A Six Pack of Brew Years Resolutions for 2013


I’m typically not one for New Years resolutions, figuring if I didn’t do something in the last twelve months, a moment of guilty reflection isn’t really going to change things.

But this past year’s been a pretty wild one, full of new challenges and new opportunities for both Don and I.  As we both have begun adjusting to our new “normal,” it’s a good time to think about priorities and goals for the coming year.

I figured I’d put mine out there for all the world to see, mostly so you guys and girls can make fun of my lazy ass when none of these things happen. 

keyboard1. Write more B&WB posts

There have been a few factors preventing me from writing B&WB posts on the regular.  The main one is that Don drifted away from us here in 2012, having lost his job and now working to open a beer oasis in Nampa, Idaho.  His priorities are on target – providing for his family’s future comes first – but this blog has always been a partnership, a place where me and my big bro could connect and share and joyfully snipe at one another.  Without Don here, I feel like the whole thing has gone a bit lopsided, that the energy has changed.  Hopefully this will soon be fixed, as Don is opening the doors of the Idaho Hop House in the coming weeks and should have a more stable schedule and regular access to a computer.  At any rate, I’m going to redouble my efforts to keep the blog chugging along in his absence, because while I miss him being here, I also miss you boys and girls desperately.

dfh-th2. Visit three breweries

Okay, so I’m aiming a bit low here, but I always have these great intentions of hitting the road and meeting with my favorite brewers face-to-face, and then nothing happens.  At the minimum, I need to roll down to Reheboth Beach and check out Dogfish Head, take the family to Troegs new brewing Mecca Hershey Park, and who knows what else.  I know setting the bar at three isn’t very ambitious, but I’d rather feel like an overachiever come 12/31/13 than a slacker who could get his act together enough to visit places that give free samples of beer!

gabf3. Attend GABF

While I have my traveling pants on, let’s look west to Colorado and cross our hearts and hope to fly out to the Great American Beer Festival this year.  I almost made it in 2012, but then financial issues (a.k.a replacing my metrosexual Mini Cooper Convertible with a car less likely to kill my little family) put the trip out of reach.  Plus I used up a chunk of vacation days helping our mom move from Wisconsin to Michigan with a broken hip (a good time – you should try it!), but if all goes well this year, that shouldn’t be an issue.  But then again, she does have two hips. 😦   At any rate, it’s time to go back to GABF, as Don and I had a great time when we made it there a couple of years ago.

homebrew4. Fire up the brew kettle

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten off my butt to brew a batch of beer (or even bottle the strong ales that have been “carboy aging” in my master bathroom shower for almost two years).  Honestly, the weekend are hard; when I’m not running my kids around to events – my son has FIVE basketball games this weekend – I’m trying to carve out enough quiet time to write my weekly Today Show column, which takes me far too long (damn you, research!!).  But those excuses aren’t going to get the carboys bubbling, so it’s time to make time.  Plus I like brewing when it’s cold outside, so I can use a snowbank to crash my wort.  Again, I’m lazy!

bear-IT5. Support Don is his new endeavor

My brother Don has been working hard to get his new business up off the ground, a bar/restaurant/bottle shop (and possible homebrew emporium) in Nampa, Idaho.  Starting a business is a scary proposition, and I want to do everything within my power to help Don’s new place flourish.  So far I’ve designed his logo, and he’s told me I’m on the hook for designing business cards as well. I also imagine I’m going to get stuck creating and maintaining his website, as he has the IT skills of an Ursus arctos horribills.   Whatever he needs, I’ll provide, along with unsolicited advise and second guesses about all of his decision, because really, what are brothers for?

morans6. Learn, Learn, Learn

I’ve been so busy writing about beer (and drinking it!) that I’ve taken my foot off of the accelerator when it comes to learning new things about the world’s greatest beverage.  That is going to change this year – I intend to read (and not just skim) a few new beer books I have in my queue, and hopefully learn more about the chemistry of beer as I go, a deep and scary subject that will either overwhelm my capacity to give a crap or turn me into an even bigger geek.  I might even take some of those fancy Cicerone classes, but I’m on the fence about that one, mostly for reasons of time (which I don’t have a lot of).

