Beerstitution Volume 23: THE BYEAR IN REVIEW II

Beer year! Beer year!

Once again, to cap off a big Byear, we had our annual Byear In Review on September 7th at my co-hosts Dave’s beautiful bushy backyard bliss in the rolling countryside of St. Henri. Here’s the recap of our Byear Two anniversary event, our twenty-third Beerstitution Volume!

Byear Two Champion

First, let’s have a little reminder on how we chose the contenders for the Byear In Review. As usual, we planned to bring out the winner of each of this year’s Volumes and pit them head to head. And once again, expected this time, we ran into some out of stocks, out of seasons and/or could not for the life of us find them anywhere on planet earth. No problem for us though much, we went ahead and did our best to find adequate replacements. For the tasting order, we did what we usually do – that is, try our damndest to order them in some type of normal flow, accounting for type, ABV and IBU. 60% of the time, that works every time. 

So, without further ado, here are the Byear Two contenders:

  1. Beaus Farm Table: Marzen (representing Beaus Oktoberfest) | Beaus All Natural Brewing
  2. Red Sashes | Brasserie Dunham
  3. Grande Armada | Benelux Brasserie Artisanale (replaced Beaus New Lang Syne)
  4. Charles Henri Amber | Brasserie Les 2 Frères (replaced La Chouape Ambrée Amer)
  5. Saison du Pinacle | Brasserie Dunham
  6. L’Herbe à Détourne | Microbrasserie Dieu du Ciel
  7. LSD Blanche de Blé | Microbrasserie Goudale
  8. American Pale Ale | Brasserie Dunham (replaced Pit Caribou Austroamerican Pale Ale)
  9. Prison Break Pils | Double Trouble (replaced Propeller Brewery Pilsner)
  10. Yakima IPA | Microbrasserie Le Castor
  11. Last Year’s Winner [not included in Byear 2 Voting, but only because we love it]: Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale | Beaus All Natural Brewing x Kissmeyer

And now, drumroll please… and more cowbell please… The Winner of our Second Annual Byear in Review, the BEST in show, the Second Ever Beerstitution Annual Champion… is none other than:

YAKIMA IPA! Microbrasserie Le Castor’s flagship beer, Yakima IPA, is one of the all time greats. Always delivers exactly what it purports to deliver, and that is Damn. Good. Beer! As per their own website, it is a celebration of the mighty West Coast hop, grown east of the Cascade mountains (from where it derives its very name). Multiple varieties are used in this ale, at several different points in the brewing process. With emphasis on late hop & dry hop additions, we serve up juicy citrus flavours & aromas on a bed of pale malt. This beer is not too hoppy, nor too malty at 6.5% ABV, it’s so perfectly balanced that you’ll think you’ve become a Libra. While last year’s winner boasts some big fruity notes, this year’s winner plays up its West Coast heritage in a big way. It’s just So. Damn. Good!

Celebrating another Byear

To celebrate our second byear of Beerstitution, I went into a wonderful story of how amazing it’s been to see this idea flourish into such a regular, awesome and every growing Civilutionized Beer Tasting Club. We have all learned so much from each other, tasted some amazing (and some downright awful) beers and made a ton of new friends… it really is something special we got here! Moving on…

Team Players

As we did last year, I then decided to give a shout out to all the wonderful Beerstitutioneers that made Established Wednesdays (“Est’d Wednesday”) possible in Byear 2. We started off by welcoming all of the new Beerstitutioneers including Allegra, Christian, Nick, Anna, Kristen & Eric… some very solid newcomers this year! Then I moved on to the fallen soldiers who disappeared from the scene or only ever showed up once  (*cough*, *cough* Phil B., RickyBobby, Lauren, Danko, John, Fabien, Dell, Cab & Geneva). Consider this a reminder of what yer missing out on and a shout out that we’d love see you Beerstitutioneers again! And finally, we celebrated those Beerstitutioneers who have risen from the dead this year: Thorne, Boris & Huge – welcome back!

