Well, as promised, when Haggery took us out to dinner a good time ensued. We all met up at his house and cracked into that deep beer cellar of his. We had a bunch of great beers, including some strange gueze and some La Folie from New Belgium. After that, Hags took us out to Bistro Bella Vita where we ate like madmen. We hit a few bars in Grand Rapids - the grand opening of The Meanwhile and Logan's Alley. After many, many beers we headed back to Jeff's house where we got a little out of hand. There isn't any one story that sticks out, but everyone got loose and we all woke up a little foggy. Anyway, things since then have been pretty busy - we have seen some beers really take off and have been trying to get it all out the door, but it's really up to the beer. For being our "slow season" I haven't seen it yet.
This weekend will be a whirlwind for us. Tomorrow we will have more work to do than any of us can fit into 8 hours, which should be interesting. At 6pm we have our awards ceremony at the pub for our Pilgrim's Dole GABF medal and from there Jacob and I head to Chicago for the Festival of Barrel aged beer. We have shown pretty well there in the past, so given the opportunity to be there in person, we had to make it happen. As it went, I said I would go, then convinced Jake after a few beers to trade Saturday shifts and come along with me. It turns out that he had made previous commitments to his girlfriend, which she was none too happy about. He's going to Chicago anyway. Now factor in that neither of us know our way around Chicago, neither of us has a great reputation for being responsible in situations involving large quantities of beer, and both of us are used to living in conservative Holland, Michigan. This should be interesting. I checked out some of the other breweries that are going to be there and am now more excited than ever. I hope our beer shows well, because it would say a lot to stand up to all those other breweries, but I'm really excited to see what other people have done with wood ageing and taste the fruits of their labor. It will be nice to see friends in the industry and be able to spend a weekend in Chicago. My main goals for the weekend are to get out of the Holland city limits, take some time to not think about all the things I have to get done inside the walls of NHBC (that will be the hardest part), and enjoy some great beers that I may not be able to find easily around home (this should be the easiest part).
I feel that I also must share with you that in the not too distant future the production/sales team is making a little outing to see the one and only David Allan Coe. Being a fan of the original long-haired redneck rock n roll son of the south himself, I'm pumped to get my hillbilly on.
Wish us luck this weekend - we'll need it - and we'll keep you posted