So there you have it, six very achievable goals for the coming 12 months.  I guess only time will tell about how I do with these, but I’m pretty sure number one and number five are locks, and that number six will happen as well.  Number 4 is the loftiest of the bunch, because it requires me to do something I absolutely loathe – bottle my beer!

Anyway, I’m sure a few of these will be pavers on the road to hell, but I’ll do my best to get ’em done!

Happy New Year everybody – I hope you all have a healthy and hoppy 2013.

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Categories: Beer, Brotherhood, Lifestyle


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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38 Comments on “A Six Pack of Brew Years Resolutions for 2013”

  1. January 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Be careful about promising to post more. It never works the way you plan. Better to let it happen or not. No expectations mean that you’ll exceed said non-existent expectations every time.

    You really should brew more. We all should brew more.

    When will we see the logo? I’m curious. (Or did I miss that post?)

    • January 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      I think I’ve worked it out with the posting more thing – I’m going to lug my laptop to my son’s basketball practices and write then. Should be a doable, MUCH more so than brewing regularly! 🙂

      The logo hasn’t gone up here yet – I’m trying to give Don the chance to announce his business and share his “brand” on his schedule (which apparently doesn’t involve posting anything). I think it’ll be soon – he’s certainly teaching me the virtue of patience.

  2. January 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    I have only two promises for myself this year Jim: 1) to change my attitude about those things I can’t change (“Why worry, be happy!”); 2) check out the new Union craft brewery in Bawlimer–they’re s’posed to be coming out w/ sixers soon. Happy New Year to you, the Bear and all the subscribers to your Blog. –Wayne (aka Massugu)

    • January 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      Thanks, Wayne. I hope the new brewery doesn’t disappoint!

  3. January 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Happy New Year Jim! Thanks for the Don update. I wish him success and happiness!

    As far as Resolution #2, on your way to Dogfish Head, you should try to hit up Flying Fish. And if you decide to do that, you better contact me since it’s essentially down the street! I can wrangle up the rest of the crew (including The Alemonger of course) and we can also take you to our favorite local Craft Beer Pub. We may even treat you to a beer or two. Make it happen!

    • January 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Now I just have to talk my wife into driving from the Philly burbs on down to Delaware!

  4. January 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Glad to hear you will be embracing beer travel this year. I’m sure your three brewery visits will quickly turn into more than that as it becomes contagious. Hopefully we’ll see you at GABF.

    • January 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      Thanks, Brian. I’m hoping I can work in the three to start – it’s hard with two little kids! In six years my son will have his license but be too young to drink. Can you say “designated driver!” It’s so wrong, but so, so right!

  5. January 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Those carboys are STILL in your shower? Wow.

    • January 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      Ha ha – I’m turrible!

      Do you think they’re still good, maybe even magical? Or am I screwed?

      • January 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

        Man, I don’t know. Guess you’ll just have to taste them and see for yourself. It would be pretty cool if they were still good after all this time. My guess would be that you’d have some pretty strong off-flavors from autolysis, but after two years those might even be gone!

        • January 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

          I guess the only way to find out is to taste them.

          Hold me – I’m scared! 😉

  6. Brendan
    January 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Dogfish Head’s brewery is in Milton, but the restaurant in Rehoboth Beach is where DFH has its microdistillery – vodka and rum – so you could do some scouting for Don.

    While you’re in Slower Lower Delaware, you could also check out 16 Mile (Georgetown, DE), Burley Oak (Berlin, MD), and Evolution (Salisbury, MD).

    Of course, on the way down, make sure to visit Twin Lakes (Greenville, DE), Stewart’s (Bear, DE), and Fordham (Dover).

    On the way back up, you could visit Boxcar (West Chester, PA) and Victory.

    This would be a most excellent way to over-achieve.

    • January 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

      Wow – that’s like three years of brewery visits in one trip! I’ll have to take notes, because I’ll probably be blacked out by the time we hit Burley Oak!

      • Brendan
        January 4, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

        All of the Delaware breweries are part of the Delaware Wine and Ale Trail – get a passport (that’s what they call it and Southern DE is really a different world anyway), get the stamps, get a beer or wine glass courtesy of the state tourism bureau.

