The 2015 ottbeerdiary is complete!
I Did it! 365 Days of Craft beer!
Yes, 365 straight days, without a single day off.
Every day, a new beer.
No duplicates. No repeats. Every day, a new beer!
When Andy Higgs of Grown Up Travel Guide approached me to join in the challenge with him, I thought it would be a piece of cake.
However, at various times during the year, I was sure I was going to falter.
Sometimes, I feared it would be impossible to find a new beer every day. I wasn’t sure how I would find beers everywhere while traveling. And to be honest…sometimes it was difficult! I made a couple runs to some of Belgium’s big beer stores and stocked up on bottles to use each night. And for some of our longer road trips, I brought some bottles along to help with the challenge.
Whenever possible, though, I drank local, finding a beer from the country or region I was visiting.
With my day job as a financial controller, I’m a bit of a stats geek, so here are some figures, facts, and a lot of opinions about the 2015 OTTBeerDiary Beer-A-Day Challenge.
Note: The stats are compiled via the full log of my check-ins on Untappd. Every beer I drink I log there, with the venue, a photo, a description, and my rating on a scale of 1 to 5. I rate these for the primary purpose of remembering which beers I have had, and more importantly, which one I did or did not enjoy, and why. These ratings are for me, and are purely subjective, and are always honest, as it doesn’t help me at all if I rate a beer high that I didn’t enjoy. Even if I did receive a beer for free, it will always receive a fair and honest rating.
1) I had a lot of beers! – Yes, I had 365 different beers as part of the challenge, but in total, including all of the breweries I visited and beer festivals I attended, I sampled 1,125 different beers in 2015!!! And 1,063 of those were new beers I had not tried prior to 2015!
2) I had a year of good beers – For the 365 beers in the challenge, my average rating was 3.61. A beer I enjoy usually gets a 3.5 or 3.75, so overall, I enjoyed the beers I included in the challenge. However, for my total beers of 2015, the average was 3.63, so a lot of good beers didn’t make the cut for the challenge.
3) I had a year of diverse beers – 66 different beer styles were represented in the 365 ottbeerdiary beers. I tried 94 different styles in total in 2015, including those that didn’t make the challenge.
4) I had a year of multi-national beers – Beers from 26 countries made it into the challenge. Which was pretty inclusive, as I had beers from 30 different countries in total. The only countries that I tried a beer from in 2015 that did not get an inclusion in the challenge were the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, and South Korea. Unfortunately, not much Irish craft beer makes it to the Netherlands, so the only Irish beers I had this year were repeats from 2014 or earlier. From Estonia I had seven new beers at a couple of beer festivals, but neglected to choose one as the beer of the day at any of them! I’ll fix that in 2016. 279 Different Breweries were represented in the 365 day challenge, with 535 different breweries sampled in total over the course of the year!
5) I had a decent travel year for beers – I included beers in the challenge that I drank in 13 different countries! The only country where I drank a beer in 2015 that did not get into the challenge was the People’s Republic of China, and I can hardly count that since it was a repeat beer in an airport lounge while connecting through Shanghai. The only countries I visited in 2015 where I did not drink a beer were Greece, where I spent New Year’s Day but only had wine with my meal before flying home, and Andorra, which was a day trip on which I chose to take the beers to go vs. drinking and driving. 263 of the 365 beers were consumed in the Netherlands, which means I was on the road for 102 of my beers of the day. Not a bad travel year. And of those 102 days outside of the Netherlands, for all but 17 of those days, the beer of the day was from the same country I consumed it in (12 if you exclude five beers that I drank in a hotel in Country B but purchased earlier in the day in Country A while traveling.)
6) My most popular beer of the year (on Instagram) was from Spain – Hop Doom by Naparbier. Also one of the hoppiest beers I had all year! This one was purchased in Belgium and consumed in the Netherlands.
7) My favorite style – Both the most consumed and the most represented beer style of 2015 was a normal IPA, with 34 challenge beers and 112 total beers. This was followed by Imperial Stouts with 28 challenge beers and 105 total beers and Pale Ales with 26 challenge beers and 78 total beers. For beer styles with more than 10 sampled, my favorite style based on average rating was lambics, with a 4.23 average rating for the 31 different I sampled in 2015, 4.08 for those in the challenge.
8) My favorite country to drink beer – Outside of the Netherlands, Belgium was by far the next most popular, with 159 different beers consumed in 2015, 13 of them making it into the ottbeerdiary challenge. Only Italy had more days featured than Belgium, with 15 beers of the day being consumed there during our Blogville trip in June. Additionally, Belgium also had the highest average rating for the beers consumed in the country, with a 3.96 average for featured beers, and 3.85 overall. The US was second in both regards, with a 3.85 average for challenge beers (also 13) and a 3.79 average overall (out of 66 beers during my March visit.)
9) My favorite venue – In a show of supreme self control, I only consumed 235 different beers at home during the year, and 215 of those were beers of the day! Aside from the comfort of my home couch, my favorite venue to drink beers at in 2015 was Van Moll in Eindhoven, where I had a few sessions with some colleagues from work on Friday afternoons or weekends. 13 Beers of the day were consumed at Van Moll, with an average rating of 4.11! I was very selective in which ones made the beer of the day cut, as in total I had 111 different beers at Van Moll in 2015, with a 3.75 average.
10) My Favorite Beers of the Year – Three beers of the 365 ottbeerdiary beers featured in 2015 received a 5/5 ranking, interestingly, all from the US:
- Beauregarde by The Bruery of Placentia, California
- Nugget Nectar by Tröegs Independent Brewing of Hershey, Pennsylvania
- Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (2013) by Cigar City Brewing of Tampa, Florida
Outside of the challenge beers, there were two additional 5/5 beers, both from Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium, a 2009 Lou Pepe Kriek that I tried during Zwanze Day this year and a 2006 Classic Gueuze that I sampled at the brewery in March, showing just how well these beers age.
For 2016, I’m going to see how much longer I can keep up a beer a day. I’ll continue to share the beers daily on Untappd, Instagram, and Facebook, and will try to even keep up the daily ottbeerdiary blog posts. However, I may take a much needed day off at some point as well, and also may have some days when I choose wine instead of beer, since I do still have quite a few bottles of wine at home from our travels that also deserve a shot. Be sure to keep following, and let me know what you think!
If you have any beers you’d like to suggest I try, please let me know in the comments.