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New Year is a time for contemplation of the past year and looking forward to the new year. 2009 I had the opportunity to taste many  great beers. I still feel like the first few years in Stockholm when I started to discover the fantastic world of beer. Moving to US has been a little of a new born experience with so many great new beers to taste. I finished 2009 with some great beers and started 2010 on the same track.

Kölsch is a beer style that has caught on here in the US. It’s a beer that many breweries brew as a refreshing summer beer. I think many consumers are more likely to drink a Kölsch than a Lager, especially if you are interested in craft beers. Drinking a Kölsch sound more exotic and crafty than drinking a Lager. I guess the big breweries have corrupted the name of Lager which is a pity. There could be so many great Lagers, and also Pils, on the market but I think the name Kölsch sells better. Not that it’s the same beer but I think it’s close enough for people to choose Kölsch. It’s a light and refreshing beer great for the hot summer days. I started New Year’s celebration with a Colorado Kölsch from Steamworks Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado, in the afternoon. Maybe not the typical beer for the time of year but it was a great beer to keep me going for the rest of the working day. After the Kölsch I continued with the most popular style in America right now, India Pale Ale, IPA. The American IPA is a little different from the original English IPA. The American IPA is much more hopy than it’s precursor. The IPA I had was the Red Wagon IPA from Fire Island Beer Company in New York and after that the Inversion IPA from Deschutes Brewery in Bend Oregon. Deschutes is a really great brewery. I like their Black Butte Porter, Obsedian Stout and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. The Inversion IPA is a little to hopy for my taste. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like hopy beers. On the contrary. I just think there is a line when the hopyness takes over to much and the balance with the other flavors is not there. Inversion IPA is one of those beers. The Red Wagon IPA is a more balanced beer.

I had the opportunity to come by a bottle of Monster Ale from Brooklyn Brewery. This is a seasonal 10.8% Barleywine style beer that is aged for four months before it’s bottled. This beer will benefit from more aging. I think it’s a little to young and rough to drink fresh and I think that 5-10 years under the right conditions will make this a great beer.

Another beer that would benefit from aging is the English Old Ale style Fifteenth Anniversary Auld Asheville Vintage Ale from Highland Brewing Company. It’s a surprisingly smooth beer for 9.5%. The beer has a slight cherry flavor but I don’t think there is cherries added to it. It’s a little rough in the edges so I think 2-3 years of aging will make it smoother. Highland Brewing Company is one of the first craft breweries in North Carolina. The brewery is located in Asheville which is a town in the Smokey Mountains in western North Carolina. Asheville one of the ten most interesting beer town in the USA.

I don’t mind drinking wine. If I’m at a party and there is no good beer I don’t mind wine. I prefer red wines. White and sparkling wine and Champagne is nothing I really enjoy so at midnight on New Year’s eve I usually have lambic of some kind. This New Year’s I had a Hanssens Oud Gueusze.

My last beer on the first day of 2010 was a Imperial Porter from Southhamptopn Public House in Southhampton, New York. The 7.2% beer has a slightly thin in it’d flavor but with some chocolate tone.

So what Is my beer New Year’s resolution for 2010. To not miss the opportunity to try  new beers.

Happy Beer Year!