Monday, August 18, 2008

The Beer Event Hall Of Fame

When someone tells you that they have two tickets to this beer paradise of an event, you do whatever it takes to go. Trust me on that. So since the camping equipment was not around any more (not that I had any choice) I searched the world over for a place to stay nearby the festival. When I stumbled across this little gem, I knew I was as good as gold. Our little place was just up the road a few miles from the center of town and not much further from the center of our attention, Belgium Comes To Cooperstown. The funny part of that statement is, we were the only ones who knew that. Most people think that the Baseball Hall Of Fame is the main attraction, but in reality, it's a baseball summer camp. A total of 1152 teams and their families make the trek up here every year, which is why it is so tough to get a place to stay. The locals know very little about our beer fest.
After we got things situated and I had a beer on the deck to enjoy the views, we drove back into town to grab something to eat and drink. We met up with some of our cohorts in crime, Mr. Sodaman, Mr. Steve and Ms. Joy at one of the better beer places in town, but we also had more flies than beer and crappy service to boot. Instead of swatting at flies and possibly drinking out of plastic cups, we decided to go elsewhere for a bite. With the help of the locals, we took a walk down the street to Alex and Ika's. It is probably one of the more upscale places in town. A very nice beer selection by the bottle which our fine server helped us out with. Three bottles of
organic saison and some local cheeses, a great salad and some soup and we were all ready for the big day. After such a beautiful Friday, Saturday morning brought some rain down, but I knew it would clear up in time for us to do a little R and D. Myself and Pookie De Hand had a mighty fine breakfast by our host out on the deck after the rain subsided, and then we started our trek to Ommegang. The words "out in the middle of nowhere" really ring true for this brewery, but it is a beautiful thing to see. After parking the car in the farmers fields next door to the place, we literally ran into our friend Paul who just drove up that morning and pulled up besides us. So we all strolled in together and grabbed our glasses and took a tour of the grounds. At every single campsite we walked by, there was enough beer and food around to last even the city of Philadelphia a week. The beer alone that we drank was better then some at the fest.

It was getting too late to take a brewery tour as the festival was just about ready to commence. Now I have been going to beer festivals for (gulp!) 20 years or so, and I have to say, I have never seen such a laid back crowd. There was only one line all day and that was at Russian River early on. People would get a beer and walk back to their tents or just hang out on the grounds. No worry about last calls for food or beer here! There was absolutely no way I was ever going to take notes in all this craziness, but on occasion I do recall a few things. Boulevard Brewing's Saison Brett 07, Captain Lawrence St. Vincent's Dubbel, Iron Hill's Heywood and Fred. Russian River and Southampton, well everything. Troegs Scratch Number 8 and Unibroue 14. Allagash Interlude ON CASK! Are you fucking kidding me? Hell, even with the list next to me it is hard to remember everything I drank or ate. Oh yeah, waffles to die for. All in all, this is one of the best beer festivals to go to, period. And now for your entertainment, some lovely pictures from the scene of the crime. A shout out of thanks goes to Mr. Sodaman for a few of these pictures.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Good, The Bad And The Fucking Ugly

This past weekend was a mixed one to say the least. The study in contrast started when Teresa's Next Door and Teresa's Cafe had this lovely event to help raise some much needed money for the cause. I thought it would be a few raffle tickets and a couple of happy winners. I was way wrong. The owners turned the cafe into a sea of people bidding on some rare beers and getting those raffle tickets winners some great baskets of beer and gift certificates donated from such places as the Drafting Room and of course the Beeryard. The fine folks of the Next Door threw out frites, cheeses, sandwiches and beer. Rare beers to bid on you say? How about several bottles of Black Albert? A 2000 (750ml) bottle of Still Nacht? One bottle of 20th Anniversary Toronado. A real nice selection of wines and port. With some fine folks forking out some money like Dr.Joel, Peter Cherpack, Tracy from Victory and the host Matt Guyer, it turned out to be one hell of a day. It got even better when we all found out that they raised more than 3 times what they thought they would. That was the good, unfortunately what I read earlier that morning was as ugly as it gets. The absolute senseless of it is just mind boggling. One of the great things about the whole craft beer business has been one of comradely, not fights or riots. That stuff only happens with the low brow beer doesn't it?. The "I drank a case of (fill in the blank) before noon". The bad part of this post is simple. How much time in jail does a rich spoiled kid get? I'm guessing not much.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Brunch With Bryson

Since NOBODY wrote about this event, I'll shall break down and help Mr. B and Mark out. On July 27 the kickoff for theses fine gents new book, New Jersey Breweries took place at every body's favorite place in the great northeast, the Grey Lodge. So myself and the treacherous three hopped in the car and strolled on down for some breakfast. We were greeted by these two guys who for some reason were standing like that all day, kinda practicing for a Borders display I guess. We went upstairs where Scoates greeted us with open arms. We had a fine meal and of course had some right smart beer to go with it. River Horse Double White was a fine choice to start the day but of course we didn't stop there. We had the rest of the NJ lineup, Ramstein Munich Lager, Climax IPA, Flying Fish Bourbon Dubbel and of course Farmhouse Ale. After all that fun, we decided to go downstairs and spend some hard earned money on that book those two were hawking. While we were down there spending money on books, why not spend some more money on beers? With every body's arm twisted we went through a couple more before we decided to hit the Memphis Taproom. But alas, mother nature was beginning to interfere as was Pookie De Hand, so we took the big gamble and went instead to Teresa's Next Door. The rain clouds open up like a muther as soon as we got into the car. But being the brave souls that we were, the rain would surely be over by the time we got in Wayne. The gamble paid off as the rain was done and the bar was a little slow. A cheese tray and frites would put us back on the right track and a good beer or two could always help too. All in all, a great day and a great way to start the final countdown to B.C.T.C.