Frank gets frequent mention in the Musings. He's a good drinking companion who is always open to trying new beers. Whenever I find another new "big" beer, I try to be sure to share it with Frank. He's not shy about trying strongly flavored and higher alcohol beers and I can always count on Frank to try out a new hop-charged IPA. It was Frank who brought the two growlers of "M" from The Church Brew Works to my 50th birthday party. I also recall that one of the first strong Belgian-style beers I ever had was brought back from an overseas trip by Frank. A former U.S Marine, he puts us all to shame with his endurance for having yet another beer, and is frequently heard to ask "So, what's next?"
Jerry drives to the Raleigh-Durham area very frequently on business and he's taken it upon himself the challenge to bring back beers I haven't yet tried. Even if I've tried the beers previously, he always brings back winners. After one recent trip he showed up unexpectedly at my door with a 4-pack of Samichlaus and a sixer of Highland Kashmir IPA. Recently I received a phone call from Jerry while he was in a beer store in North Carolina. He proceeded to list off the names of beers he walked down the aisle to see which ones I wanted him to bring back! Jerry's a brown ale fan though he never hesitates to try something new.
Tom is the member of our group whom I've known the longest. He often prefers a glass of Goldschläger over the beers the rest of us drink. However, he will enjoy a crisp lager from time to time, and is starting to develop a taste for Belgian Pale Ales. Tom does have a habit of nodding off in the evening which gives the rest of us a target for good-natured ribbing. Often he just shakes his head in disbelief that we're able to keep going.
Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't give proper mention to the wives of said friends. Most of the times when we gather, the wives are there with us. Although the typical male/female split frequently happens as the group starts talking, all of our wives understand our "hobby" and will often join in trying out the beers we break out. Regular readers will already know that my wife Colleen shares my interest in beer and food. One of the really great things about this group of friends is the bond extends to our whole families. Wives, husbands, and kids, are all friends. We all get together very frequently, not just to drink beer, but for dinner, church activities, to swim at the pool, and for kids' sports events. We all live in the same neighborhood and we all attend the same church, so there's much more in common than just a love of good beer. Suffice it to say, when we get together, it's never a bad time.
I'll close with this photograph of some gents enjoying their drinks. Jerry sent it and the accompanying description to parody our group:
Guys - The picture below outlines how we must keep our priorities straight. I also thought this might be us in a few years and I wanted to point out that Tom (green hat) is still watching us drink, Frank is raising a cheer for the 100th time to someone who doesn’t care, Dave is trying to say something but doesn’t want to put the beer / cigarette down, and notice how slim I look with a green shirt on :---))
I hope the guys don't mind that I focused this month's session on them. As Stonch wrote when announcing the Session, enjoying beer is "ten times better when you're with good mates." And these are my good mates.
Update, April 5: Stonch has posted a summary of the contributions here.