014, woot!
- Passed... my 1997 Saturn passed emissions, seriously proud of her! (She's the little engine that could!)
- Started brewing and never looked back... 16 beers brewed (4 All-Grain, and 12 extract) along with 8 organic hard ciders, for a total of 24 Nancy brews, with more fermenting on the horizon!
All I can say, is that I hope 2014 stirs up, just as many, if not more, new surprises... Hopefully some of which, that I don't even know, how much I love them already.