(March 21st, 2009) This morning under a confused overcast sky I stood along with what I would equate to an initial crowd of approximately fifty (50) standing outside of the metal and wooden door to Brouwer's Cafe for another taste of Hard Liver Barleywine Fest'. The usual suspects were as always near the start of the line while I was only some ten feet away, waiting in anticipation to try some of the rare and the inexpensive beers being offered inside. Occasional appearances were made by the judges as they peeked through the glass of the second floor area taking photos and waving, only frustrating people like myself knowing we had to wait a few more minutes.
As the door swung open IDs were checked and in a mad dash we ran to all corners of the bar, the floor and upstairs for a seat with a suitable surface to hold many snifters to come. Since today was a bit of a fifty-fifty day (where I spent the other half with my supportive wife) I focused on some of those that I predicted wouldn't be around for long. I started with the Skagit River Shiver Me Liver, Firestone Walker Abacus, Lost Abbey Angel's Share, & finally the Silver City Old Scrooge. To my delight none of them disappointed, in between the light and smooth mouth of the Skagit River and the dense but palatable Firestone Walker.
A short time into the event I had to grab something to eat so I parched myself on a Roast Beef Panini with what I believe was a cup of Cream of Asparagus soup. Looking at the clock I had to take off for a stroll around the nearby zoo before possibly heading home or making a second trip into the bar for some more "samples" (3oz at $2).
In the end I would qualify my visit as successful mostly in part because as predicted the Lost Abbey Angel's Share barely cleared the one hour and thirty minute mark before being declared dead. My thanks to Ian, Matt Bonney, Matt (bartender), and the rest of the crew for their hospitality and efficient way of not only managing the number of people inside but also doing their best to keep everyone's curiosity, and livers satisfied till next year.