Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PBW 2009: Day 10 Wrap-Up, It's A Wrap

Link to Day 10 Pictures What I did: I've got a new recipe for better running results. The day prior...Walk the city, ride in a car, drink a few beers during the day, and have a couple more with close to a pound of pasta at night at TJs. Wow, it worked! Sunday morning saw me have one of my strongest long runs ever. Period. I was so dumbfounded, that I mapped the route twice to make sure I'd mapped the route correctly the first time. I think I now have a new superstition... @Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at University of Pennsylvania, Zythos America Festival ---> By the time I cleaned up my stink from the run, rehydrated and refueled, printed forgotten tickets, we were a bit late getting to the tutored tasting with Chris Bauweraerts from Chouffe. We slithered in to two seats and caught up quickly with the first beer, Duvel (Classic, not Green). The tutored beer tasting moved on to Chocolate Indulgence and Abbey Ale from Ommegang, Houblon Chouffe, and Maredsous 10. The session went nicely and I'm going to try and keep things civil here, but everyone once in a while I need to throw out a reminder that we are all supposed to be mature adults, or at least act like them when the time calls for it. This message isn't for everyone, but yet should serve as a reminder to us all. Just because you've paid an admission and drizzle a few ounces of alcohol down your gullet does not (emphasize NOT) give you the right to be rude to an invited guest who is speaking to you all in a presentation style format. So, please, in these types of settings, remember what your parents (hopefully) told you when you were young: be courteous, shut yer yap, and pay attention. At least if you can't pay attention because (wah!) I can't understand his accent or (boo hoo!) this doesn't interest me...then please, still, just...shut...up. There are, believe it or not, people around you that are interested in what the speaker has to say. (I've resisted the use of all caps, but I'm close...watch it.) I saw this behavior a couple of years ago during Michael Jackson's last tasting at the Museum and was appalled then as I was this past weekend. Unfortunately, I was not so much surprised, I suppose, as I was just dumbfounded that such rude behavior could be displayed by people who want to be considered VIPs. Mind you, if you weren't there let me point out that the speaker took notice. Your rudeness continued beyond his pleas for "please," "your attention please," and "I'll wait." Perhaps, my dear friends, you are not the type that would display such boorish behavior. I believe that many of you that I know have better sense than that. But, how about the next time you're sitting next to someone like this, you and I both can make a huge spectacle of these people by sending up a big "SSShhhhh". What is wrong?! Breathe, Bryan, step away from the keyboard...can someone help reach for his blood pressure medication...okay better now. The funny thing is that it must have been the euphoric endorphins that still had not worn off yet from my morning run because, bothered as I was at the time, it seems that I more incensed now, dunnint? I don't like to use this place as a bully pulpit, but every once in a while some things must be said. Thanks for bearing with me. I'd say this unfortunate {insert adjective here} behavior extended into the general admission tasting upstairs as well. One brewer, who'd come from Yards Real Ale Invitational, mentioned that he only wanted to stop in briefly at Zythos because he feared that Zythos would have a higher {insert adjective here} quotient (or maybe it's an adverb, I sometimes get them confused) than would the event at Yards. He said he was right. Let's leave it at that. Belgians abounded. Italians were there and gone. And Belgian-inspired beers from American brewers were sprinkled between. Tables were shut down left and right as bottles and kegs were drained. This was a good thing, as which brewer/rep wants to take beer home? Unfortunately for me that meant while I was rinsing the glassware from a lovely Hanssens Gueuze, Bill Moore's (Lancaster Brewing) Tripple disappeared as quickly as I was speaking with him. This happened many times I we made our way around the festival. For as well as The Brewer's Plate went in this venue, a couple of suggestions are worth offering up related to the Zythos America festival. And, these can certainly be applied to other festivals as well. In no way are these challenges unique to this festival. First, water should be made more readily available for two things, rinsing glasses and drinking. Perhaps I don't understand the economics of a well-run beer festival, but that free drinking water cannot