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31 May 2005
Epiphany.
Had me one of those this weekend. You know, a sudden insight thing. Mine was this:

It's beautiful outside. What the f... are you doing sitting in here at the computer?

Even grumpy beer writers gotta have a life, it turns out. So I'm switching over to what we in the business call "The Bryson Schedule," the one immortalized in the old song,

This is my site and I'll post when I want to,
Post when I want to,
Post when I want to,
You would post too if it happened to you...
Sorry. I'm just giddy from having kicked back and enjoyed myself for at least part of the last few days. Who knew?

This means, obviously, that most of what I said was gonna happen here as of today, ain't. Gonna, that is. I should have warned you: whenever I used to make outlandish promises and say Trust me, my ex-wife actually shuddered. She may have been on to something.

The Europe trip report and the Saga of Angus & Missy (see below) will now be a June thing, beginning tomorrow and playing out in dribs and drabs through next Sunday.

And here you thought April was the Cruelest Month...

Meanwhile, word comes that a local brewpub has shuttered. Anyone who's been paying attention probably knows which one. I'll get the story up at the Beer Yard site later today as soon as I can either confirm it officially or gather enough evidence to justify assuming it's true.

[Posted 9:55 am edt]

28 May 2005
A tale of star-crossed lovers.


He was an aged hero from a war long past. She was a much younger woman looking for...well, that's not for us to say, now is it? He called her "Missy;" she called him "Angus," for that was his name.

Their paths crossed in the most unexpected of places and the chemistry was immediate. But could their torrid May-December romance survive in a cold, hard world perhaps not quite ready for such as they?

Some suggest the answer lies in the photo on the wall behind them. For now, I can only promise the photo's secrets will be revealed, along with much more, as the account of Your Humble Scribe's recent sojourn to Carlow, Ireland and London, England--courtesy of the wonderful folks at Distinguished Brands International--unfolds in this very space in days to come.

Ah, such tales I have to tell.

Tales of someone known and beloved to us all who went tumbling ass-over-tea kettle down a muddy hillside in St. Mullins Cemetery in Co. Carlow to heap humiliation upon himself.

Tales of a man who claims to have 400,000, yes, 400,000, "beer artifacts" in his home and is most certainly the sort of man you'd believe entirely capable of such a thing.

Tales of double-decker busses in the rain, of wandering the late night streets of SoHo with a man in a pin-stripe suit, of superb beer and immortal art and of, almost but not quite, Paris.

All that, plus the one and only (real) Michael Jackson defending American beers and the sordid tale of how Mr. Kerry J. Byrne, founder and president of the Byrne Foundation for the Advancement of Beer, Football, Wild Game and the American Way (whatever), was caught outright in a heinous and unprovoked theft of (what else?) beer and thus brought shame upon us all.

Did I mention the high-ranking member of the Conservative Party in the House of Parliament who partied with us all night (except when he was sleeping)?

The truth shall set you free...and the parts I've, um, "enhanced" (it's the Irish way) ain't half bad either. Promise.

(In case you get bored waiting, I've just posted a piece based on the trip, "ten things I learned while travelling," over at our sister blog, I Have Heard the Mermaid's Singing...)

Yes, I'm back, alive and have a plan. Sorta.
Anybody still here? Let there then be great rejoicing and such, for the prodigal has returned.

Sorry for the long stretches between postings, folks, but I'm finally back and on the case, with stories to tell, secrets to reveal and beer news to relate. The latter I will present in those venues which reward me with filthy lucre; the fun stuff, here.

I see that, in my absence, Lovable Lew has posted, or begun posting, his own account of our recent Czech Republic trip (see the April Archive, for mine), recounting all sorts of conversations between us of which I have no memory at all. He swears it all happened and I just forget because I was tired that day; I think it's because, for sanity's sake, my mind is blanking out on that whole period of my life rather than trying to process the vision of his waltzing across the floor to karaoke in the wee small hours.

A beer prize, by the way, to the first person who identifies the subtle shot the Big Guy took at me, his bestest buddy, in that trip report. He admits he polished it for some time to get it just right; I admit it slipped by me the first time I read it.

Oh yeah, the plan.

I'm going to write up the entire Ireland/England story over this holiday weekend and post it all at once.

Yikes!

Not as overwhelming as it sounds, actually. I'll break the thing into several parts, with links to them all here in the main body of LDO and also on each of the separate pages,so it can be read all at once or in bits and pieces. I don't have many photos in hand currently but expect to get some worth posting in the days ahead. If and when, I'll go back and put them where they fit best and report that I've done so here for anyone who's interested.

