The call came at 7:45 pm. For weeks I had been exchanging emails with Steve about Beau's All Natural Brewing's move into the Kingston market and the prospect of another great Ontario made craft beer showing up in my favorite pubs as well as the LCBO. Being the man of mortgage as well as offspring, I have certain restrictions around my beer blogging so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to get to say hello and maybe get a short story. Well, that isn't how it turned out.
I arranged to meet Steve at the nearest LCBO to get some pictures of the delivery process. 8:00 comes and goes. 8:10. 8:20. Nuttin'. I'd seen this white van go by a few times until it roared into he parking lot at 8:25 pm. After a quick how do you do, I asked whether he was delivering to all the LCBOs and realized he had three stops in 35 minutes and a couple of miles of traveling to do. As a good beer fan, I had a job to do and that was guiding Steve though my city. We jip here and there, zigged and zagged in traffic and before you know it 18 cases of their new swing top bottles of kolsche were delivered just as the last shop was locking its doors. I got to watch Steve hunched over paperwork quite a bit. And chatting up those who were going to sell his brew.
After delivering to the new Iron Duke on Wellington - which carries growlers - humping them down some very challenging stairs followed another chat about beer with the manager, we retired to the Kingston Brew Pub where their beer is on tap for a pint and a good old chin wag. I asked a lot of questions about how they started up, their plans and how they deal with materials. Steve described some of the fluctuations which they have to deal with - I had no idea that spring water is richer in minerals in winter - but mainly we talked about liking beer. One thing I always wonder about is how folks who are expert and committed to brewing put up with the cranks. "Cranks" is a good word for beer nerds as its one of the words that was used in the 1800s for baseball fans before "fanatics" got shortened. Steve was far kinder than me - as all brewers are when the question is asked - pointing out that their job as craft brewers in eastern Ontario was best described by John Graham as missionary work. Interestingly, we moved from a discussion on the pleasures of beer in which I wondered how it is that some could voice so much unhappiness with a chosen hobby when the subject matter itself is a pleasure and on into other things: the provincial trade association, thoughts about Beau's philosophy of being a great regional brewer in touch with its customers, future plans.
Anyway, my night as a roadie was over before I knew it and Steve and the van were off into the night headed for his next destination. Energy and sleep deprivation and the zest that success brings seemed to be in the tank. I loaded up my growler of Beau's new seasonal, Bog Water, that I'll try for tomorrows next episode of The Session hosted over at Beer Activist where the theme is organic beer.