While snowed in at home on a Saturday night, I actually have some time to write down a few thoughts.
#1. Buying a 12-pack of Sierra Nevada Celebration was the best beer decision I’ve made in a long time
My home home in Grafton is only a short drive away from beer superstore, Julio’s Liquors, so I made a Christmas Eve trip there. I usually opt for the make-your-own-six pack, as they have a great selection, and then pick up a few bombers or 750s. I was in the mood for hops, so was thinking about grabbing a few different IPAs, but realized all I really wanted was Celebration. They only had 12-packs though and I would be the only drinking beer, so I was gonna pass, but then…went for it and was so glad I did. I drank it all vacation, each bottle as good as the last.
I also couldn’t remember when the last time was that I had drank two of the same beers in a row, which made me think of Stan Hieronymus’s excellent post.
I did also pick up Ipswich’s 5 Mile Rye Saison, and drank it with Christmas Eve dinner. The last time I tried it was straight from the fermenter. It was excellent then and even better from the bottle–definitely recommend picking it up.
#2. People, people, people
I had some time to think on Christmas Day while driving so I was thinking about the past year/two years that I’ve been involved in the beer community and felt an overwhelming gratefulness for all of the good people I have met through it. I know it’s an oft-repeated sentiment, but I was feeling especially reflective and thankful for all of the good friends I have made. I remember telling my best friend about a year and a half ago about the beer community and saying, “I think I have found my people.” I was right. So thanks to all of you.
#3. The experience, too
I finally made it out to visit Tree House Brewing Co. in Brimfield, Mass., and am so glad I did. It might take the cake for coziest, most welcoming brewery ever, as it’s located in a small barn overlooking beautiful mountains. They had a wood stove going, records playing, knick-knacks, like an old tricycle, hung up on the wall, and plates of Portuguese sweet bread and bowls of peanuts and pistachios laid out for snacking. More than that though, everyone, from the women filling the growlers to the head brewer, co-owner, and designer wandering around, were so incredibly friendly and eager to talk about the beer and the brewery.
They said that last weekend over 100 people stopped by for growler hours and packed into the small brewery for a Christmas beer pickup. I think that’s splendid. Whereas before these people probably would have been making a quick trip to a store to pick up some beer (um, like I did…), they instead made the effort to go to a local brewery, meet some people, check up on the brewery’s progress, and get some super fresh beer. The point being: Beer’s also all about the experiences and it’s great to see a brewery create that kind of environment where people will drive to the middle of nowhere to get great beer. To have a place like this where people can visit and talk about beer, and meet the people who made it it totally changes how people think about what they’re drinking.
Also a big congratulations to them on their new 5-barrel system. Looking forward to seeing more of their beer around and available on draft. Make sure to read more about Tree House Brewing here.
Hoppy holidays y’all.