As we all know, I'm a quiet, simple sort, so I admit to having been shocked, I say shocked, at some of the carryings-on during our week long adventure (evidence at right, as captured by Steve Westley of All Star Distributing in Reading), but I kept my head about me well enough to record every single moment. The parts fit for family consumption will appear in my postings; others, you can buy me a beer and I'll dish. Okay, maybe a couple of beers for some stories.

Wait'll you meet "Beer Dave."

If all goes well, the whole thing will be up no later than Tuesday morning; I'm aiming for late Monday.

That loquacious Mr. Baker.
As you might imagine, I've been working feverishly for the last week to catch up (see next item). Yesterday, that involved a long conversation with Heavyweight's Tom Baker, about such matters as the vagaries of the DuPont yeast strain, his forth-coming Hoppy Saison (third in the Pfarmhouse Ale series) and his plans to brew three British-style Milds, all under 4% abv, this summer. There will be a news story about the latter at the Beer Yard site this coming week and a more in-depth look at all the things we talked about in my August/September "Atlantic Ale Trail" column in Celebrator Beer News.

We also discussed the forthcoming Garden State Craft Brew Festival on the Camden waterfront on June 25. Tom appears to be the guy doing all the heavy lifting on this one, so I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone to get out and support him. I mean, a battleship, an aquarium and good beer. Geez, it's about as winning a trifecta as you'll find. Be there. Attendance will be taken.

Catching up with the Fox.
Stories summing up the May 1 Bock Fest & Goat Race at Sly Fox Phoenixville and Brian O'Reilly's 2006 plans for dealing with the overwhelming crowds have been posted in the Sly Fox news section. Also, a Goat Race Photo gallery and revised edition of the online Goat Race which shows the correct questions has been posted here for those puzzling over which one(s) they missed.

[Posted 2:30 pm edt]

15 May 2005
The all-too-many, long and annoying "catching up" posts. Just because you insisted.
Everything in its time and place, they say, and this is the time and the place for all those posts I've promised for the past few weeks, plus a few new ones that I'd be promising now if I didn't just pour myself a pint (Young's Oatmeal Stout), plop myself down and get it done. You wanted 'em, you got 'em. Everybody sit down and pay attention. To make it interesting, we're gonna work backwards.

Brandywine Valley Craft Brewers Festival.
Iron Hill's annual spring event at its Media location had the benefit of beautiful weather yesterday, plus, thankfully, more than enough brewers and geeks willing to shrug off the after-effects of the previous evening's Friday the Firkinteenth blowout and show up and enjoy the afternoon.

Best beer of the day, as I recall (I took no notes, already being in traveling mode--see final item posted today down there below somewhere) was the McKenzie Super Wit (the Biere de Mars weren't half bad neither). Nice to see The Dude out at one of these events again, even if it meant flying under the radar. The boy's got plans, never fear.

Also caught up with Brandon Greenwood, who was in town for the weekend. We talked about a lot of Lion Brewery matters which, one day, might turn into news stories but will not be revealed here for now. Except for this: I posted this story on the Beer Yard news pages ten days ago, based on a news release from The Lion. The news release, and my story as I originally posted it, said that the special Anniversary Beer Brandon is brewing for the brewery's 100-year celebration is a "very special lager." Brandon says it's an IPA. I split the difference and just changed my story to read "beer" and I guess we'll all find out (though I kinda, sorta think we trust the brewer on this one, right?).

Also spent some time with Tom Baker who was animated and agitated about all sorts of things, one of which is a beer event he's planning to be held in, of all places, New Jersey. More on that when I get back and/or Tom is ready to go public. And I managed to inadvertently insult Miss Peggy, but she eventually forgave me, to the point where she revealed dark secrets such as how she once adopted a baby seal and that Baltus (a couple of which I enjoyed during the afternoon, along with a Biere d'Art) is named for her grandfather. The stuff I learn, just by being charming. Or annoying. Whatever.

Other beers I recall: Nodding Head Son of Swami (the beer based on a Tomme Arthur Pizza Port recipe which he and Gordon Grubb brewed jointly during the Craft Brewers Conference), Iron Hill Imperial Stout, Independence Imperial Stout and a Sly Fox Royal Weisse or two.

