I’ll admit there have been times over the year when this project seemed insane. The days where I had “twenty-five posts to write” for example, or as I forced back beers while every cell in my body protested.
But every hangover, every dollar spent and every hour passed at my laptop seemed suddenly worth it last night.
Aside from a momentary panic that I could be “peaking” at 26, the end of blog party was probably one of the most enjoyable nights of my life. Thank you so much to everyone who came down to Galbraith’s to celebrate with me. It was so lovely to have all my family and friends – beery and otherwise – gathered together in my favourite pub.
And the beer. The beer!
As Phil pointed out, it would have been p r e t t y awkward if I hadn’t liked my final beer, although with Liberty in charge there was never any real danger of that. Still, I’m happy to report that – I’m going to annoy my parents one last time by swearing on the blog – it was fucking delicious.
To make “365” a hoppy Imperial Red Ale was a genius decision by Jo. Looking back over my year, the beers I first fell in love with were huge, highly-hopped IPAs, and then I steered away from them in favour of malt mosters. Eventually I decided I loved both, just so long as they were balanced.
I might be a total fluke, but “365” encompassed this journey perfectly. The fresh, fruity New Zealand hops were the perfect partner for the mouth-filling toffee malt, and it succeeded in being both rich and endlessly drinkable. It finished on a lip-smackingly crisp note – but without that lingering harshness that puts me off so many hoppy beers. Did I mention also that it was 8.5%? I’m pretty sure that made the party 85% more fun.
Plenty of clever sods have pointed out that this was a leap year, and so technically I should be doing 366 beers. Quite right, and that’s why Kate Jordan, Richard Jack and I brewed “Stickler”, a hoppy American Stout which we gave away at Galbraith’s last night. I saved a little to drink tonight, although I won’t be blogging about it because surely you’re sick of me by now.
I am actually going to write one last post in the next week or so, which will be a reflective, epilogue type thing. For now, I just want to say a ginormous, magnum-sized THANK YOU to everyone who has been with me on this journey. Your comments, tweets and even just page views were what motivated me to pick up the next bottle – so both the success of this blog and the possible failure of my liver are on you.
Oh God, I’m actually getting a little bit teary as I realise this is the end. My workmate is looking at me funny and I’m trying to pretend I’m just yawning. It’s OK – I have an emergency-sized can of DAB under my desk. I’m going to open that, and we’ll just say goodbye for now. I’ll see you next week at Beervana!