Thursday, June 23, 2016

Beer, Beautiful Beer!

On Sunday, I met with Emily, Richard, Walter and Margie to work the morning shift at the NOVA Brewfest. It was yet another blastingly hot and sticky day, even by 10:30 in the morning, when the temperatures were only supposed to be in the upper 70's but were already in the mid 80's before we started our shift. We changed from our lightweight t-shirts into the heavy cotton ones we were issued, and I silently wished that the organizers would change to the lovely light and trendier shirts that folks wear more of these days, and in fact are also issued by the Snallygaster Brew Fest in DC. A shirt I adore and am actually wearing as I write this. And we've all signed up to work this year's event so hoping we'll be selected so we get another awesome shirt.
Our team leader asked us which brewery we wanted to work for and hoping for one with a particularly memorable name, and assuming equally memorable beer, Richard and I managed to get The Rusty Beaver Brewery.
 We had hoped for Lickinghole Creek, a woman owned brewery, but that was taken, and actually we fared better as we were pouring two beers compared to their one, and ours was tastier.
We really loved the artwork too on these labels. All the beavers were sporting incredibly large gnashers, and had bolt eyes which we found highly comical. Today, we were pouring our customers a 'Top Down' summer ale and a 'Big Bite' IPA, both of which were delicious. The brewery isn't yet selling at any retail outlets, the beers can only be bought at their farm brewery, but it sounded so wonderfully welcoming and uncommercialized that I would love to take a trip down to Ladysmith to visit them, only a couple of hours away.
Another brewery I was impressed with was Caboose, a fairly new venture in Vienna.
I loved their set up, the metal railroad track, and hops with barley on the table, and actually thought they had the best IPA in the park.
We were surprised at the lack of people here during the day. Being Father's Day I'd thought the place would be packed and I'm sure the organizers had assumed so also, but we'd been told the Saturday had been quiet too, so I'm quite confident that the festival won't be held on Father's Day in future. But as volunteers we were happy. We had time to chat to the customers and our brewery staff. We could sample the beers along each side of us, holding the fort if someone wanted a tasting break. The hours passed very quickly and we were grateful to be under out tents as the sun blazed hotter through the afternoon.
Others who weren't faring well this weekend were the vendors. I've always wondered why people would try to sell jewelry or dog food at a beer festival, but they were here, and doing badly. One guy had sold nothing over the whole weekend.
This tent, even with his shirts decorated with the names of local breweries had few people stopping to look. Emblemax actually printed all these shirts for him so I took in interest in his plight and felt badly for him. Especially when on Monday he placed a new order since he'd spelled a brewery's name incorrectly on one of his designs and had to reprint the shirts.
But of course there were some superb t-shirts to be seen, and once again I took photos of the best, their owners very happy to stand and show off their chests. And it was all men who were sporting the wittiest and funniest, I didn't spot a single female wearing an amusing slogan.
We even saw a pair of beer socks, and although not related to beer, I did have to snap a shot of a dude proudly wearing his Shark Week fin hat, because we print so many shirts for Discovery during this time, so this caught my eye.
After taking a photo of this superb sour beer I wished I'd noted more of the amazing and clever names that the brewers are pinning to their concoctions. I went to a pub that had over 60 beers on tap a few days later with a buddy, and gleefully chuckled as I read fabulous names such as Epic Son of a Baptist, New Holland Incorrigible, Lagunitas Aunt Sally Sweet Tart Sour Mash and Avery the Maharaja. Sometimes the names draw you in more than the description.
These cute little piggies made from logs were almost irresistible, but not enough, and evidently others agreed. Few, if any, were selling.
We did have to laugh at this poor lady's attempt to fill up her water bottle. As she turned on the tap, the water gushed out as though from a high pressure hydrant, and her bottle was blasted out of her hand at her first go. She didn't give up though and eventually mastered it.
We couldn't stay out in the sun too long, and managed to find a few spare chairs under a tree, grateful that there weren't many people here, or we likely wouldn't have had this success.
Emily and Richard checking out their badges on the phone app, Untapped. I won't do this as there's no end, and no prize to be gained by supping every beer on the planet. But these two enjoy it, and managed to acquire new badges at the event. We sat and soaked up the humidity, feeling languid and lazy in the heat, but we couldn't sit around for too long, there was beer to drink. So we ventured from the sanctuary of the shade to chugg down one last beer before leaving.

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