Saturday, January 24, 2009

Glory and the tacos

Just because your favorite team blew their last four games and missed the playoffs doesn't mean you can't enjoy the Super Bowl (Well maybe it does, but get over it). So reflect on past glories and enjoy the biggest game on its biggest stage. And do so with tacos. Find out how to make some at D.C. Foodies.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cheers, Mr. President

I think I'm going to rename this blog "Red-Headed Step Child."
It's been much too long since I posted any original content, so let me do a bit of catching up here.
The missus and I headed over to Peter Falk's place to watch the inauguration. His place off Pennsylvania Avenue got us close enough to experience the masses and then be able to retreat into the toasty warm comfort of the condo.
For the event, I picked up a few bottles of Avery's Ale to the Chief, a high gravity IPA the brewery initially whipped up during the primaries to "bid a fond farewell to our current Commander in Chief and welcome a new administration." When Obama won the election, Avery brewed an additional batch for a few bars and shops in D.C. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on four bottles thanks to my buddy Rob.
Back in October, I attended my first investors' party for a start-up brewery in Durham, North Carolina. It was quite an event and I learned many things like:
  • How not to run an investor's party.
  • How to dissuade people from investing in a brewery.
  • What raw dough tastes like.
The list goes on and on. Some time ago, I got wind of the fact that the guy behind North Carolina's successful Pop the Cap movement, Sean Wilson, was launching a brewery and looking for investors. Well, hot damn. The missus and I had a couple nickels to rub together and thought Wilson's Fullsteam brewery and brewpub would be a good investment.
After all, the guy was well connected in the North Carolina beer scene, had an MBA from Duke and seemed pretty damn affable in all his communications with us.
In person, however, Wilson proved curt, defensive and unable to discuss his project in any detail. My questions about his plans twice resulted in him questioning whether I actually planned to invest in his pub and brewery. The investors' party was mostly his friends and acquaintances. And the bullies (meat-stuffed pastries Wilson plans to serve in his brewpub) were cold and undercooked.
Oh, and the beers were mediocre at best. At best. The best thing about the event was the tap box Wilson's brewer Chris hand built.

So no, Mr. Wilson, I do not plan to invest.
A couple weeks later, the missus and I joined Falk and his missus at their beach condo in Ocean City, Md., for Thanksgiving. While there, we paid a visit to the Dogfish Head brewery in nearby Milton, Del.

Man, what a difference. Sam Calagione launched Dogfish Head initially as a brewpub in Rehoboth Beach. Eventually, Calagione made enough money through the brewpub to launch the brewery -- a path Wilson hopes to follow in Durham.
However, Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats in Rehoboth Beach serves a full menu (Wilson plans to serve only bullies) and the beer is quality.
Does this mean Fullsteam will flop? I don't know. I wish Mr. Wilson and his investors all the luck in the world. It's just that I won't be a part of his endeavor.
As an aside, The New Yorker wrote a great article about Calagione and the craft beer scene in America. It's a long article, but well worth your time.