by Otis Bradley
Carter colluded with IPA Master Todd Slater to get me the GREEN band – NOT the coveted ORANGE VIP band, proudly displayed by Andy and James, for the Brewing Network smashdown. The Wednesday eve opener for the AHA 2015. Fortunately Jedi mind tricks and walking backward, I followed the Craft Beer Royalty. The coveted “Beer Geek” t shirt and swag bag was mine.
First stop in the door – NOT an ale but a MEAD. Not just a Mead but one aged in Utopias (Sam Adams annual 29% brew) barrels. Imagine that ! Yes kind of a liquid love juice and the perfect assault on the taste buds to start the evening. Moonlight Meadery – from New Hampshire.
My newly acquired VIP status granted an hour early entry – good thing cause the place was already jamming. VIBE members – Doug, Kirk, Jeff, James and myself duly represented the club and cleverly partied hard so we’d be prepared for three additional days of beer drinking. A “pro” event (Cali law doesn’t like mixing homebrew with pro brew !) all the best of the San Diego area breweries including Stone, Pizza Port, Lost Abbey, Green Flash, Alesmith, Coronado and many more served up their finest. I guess about 50 fine breweries serving everything you could imagine. The Rare Barrel had the longest lines for their latest sours. Tasty McDole’s “Tasting Room” was also hugely popular, and yes, Tasty was there. So was Mitch Steele of Stone, Gordon Strong, lots of BJCP master judges, brewery owners and homebrew mucky mucks.
The Broadway Pier jutting into San Diego Bay sports an aircraft carrier on one side (a real one with wing folding jets and full nuclear weapons) – San Diego airport to the North – sail boats – and downtown 2 blocks east with the Amtrak stop right in the middle of everything. An awesome train beer trip.
Justin, Push and the BN crew worked the 10th anniversary of the Brewing Network. Band one outside in the drizzling rain – smoked some serious blues. BB King was watching over us. Some crazy band dressed in kind of bloody skeletons worked the inside and as darkness fell Justin took over the stage, throwing down some serious rock n roll. Mitch Steele also joined the stage sporting his beautiful green, double cut away Heritage hallow body.
At some point between sample 32 and 54, my coveted BN Beer Geek, t shirt ended up in the bay. Staring down into the shimmering black waters amongst the wooden piers, could I make it? Could I shimmy down – make the grab – make it back up 15 feet in a Spiderman like fashion ? My head swerved and spun – YES I CAN. Then I woke – ready for day one – American Homebrewers Association.