Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday, the day of my soul's renewal...

Well, yesterday was awesome. I went to the premiere of Beer Wars at UCLA. As I described in my previous post, it is an awesome one of a kind beer event. The city's favorite bartender even had the opportunity to get more than he bargained for thanks to the folks at Stone (thanks Scott).

My day started with a trek to Westwood for a small gathering (about 25 people) at Westwood Tavern at about 11 in the morning.

Once there, we assessed the bar's beer selection and deemed it "passable."

Greg Koch, walked up to us to say hello, and upon seeing me, he said. "Hey I know you."

If you look at my Stone Winter Storm post, there is a photo of him and I, and the missus, of course.

He remembered, me- I guess...this beer expert sticks out like a sore thumb...(obviously)

We went into a smaller private bar section at this nice contemporary facility and seated ourselves.
Greg Koch, founder of Stone Brewing, and Sam Cagalione, of Dogfishead Brewing, were there to speak to us "insiders," about where the industry is going and where we stand in the industry and category. This was a group of die hard beer lovers all brought together through the three tier system of beer.

Anyhow, we tasted some delicious beers and went over some light numbers, and business philosophies.

Dogfishead 60 minute IPA, Midas Touch, and Palo Santo Marron, and Stone Arrogant Bastard.

It was cool to get a chance to talk with these guys being they are both from amazing breweries situated on different coastlines. Stone being from Escondido, and Dogfishead from Delaware.

Of course, Sam is a very handsome and charismatic man, and the missus now has a crush on him. Honestly, I don't blame her...

Here's me and the boys with Sam in the middle...

I asked the pair of beer heroes a very important question.

"How long before we see a collaboration ale between Dogfishead and Stone?"

Sam assured me, I'd see one between Victory, Stone, and Dogfishead by 2010- So, you guys heard it here first folks. It's gonna be awesome when it gets here...I am sure of it.

After the discussion, there was more beer to be had and yet time to kill before the movie showing. So we ventured to Father's Office, but unfortunately it was closed. So we scrambled to Jerry's deli in Westwood to be more strategically placed for the upcoming Beer Wars showing at Royce Hall. The beer list sucked there, so my buzz had a chance to wear off....

Too bad.

My friends, the missus and I, ate and high tailed it to UCLAs campus. For those of you not familiar with the campus. It is beautiful. Only one drawback.

There are these big fat steps up a hillside toward Royce Hall...I hate stairs. They are a fat guy's worst enemy, especially when you are as short as I am. I am 5'6" yet my inseam is literally 21 1/2"- you do the math and figure how the hell it's possible, but it's true. My tailor is used to it by now, but it still boggles my mind.

We got to Royce Hall, and once I adjusted to the high altitude,(insert more jokes here) we got out tickets since I was on the VIP list. (insert more obnoxious words)

And we waited. I saw the dude from the legendary Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel. The same guy that poisoned me with his super hot hot link sandwich. He was so sweet to the missus, but he poisoned me and scoffed at my beer exploits, but I still love the dude. He's a true beer snob.

I also saw the Chimay rep whom served us at the Back Abbey's Chimay Anniversary Dinner. It was a who's who of the regional beer industry. And I felt right at home.

We viewed the movie and then remained for the Q and A portion moderated by, none other than, Ben Stein. Sam, Greg, Historian Maureen Ogle (whose book I am currently reading), Anat Baron, and Co-founder of Sam Adams were all there for beer discussion.

Wait- the dude from Beer Advocate was there too...

I won't give away the movie's details, but it was an interesting insight into the beer industry. Fresh perspective were abound and it wasn't some pumped up testosterone fest. It was a clear messaged movie about a few people and how things add up in the bigger scheme of things.

We attended the VIP reception afterward, had some more free beer, and some tasty ribs along with some finger foods, and made the way back home, it was great day, and I felt like a born again Virgin having just lost his secondary virginity to beer...

This is what I want to do with my life. The answer is beer, all I have to do is figure out "how."

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