Friday the Firkinteenth.
Call me a nostalgic old traditionalist, but there's something discomforting about a Friday the Firkinteenth at the Grey Lodge when you can actually walk around the room and talk to people, go upstairs and eat in a smoke-free (and damned nice) smaller bar and walk out into broad daylight after three hours or so. I have seen the future and I guess it's better--all Scoats did while I was there was walk around with a sappy smile on his face, which is a pretty good indicator, since in years past he used to be this sweaty little mass of anxiety rushing hither and thither--but it's wrong, I say, wrong.

Okay, I was there in the afternoon (things started off at 2 pm this year), which made the "new look" even more pronounced, but that's the way my schedule fell and, come to think of it, I wouldn't have made it at all otherwise, so let's move on and pretend I'm thinking before I type. There's a novel concept.

I arrived early, actually (it's a lot faster ride when the Roosevelt Blvd. isn't cluttered up with rush hour types) and immediately went upstairs for my first meal in the new room. I had a Victory Throwback Lager while chowing down on the Buffalo Chicken sandwich and a taste of the Thai Mussels dish which this renowned raconteur and gourmand has raved about. Both were excellent. The mussels came courtesy of Chris Leonard and his aide and enabler, Russ, who were at the upstairs bar when I got there. Chris told me about two summer beer dinners he has planned at General Lafayette this summer, one with cheese is involved in every dish (July) and one where everything is grilled (August). He's promised details soon so I can post them here and at the Beer Yard. We'll see.

As it turned out, even though I was there for only slightly more than three hours, I got to taste eight of the day's cask beers, plus was privileged to hang out with that Bryson guy (who apparently abandoned his children on a school bus somewhere to make it early), Nodding Head's Curt Decker (who proved himself a hero of sorts) and Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell (who looked to be a mere shadow of his former self and claims to be "working out," but it may have just been a haircut). And, oh yeah, there was a passel of noisy Beer Advocates periodically yelling at us from the other side of the bar. That's always a plus.

I started with General Lafayette Matrimoniale, which was okay but did not, in my opinion, led itself to cask presentation, and followed that with Middle Ages Black Heart Stout, one of my two favorites of the afternoon. Very nice beer and perfectly done.

Next up was Nodding Head Spring Ale, but as soon as it was poured and handed to me, Decker muttered "Uh-oh. We're in trouble." Indeed. The beer was dead, nary a sign of life. And here's where the heroics came in; Decker immediately pulled the keg from the bar, took it outside and emptied it. That's stand-up stuff, folks, ethical and appropriate. I don't know that everybody in this business would have the cojones to just do it rather than try to put a good face on a bad situation (and don't think that couldn't be done; one person who shall remain nameless was singing the beer's praises even as Decker was carrying it outside).

Iron Hill oak-aged Oud Bruin, like the General Lafayette saison, did not lend itself to be casked, only more so, and B>Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA was okay but didn't knock my socks off or anything. I'd been avoiding the Sly Fox Ahtanum IPA on the theory that I have O'Reilly's beers all the time but, with almost everybody around me saying it was the best beer of the day, I had to have one. Two actually, because it was indeed magical, just barely edging out the Middle Ages Stout as my favorite.

A bit of a murmur went up when a dry-hopped cask of Victory Hop Wallop came out. The usual Pavlovian shrieks of joy had erupted on BeerAdvocate.com a few days earlier when Ruch announced that Hop Wallop, rather than HopDevil, would be poured. Be careful what you ask for, y'know? HopDevil is a near perfect cask beer, a fact attested to by its regular appearances on handpumps around the area and at Victory's own pub; Hop Wallop, or at least this particular keg, proved quite a bit less than that. I'm told Victory wanted to send HopDevil but was coerced into the change. Bad move.

Finally, on the way out the door, I had a quick sample of Heavyweight Hoppy Saison. Liked it.

Manayunk Brew Extravaganza.
When it's a relatively cold, rainy day on the date of a beer festival noted for the attractive, not-overly-clad women it attracts almost as much as for the beer, one would have to characterize the situation as unfortunate, shrug it off with a "them's the breaks" and move on. That was the case this year and, as if to compensate, the fates conspired to have several fine brews a-pouring, catering to one of our senses while depriving another.

I recall the Dogfish Head Immort Ale (my second taste of this year's batch and confirmation that perhaps adding a case to my stash would be warranted); the host site's own Manayunk Imperial IPA, a very good interpretation, and first tastes of this spring's Heavyweight Baltus, Stoudt's Weizen, Troegs Sunshine Pils and Victory Whirlwind Wit, all personal favorites and all more than meeting expectations.

