As I look back on the year there are so many things that I enjoyed, from getting my hands dirty to meeting new people in many new places. Even the times when bad weather, poor choices or just plain misfortune caused me major problems wouldn’t put me off from doing it all again. Growing Beer gave me the chance to create a truly unique beer that was a huge undertaking but most definitely worth it.
It was quite possibly the least cost-effective beer ever made, but the aim of the project wasn’t to break-even or brew something economically viable. It was to find out more about our national drink and tell the stories of the people behind it. It took me over 700 hours, cost thousands of pounds and produced just 40 small bottles of the final beer, 10S, but the story did reach a lot of people. By the end of the year, Growing Beer had been featured online, in national newspapers, radio and TV and over 3 million people saw, read, listened or talked about it in some way.
If I had to pick a personal highlight it would either be my trip to Amsterdam to learn about brewing with rainwater (see either episode 4 or the writeup), or the final tasting (see episode 11), where the entire project came down to one glass of beer and a seasoned beer judge. That said, every day on the allotment was deeply enjoyable, even those that required hours of digging, weeding or emergency repairs to the hop pole.
I was very lucky to have received the help that I did, and the project would never have been the success it was without the passion and dedication of everyone that helped me. It was wonderful to be able to share the finished beer at the final tasting with many of them, although I wish that I had more time to sit down, relax and chat. The chaos of filming, recording and hosting took over the evening and before I knew it the evening was over and I had barely stopped. If I were to take the project on again I would definitely separate the publicity from the party and make sure the evening was dedicated to the beer and people that helped create it.