New Beer’s Eve

January 5th, 2009 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

I have heard that I am known to drink a beer or ale on occasion. This New Year’s Eve was such an occasion. I suspect my eve was more pleasant and memorable than yours…through little doing of my own.

My effort was only in arranging for family friends to add my two teens to their small group in a large house, reserving a hotel room in New Hampshire, and driving north with the uxorial unit into squint-making, driving snow and sleet.

A friend and former co-worker did the thinking, organizing and even airplane shuttling of a keg. He showed that many can benefit from an avocation that straddles passion and obsession. Bless him.

Michael Fairbrother hosted a beer-based party that few could have pulled off for a variety of limitations. On the five taps in his basement, he offered:

Michael and I shared a manager with a titanic ego. He feigned humility when one of us did something well. He bowed and said, “I am not worthy.” Well, I sincerely felt that at this event.

Brother Fairbrother, as I am wont to call  him, assembled a remarkable set of brews. Apparently none of them had ever been served in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Each was a keg of fresh brew. Each represented an extreme level of its type.

Moreover, because he is a long-term home brewer and award winner for his output, he knew the people who owned these breweries. Only because of that, did they ship him their limited production, or in the case of Furious IPA, let him fly out to Minnesota with an empty keg and leave with the real thing.

I am not worthy.

As the evening progressed, the adjectives, largely superlatives, buffeted our ears. Then the closeted but very real vanities popped out in ones and twos. About 10 of the guests are also members of the 18-year-old Brew Free or Die club. Most brought bottles of their own best brews to share. Many brought impressive brews they had bought.

The host also opened bottles of his own beers, ales and meads.  I’m not much for the latter in general, thinking of it as spoiled soda pop, but his strong raspberry-based mead was remarkable.

He capped the evening by sharing a jeroboam of Unibroue Maudite. He had saved the gigantic bottle from a Canadian trip and wowed us all, even after tasting the kegs and bottles all evening.

We unworthy ones did bring the food, each specialties and favorites.  Normally, those offerings would be the basis for conversation and memory. Hah.

The food was in several rooms upstairs, most of the drinking took place in the bar area. The basement has a gigantic TV and couches on one side, the bar with its taps and stools on the other. The other half of the floor is his professional brewery, replete with three bourbon kegs for aging his own and group efforts.

The hubbies seemed to be the brewing half of the various couples. We overheard or conversed with the wives about the club and brews. They were very knowledgeable, much like mates of professional athletes. Each said she could never do what her husband did, but boy, did she know the lingo, the process and the ingredients.

Happy new year to them. Happy New Year’s Eve to me.

The only downside is that my chum John, who also went, will be a lot harder to impress at our every-other-weekly visit to some micro-brew bar. We have tasted the promised land.

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One Response

  1. Great article, it was a fun way to welcome the new year!

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