Anyway. It starts right here, on this blog, which will be seeing some changes in the New Year.
But it's nearly Christmas, and I'm very happy with my success last week, and for those two reasons, rather controversially, I'm declaring December "Let's Be Nice On Pete Brown's Beer Blog Month."
So if anyone is logging on to see my thoughts on Brew Dog's latest Portman spat, or to enjoy me ripping apart the Daily Mail's latest risible bunch of bullshit and barefaced lying, I'm sorry. I'm biting my tongue till the New Year, and writing only nice things. December is a time of celebration, of recognising everything that's great about the human spirit, and what better way of toasting that than with beer? The guns of common sense fall silent. The grenades of rhetoric and the tear gas of well chosen swearwords are held in check. Yep, it's just like the Christmas armistice in the trenches during World War One. Only perhaps not quite as historically significant.
There will be some slight exceptions when I get to posting my review of the year. I had a great reaction when I did this last year and I've decided to make it a Christmas tradition. Rereading last year's it's amazing to realise what a busy year it's been - it reads like it was written about five years ago. I'm enjoying compiling the new one, and will post just before Christmas.
But talking of celebration, here - at very short notice - is my announcement of one of the coolest things I've done all year. As regular readers will know, I spent most of the summer travelling up and down the UK promoting Hops and Glory in pubs, at beer festivals, food festivals, literary and music festivals. I finished in early October, and had always planned to do a final gig (I started calling them gigs after I performed at Latitude. Take the piss all you want, but my name is on the back of the t-shirt - quite far below Thom Yorke, Doves and Spiritualized and in significantly smaller type, it's true - but I believe you'll find that's how I roll of late) at the Rake in London.
Anyway, this - ahem - end of tour gig was going to take place late October/early November, but I'm very disorganised and so are the chaps at the Rake. So it's now happening this Thursday, 10th December. Yep, just two days from now.
But if you're anywhere nearby, it's worth trying to get along to, and here's why, in no particular order of merit:
- It's going to be the last time I ever do my Hops and Glory reading presentation in the format I've done it this year. Next year I have all three books being reissued in paperback and will be writing a new talk/presentation/speech/routine/whatever you want to call it, about beer more generally. So it's your last chance to hear about Barry the Barrel, William Hickey and Brazilian prostitutes.
- I've got a cask of Seaforth - the special beer created this summer by Thornbridge which is basically Jaipur brewed with all-English ingredients, and which they asked me to name. So I did.
- I've also got a cask of Crown Brewery Hillsborough IPA - the insanely hoppy brew created by Crown Brewer Stu, which I helped brew in the summer. It's now been aged in a warm room for four months and should have started to gain some authentic IPA characteristics.
- Finally on the beer front, we've got - get this - THE LAST EVER PIN OF CALCUTTA IPA!!! I thought we'd had the last one at my Burton book launch, but they found one last one at the brewery. It's not been on the sea voyage, but traditional IPAs that did not go to India were aged for at least a year before being sold domestically. This one is now two years old and as such should be as close as possible to how IPA was when it was consumed in India (with one exception - we'd probably get punched if we served it authentically ice-cold).
- And finally overall, I'm delighted, privileged and honoured to be sharing the room with legendary master brewer, Burton god, curator of Worthington White Shield and creator of Calcutta IPA, Mr Steve Wellington. Ask Steve about brewing traditional IPAs, keeping the Burton flame alive and generally being one of the greatest living brewers on the planet.
The room above the Rake is very small and tickets are extremely limited. They're available from Utobeer or the Rake, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 020 7378 9461.
I'll be selling all my books on the night at generous prices. They make perfect Christmas gifts.
In the words of the great Roger Protz, what more do you want, blood?
See you there.