by Rebecca Patrick

The start of a new year is cause to reflect on our previous year, upcoming goals, and areas for improvement. Last year, I visited a few new breweries and tried some new craft beer styles, but this year I’m resolving to explore the world of craft beer even more. Here are a few things I’m looking forward to in a New Year of craft beer. Do you have any “new beers resolutions”?

Master one style.

I have a little bit of knowledge about the history and background of different craft beer styles, i.e. the story behind the names for India Pale Ale and Russian Imperial Stout. This year, though, I would love to learn a more detailed history of a single style from start to finish. When did we start seeing this style? Where does its name come from? How has it evolved over time? How does the style now differ from when it was first brewed? Does it play a part in regional culture? I'll be starting with a few resources including the Oxford Companion to Beer, Mosher's Tasting Beer, and Wild Brews.

Girls’ Pint Out

This year, there is a Girls’ Pint Out chapter starting in my area, and I finally have the opportunity to be involved with this group of female craft beer fans. This women’s organization was founded in Indianapolis in 2010 with the mission of enjoying, learning about, and introducing fellow women to craft beer. Typically, each chapter hosts a regular event (usually monthly) held at a bar or brewery. These events can be informal meetings simply to enjoy a pint or structured events like yoga classes or an evening of games in a brewery. With over thirty chapters nationwide, Girls’ Pint Out is growing fast. Check them out to see if there is a chapter near you!

Cook with beer.

Last year I started exploring baking with beer, from cakes to breads to cupcakes and cookies. I was inspired by recipes from The Beeroness, National Public Radio’s The Salt blog and Kitchen Window series, and the always notable Nigella Lawson Guinness Chocolate Cake. Baking with beer, especially dark beers, can add a deep richness to your recipes. It can also make cakes and cupcakes more tender when used in place of some liquid ingredients. This year, I'd like to take the next step and start learning to cook with beer. I’ve seen some incredible recipes, and I’ll be starting this year cooking from the American Craft Beer Cookbook.

 

About The Author: Rebecca Patrick is a food and drink blogger specializing in craft beer and baking with beer on The Bake & Brew. Her favorite styles are wet-hopped pale ales and sours but is an enthusiastic sampler of all styles. She is also the founder of the St. Louis chapter of Girls' Pint Out, a women's organization devoted to increasing the knowledge of beer through collaboration with fellow females.