And now… the Special Category winners of Byear 2:

The Iron Man Award
Awarded for most attended Beerstitution events in the year:
Not surprisingly, Dave Mitchell shattered this with a perfect 100% attendance score by attending all 10 volumes this year. Corey came in a close second with 90%, but he’s still considered a loser.

The Cal Ripken Jr. Award
Awarded for the longest streak of continuously attended events:
Again, easy one – Mr. Dave Mitchell! His Byear 2 streak was 10, while Corey, at #2, was 8 (turns out having a baby interrupts things like a Civilutionized Beer Tasting Club).

The Rookie of the Year Award
Awarded to the best newcomer of the year:
Graciously and unanimously given to Allegra! We’d share this with Christian of course, since they’re a package deal, but Allegra has been very sharey with beer-y stuff, has hosted, and is always in (even if it has Brett!)

Note: as a joke, all award-winning recipients received a nice cold can of Keith’s “India Pale Ale”. Yum.

Highlights of the Year

Themes
We recapped the year of beer by listing out each theme. Please feel free to peruse the pages of this blog below to learn more of each one yourself. In short, they were:

  1. Volume 13: Event – Beaus Oktoberfest
  2. Volume 14: Christmas
  3. Volume 15: Barrel-Aged
  4. Volume 16: Amber
  5. Volume 17: Saison
  6. Volume 18: Tripel
  7. Volume 19: Ugly Ducklings
  8. Volume 20: American Pale Ale
  9. Volume 21: Pilsners
  10. Volume 22: Animals

Quotes
While recording quotes somewhat fell by the wayside in Byear 2, here are some doozies from the Byear In Review Volume:

“Perfect summer beer… even in October”
Unknown, referring to Beaus Marzen

“OK, this beer’s disgusting”
Thorne, referring to Charles Henri Amber

“Sun shining on an early morning farm”
Corey, referring to Saison du Pinacle

“It’s like making mouth love to a spruce tree”
Corey, referring to Yakima IPA

Elimination round
All beers from Les Trois Mousquetaires had been outlawed for quite some time, until I (Corey) tasted their Signature Series IPA. I was quite impressed let me tell you so I brought it to the team team that we should let them back in. Thorne then came up with the idea to have an elimination round where each year, the loser of said round gets blacklisted for the upcoming year. So we collectively chose Les Trois Mousquetaires, Saint-Arnould and Archibald for the first ever Elimination Round. Here’s how it went down:

  1. Thorne brought an equal representative of each brewery (in this case, an Amber);
  2. At the end of the night, we all sat around the table with a glass in our hand and our eyes closed;
  3. Thorne then poured Beer A into each glass;
  4. We tasted (eyes still closed and no talking allowed);
  5. We repeated this for Beer B and Beer C;
  6. Then everyone wrote down which beer was the worst;
  7. Out of 9 tasters, 8 voted Saint-Arnould, and 1 voted Archibald .:. 0 voted Les trois Mousquetaires.

Result: LTM is back in, and Saint-Arnould is now blacklisted for Byear 3!

Special Categories
Over the course of the Byear 2 Volumes, we, as a team, added one more special category to each volume’s scoring:

  • The Best Label was added to appease the designers in the group and the Beerstitutioneers who like to choose a beer solely on packaging on a whim from time to time (me, included)

Number of Beers
We all partake in Beerstitution to learn, share and enjoy all the wonderfulness of beer with a bunch of other beer lovin people. Turns out, when you get together, month after month, for a Civilutionized Beer Tasting club, you drink a lot of different beers. Byear 2 featured no less than 86 different beers plus Beau’s (so, probably well over 120 beers). We definitely topped last year by a hefty bit… can’t wait to see what we do in Byear 3!

Beer Infographic

As we look forward to another Year of Beer, we want to take a moment and remind you that you can pick your friends, and you can pick your beers, but you can’t pick your friends’ beers. So, loosen up and come explore a whole bunch of unexpected beer at Beerstitution! We look forward to welcoming you to our Civilutionized Beer Tasting Club (held the first Wednesday of every month, unless it’s not).

On to you Beaus Family once again!

Corey, Dave and all of the Byear Two Beerstitutioneers

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