It’s the beginning of a new year, time to reflect on the year that was and look to what the future has in store.

2011 was quite a year for the Garage Project. Almost exactly a year ago to the day I arrived in Wellington to set up a brewery. Jos and I sat in Hashigo together over a pint and thought “shit – what do we do now!”

We think we’ve made a good start.

On a 50ltr brew kit we’ve brewed and released over 28 different beers in less than 6 months. Inspired by Hemmingway’s advice to always do sober what you said you’d do drunk - on the grounds that it will teach you to keep your mouth shut - we embarked on brewing 24 beers in 24 weeks. At the start it seemed like a tall order, but here we are in 2012 with the 24 done and dusted. We hope it was as much fun for you as it was for us.

We’ve had a great time and met some awesome people along the way.

Massive thanks to Dom and all the staff at Hashigo Zake for their support, encouragement and honest feedback. Hashigo was the perfect place for the 24 and will always be close to our hearts.

Thanks to Greg Broadmore, the artist and creator of Dr Grordbort’s, who gave us inspiration, encouragement and substantial help in the consumption of Lord Cockswain’s Porter and Venusian Pale Ale. Any beer that offers the opportunity to wear false facial hair, goggles and a beer backpack has got to be good.

There was our very fruitful coffee collaboration with People’s Coffee, which yielded not only one of our most successful 24 brews, our No. 1 Coffee Bock, but also our most contentious, the infamous Green Coffee Saison, loved by some, hated by many. Thank you to Matt, Rene and all the others at People’s Coffee - our caffeinated friends and allies.

We did our first contract brew, brewing more in one day than we had in the previous 4 months on our little kit. Cheers to Ralph and the gang at 3 Boys for making this such a pleasure.

We did a collaboration brew, a first for me and the Garage Project, and what a way to start, brewing a Golden Summer Rye ale with Kjetil from the Norwegian brewery Nogne, both a privilege and a pleasure.  Some of you got a chance to try a sneak preview at our 24/24 finale. If you missed out, fear not, you’ll have another chance in the coming weeks.

Thank you to Midori and Sharon at the Wooden Spoon Freezery for their hand crafted Rum & Raisin ice cream, the perfect accompaniment to the last of the 24.

Thank you too to Anton who has produced some amazing images for us over the last six months like the Day of the Dead skull and the burning hop - crafted more often for love than money.

Last but certainly not least, thanks to all of you who have supported, followed, tweeted and drunk Garage Project. It’s knowing that people are enjoying the beer that makes brewing so much fun. Cheers to you all.

It’s been a pretty exciting time to be a beer enthusiast in Wellington. As well as the Garage Project 2011 has seen the arrival of Parrot Dog, Kereru and the Fork & Brewer on the local scene, Stu at Yeastie Boys has continued to release some of the most genuinely remarkable beers in New Zealand and there’s an impressive new crop of bars like LBQ, Hop Garden, and Monterey. Exciting stuff for anyone who cares about beer.

We’ve a feeling 2012 is going to be even more exciting. Big things are afoot for the Garage Project. We’ll let you know how our plans are progressing over the coming weeks as things unfold.

In the mean time, in case you’re missing your Tuesday night 24 fix, L’il Red Rye - a nice little red ale, made with Chinook and Summit hops, caramel, Munich and melanoidin malts and a good dose of rye.

It’s on tap next Tuesday, January 10, 5pm at Hashigo Zake… you know the drill.