Saturday, October 06, 2007

Carolina Rainmaker

Two years ago, I participated in the October World Beer Festival in Durham, North Carolina, in order to find a North Carolina distributor for Clipper City Brewing Company. We were soaked by the the slow-moving remnants of a hurricane that day. Mud, mud, mud, everywhere.

Last year, Clipper City again participated because we had only just signed on with a NC distributor: Tryon. Downpours accompanied a quick shift from temperatures in the 80s to the 40s. (Wasn't dressed for that!)

And this year, driving down yesterday, I again encountered intermittent periods of heavy rain. Today the prediction is for a few isolated thunderstorms. High 84F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%, and currently 96% humidity.

Rainmaker may be my WBF sideline ... and that's a good tool for the drought-ridden East.

Now, back to beer news! [UPDATE 2007.10.07: photos were taken during the fest and posted today. More photos here.]

Late Friday afternoon, I delivered my casks of Winter Storm to the festival, on the grounds of the historic old Bull Durham ballpark. I wanted the firkins a day to recover from the road shock. Then Steve Frank and I drove over to the brewers' reception at Tyler's Taproom, a multi-tap restaurant/cue club across from the new Bull Durham ballpark, just off of Jackie Robinson Drive. (Steve Frank was my table volunteer for the festival. He's one-half of the beer writing team, the Brews Brothers.)

There we caught up with a lot of beer acquaintances, and made new ones.

Beer writer Lew Bryson had driven from Pennsylavania to Durham. One of his missions was to discover good barbeque. He announced that he had already been successful, enjoying good barbeque earlier that day, served family style. "I'm still recovering," he said, patting his stomach.

I chatted with Dustin from Terrapin Brewing in Athens, Georgia (where I had just been a week earlier): the brewery is in the inspections approval stage. He looks for an opening date a couple of months hence.

I sampled an interesting dark Belgian-esque beer from Big Boss Brewery of Raleigh called Surrender Monkey. Love those names! I searched out the big boss of Big Boss Brewing Company, Geoff Lamb. He and I discussed the relative merits of brewers' guilds. Maryland has an active such organization (Brewers Association of Maryland); North Carolina has none.

Harry Wannemacher of Sierra Nevada stopped by and talked at length about the industry with Steve Frank and me.

It's Saturday morning now. Coffee, bagel, and then off to the old Bull Durham B allpark to set things up. The festival begins at noon and runs in two sessions until 10PM.
Photo above is from 9:45 pm, when the last cask from the Pop the Cap tent was paraded about, and final pours offered to festival goers.

More photos: here.

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