This started out as a tweet, then as I thought about it there was more to say (and if I’m honest the single tweet was a tad on the maudlin side!).
2018 has been my A Tale of Two Cities in that it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.
My involvement in beer heading into 2018 amounted to drinking it and joining in with Craft Beer Hour. I had a baby at the end of 2017 so I wasn’t drinking much and as a result of said bubba I couldn’t attend any Tryanuary events. Each day passed by and as I sat in my PJs ploughing through Sky box sets, feeding Matilda the Tryanuary FOMO increased. In the end I thought I need a piece of the action so I arranged my own event that I knew I could attend. So in January this year Hops & Tots was born (or Crafty Babies as it started out).
The early part of this year seemed to revolve around organising events at Head of Steam in Headingley for families with young children. Just to meet up and have a beer and let the children play without worrying about them crying or shouting or just generally being kids. We went from meet ups in the pub to a family friendly brewery tour at North Brewing and a set up at Leeds International Beer Festival. During a hard time towards the end of this year I made the decision to not carry on with Hops & Tots. On this score though I will say now that I will never say never and who knows what I may come up with in 2019!
The early month’s of this year also saw the birth of Helles Belles which I also have loved being a part of. At my age you don’t expect to make many new good friends but I have come out of this year with them in abundance. I know if I need someone I have a phone full of amazing women I can call on to meet for a beer and to put the world to rights with which has happened a lot of late. With the love of beer comes so many great people and that makes me feel like a lucky lady, to be part of such a fantastic community.
In May (because I wasn’t doing enough already with beer!) I set up Leeds Beer Bulletin. I was gutted when Tall Boys closed its doors as it was a bottle shop I would often pop into when I was in town. When I thought back on their fate it made me realise that I hadn’t seen a tweet from them for some time but when I looked they had been going out I’d just missed them. So I set up an account on Twitter to promote and celebrate bars, bottle shops and events in Leeds. Not only do I love doing this it’s also resulted in me making another good beer friend in Daisy who runs Craft Beer Newcastle. Watch this space for what we have planned for 2019! We have plans afoot for a collaboration beer with Nomadic and we also have an idea in mind for a summer social.
The summer was HOT and I spent pretty much every Saturday at Eat North at North Brewing Co with my family. If you have children this is the perfect event to go to on a weekend with amazing beer, food and plenty to keep the little ones entertained. Mind those wobbly tables though, you wouldn’t want to knock a glass of piñata over your baby just as she fell asleep in the pram….
The summer also saw the birth of Festival of Brewers in June which was set up by Mike (@mikestaproom). A festival founded on the basis of supporting local breweries who don’t get the chance to showcase their beer at larger festivals. It was a scorching day, the beer was fantastic and it meant I got to drunkenly ramble on at the Brewer/Owner from Wilde Child about how much I love Opaque Reality. Keep your eye out for the dates for next year’s festival as it’s one not to be missed.
September is always a favourite month for me as it means Leeds International is in my diary. I survived three sessions this year (just!). It’s the first time I’ve been to a festival and thought I could probably just come and do this on my own as I skipped from bar to bar bumping into so many people I knew (in real life and just through Twitter). It was so good the only photos I had on my phone were this beauty and a pump clip from Track’s bar.
Then the summer ended and took with it a part of me I am still fighting to get back. I wrote a blog back in October about the sanctuary of the pub and how those moments of solace help me and I have been overwhelmed by the response. It seems I’m not the only one who finds comfort in the solitude of time alone in the pub and the opportunity to reflect.
So 2018 will be done at midnight and I’m going to bask in the naivety that the dawning of a new year will immediately bring about a monumental difference. Whilst I appreciate this won’t be the case I know I have so much to look forward to in 2019 and the love of so many wonderful people.
I couldn’t name every notable beery thing this year so here are some footnotes:
• In April I took my friend Bianca, who liked a beer now and again on a bar crawl and wrote a blog about it. The result has been I have a new beery best friend who loves to drink and chat about beer. I can’t tell you how much I love seeing her tapping in beers like Dairy Freak on Untappd without any input from me!
• In May I attended a Women on Tap event on Women in Beer on my own and ordered my first pint of Cask beer! I can’t wait to attend more of their events in 2019.
• In November I went to my favourite beer festival of the year – Independant Salford Beer Festival (ISBF). See my Golden Pints for further details.
• I got to visit new tap room openings from three amazing Leeds breweries. Nomadic, Wilde Child and Ridgeside, all of which were fantastic. I can’t wait for more tap room visits in the new year. Me and my eldest already have plans afoot for a birthday cake for Nomadic on the 19th January.