Through the rearview mirror - highlights of 2019


To start with some activity the year in which this blog will celebrate its tenth anniversary, I will proceed to briefly review some memorable beer moments of 2019, inspired by this publication in Original Gravity that I could read on these days of winter vacations.


As usual, the year began with the work of the Barcelona Beer Festival. I have the satisfaction of having witnessed what has undoubtedly been the best edition made so far, with an awesome work made by the entire team and a high level of satisfaction among the attendees. On a personal level, I was thrilled to invite Emma Inch to record the first live episode of her unmissable programme Fermentation Beer and Brewing Radio. My inner fanboy was also happy with the presence of Jérome Rebetez from the Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes: not only did he deliver one of the best lectures I have ever organised for the Festival, but I could talk long and hard with him -he even brought me a gift bottle-, closing the circle after my distant visit to his brewery in Saignelégier in 2013, when I couldn't meet him.

The Toer de Geuze 2019 deserves a special mention, being a new tick on my beer experiences bucket list. Beyond delving into the exciting world of spontaneously fermented beers, which are responsible for my writing about beer today, I was able to meet my greatly admired Karel Goddeau, who guided me in the visit through the De Cam facilities. I could also fall in love with the beautiful De Troch brewery. Taking advantage of the trip, I once again had time to get lost visiting some of the best cafés in Brussels, to visit De la Senne and reaffirm my love for the brand, and to try my first beers from Tall Poppy, a beautiful project led by my dear friend Jo Olluyn.

Beyond discovering first-class beers in Slovenia, in summer I especially enjoyed putting on my overalls and harvesting hops at Lupulina, Cassà de la Selva. Such was the inspiration of that particular day that I wrote what could possibly be my best piece of writing to date, which recently received the amazing distinction of being highlighted among the favourite writings of the year by Boak and Bailey.


Finally, I want to highlight a moment that draws an accurate picture of what 2019 was for me. Having done my part as judge for the World Beer Awards in London, with the subsequent enjoyment of talks and pints at The Rake with several fellow beer writers and judges, I returned early to Barcelona the following day to work from noon till night. Already in my Clark Kent's attire, before the security check, I took out of my bag a bacon sandwich and a can of Endless Toil, which Jules Gray from Hop Hideout had gifted me with: I wasn't checking in my luggage to avoid wasting time on arrival, and I didn't contemplate any other alternative. The origin of the beer and the entire context in which I downed it, full of contrasts and my own contradictions, assured that the circumstantial substitute for my routine morning orange juice was undoubtedly one of the best drinks of the year.

Undoubtedly, in a year in which my work has impacted more than usual in my double life, it is moments like this that make me want to keep on pursuing this path. Happy New Year to everyone.


Salut i birra!

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