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THE BREWHOLDER: Craft beer memories relived: What is your Groundhog Day?

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COLUMN WRITTEN BY MATT BRASCH
For Digital First Media

In the 1993 film “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray, an arrogant news reporter is caught in a time loop while covering the annual Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, forced to relive the day over and over again. As Groundhog Day 2017 approaches, we asked members of the craft beer industry, “If you were stuck in a Groundhog Day time loop, what day of your life (beer related, of course!) would you relive over and over again?”
Bill Covaleski, Founder and Brewmaster, Victory Brewing Company
“Years ago Greg Koch (Stone Brewing) had invited Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) and I to participate in a big way in the opening of Stone Berlin, with a special version of our ‘Saison du BUFF’ to be brewed there. Time went by and the day arrived, September 20, 2016. I walked to Sam’s hotel and there he was, with bikes for us to make the 45-minute trek. Greg rolled up at our arranged meeting point, Brandenburg Gate, a historic spot indeed. I have to admit, the importance of this American craft beer flag that Stone had so boldly planted in Germany was thrilling to me, a student of German brewing school (Doemens,1993) whose earliest flavorful beers were German imports.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL COVALESKI Sam Calagione, Greg Koch, and Bill Covaleski say "Prost" in the new Stone Brewing Berlin Brewpub in September, 2016.

PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL COVALESKI
Sam Calagione, Greg Koch, and Bill Covaleski say “Prost” in the new Stone Brewing Berlin Brewpub in September, 2016.

“We were joined that day by friends and guests from the U.K. and America and eventually got to work sorting the rosemary, sage, lemon thyme and parsley that make this winning collaboration beer so delicious. The staff were wide-eyed as well, only one week into the brewpub’s operation. All around was a sense of promise, and risk; an intoxicating combination that we entrepreneurs can’t get enough of. The day culminated with a magnificent beer dinner in which a commemorative boot of ‘Saison du BUFF’ was passed around and enjoyed by each dinner guest in a somewhat irreverent take on a highly codified German beer drinking tradition.”
Julius Facenda, Bar Manager, The Brick & Barrel
“When I started working at Iron Abbey, I had a lot of friends that were judgmental to the craft beer scene — it was too fancy for them. I was getting into it because we had 36 lines on draft and 300 bottles at the Abbey — so I was tasting 40 different liquids every day — sour, hoppy, imperial stout, all this crazy stuff. Our boss planned a bus trip to Sly Fox Bock Fest and I brought some of my non-craft friends. As we pulled up to Sly Fox it was amazing — there were about 1,000 people in the parking lot and other busses from bars all over the region! When we got off the bus, the first interaction we had was with a bunch of goats — for the traditional goat races — who were just standing around with no one watching them; one came up to me and head butted my leg! My friends started laughing and it was the beginning of a great day! It was an amazing time — and it wasn’t just all about craft beer. It was more about the camaraderie between my friends and the Bock fest being a traditional German festival. It was such a cool event because it brought non-craft beer drinkers to the real craft beer world.”
Daniel Endicott, Owner and Brewer, Forest & Main Brewing Company
“In January of 2009 I traveled to England to study brewing at the University of Sunderland. After a long overnight flight and a day of exhausting traveling I arrived in York, where I would spend a few days before classes began. After a quick nap I set out to enjoy the history and beauty of York. I wound up in the Minister Inn, a little bar that makes our bar look enormous. Over pints of bitter I made friends with the locals and watched the inauguration of Barack Obama. It was a momentous time, both for my country and myself. It was a night full of optimism, joy, and pride… and some of the best beer I’d ever had. I returned to the Minister Inn the next night and enjoyed more pints with my new friends, it was one of the most welcoming pubs I’ve ever set foot in. If I could relive one beer related day of my life I think I would choose that one.”
John Remington, Founder, Conshohocken Brewing Company
“This is an easy question for me! May 2016 — when we won the Silver at the World Beer Cup right here in our backyard in Philadelphia for our ‘Puddlers Row ESB.’ It was amazing to win at the world level, but to do it in Philadelphia made it that much more special to us. The festivities afterward got a bit hazy after hitting several of our favorite Philly local spots into the early morning. Definitely worth reliving a few times!”
Jim Carter, Owner, Ambler Beverage Exchange
“The one day I could relive over and over is when I went to Monks Cafe for the first time. In fact, I could live with doing that for the rest of life! The beers that I had were unbelievable …each one was better than the next. The food was spot on and the atmosphere was perfect…I would do it everyday if I could!”
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As Covaleski said, “This is a great question that everyone should answer because, hopefully, it rewards a person with a backwards winding movie of all of the moments of their lives in which they experienced great fulfillment.” And truly, the question helps one recognize the real value of beer; it should not just be a liquid consumed in a vacuum, but a vital part of a social experience that becomes inexorably intertwined with our life experiences. Cheers! Get more detail on these stories on www.thebrewholder.com.

Columnist Matt Brasch is a beer enthusiast and a lifelong Montgomery County resident. For more, go to http://thebrewholder.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at “The Brewholder.”

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