This week, for the first time in two years, we drank beer.
Well, technically, it wasn't really our first beer in two years if you want to quibble about the finer points of what's a beer, what was in my glass, etc., but you are really getting off track.
The point is that those of us at the brewery had a chance to FINALLY drink our OWN beer. Now, don't get me wrong. There are a lot of great beers out there, but seriously, there isn't anything like getting drink your own beer. That's why homebrewers do it and that's why there are approximately nine nano-breweries or micro-breweries opening in the United States every minute of every day. (Quick fact check. That last statement may not be true.)
We were in the sad position of having to dismantle our brewery 28 months ago. It sat in storage in a couple of different places as we worked through the possibilities before finally finding the right home for it and moving ahead with constructing and permitting our new brewery. Even after equipment was in place, we had more weeks of waiting while all of the necessary pieces, parts, permits and process was wrapped up. And then, finally, we brewed. But those of you familiar with brewing know, that is just another moment to wait. You get to anticipate, you get to sample wort and pre-conditioned or pre-carbonated, but it isn't the same thing as the day when you finally get pour that first draft beer into a glass and enjoy that wonderful elixer.
For us, that day came Tuesday of this week. We kegged our very first brew, Girlfriend Golden Ale, and then kegged our second creation, River City Red.
(Somewhat interesting side-note - we brewed the Girlfriend Golden Ale first because as a lighter beer, it has a lower "grain bill," meaning that the total number of pounds of grain going in is lower. We didn't know whether we would run into problems, so we decided that if we had to throw away an entire batch of grain or batch of beer or whatever, we would start with something less painful to toss. As it turns out, it went marvelously well and we couldn't be happier with the beer.)
And, we shared samples of that beer at the introduction party for Spokane Restaurant Week. The response was very gratifying with people having great comments and just generally enjoying the beer. We had lots of compliments on the River City Red, but the Girlfriend Golden Ale also elicited many funny comments, like, "I'd like a Girlfriend, but don't tell my wife" or "I've been looking for a great Girlfriend for years." The best comment, though, was from a Chef at a local place that is known far and wide for both their food and their beer who said after a couple of samples of it, "It tastes like a biscuit with honey on it." I would not have thought about it that way before he said it (and will be looking forward to trying it again to look for that), but what meant the most to me was that he had really thought about the beer, really tasted it and he was enjoying it.
After all the time, all the money, all the hard work, all the waiting - that is what actually makes it all worthwhile. Because it's not just drinking your own beer that is so great, it's sharing your own beer that is so great.