At the Triumph booth, I finally got to meet brewing director Jay Misson and get the story about the new pub they're planning in Philadelphia which I posted at the Beer Yard a few weeks back (Tim Ohst of Sly Fox tells me I actually found this out at the World Cafe Live event back in February and forgot it but I don't want to think about that) and tasted their (8% abv!) Maibock and Chico Pale Ale.

At the Legacy Brewing booth, I tasted their new "California style red ale," which was pretty good and whose name I have not only forgotten but also lost. We'll get right on that when I get home (again, see the final note of the day, coming up any paragraph now). They had, as they also did at the Iron Hill event, artist Deric Hettinger on hand designing a new label concept for the beer on a canvas for all to see, which was cool. You can find out more about Hettinger and other Reading artists at this site and improve yourselves culturally, a benefit not usually offered around here.

After the festival, all the cool guys, as they usually do, repaired to the Dawson Street Pub and continued the party. I had Wanderin' Joe Meloney with me and this was his first shot at "cool guy" status since he gave up being a rock musician, so he was groovin', if you know what I mean. Two pints off the handpumps, one Yards ESA and one Yards General Washington Tavern Porter, and we called it a day as us mature folks tend to do. O'Reilly didn't and suffered the consequences. Youth, I tell you, it's really wasted on some guys.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.
So here's the thing: I am once again forced to pop off to Europe. I'll be gone until next Sunday, leaving tomorrow afternoon and returning a week from now right about this time of day. The destination this time is Ireland (Carlow and Cork) and London; Breweries are Carlow and Fuller, Smith & Turner. Please play nice among yourselves while I'm gone. And nobody pick on Foley, okay?

[Posted 4:20 pm edt]

7 May 2005
Feeling a bit peaked.
That's peak-ED, with the accent on the second syllable in the Victorian manner, and who am I kidding anyway? The entire LDO staff is damned near comatose with the flu...a severe cold...the plague...whatever.

This is a Bad Thing. It means that the Budvar Trip story that I was doing for the June-July issue of Celebrator Beer News will now appear no sooner than the August-September issue, and, since it's what we in the writing game call "an evergreen" (a story that is not time sensitive and can be run at any time), maybe even later than that.

And the American Brewer story which was due at the end of April and which I got rescheduled for this Monday...well, it's still just a pile of notes on the desktop.

On the other hand, there are things that I've had already pretty much written in my mind which I can now take the time to transcribe, which makes a Bad Thing a Good Thing for those who have been waiting. And waiting.

So, without further adieu...

Craft Brewers Conference Report (the Better-Late-Than-Never edition).
The event opened with what turned out to be a spectacular Welcoming Party at Yards Brewing on Wednesday, April 13. The historic old building proved the perfect site for initiating visitors into the Philadelphia brewing tradition and in the neighborhood of 900-plus showed up to get the message.

7-Threads Symposium Ale was on draft, along with beers from most local breweries and some from other breweries around the country. Shuttle busses ran between the brewery and the Downtown Marriott through the evening, making it all very simple and easy.

The day actually started off for some of us earlier in the afternoon at the back bar at Monk's, where Rodenbach was welcomed back to the U.S. I planned to walk from there over to the hotel to catch one of the early busses to Yard's, but instead grabbed a ride with Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell, along with Ray Daniels of the Brewers Association. This was great fun because Russell took the Great Circle Route in order to show us where he used to live and then couldn't find the brewery.

Thursday morning was the opening session and you can read my coverage of that in several stories I posted on the Beer Yard News pages between April 14-17. The big local news coming out of it was the Brewers Recognition Award being given to Carol Stoudt and an announcement that attendance was going to come close to last year's record in San Diego. As it turned out, attendance hit 1300-plus, smashing 2004's 1200 total and establishing the reality that the BA can throw successful events on the East Coast (or, at least, in The Best Beer City on the East Coast). Talk is they're willing to come back for more in six years or so, bringing a World Cup competition along as a bonus.

There were no particular sessions which interested me during the afternoon and I had work to catch up on (we see how well that's gone, don't we?), so I came back home and then heading back to the city in the evening for a reception/party at Nodding Head, courtesy of the fine folks at Ale Street News. It was here that Celebrator honcho Tom Dalldorf first proclaimed to me that the brewpub's 3C Extreme Double IPA is the best beer I've had, a compliment he would repeat at least twice about other beers before the conference ended, once over a pint of Yards ESA and once over a pint of Independence Oatmeal Stout. Since each of these fine brews was pulled from a handpump and since, even as we were partying, an imbroglio was breaking out at BeerAdvocate about what is and what isn't real cask ale and how it should be served, Tom and I agreed that I would tackle that very subject for a forthcoming issue, hopefully that August/September one.

