Archive | August, 2010

Beer School Round 1

31 Aug

Almost a year ago, I began constructing an education program designed to teach people how integral beer is in our history, our culture, and our community.  After much deliberating, reconstructing, and procrastinating, I finally settled on a program that condensed the plethora of beer information available into three sessions during which the participants would taste 35 different styles of beer. With my ideas finally hammered out into a set plan I was ready to get the ball rolling. I picked a day to kick it off, waited on the owners of the Brickskeller to get it up on the website, and promoted it on my own via this website, Facebook, and other social media at my fingertips. From there I could only hope I was getting the word out and people would come.

With the classes slated to start the second week of July, they actually coincided with my 5 year anniversary at the Brickskeller. Unintentional but a happy coincidence. What better way to mark 5 years of service to DC beer than to bring my passion to the community through my Brickskeller Beer School (BBS)? The weekend before I began BBS, there were probably about 10 people signed up for each day. I was shooting for 15 but for the first time around I would have no complaints if it were to be on the small side. I was definitely nervous about the first go round of BBS. I talk to people about beer all weekend long, but I’ve never done it in a structured setting. Details and the overall process would probably need to be tweaked; I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to say, and that I would lose people’s interest along the way. I was stressed, but if working in a restaurant over the past 5 years taught me anything… always be prepared for the worst. You never know what a night will bring you or who will be walking through that door. You got to anticipate every need and be set up to the fullest in order to meet those needs.

Now lets talk about the week BBS began. With the number of people signed up, I had the beer ready to go, I had my co-facilitators ready to go, I hopefully had my head and info ready to go. So I just needed to take a big breath and jump in. The Monday I kicked it off. I got a phone call from Joe who works for, a great resource for what’s going on in your city. He wanted to get the info and let everyone know what was up who follows Thrillist. Let just say that the number of people signed up for the classes soared. The next day after Thrillist posted the details, I had over 30 people show up. I little more than I wanted to have in each class but I can’t deny people who have a passion to learn about beer.

Overall, about a hundred people signed up for BBS in July, I would have to say that’s not a bad start at all. Some came to all three, others signed up here and there as it fit their schedule. Hopefully they’ll be interested in making up the classes they missed when I continue BBS in September. I want to thank everyone who came out and I hope you all enjoyed it while learning something new. I enjoyed sharing my passion with you. I enjoyed having Alex Winnett and Dorlyn Catron beside me to help facilitate the learning process. I enjoyed making everyone taste the sour intensity of the Lindemans Cuvee Rene Belgian Gueuze and hearing everyone’s reactions. “Do people drink this on purpose” one of you asked. Yes they do! But trust me not everyone likes it, not at first… just give it time. But beer is 99.9% subjective. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Another favorite highlight of BBS was to hear the passion coming from you all at the end. Talking about creating a beer tasting/dinner for your friends with your newfound knowledge and asking for classes related to more specific aspects of beer.  I guess I hit a nerve after all.

So come be inspired the next time around. Starting September 13th. Learn why beer is down-to-earth, culturally/historically important and overall the best alcoholic beverage out there. Although I am biased and your entitled to your own opinion. But hopefully I can convince you otherwise.


Wish you were on a Island? So do we…

7 Aug

A day late and a few hops short… Today’s 5 beers come from my fellow Brickskeller Beer Slinger, Alex. Starting from number 5 and moving downward, here are his picks to enjoy on a deserted island.

Photo Credit: Bernt Rostad CC

5. Cantillion Lou Pepe

  • An amazingly tart and refreshing Lambic from some folks who do it the best. Lou Pepe is a Belgian Lambic blended to resemble French wine… The Best of both worlds.

Photo Credit: @joefoodie CC

4. Bear Republic Racer 5

  • An outstanding example of a West Coast IPA. Dripping with resinous hops, it some how resembles tropical fruit punch.

3. Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout

Photo Credit: jeremydeades CC

  • This stout is silky smooth and rich with chocolate, smoke and rawhide. Very few stouts can stand up to the complexity of this one.

2. Ommegang Witte

  • A very mature and refreshing wheat ale from one of the best breweries making Belgian Styles this side of the Atlantic. Try this one and you’ll never think about Blue Moon again.

1. O’Hara’s Irish Red

  • I (Alex) lived on an island once: Ireland. And while Guinness is Ireland’s most well know beer, it doesn’t hold a candle to O’Hara’s. Slightly salty and fresh tobacco makes me long for the Antrim Coast.

Want to know more about what Alex likes to drink!! Check him out at