Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No macro-beers will be served

This weekend the men's fraternal and charitable organization at our Church held it's annual family picnic. My buddy Frank and I were asked to "take care of" getting the beer for the event. Thanks to the generosity of Jeff Fitzpatrick of Blue & Gray Brewing Company, we had two beers on tap from our local brewery. On tap were the Classic Lager and Fred Red Ale. And, unlike many such functions, craft beer was to be the ONLY beer served. This is the second year in which no other beers were supplied at this function.

Just as we arrived at the picnic site with the beer, the rain began. Fortunately we were under cover. After 30 minutes of a very hard downpour, the rain become lighter but continued. The weather caused some folks to delay their arrival. This turned out to be a good thing, as we experienced equipment malfunctions and were unable to immediately tap the two kegs. Now what do we do? Although the crowd was still light, folks were arriving, and food was being served. While we worked on a solution, it became an interesting observation in human behavior. More than a few people would walk up to the kegs, pick up the unattached hose, look at it, trace the line to the jockey box, remove the cup that was over the tap handle and attempt to pour a beer. I guess some people are ever optimistic!

Eventually we contacted Jeff who said he would send over some hand taps. Frank also headed back to his house to pick up a couple of taps. Who would arrive back first? I answered questions about the lack of beer, and waited.

Frank soon arrived with the equipment and the two kegs were tapped, and a "beer is served" announcement was made. Shortly after that someone made the observation that as soon as the kegs were tapped, the skies cleared and the sun began to shine. Make your own conclusions, but God certainly must be a beer lover.

Both the Classic Lager and Fred Red were enjoyed by many folks. I heard no one ask for a different beer. As to be expected, a small crowd loitered around the kegs, and I hung out there for a bit answering questions about the beers. I received no complaints about the lack of any "factory beer" and I think a few new craft beer fans were made that day. Many people were pleased that the beer was made locally. Those in attendance ranged from young families to retired folks, and nearly as many women were enjoying the beer as the men. Craft beer really does cross all boundaries. After a rough start the day turned out to be a lot of fun.

I want to extend thanks to Jeff at Blue & Gray. Not only did Jeff supply the beer at wholesale prices, he also provided the serving equipment at no charge. This is an example of why it's important to support your local brewery, as that support can be mutually beneficial.

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