You gotta love a party where there's both free beer and a chance to get an assignment. At least, I do. Then again, conditions which make that possible can sometimes be fraught with danger.

At one point during the evening, I realized I was standing and talking to Dalldorf, Ale Street's Tony Forder, American Brewer's Jim Dorsch and Mid-Atlantic Brewing News' Greg Kitsock, editors all. It struck me that, with but a single verbal faux pas, I might end my beer writing career right then and there. So I shut up. Oddly, they seemed to like that.

The Nodding Head bash was also where Bryson first showed up, fresh from a couple of days in Chicago at a whisky event he was running, or helping to run (some stamina, eh, given we'd just come off the Czech Republic trip?). Things got, y'know, louder from then on.

Friday, I went back in around noon to check out the BrewExpo which runs concurrent with the first two days of the conference and chatted up various brewers whom I'd already met or set out to meet. The most memorable part of that hour or so was a booth which was pouring high-end whiskey, including a 120-proof cask Scotch. I never did get the label as I was stolen away by Sly Fox's John Giannopoulos and Todd Palmer of Virtual Farm Creative, the folks who have designed the new Fox image and revamped the website (I still write the news and most of the content). We decided to hit Johnny Brenda's for a late lunch and I sought out Dalldorf to take along as I knew it was a place he hadn't been and was unlikely to get to on his own. I introduced them to glories of JB's grilled octopus and it was there that Dalldorf expressed his love for the cask Yards ESA (I suppose I should note that it was my pint).

Back in center city, Dalldorf and I were on our way back to Nodding Head when we came across a highly unusual sight: Fergus Carey...working! There he was, pushing a cart full of beer right across Sansom Street from Fergie's Pub and the vision was startling enough that we were more than willing to follow his directive to go over an join his brother, in from Ireland for a visit, for a pint. Said the brother, whose name has sadly disappeared from what passes for my notes, in what I consider the sine qua non quote of the entire four days:I'm here with a message from our mum. Fergus, cut your hair!

We did still manage to grab a pint at Nodding Head before the night's big event, which was a five-brewery shindig at McGillin's Olde Ale House. Brewers and beers from Sly Fox, Victory, Troegs, Flying Fish and Yards were on hand and McGillin's was lookin' good. Chris Mullins put on several local craft brews for the week and here's hoping he stays with it.

From there, we heading for Ludwig's Beer Garten with Bryson. At Ludwig's, for reasons that none can fathom, the Big Guy is treated like a veritable king, which head guy Paul Olivier demonstrated by seating us a big table in the back and sitting with us for most of dinner, while beers kept flowing.

Saturday afternoon, I finally took in a couple of conference sessions: a talk on building brand identity and support by Fred Bueltmann of Michigan's New Holland Brewing Co. and a beer & cheese pairing conducted by the aforementioned Ray Daniels. At the latter, I sat with the near-legendary Fred Eckhardt, a fellow Celebrator columnist, while we sampled Boucheron goat cheese, Dutch Gouda, Chimay Trappist cheese, Maytag blue cheese and sharp Italian Sardinian Gold and decided which of four beers (Victory Dark Lager, Ommegang Witte, Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale, oak-aged Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout) went best with each. Choices were all over the lot. Personally, I thought the Victory Dark went best with the first three (maybe I'm just a homeboy), joined everyone else in the obvious matching of the strong Maytag with the big Yeti and could come to no real conclusion about what fit the three-year old Sardinian. The consensus choice there was the Kona; I think a Pale Ale made some sense, but I'd want one more complex and flavorful than that one.

A member of the audience, Ron Carlson (I think), who writes for Yankee Brewing News, then passed around a cheese made with Cascade hops (a very good cheese, I should say), but my notes at that point turn into an unreadable scrawl.

The closing banquet that night was notable for some fine food, lots of good beer and impressively efficient serving which keep everything moving along. I sat with Bryson, Forder and his Ale Street partner Jack Babin, two ladies who have something to do with Montreal's upcoming Mondial de la Biere (an event I really want to get to one of these years), a guy name J. Michael Gilmore who's brewing in Paris (!) and a brewer with, or about to be with, some New York brewpub, which got Bryson all excited 'cause of his New York brewery guide. Whatever turns you on, y'know?

Banquet speaker Ken Wells, author of Travels with Barley, was funny and relatively brief with his remarks. And then it was over.

