What happens in West Chester stays in West Chester. Except for this part.

I didn’t have all that many beers during roughly four hours spent at Iron Hill’s Belgium Comes to West Chester yesterday,having learned my lesson from last year’s embarrassing performance and, in the same spirit, I stayed with relatively low ABV brews to boot. Yeah, I’m not a Fun Guy all the time.

I had the Iron Hill Saison (6.9%), Earth Bread + Brewery Li’l Python (“loosely in the Dubbel style,” 6.5%), Ithica Brute (7%), Harpoon Wild Barbarian (6.3%),  and Sly Fox Abbey Xtra (5.7%)—mostly because they were out of whatever it was that I ordered and I had to pick a beer off the board quickly because, let’s face it, I can have this pretty regularly—along with tastes of various others like Iron Hill Eddy (7%) and Yards Belgian IPA (7.2%). Flying Fish Belgian Mild (4.7%) kicked before I got to it, one of the day’s regrets.

Yes, by the standards of the day, those were low ABV choices. I also had a very enjoyable pint of the house ESB with a leisurely lunch consisting of the largest hamburger ever, fries and cole slaw. Still never had a bad meal at Iron Hill.

The crowd was huge and the pub was slammed, but Mark Edelson was laughing and smiling rather than frowning, so I guess that was a Good Thing. Thanks to Chris LaPierre for the drink tickets on arrival and others who stood me to a beer or at least made sure I got one by standing in line.

The room was filled with beer world celebrities as you’d imagine, especially after the Philly bus showed up and created havoc at the bar as two dozen people stormed it.It was a fine way to kill a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Here are a few of the things I learned along the way:

John Fiorelli got started in the beer business as a manager and chef at Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery in Boulder, then wandered east to become an indentured assistant to Ric Hoffman at Delaware’s Stewart’s Brewing in 2004.  After three years, he escaped one night and, in classic frying-pan-into-fire fashion, ened up working with Casey Hughes at Flying Fish. Bear, Delaware to Cherry Hill, New Jersey—it’s like a Travelogue of the Damned, innit? Well, he’s found salvation and is heading back to Mountain Sun as head brewer, having been steeled in the fires. Great news for a good guy.

Curt Decker has a very cool event planned at Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant for Philly Beer Week, but I can’t tell you what because he wants to reveal the details Decker style, which means you’ll find out when you walk in the door. Hey, it’s worked so far. No, seriously, Curt almost made me drop my glass when he said he’s thinking about sending out emails about Nodding Head events; we shall see.

Speaking of Nodding Head (and I sorta vaguely remember hearing this a while back but don’t think I ever mentioned it), Mike Fava, late of Dock Street, has resurfaced there as an assistant to Gordon Grubb.

Beer Lass Suzanne Woods who, astonishingly, appears to still have some free hours in her schedule, is contemplating a project which is going to be difficult to pull off but which a lot of you reading this will likely embrace. I’m encouraging her and you can thank me later.

Thanks to Tom Foley for the ride there and the new, unhealthy  and therefore sober and responsible Dan Bengel for getting me out of there at a reasonable hour. Foley may still be there for all I know.

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