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Tuesday Was A Good Day

April 14, 2011

I didn’t even have to use my AK.

In all seriousness, Tuesday was a great day in this beer geek’s life, one I hope to not soon forget.

I started the day off by sleeping in and showing up to work after lunch, because I could. A nice and easy half day of work. Just what I needed.

Arrived home to find that my local post office is holding a package for me. I checked my latest Amazon order to find out if that was what my package was. It was. What did I order? Why Stan Heironymus’s Brewing With Wheat and Patrick O’Neill’s Cellarmanship. What prompted me to buy Cellarmanship was a conversation Twitter where I felt that many brewers and establishments weren’t treating their casks properly. So, I decided that I should be proactive and learn all about casks and cask maintenance. After flipping through the pages I realized I’ve got a lot to learn. Brewing With Wheat has been on radar since it came out. I’d rather drink a well brewed wheat beer than any other kind of beer. Unfortunately, this seems hard for many brewers in Cascadia to do. That’s why I stick with what they’re good at, IPAs. Also, the book qualified me for free shipping.

I stopped by the post office to pick the books up on my way to see Ken Grossman. That’s right, Ken “Seirra Nevada” Grossman. One of the most important men in modern brewing history was talking to CAMRA Victoria members. He had flown up just for the night to talk to us. Amazing. I stopped at La Belle Patate on my way to the Esquimalt Recreation Centre (where the talk was held). I was the first to arrive, and by a margin too. After I finished stuffing my face with enough poutine to give two cardiologists a heart attack, Glen arrived with Ken. Other people started trickling in.

There I was just sitting there minding my business and sudden Ken walks over to me and sits down and introduces himself. I was starstruck. There was so much I wanted to talk to him about, but I couldn’t calm my nerves enough to have a proper conversation. Though I did manage to get him to sign a bottle of his Pale Ale before he left to talk to other people. I’m still in shock. Why did he pick me as the first person out of twenty or so to introduce himself too? I’ll never know, but I’m freaking honoured.

Ken’s talk consisted mostly of the history of Sierra Nevada. A fascinating story of operating out of a tiny warehouse with equipment fabricated by Ken himself, mostly using salvaged dairy equipment, to the second largest brewery in the USA. To quote Jason Meyer, when I ran in to him at La Belle Patate, “Seirra Nevada brews over 800,000 barrels a year, we do 3000.” That’s a lot of beer. A lot of well brewed beer. Ken also talked about several things that only a brewer or a hardcore geek like myself could appreciate, like iron absorption in kegs. An amazing talk that exponentially increased the respect of a man who I already had an enormous amount of respect for.

Of course samples of Sierra Nevada’s beers were handed out; Pale Ale, Torpedo, Summerfest, Glissade, Porter and Stout. The stout was my favourite of the bunch, sadly it’s not available locally, only the Pale Ale and Torpedo are.

I came home and ended the night with Liefmans’ Cuvee-Brut. It’s a blend of Leifmans’ Goudenband & Oud Bruin blended with cherries. It’s also delicious and rather sweet. The 375ml bottle was the perfect amount.

To recap, two really beer geeky books, drank seven different beers, 5 of which were new to me, heard Ken Grossman talk and had him sign a bottle of his famous Pale Ale.

I gotta say, it was a good day.


From → Blog

  1. Hey Dave,
    Nice post, it was a pretty cool evening with Ken for sure. Those books look pretty interesting by the way, I’ll have to borrow them off you one of these days.

  2. For sure, John.

    Just let me know when.

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