Sunday, December 31, 2006

meeting the Messiah

before the concert began
My mother and I saw the Messiah at the Kennedy Center on Christmas Eve. Well, we didn't quite see HIM, but we did hear the oratorio G.F. Handel composed in his honor.

Neither Mom nor I had ever seen Messiah performed before. A smaller group of National Symphony performers (utilizing both modern and period instruments), conducted by Kenneth Slowack, and the (National)Cathedral Choral Society created a concert of intimate proportions (as if that were possible in the Kennedy Center). Glorious! Glorious!

"Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low: the crooked straight, and the rough places plain."

May love and health find you - and remain with you - in 2007. Laimingu Nauju Metu. (That's "Happy New Year" in Lithuanian.)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cask ale, and why we love it

I attended a cask ale seminar in the mid 90s where that 'other beer guy', Roger Protz, gave a talk on cask ale. He began, "Cask ale is not a matter of life and death. It's of much more significance!"

From The OED: "Cask ale is beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide."

More on cask ale
[ update: 2007 Protz lecture ]

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hard Times in Winter

Several of the Hard Times Cafes (chili restaurants and cue clubs) in our area hold annual Winter Beer Tastings. This year, in my territory, these were in Bethesda Maryland and Woodbridge Virginia. The format is unique. The representatives for the breweries, or from distributors of the beers, describe the beers to the participants. Only then are all the beers (usually 10) brought out in 4 ounce glasses, at which point the participants attempt to correctly identify each beer. Merry mayhem ensues .. and it's the reps who usually fare the poorest!

Thanks to Greg at the Bethesda Hard Times Cafe and to Randy at the Woodbridge location for the support they have shown me and Clipper City Brewing Company. Pictured with me in the photo are the reps for Sierra Nevada Brewing (l) Company and Old Dominion Brewery.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Beer, where wine lives

I normally don't mention my in-store demonstrations, if only because they, while crucial to my business, are an EVERY weekend and often, mid-week thing. Simply put, I pour small samples of Clipper City beers for customers.

But quotidian they may be in their regularity, they are a crucial part of marketing our brand name. Craft breweries such as Clipper City have nowhere even remotely near the marketing and advertising budgets of the international, national, and regional brands.

I'll mention today's tasting at Balducci's in McLean Virginia if only because I was the sole beer vendor among many wine vendors recommending pairings for the Christmas table. Thank you to manager Genevelyn Steele and to her predecessor Paul Everitt who had originally planned the event. (Other stores throughout my territory have had me in under similar circumstances ... and I thank them as well!)

It's odd how many wine connoisseurs are ignorant of the simple elegance that beer can bring to the food table in addition to its more heralded insouciance. But today, some oenophiles were converted into beer appreciators!

And I saw several friends-in-beer, as if one beverage necessarily excluded the other (which of course, it should not). If only one, I'll mention Fred, who is not only a wine buff, but an enthusiast for good beer and a partisan for Clipper City.

Atlanta Beer and Cheese

It was three evenings of Beer and Cheese Tastings organized and conducted by Andy Klubock, a demiurge of the Atlanta Georgia beer scene, at his Summits Wayside Taverns. 14 winter beers and 14 cheeses. More photos.

Klubock was here!