On December first, 2013, a large group of Richmond Beer Elite followers met at Gallery 5 on west marshall street for the 8th time. It was my first year going, and I had no expectations. I was invited by a co-worker, who I have complete trust in. I felt honored, and unworthy of such an invite. I don't go out to beer bars much, and merely observe the conversations that occur on the beer elite face book group. Through business I knew a hand full of people at the event, mostly brewers. It has been a tough time financially keeping up with the flow of quality products in the past few months. I dug out the jewel that has been in the back of my fridge for 7 months, the cantillon classic gueze.
|I stole this photo from Jacob Brunnow|
I have to admit that often I feel my job in sales has ruined my ability to converse without there being some sort of sales pitch. I clang on to the couple of people I thought wouldn't mind me soaking in the knowledge and conversation. Then I got paranoid and just walked side to side checking each table for new bottles and things I've been dying to try. As you can see from the picture below one may get hung between tables, in the middle of the room. Yet, being in the middle of the room also got good beer poured in my glass, shucks!
There was a bottle of Pliney, I saw it and it was gone. I was just as excited to try blind pig for the first time. Is it amateur of me to say that? How many people on the east coast have had it without going to California? From what I hear it seems that the pig is just as hard to get. I have never heard of anyone getting anything from lost abbey, so that was cool. My brother in-law just posted a picture of some New Glarus, now I have seen selections like this! The whole time I was walking around mouth agape, texting pics, and checking in on untapped. It was insane.
The real treat and confirmation for me was the spotting of this monster 29, from Dark Horse Brewing. If the normal high ABV beers from these guys wasn't enough, this 17.5% barrel aged barleywine beast will definitely warm you up. I have been selling these guys beers for nearly a year now and can't seem to convince everyone that they are a big deal legit craft brewer. If one of their barrel age beers shows up at a heavy hitting share like this? That is all the confirmation I need. These dudes put out this beer and barrel aged plead at the same party!
Finally, I wasn't the only one with Cantillon. Which was good, when he went for a wine key, I opened mine as well. The thing about sours is the perception and burn of the funk. These two both had a lot of funk, the Kriek had more tart bite up front. They both finished as pretty and smooth as anyone could ask for. I had no fear of getting sour belly after having a got little piece of these. I really enjoy craft beer and sharing the experience, with the right people. Everyone who turned out for this event definitely did it right, as a group. Thank you to all who were involved in organizing, and I look forward to next years!