Beaver River Beer Tasting: 2013

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  The seventh Beaver River Beer Tasting was on August 31st at 2pm. As you can tell from the Brew Biz column posted after this it almost didn’t happen, but I will leave that all for my usual vent space.
  At 2pm quaffers gathered at 168 Railroad Street: otherwise known as “The Carman Camp.” We probably had a total of 20-25 people: down from previous years, but with the circumstances, that was amazing. Mark Franey also brought two wines: a dry and a sweet Riesling, but I was too busy to get to try them. Ei!
 The great thing about friendship among homebrewers is that a few days later we had a chance to swing by and look at the brewmaster’s miracle elixir creating equipment.

Mark Franey and his brew vessel hat. Nah, I've seen his brew vessels, a lot better than that!
Mark Franey and his brew vessel hat. Nah, I’ve seen his brew vessels, a lot better than that!

  Attending was brewer, winemaker and naked under his kilt: but no kilt this time, the very talented Mark Franey and his always welcome sister, K.T. Mark brought pumpkin lager and a chocolate stout.
  This tasting went on longer than previous years because we held it at our humble retirement shack. All tasters claimed this seemed a better location. Hmm… wonder where we’ll do it next year? Gee, I have no idea.
  My own brews featured a stout braggot, Bee Czar: another braggot and HaNoPeeNo: a jalapeno braggot. The last seemed loved by all even more than the other two.
  Mark served nothing that wasn’t loved by all. I biw to the brewmaster. NO, I am NOT trying to look under your kilt! Yack!
 Chuckle.
  Other fare’ was diverse: from White Stout brewed by Night Shift in Massachusetts to Thai Me Up from Turtle Anarchy in Franklin, TN, to a rosehips based brew by Compass. We did wonder what qualified the White Stout as “stout.” Thai Me Up, a stout, had curry, cinnamon and chipotle. This was an older bottle, but as Mark Franey said, “The curry is still there, it’s just gone into the background.”

That's Donna in the orange prison sweater. YES, I'm just goofing around about the sweater.
That’s Donna in the orange prison sweater. YES, I’m just goofing around about the sweater.

 When I stopped by to start working on my Brew Biz column on Voodoo Brewing in Meadville, PA, I picked up Voodoo’s Love Child because I knew one of my regulars would like it: Donna Brown. Voodoo is aged for three months on Michigan sour cherries, Oregon raspberries and passion fruit. It’s a Belgian style Tripel. The folks loved it, as did Donna. My not so secret desire is to have a small homebrew competition here featuring one special award: The Donna Brown Fruit Beer Award. Many judges avoid odd tables, like Specialty or Fruit, and over the years I’ve noticed beer judges too often go for higher gravity, the stronger whop to the palate than what might appeal less to the general public. I have no problem with that but I think feedback from an award that uses standards a regular: not homebrewer or craft beer geek, customer might use would be valuable. Plus I love to pick on Donna: one of the more fun, interesting characters here in Beaver River.
 That comment typed by someone no one would EVER considered a “character.”
 Um, moving on…
 We had Unobtainium, from Straight to Ale in Huntsville, Alabama: a great Scottish Heavy, and Hoppin Frog’s Barrel Aged Christmas Ale: plus other fare’ from two great small brewers most folks would otherwise know nothing about. Hoppin Frog is an incredible, small, Akron, Ohio, brewery.
 These are just a few of the beers and braggots offered by Mr. Franey and Mr. Carman.
 Craft beer is exploding across the country, and experimentation is too. Not only is this an education in styles but the status of beer in general all across the country. That’s why I feel it important to select specific beers myself: assess them personally, in person, as I travel for work while also shopping. Plus, stopping at brewpubs, or micros, gives me a chance to decide on a more personal, experience, level what might work. Selecting them from some online catalog just wouldn’t be the same.
 I didn’t count, but I think we opened 30-40 brews as it went on almost until dark.
 Millie and I were afraid rain would stuff us all indoors. It did rain a little at first: mostly mist. But then the clouds parted and we heard from above: “This is my beer educator, and he is blessed.”
 OK, that didn’t really happen… and maybe that joke won’t get me to a nice place after my final earthly beer is quaffed, but it was too fun to pass up.

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