Attending the CBC (Craft Brewers Convention) for me is always a paradox – so many beer appreciators to share the joy with – but so few that I recognize. Being in the craft beer “enthusiast” business for more than 10 years has allowed me to meet hundreds of brewers, beer writers, industry members and hangers on – but hundreds isn’t much in a group of 6500!
Then again, I did meet some new folks like Brendan Moylan of Moylan’s Brewing – of “Hopsickle” fame. I had visited his brewpub just north of San Francisco a couple of years ago. I found him scarfing down a sandwich at the dining area – and had to introduce myself – as he was once the boss of my friend Brendan Goggin – now manager of the Oakmont Pub.
Brendan (Moylan) told me that he would never have predicted it, but now he’s going to “open a fucking beer factory” (production brewery) because “now’s the time, I have to do it, and I want to do it. I need all the cool toys the production brewers have. I need to be able to ship my beer and ensure better quality no matter where it goes. So now I’ll be pimping for tap handles and giving away free kegs like all those other guys”.
Like many who have been in the industry for many years, Brendan likes to speak his mind and tell stories. He related meeting Greg Koch of Stone for the first time “he stuck his hand out and I said to him ‘who the fuck are you’?” He also remembered Brendan Goggin – though it was more than 20 years ago – telling me “that little bastard tricked me into letting him tend bar at my place before he was 21 – I didn’t know it. Ask him for me if he’s 21 yet”.
One of my favorite “beer characters” is Jeremy Cowan of Shmaltz (the makers of He’brew amongst other great beers). I have met him a few times at events and he is always willing to talk – and usually pretty humorous. He was at the CBC to speak at a session as well do a book signing of his story of the creation and eventual success of Shmaltz – “Beer Bar Mitzvah”. When I mentioned that I was surprised that he had included so many personal details of crazed partying and “non-traditional social behavior” – he said: “Yeah, I probably went a little far with that – but you know what’s funny? When you tell them you run a brewery, it’s all OK. You can get away with anything – it’s expected!”
Not that the Philly folks weren’t there – during the three day event I met up with Jean Broillet IV and Colin McFadden of Tired Hands, Frank Winslow and Tom Kehoe of Yards, Brian O’Reilly of Sly Fox and of the Philly area craft beer cognizanti – Tom Peters (Monks Cafe, etc.), Matt Guyer (the Beer Yard) and Matt Falco of the Philly Beer Scene. At one point a bunch of ended up together in the back patio of the RFD (a great beer bar in Chinatown area of DC). It was almost as good as being in Philly – I was at home with beer appreciators no matter where I was.