        • January 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

          Nice! Thank you for getting drunk in Delaware, here’s a keepsake…

        • Brendan
          January 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

          It’s a small state. You can walk home from anywhere. I once walked across the state from MD border to NJ border – it took almost 4 hours.

        • January 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

          Yes, but add in a stumble, and it’ll take you five!

  7. Michael
    January 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Happy New Year! Good luck with the resolution thing. And good luck to Don.

    • January 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Thanks Michael (I’ll go ahead now and transfer my portion of the wished luck right over to Don – he’ll need it!).

  8. January 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    I hear you on carving out time to actually visit some breweries. I was supposed to make the rounds of some for my birthday in August, but that plan fell apart. I’m hoping to make the trip up to WI this spring. It’s basically a day trip from Chicago, but you’d think it was around the world travel when arranging it with people. Good luck on your plans!

    • January 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Last place I visited was New Glarus, and while the beer was good and the brewery was beautiful, the whole thing was kind of “sterile” to me. Still, worth the trip. I’d also like to hit up Central Water, as their stuff doesn’t disappoint.

  9. King
    January 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    I was backed up in traffic for an hour in West Virginia only to see a mini-cooper was involved, I thought of you. I drove through much of New Jersey and New York over break, I thought of you. I was at the Alchemist and Hill Farmstead, I thought of myself.

    Good to see your back. Posts still need some work though. 😉

    Read this over break and loved it, pick it up: http://www.amazon.com/Brewed-Awakening-Brewers-Leading-Revolution/dp/1402778643

    • January 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

      Glad to see you have your priorities in line, Mr. King. I have to get up there and check out both, especially Hill Farmstead, which I haven’t tasted at all.

      BTW, the Today piece I wrote about you and the other wedding brewing nerds is being submitted for a James Beard Award – apparently they give those out for Internet hacks, which is surprising. I probably won’t make the nomination round, but if I do, I’m sure I’ll never hear the end of it from you!

      • johnking82
        January 4, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

        Ill give you my address to send the check.

        • January 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

          I think it’s more of a leg-lamp kinda prize…

  10. Mark S.
    January 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Happy New Year!

    Lots of breweries readily available in our tri-state area!

    What about checking out some of the NJ breweries like River Horse, Cricket Hill, etc.?

    Or trekking across the northern NY border to check out Ommegang and (gasp!) Saranac?


    Or heading out to Brooklyn to check out Six Point and Brooklyn Brewing?

    Or further out on LI to check out Southampton and Blue Point?

    Most of these are easily accomplished with a day trip.

    That’s tough about the weekends being absorbed by family. Good luck!

    • January 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      Of the list Ommegang is the only one that gets me excited. I’m not going to fight my way across NYC if I don’t have to (that includes Log Island), Cricket Hill is off my list completely after tasting a couple of early bombs by them, and River Horse…maybe, I guess. In other words, I’m high maintenance!

      One that’s not on your list that is close by is High Point Brewing, makers of the lovely Ramstein beers. they’re just around the corner. Then there’s Captain Lawrence up in Westchester. Both are on the “local” list.

      And it’s not exactly “tough” that my family absorbs my weekend – I could snub them and do my own thing if I wanted to, but I enjoy every minute with my kids, who are still young and haven’t turned into evil little monsters yet. It’s mostly “tough” that I want to spend my time with them AND doing other cool things as well. Priorities and all that I guess. I’ll figure it out eventually, probably when they tell me to leave them the hell alone!

  11. January 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    You should enjoy every minute with your kids. It’s hard to come up with a priority higher than family. Trust me, they’ll remember you being there (or not).

    I’m saying the carboy in the shower is toast. Smell it before (and if) you taste it. Get your shower back.

    Happy New Year. I look forward to reading of your adventures.

  12. January 5, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Jim, you might want to use that carboy to”bioactivate” your garden–if you get my drift. And the DE brewery tour is definitely worthwhile. Put it on your birthday wish list and I’ll bet the wife will be much more amenable to the idea.BTW: some of those “DE breweries” spill over into MD.

