A look back at 2021

Posted: January 10, 2022 in Beer of the Month, Swiss beer scene, Top ten

Luckily, I have not been naive enough to set myself beer-related goals for 2021. They would probably all prove wrong.
The social part of my beer hobby remained at a similar poor level as the year before but had nevertheless two highlights: the Brau- und Rauchshop Contest and the Swiss Beer Sommelier Championship where I acted on both occasions as a judge. On the festivals front, I could only attend three, about the most a second-class citizen like me could reach.

But some beers found the ways to my throat nevertheless and I sampled 1489 new beers (190 more than the year before but about 300 less than during record years of 2018 and 2019).
Seven years after having for the last time a close look from where I got my beers, it is high time to do it again. Here we go:


Comparing with the other years I made this analysis (2009, 2013 and 2014), many things have changed:

  • the disappearance of the category “trades” which accounted up to 32% of my beers in 2009 and probably more before as it was pretty important until the explosion of beer shops and beer bars.
  • the lowering importance of festivals which reached 17% in 2013 and probably much more during 2019 as I attended 20 back then.
  • the same can be said – and for the same reasons – for the category “bars” – which made 26% in 2013.
  • the overwhelming importance of beer shops from where I got nowadays about 2 new beers out of 3.

This preponderance of the beer shops deserves a further zoom into this category:

Yes: I’m a loyal customer of Qbeer…

From a total of 37 countries, the five I got the most beers from changed a bit in comparison with the last 2 years. If Switzerland still remains on top – of course – with 629 new beers and the USA second with 171, England shows up as third (143 beers) while Sweden (55) and the Czech Republic (52; thanks to Alexandre “cans.ch”!) enter the top 5 replacing Spain and Denmark.

Unfortunately I have found no new country last year (but I am working on it!), so my overall total is now of 20’029 beers from 187 countries.

The ranking of the best countries in 2020 shows a pretty unusual pattern. Wales (thanks to the very good Polly’s brewery) appears on place 1, followed by Brazil (Salvador, Dádiva, UX Brew), Romania (due to Hop Hooligans), the USA and Croatia.

Among the 480 breweries I met last year (they were 453 the year before), here are those from which I had the most different beers:

1) Adroit Theory (27)
2) Blackwell (18)
3) Hop Hooligans and BrewDog (15)
5) Alefarm (14)

The ranking of the most represented styles in my new beers of 2021 shows for the 11th consecutive year the usual domination of IPA and its derivatives:

1) Imperial IPA (172)
2) American IPA (157)
3) NEIPA (132)
4) Sour (106)
5) American Pale Ale (103)

The proportion of “IPA & friends” is still increasing, reaching now 35% of all beers I had last year (it was 32% in 2020 and 28% in 2019).

The ranking of my favorite styles (with a minimum of 5 beers tasted) shows a very dark color for last year:
1) Baltic Porter and American Porter (tied)
3) Imperial/Double Porter
4) Barley Wine
5) Imperial Stout

Well, a Porter invasion which kicked Flanders Red, Imperial IPA and NEIPA out of the ranking.

And here the styles I enjoyed the less (worst on top):

1) Low Alcohol
2) Malt Liquor/European Strong Lager
3) International Pale Lager
4) Zwickelbier
5) Dunkler Bock

If the first three are understandable, the presence of the last two is not due to the styles themselves but to the fact I got unfortunately very bad examples of them.

And here is my top ten of my favorite breweries of 2021:

1) Adroit Theory
2) Tree House
3) À Tue-Tête!
4) Hop Hooligans
5) Nine Brothers
6) Hoppy People (winner in 2020)
7) Dry & Bitter
8) l’Apaisée
9) Blackwell
10)Alefarm

This leads us to the top 20 breweries in my country in 2021 (on a total of 186):

1) À Tue-Tête!
2) Nine Brothers
3) Hoppy People
4) l’Apaisée
5) Blackwell
6) Cinq 4000
7) Dystopian
8) BlackPig
9) Trois Dames
10) Degenbier
11) Marmot Cervisiam
12) Chien Bleu
13) Shrinkbrew Ales
14) Broken City
15) Brygger Øl
16) Riot Act
17) Altes Tramdepot
18) S&A
19) Tap4
20) Akst Bru

For the record, here are my winners for the last 10 years:
2021 À Tue-Tête!
2020 Hoppy People
2019 WhiteFrontier
2018 WhiteFrontier
2017 Blackwell
2016 Cinq 4000
2015 BFM
2014 S&A
2013 S&A
2012 S&A

Last year, I have been able to discover beers from 57 new Swiss breweries. Here are my top newcomers:

1) Marmot Cervisiam
2) Akst Bru
3) Ullr Brewing
4) Chrüpfe Bier
5) Heimbräu
6) Chäller Bröi
7) Rigamonti
8) Brasserie Des Martinets
9) St. Salvatore
10) Brasserie des 4 Vents / Dogzilla

And here are my top new beers for 2021:

1) À Tue-Tête! Double Noire Framboise
2) BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2017) – Amphora 17
3) Monkish Head Shots
4) Odd Side Ales Deleterious
5) l’Apaisée Rheubus
6) Hoppy People Kompressor 2k21
7) Cinq 4000 Blackberricus Doomicus
8) Tree House Curiosity One Hundred Three
9) Narrow Gauge King OJ Run
10)Tree House Brighter Than Starlight

My favorite beer in 2021: À Tue-Tête! Double Noire Framboise
photo credit: la Mise en Bière

And finally, here are my top 20 new Swiss beers:
1) À Tue-Tête! Double Noire Framboise
2) BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2017) – Amphora 17
3) l’Apaisée Rheubus
4) Hoppy People Kompressor 2k21
5) Cinq 4000 Blackberricus Doomicus
6) Nine Brothers Molenbeek Ghetto Chef
7) Hoppy People 5th Anniversary IPA
8) À Tue-Tête! Vendange Rouge
9) l’Apaisée Coetus XI
10 Nine Brothers Golden Sour Hops Ed.
11) Nine Brothers Imperial Lichtenheiner
12) Nine Brothers Imperial Chocolate Porter
13) WhiteFfrontier Five Kicking
14) À Tue-Tête! Surette Cascade
15) Hoppy People Friendship RIS
16) Hellskitchen Burning Devil
17) Degenbier Unikat – No Name
18) À Tue-Tête! Noyau d’abricot 2020
19) Hoppy People I Love Hops #9 – ❤️ Silver Edition
20) Blackwell The Mad Hatter

As always, when some breweries or beers mentioned above are unknown to you, I can really recommend you to find them out and to try them!

Cheers!

Comments
  1. Himmy says:

    So, wie immer hat das Jahr mit bov‘s Rückblick erst richtig begonnen! Herzlichen Dank für diese wertvolle und interessante Arbeit.

    Diesmal herzlichen Glückwunsch zu den 20000, und Glückwunsch, doch mal bei den Porters gelandet zu sein, die seit Jahren zu meinen Favoriten gehören.

    Cheers,
    Himmy, 6302 Zug

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