Last weekend, June 14th, we where honored to be serving our beer at The Beer Project at The Museum of Fine Arts in DTSP.

It was a wonderful day, and we had a great time... but as any such events go, it came pre-packaged with plenty of interesting drama. But in the midst of all of that drama, something interesting and unexpected began to unfold. But to understand how it all begins to unfold, we have to step back in time. So come along on a quick trip with me, where we will ultimately return to this event...

Some months back, as life ebbed and flowed, we found ourselves in a bit of a pattern where things would go great for a while, and then something crappy would sneak up on us. It happened so consistently over a span of a few weeks, we coined a phrase to describe it... the 7th Day Apocalypse. As soon as the phrase existed, I knew it was a great name for a beer. And to make the beer reflect the meaning behind the phrase, I decided it should be something really sweet and yummy in the beginning, but then with a deep bitter finish. A Belgian IPA seemed to be just the thing.

Now I have never made a Belgian IPA, and I have not liked most of the ones I have tried... just to much goin on in the glass. So this was virgin territory for me... but I did my homework, designed what I thought was a winner, and brewed away. The result was, IMHO, very interesting, but not quite what I was shooting for... I obviously had some tweaking to do. However, it was good, and so we included it in our selection for The Beer Project.

The week leading up to the event was frantic... last minute personal commitments to FINALLY get this web site officially up and running, concurrent with the date of the event... last minute changes to our logo design with the new phoenix, which required modifications to all the pages and lots of graphics work... last minute decisions to try and make our table look better with a banner and placards...last minute decisions to make t-shirts... all taking time and attention. But it was all very exciting, and exhilarating, and fun. (Do you see the setup already? )

So we rolled into the morning of the event tired, slightly disorganized, still unsure of many details, and determined to have fun. Now, one of the many events during the week of The Beer Project was a home brewer competition, and of course we had a beer entered. So, it should not have been any big deal when, as we were packing and running around like mad, Sandy asked me "Hey, you did drop the beer off last week for the competition, right?"

I hear the horseman approaching...

Needless to say, we did not win a medal. And traffic sucked, so we were a little late... but that's okay, it gave me plenty of time to stew about forgetting to drop off the beer. And then as we were setting up, I realized I had forgotten to get a bottle opener... for a home brew tasting event... oh yeah, this was going real well.

Many other minor inconveniences later, I was ready to just start drinking all of my own beer. But then the patrons began arriving... and people started tasting our beer... and over the next few hours, and many wonderful conversations, an amazing thing happened... 7th Day Apocalypse became the favorite beer at our table, by far. It was like the mornings events were the horseman's way of announcing his debut, but in a very unexpected way. In conversation after conversation, with other brewers, other enthusiasts, and just folk there to enjoy an interesting day at the museum, we got great, constructive feedback, about the taste, the balance, the yeast we used, the malts, the hops... everyone contributed, and I came out of the day humbled... a reminder that my personal opinion and tastes are not always the best judge of what is good or not.

I also got what may be the best compliment I have ever received on my beers. Nikki Caro, a rep with Brown Distributing, was there, and came by the table to try our stuff and chat for a bit. When she tried 7th Day Apocalypse, she was very complimentary, and at one point said "Three Philosophers (from Ommegang Brewery) was the beer that changed my life, but this is really good" Wow... someone complimented my beer, in the same sentence with Three Philosophers... I consider that very high praise.

We will brew this again. I will not change it like I had planned. I will take the horseman's lessons, and the memory of this wonderful event and this great day, and I will be reminded of them every time I drink this beer.

This is a wonderful hobby we all share... we learn many lessons, we get to meet so many creative and friendly people, and let's face it, drinking all this beer is not the worst thing that could happen to you. And kudos and many thanks to The Museum of Fine Arts for putting on The Beer Project... it was a different kind of beer event, and got us in front of a different kind of audience. Everyone benefited... I hope they do it again next year.

The horseman will ride again...