There has been some delay between the events of last year’s #BeerySecretSanta and me typing up this piece looking back at it. I would like to clarify that this delay has no bearing on the execution or quality of this as it was something rather special. But, before I wade in to the events that unfolded, first some context.
The NE Sippin Forecast is an excellent podcast which discusses the craft industry with a focus on events and beers from the North East, hence the ‘NE’ naming. Hosted by Myles Lambert and others, they dissect all things craft in a light-hearted and welcoming manner. Their first episode aired in 2017 and long may it continue as it’s great to see the craft scene be covered across all formats, particularly those that are a little more interactive.
In an attempt to bring followers and beer enthusiasts together, Myles had the idea of running a secret Santa that would involve sending beer/s to a complete stranger, with the intention of receiving one or more in return from an anonymous source. Last time I checked, around 40 people opted in, with only a couple of beers not finding their recipient due to shipping issues. If you ask me, that is not bad at all!
Having only stumbled across the podcast, and in turn the Twitter page, recently I was fortunate enough to take place in this and I sincerely hope this is run again this year. The excitement and anticipation of when your beer would arrive and, more importantly, what it may be was superb. I was also frantically scouring Twitter to see when the present I sent landed and the resulting reaction when it was opened on the 24th. Myles himself led a live stream reveal with other participants alongside him so it was great to put names and accounts to faces.
What I think was most endearing about the whole thing was the fact around 40 people could be brought together by buying beers blind and organised to open them simultaneously (where possible). The shared passion and enthusiasm was clear to see and brought users UK-wide together. My present contained a trio of beers (I must have been very good last year!) from Langton Brewery which is a new brewery to me having not heard of them before. The selection box contained a Pale Ale, West Coast IPA and a Craft Lager accompanied by a note detailing the choice of beers from my secret Santa. How thoughtful?!
I’m not sure my recipient knows it was me who sent theirs yet, but if they read this then they soon will! I chose to send out an Umbra by Verdant (Porter) and an Into the Haze by DEYA (IPA). Now, this may be controversial, but I haven’t had either of these before, so you may wonder as to why I chose to send them. The first is easy, as Verdant are my favourite brewery and I have seen nothing but positive things for their Porter/Stout outings, also this was hard to come by in certain areas too. The second? Well my favourite beer style is a hazy/tropical IPA which this, by all accounts, is and DEYA are held in high regard amongst friends/followers. As it happens, this was a favourite from 2017 for my recipient which I had no idea about until they announced this on their Twitter feed, very coincidental.
I don’t think I have seen a bad word said about the whole idea nor did anyone (from what has been said) get a beer they weren’t happy with or a style they didn’t like. The only thing left to say is if you’re reading this, Myles, hats off to you. You deserved all the praise given to you for this and I hope I can be part of this again this year.
The NE Sippin Forecast can be found on Twitter @SippinForecast and on podcast services by searching for ‘North East Sippin Forecast’.