be supplied by the organizers or a sponsor somehow escapes me. And, for rinsing? Rule of thumb, every table should have a pitcher of rinse water...simple. Especially at a festival like this where the flavor and texture of the beers being poured nearly requires it. Second, please for better signage at the tables. How difficult it was to find what we were looking for around the Museum or craning our necks to simply see what was in front of us at the time was incredibly painful. I'll bet a good reason I didn't find many of the beers that I would have liked to find before they disappeared to the crazed beer seekers was because of poor signage and/or lack of a venue map. Sure these were some issues that concerned me. Don't take this has too harsh of criticism, though. Behavior of attendees is certainly out of the control of anyone except the individuals and the festival shortcomings that I pointed out plague many festivals. However, the lines to move people inside appeared quite efficiently run and the politeness of museum staff and volunteers was quite evident. The quality of beers brought? Outstanding. There aren't many festivals around that pour a better lineup of beers that was offered at Zythos America. And, on one final note. It was not totally unexpected, but still a bit of surprise to end PBW the way I began, sharing a beer with Dane Wells. A distinguished (he was the one in a sports coat and tie, not acting like one of those fools I described earlier, in case there was any question) gentleman educated in the ways of good beer for many years, Dane, his wife, and a friend shared a Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel with me at Doobies at my very first stop on the PBW tour Friday the 6th. Here at Penn, we recapped the week and our impressions of the VIP session (he concurred, by the way) over a couple of Brooklyn beers. Hm, but would I have preferred the Real Ale Festival? We'll never know... @Fergie's for One Last Call for T.U.D. ---> The great thing about the Philadelphia Beer Region (the best kind of PBR, ha) is that Philly Beer Week never really ends. Every day and night around these here parts easily shows why this region is one of the country's best. But, after 10 solid days of selling, repping, talking, showing off, and traipsing around town, those who made Philly Beer Week happen all descended upon the most likely place to celebrate their success...Fergie's on Sansom Street. I heard at least a couple of brewers talk of 20-30 events that they each conducted during the 10 days. I conducted one of my own, attended at least a part of 30 others, and dropped in on 4 establishments while they were "off-event." To say that everyone needed a little unwind time on Sunday night might have been an understatement. Sleep could come later. Let's see what else can I share with you. I like to say that the T.U.D. is an event where cameras go away, notepads and memories should likewise be turned off and everyone relaxes outside the limelight of PBW. But, when folks like Ric Hoffman, Tom Kehoe, Mike Fava, Collin Flatt, Michelle Woods, and Fergie Carey are swinging the mic, well things like that is what YouTube is for. You can check out my stills or head over to this page for videos that are sure to delight. Ric, love the tenor. We reluctantly gave up our front-and-center parking spot just before 11pm. I can only imagine how much longer the antics inside continued. So, there you have it. Ten days of beer mischief and discoveries in Philadelphia. Did you think we could do it? Everyone was confident. That said, Philly Beer Week 2009 exceeded, I believe, everyone's expectations...even given its massive scope. The energy around the region was amazingly palpable. Now, for an encore...time to start planning for 2010. (Don't think these conversations haven't already begun.) Check back later this week for my one last wrap-up of PBW 2009 observations.


Hop Head said...

Thanks for the link. This one works a little better.


tom foley said...

Brian, totally agree about the lack of signage at ZA, though the rinse stations were a pleasant surprise; a far cry from the days when museum staff would take bottled water from you if you brought some, and there was none provided. As for the behavior at the VIP session, some people just love to hear themselves talk. Overall I enjoyed it, had several beers I've not had before, and the Hanssens was devine.

Steve said...

Wait, didn't I see you at the Real Ale?

Bryan Kolesar said...

Nope, Steve, unfortunately not

Bruce said...


Thanks for your comments about guest behavior in the Museum. Over the last two decades it has become Philadelphia's Temple of Beer for beer lovers, but if people don't know how to behave, we will wear out our welcome quickly.

Thanks for reminding everyone.