    • January 5, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      I was thinking the same thing – feed the flowers. Lucky flowers 😦

  13. tallfellapgh
    January 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Nice res, “More Columns” after your biggest drought of the past year.

    But I want to talk about your fear of bottling. Rather than tackle bottling, look at it as packaging. Rather than deal with sediment in your bottles from the carbonation yeast, look to mod the process. Real brewers don’t sediment in their bottles. Real brewers also fill kegs!

    Have you ever seen those ads for the Heineken ( http://www.amazon.com/HEINEKEN-B100-BeerTender-Heineken-technology/dp/B0044WWC7O/ref=pd_sim_sbs_gro_2) beertender or the home brew party keg & tap (http://www.amazon.com/Liter-Party-Keg-Tap-Homebrew/dp/B001RUW64K/ref=pd_sim_sbs_gro_3)? So skip bottling and fill kegs. 5 gallons will almost fill 4 of those 5 liter pony kegs.

    So change your paradigm and report back. It may even lead to a business opportunity. Or instead of those 6 pack trading parties, start trading the party kegs with other home brewers.

  14. Brian Connolly
    January 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Hey my brothers, Is there a grand opening date scheduled yet for the new place in Nampa? I can hardly wait. I wish someone would open a brew-pub in Caldwell, Brian

    Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2013 16:57:12 +0000 To: btconn45@hotmail.com

    • January 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

      Last I heard Don was shooting for Feb 1, or sooner if possible. But who knows. He tells time in bear.

  15. January 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Glad you guys are back, we’ve all missed you. If you come out for GABF, you can kill both #2 and #3 in one go. We’ve got so many breweries centrally located that you could actually double your goal! Let me know if you and Don are coming out and I’ll arrange for you guys to take the Denver Brews Cruise; they hit 5 breweries in one afternoon.

    Good luck on the rest of your list. I normally don’t make any resolutions, just take it as it comes. I definitely won’t shoot for visiting more breweries this year than last, it would be tough topping the 44 breweries we visited in 2012.

    Can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with for Don’s new venture!

    • January 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Wow – 44 in a year is quite a streak! I’ll definitely reach out to you and the other Denver peeps if we come out.

  16. Diss Content
    January 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    I’ve generously come up with some bar food ideas to aid in your goal of assisting Don (#5) with his “private enterprise”. As he boldly goes, to places most can’t begin to imagine.

    “Drunken Leeks” serve as combination side dish and harbinger of things to come (think revenue stream). A simple dish with garlic, butter and red wine, with the main ingredient being the symbol of Wales, will serve as a portal to suggesting one of the beers from Tomos Watkin Brewery, like Magic Lagyr. (lookout Zagat)

    “Yukon Gold Leek” soup would represent a fusion of Idaho and Wales, along with a somewhat droll name. Swansea Three Cliffs Gold is another Welsh brew worthy of inclusion, along with any Gem State craft beer. Mmmmm….. all these leeks are making me hungry.

    How about something featuring a low cost base ingredient, like angel hair pasta?

    Some light fare with exotic mushrooms and a biblical homage called: “Holy Shiitake!” would set the stage for an Abbey ale or Trappist beer to balance the dish with full bodied flavor, crafted by the hand of God. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Pabst, I will fear no Red Dog…..

    Or something more spicy, like angel hair covering a bed of Habanero peppers named: “Hell Toupee Twice”. That Parmesan covered pasta is but a ruse (or is it perfidy?) to disguise the fire which waits below (Allegory? Perhaps.). How about a Big Bad Baptist from Epic Brewing to cool that heat? At 11.8% ABV the cruelty has only begun, as this American Double numbs the brain, long before quenching the capsaicin induced flames which lick your mouth. (Insert Devil laugh: ahhhh, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, hawwww)

    Well that’s probably enough to cover about an eighth of a luncheon menu page. Besides I’m having a few beers while crafting these ideas and better stop, before I suggest something stupid. I’m here to help.


  1. A Six Pack of Brew Years Resolutions for 2013 | Cbcburke9's Blog - January 6, 2013

    […] A Six Pack of Brew Years Resolutions for 2013. […]

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