Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where I've been and What's Happening, sort of

My recent duties around The Brew Lounge have been shirked a bit, without much good excuse except that of how "hectic" life has been. The addition of writing a column over at The Washington Times has added some load as well, but basically all facets of life have lately been full for me. This has led even--gulp--to the near non-existence of any physical activity, including my beloved running program. As such, here addeth the 15-20 pounds since this past springg. Things must change...and soon, they will. But, until then... If you haven't stopped by After Hours over at The Washington Times in its Communities section, it may be something you'd like to do. You may not have noticed that there are now 9 articles over there with the promise of a handful more in October. It's still a schedule, and content for that matter, that I'm working on routinizing to the point that it doesn't create undue or debilitating stress and work. Plus, there's the Exton Beverage Center's newsletter, or shall I say Brewsletter. You can catch up on some of the archived material over there via this link. Greg Ramirez and the crew just celebrated their 36th anniversary last weekend with a Customer Appreciation Day. While I certainly have not been on the breaking edge of news lately, there are two events that caught my eye that I haven't shared with you. They both involve closures. First, for anyone living in or visiting Texas, Fort Worth's award-winning brewpub, The Covey, closed this month. It has been seven years since I've been to Fort Worth and, with all of my trips to the Dallas area, had been looking forward to finally carving out some time to make the short trip over to Fort Worth to visit these guys. The Covey strung together an almost five year history of creating award-winning beers, both at GABF and WBC (an '08 WBC gold, two '09 GABF silvers, a '10 WBC silver, and a '10 GABF bronze). They haven't cited any specific cause for closure other than to note that brewer/Owner Jamie Fulton is taking his talents to Washington, DC to help get a new project, currently called Farmers and Brewers, off the ground. Closer to home, the long-churning rumor mill finally came to a stop when Chris Leonard announced on his blog that they were finally closing shop on the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery as we've come to know and love it over the past 14 years. Well, many of 'we' at least, but not enough to keep the lights on. My interactions with Chris Leonard, his restaurant, and his beer have always been at least above average...particularly with regard to my fondness for hunkering down in the cozy pub and drinking of the Chocolate Thunder porter. But, a poor economy, in addition to some persistent market dissatisfaction in recent years with inconsistent food and service, has forced Chris to re-examine the future. The good news is that Chris will continue brewing and former assistant brewer Russ Czajka will be involved as well--as owner--in the new venture, which will be called Copper Crow Beer Company. Here, they will concentrate solely on brewing, which includes plans for significant growth in the local market. That should make fans of Leonard's and Czajka's beers happy for the foreseeable future. For all of the details, check out Chris' blog and/or Jack Curtin's additional thoughts.

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