I spent some time in the hospitality room where many kegs of beer are put on tap throughout the event. I enjoyed several samples of tasty beers, including a Pale Ale dry-hopped with East Kent Goldings - hand pulled from a real beer engine. This tasty treat was provided by Jeff Browning of the Bru Rm in New Haven, Connecticut. The hospitality room seemed like a good central place to run in to folks. And it was. I got to catch up with some old friends, and meet some new ones. Despite many email conversations I'd never had the pleasure of meeting, in-person, Jason Oliver from Devils Backbone Brewing. We finally hooked up and had a really nice conversation. Jason's very excited about the new brewpub and has many plans for fun events to look forward to. More to come on that. I was also very happy to run in to Blue Gray organizer Ray Johnson. Ray's been recovering from some health issues and it was great to see him looking so well. Ray said he's finally able to enjoy a bit of beer now and then. I also picked up some great news regarding the Fredericksburg area beer scene. I don't mean to be cloy, but watch this space in the coming months for more news.
It seemed as if the party was just getting started when I had to leave, but there's still plenty of time to get to the Blue Gray show this week. The event runs through Saturday. Your $10 registration fee gets you in to all of the trading room and displays, not to mention the beer tastings, on all days of the show. Perhaps I'll get back before it ends this year.
Update, February 14: The Free Lance-Star has coverage.