Monday, October 6, 2008

Ales In The Outfield

Durham, NC Another big drive, another great trip through the country across highways i've never been on. Some Los Lobos, some Charlie Hunter, some String Cheese Incident. I was excited to hit Durham, but i really had no idea what was ahead. New friends, old new friends, good people and a great event were all waiting. A pre-party that got down right silly followed by burritos and like 30 college kids wearing all white. It's no wonder i got all tangled up with the Gonzo crew, it had Nelson Otto written all over it.

All About Beer is one of my favorite beer mags and it was great to see them put on an event as particular to thier cause of elevating and explaining beer as their magazine is. Breweries from far and wide took over the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on a clear blue Saturday for a day of beer tasting. Planet New Holland was in Michigan Alley on the first base line and we were propped up between Founders and Kuhnhenn. We poured a lot of beer. A lot. Both sessions were a lot of fun.

Quite a few beer blogs were well represented in human form. I really wish i could have made the tutored tastings, but it just wasn't in the cards. Rick Lyke, Lew Bryson, and Jay Brooks were among the beer writers chosen to walk drinkers through beer function specific samplings of a handful of beers served at the festival. Mr. Brooks chose Mad Hatter as part of his Burton to Brutal tasting. Around the fest there were a few special beers tucked into certain places, some easily found and some otherwise. Ahem.....

With all those empty bottles comes a lot of empty crowns and there's nothing like a good ol' fashioned Capslam. There were fierce competitors at World Beer Fest, but the presentation of the winning sentence, word by word delivered in sultry Southern, was enough to take the prize.

My volunteers were huge all day. Marie, now a World Beer Fest veteran and full time employee of The Red Cross, handled a tall order as i hopped back and forth from table tending and bumping elbows all morning.

Then Liz and Ali threw down and owned Planet New Holland during the second session. They kept the crowd entertained and coming back for more. With more catchphrases and inneundo than i knew what to do with i was sad to see the second session come to a close.

In all, i had a lot of really great conversations about beer and met some really cool folks. Got work done too in the thick of it and somehow managed to wake up the next morning and still make it back to Philly for the Bella Vista gala event.

If you're Durham folk and reading this head to the awesome Tyler's across the street from the park on 10/8 for a Mad Hatter draft event. Awesome food, awesome beer, awesome staff - Tylers is a definite must hit.


Anonymous said...

Have you gotten up to The Flying Saucer yet? I noticed the guy in your last picture is wearing a t-shirt from there.

Amanda B. said...

Sorry I didn't get to hang out in your neck of the woods this weekend! Then again, I would have been drinking my weight in beer so maybe it was better this way ;)

Do I really have to wait til March to experience the wonders of Philly beer? I'll always love PGH best, but if the Kennett Beer Fest was any indication of the awesomeness of eastern PA, I could be partially converted...

Dr Joel said...

I've only gotten to one so far. Had a great time down in Columbia, SC. I'm looking forward to getting to a lot more of their locations and bringing my arsenal of tasty beers along with me.

Dr Joel said...

Amanda B, Philly is here waiting for you. March is a must, but i think a scouting mission to get to know the town beforehand is definitely in order. I am lining up a bunch of events for November, so maybe the timing will work out.

Missed you at Bella Vista, but i heard Kennett was a blast. Next time we'll makle sure our schedules line up.

JT said...

It's official. As much as I love my job, I want yours.

Also, I'll be at Stoudt's sometime around November 13th or 14th.

Amanda B. said...

So you made it to Bella Vista? I really wanted to go!

Dr Joel said...

Bella Vista was a good time. I was in and out but i got to see a bunch of folks i haven't run into in a while. Good beer being poured even though i missed a bunch. That Voodoo Brown Ale is mighty tasty.

Cabin Fever is hitting PGH soon so let me know how you like it.

JT..i've got events somewhere around 13 or 14 for work, but if i am around i'd love to meet up at Stoudt's for a few beers.