New year? New beer resolutions for 2019

The Onion recently posted a story with the headline, “Earth’s Successful Completion of Orbit Around Sun Inspires Woman to Reflect on Eating Habits.” It speaks volumes as to why people annually decide to make big changes in their lives.

Why not midyear?

Why does the turning of the calendar from one year to the next symbolize a time for making one’s self new? History.com tells us New Year’s resolutions go as far back as the ancient Babylonians. It seems that if they stuck to their resolutions, the gods would be pleased, and if they didn’t, well, things could get iffy. Nobody needs pagan gods ticked off at you because you went back to drinking Pepsi.

In the spirit of the ancient Babylonians, I asked a few people from the local brewing community to share their New Year’s resolutions. I also asked them to have a little bit of fun with their choices, and they didn’t disappoint me.

Leah Dienes, co-owner and head brewer at Apocalypse Brew Works had two distinctive ideas for self-improvement. The first was to work on her mind-body balance “using meditation, exercise and video games.” Secondly, she vowed to expand her “fermentation horizons” by trying to make wine in her Instant Pot.

“It’s really a thing,” she assured me. “Just look it up on the Internet.”

Nathaniel Gravely resolved to drink more barrel-aged sours (yes, Gravely Brewing Co. is about to release one) and to open up the old Phoenix Brewery lagering caverns for customers to enjoy this year, which would make the beer history nerds happy.

And Nick Landers of Gordon Biersch said he resolves to try a sparkle beer — yes, one of those weird, new trends in which beer is brewed with sparkles in it. Why? “I just want to see what happens afterward,” he said.

Not sure I want to know the, er, end result of that experiment.

For Derek Selznick, executive director of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, his resolution is diet related: “My New Year’s resolution is to do the Wholelotta30 diet. Kentucky-style.” He describes that obscure diet plan as, “30 beers a day for 30 days with no fruits or vegetables, and only processed meats to eat.”

Not exactly the Atkins Diet, but it sure sounds tasty.

Over at Donum Dei Brewery in New Albany, owner and brewer Richard Otey has big plans for 2019: “Our goal is to make the next hipster, not-cool (so it’s cool), crunchy, approved gluten-free non-beer.” Each one should be served with a complimentary scarf and beret.

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But the blue ribbon goes to Ben Shinkle, head brewer and co-owner at 3rd Turn Brewing, who chimed in with four resolutions for 2019.

“First, I am throwing out all of the fancy, appropriate glassware for alcohol consumption and drinking exclusively out of vessels in the shape of a boot or a Viking horn,” he said.

I love this plan.

Shinkle also does most of the building out at 3rd Turn’s ventures, from the original Jeffersontown location to the annex in Oldham County. Given that, and the popularity of repurposing old bourbon barrels, he shouts out local business Drunkwood — which creates all sorts of décor with old staves — in saying, “Second, I will no longer be building things out of bourbon staves or reclaimed wood. I feel said activity should be left to the professionals.”

Third, he said, “The only beers worthy of my palate shall be the ones with descriptors such as ‘horse blanket’ and ‘tobacco’ on any of the completely credible beer rating apps found on the Interwebs.”

Finally, he’s giving up anything that is hazy in color (like those Northeast IPAs), adding, “I am going to make actually being clear cool again. Shout out to Crystal Pepsi.”

As for me, my New Year’s resolution is to avoid milkshake IPAs for another year. I don’t need fruit and lactose messing with my hops.

Cheers to a new year!

Monnik collaborates on Brussels award-winner

Monnik Beer Co. was co-winner of a silver medal recently at the Brussels Beer Challenge. The brut IPA that won the medal was a collaboration with Jopen BV, a brewery in Haarlem, Netherlands. The annual competition began in 2012 and has become one of the world’s premier beer competitions, last year being held in Mechelen, Belgium. The contest drew more than 1,400 beers from 29 countries.

Monnik co-owner Brian Holton said he and fellow owner Ian Lujik went to Haarlem for the brew last summer after having talked with the Jopen brewers for nearly three years about doing a collaboration. The brut IPA style was the mutual choice.

“It’s a really interesting style for both of us,” Holton said. “It’s something we had done on our own here at Monnik. We like super-drinkable, dry beers, and we like hoppy beers, so it was interesting to us.”

The Monnik and Jopen collaboration, called Blame it on the Monks, was packaged for sale in Netherlands. It was tapped last week at Monnik and will be available on draft while it lasts.

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