Tweet For all practical purposes, 2012 is finished and therefore, it is time to put together the almost mandatory balance.
This has been the most successful year of my still infant career as a beer writer. I've collaborated with The Beer Connoisseur, my reviews continued to be published in Pivo, Bier & Ale. The other day, after more than a year, I sent an article to the Spanish mag. Bar&Beer and at the beginning of the year, The Prague Post asked me to write a regular beer blog for them, which I really enjoyed doing. As if that wasn't enough, I was also offered to take part in a pretty important project that will see the light some time next year; it was a true honour to have been even considered for it and I want to thank all those who helped me put together my assignment. All of this has been (or will eventually be) paid, it's really gratifying to be able to make some money out of a hobby.
I wasn't able to travel abroad (in fact, I had to refuse a couple of invitations, life sucks sometimes), but that was more than made up by the great time I had and the great people I met in Kostelec and by having been able to make beer happen at Kocour. And what a beer it turned out to be, Gypsy Porter! It has been such a success that Pivovar Kocour have decided to add it to their regular line up.
As for last year's best. Here it goes.
Pub of the year (that is not called Zlý Časy)
Bar na Palmě (see review). It's got a very special charm and the people who run it are very committed to doing things they way they should be done.
Pivovarská Restaurace (Únětice). When it opened after the renovations, it was even nice than before. The food is very good and for us, it's a great place to spend some family time.
Zájezdní Hostinec (Kostelec). Because it's really, really great.
Honorary mentions for Nota Bene and Pivo a Párek, they are not pubs proper, but both in their own way are brilliant and have more in common than it would appear at first sight.
Kaaba, in Lucemburská. Not a pub, a café, but this is my blog and I love going there for a pint, it's inspiring.
U Černého Vola, because it proves better than any other perhaps that it's not the beer what makes a pub great.
Once again, Únětické Pivovar, for reasons that I've already made clear.
Břevnovksý Klášterní Pivovar, because all of their beers are very good, and the brewery itself couldn't be at a better place.
Pivovar Nomád. It could be said it is the first of its kind in these lands and it is very possible that they've opened a new era in Czech micro brewing (and because their beers are also fantastic, which is the most important thing).
Benediktín světlý ležák. It's brewed basically like any other beer of its kind, but the hops come from a 70 year old hopyard and the difference is incredible.
Karel, from Nomád. You don't need to bring hops from anywhere to make a pretty kick-ass IPA.
But the best of all, and fuck the conflict of interest here, is Gypsy Porter. It's just brilliant.
Samuel Smith Taddy Porter, what can I say? It tastes as if someone had bottled this beauty by Mozart and Fuller's Past Masters, two beers that are wonderful in more ways than one.
English: Boak&Bailey, mainly because their mapping of the history of the English beer scene from the postwar onwards. Called to the Bar, because, besides being a top bloke, Adrian writes in a way I wish I could someday manage.
Czech: Pivníci, I really like their style, they are almost like the Czech version of B&B, in their early years.
Spanish: 2d2dspuma is still the most incisive and fun to read, even though they speak from the other side of the counter, but I was pleasantly surprised by El Jardín del Lúpulo, because not only it is the least onanist of the lot, but it is one of the few that don't mind naming and shaming when it's deserved.
As for plans and wishes for 2013. Nothing yet, really. There are a couple of things that look promising, but I won't say anything until they are more certain. What I do hope for next year is to be able to start work on the second edition of my book.
So that's basically it. There still might be another post before the end of the calendar. In the meantime, have a great time however it is that you decide to spend these holidays.