[Posted 3:20 pm edt]



5 May 2005
Yet another Mike Murphy news report. Admit it, you don't get this stuff anyplace else.
Our favorite expatriate brewer checked in this morning with an update.

New country.

New possibilities.

Here you go:

I'm finishing my first week here in Copenhagen, in a small port town west about 20 minutes called Roskilde. Its where the largest European Music festival is held every July justly called the Roskilde Music Festival. A day hasnt passed here without hearing someone mention its name so I guess its the high point of the year in this town. Other than that the town is the place where the Viking kings and queens lived and ruled, it has a rich heritage of Viking lore and a museum to boot. The port is full of reproduction Viking boats and they have people making them as well. Pretty neat.

They bought the brewery from Elisabetta and will be bringing it to Roskilde next week. The location is an industrial building in town, about 2000 square meters. The drains have been put in and the new floor is going to be poured on Monday. The malt milling area has been built and the other half of the space will be dedicated to bottling.

We have ordered another 50hl fermenter, so that will make 4 total and we are leaving expansion room for another 6 or 7 more. We have also already set up the little brewery I used to use for Rome and I have begun knocking out little batches, some for the upcoming Copenhagen Beer Festival in late May.

So far the brewery will be called Gourmet Bryggeriet (Brewery) and 2 of the beers will be called "My Bock" and "Fin Ale."

I am collaborating with another brewer who until recently was a head brewer for Carlsberg his name is Michael Knoth pronounced Ka-Noot. The owner is an energetic 30 year old named Lars Dietrichsen who also owns a very well established restaurant near the harbor named Store-Børs where he has an extensive selection of beers, including the Andechs Doppel bock. They are actually great people and I am pleased to be working with them.

We have to thank to Michael Knoth, a distributor who has promised to sell at least 3100hl of our beer the first year. They are known as House of Beer, who are also importers of beers Like Brooklyn Brewery and Anchor. I'm sure other American breweries will also be included in a short time, I hope they manage to get Stone Brewing in there too.

So these are exciting times and the pace is sooo much faster than Rome and Italy. I haven't made up my mind to stay on after the three months they offered, but after one week here I can see where it's headed.

Please say hello to all back home.

Consider yourselves "hello-ed."

[Posted 2:50 pm edt]

4 May 2005
And the beat goes on down in Milton.
Another breaking news story just went up at the Beer Yard site. My thanks to Richard Ruch, who put me on the trail of this one on Monday. I knew there was a reason we kept him around.

[Posted 3:25 pm edt]

2 May 2005
John G. to the rescue.
Yesterday's Bock Festival and Goat Race at Sly Fox Phoenixville was a record-setter for sure, with an astonishing 24 goats showing up to compete before a huge crowd.

Here's Dennis Wright's story in this morning's Phoenix, with the traditional crowd estimate of 1,000, which, this year, is probably low. I'll have pictures and further stories up at the Sly Fox website in the next day or two, depending on how many people actually send me the photos they promised when my camera battery died mid-way through the third heat of the race.

Perhaps the most exciting few seconds of the day, however, likely escaped most attendees' attention, even though they happened right at the finish line of the championship heat.

Given the goats and the fact that's it's held out-of-doors in early spring each year, the Bock Fest is about as family-friendly as any beer event is ever likely to get. I'd guess well over 100 small children were on hand, ranging from a set of triplets (I don't know if I've ever said Congrats! officially, Lisa and Shannon, so here it is) to the little boy of two or three who was damned fortunate that John Giannopoulos was on hand.

As five goats and their owners came thundering down the short course toward the finish line in close to a dead heat in the championship round, said li'l lad suddenly stepped out of the crowd behind the line and started walking right toward them. Instantly, and by that I mean "not a minute too soon," Giannopoulos, who was one of the judges at the finish, stepped in and scooped the kid up in his arm and stepped back out of the way just as the goats arrived. He even managed to focus his attention back on the race and help declare Savannah the victor.

It was one of those grace under pressure things, quick thinking and quicker reactions which probably saved the day. I don't know if anyone caught it on camera and/or will send it to me, but if so, count on my posting it here.

[Posted 6:55 am edt]

1 May 2005
At last, a new brewpub in Philadelphia!
More news, picked up at yesterday's Manayunk Brew Fest. Philadelphia will get its fourth brewpub in 2006. As usual, you'll find all the details right here.

[Posted 7:50 am edt]

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The complete April 2005 postings have been archived here.


Malt does more than Milton can
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--A. E. Houseman

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