Emp-Bro Column for June

Another meeting you should be sorry you missed!

Am I a great Emperor or what? Long serving/suffering, self sacrificing, capable of providing ample entertainment and amusement to all concerned, all while making it look easy! All too easy I guess...

The May meeting was yet another triumph of my organizational abilities and hospitality talents. This is very easy to do when the meeting is at your house, especially when the weather is as wonderful as it was. Not a cloud in the sky, temperature comfortably into the shorts and t-shirt range. I'd even contracted with the mosquitos to delay their arrival at the party until late in the evening. Sure, there was the problem with everybody else showing up late too! For that, I must castigate the delinquent Scribe-Bro, Former Brewer of the Month, for not printing out my excessive verbiage (or the directions to the meeting site) in that month's newsletter. There was no way to let people know that there would be a great Hot Dog barbecue and Bonfire Extravaganza taking place, or that it would begin earlier than the traditional meeting time. I mean, if you're gonna provide food, like in a dinner, perhaps you would want to have it start earlier, like say, at dinner time?

So there I was, having promoted the evening to start around five, and all that showed up were four refugee members of the South Sound Suds Society, and their pet Geobock. (I thought that it was more fodder for the grill grille, but it was a mascot. Don't let the Impaling Alers find out about it. Just remember poor Spuds and the pike on which he's impaled on...) There was also the problem of lack o' suds. When the Sudzers called and asked if they could come up (while asking for directions), they asked if they could bring something for us to drink. After all, wasn't there a Larry's nearby? Well, first I had to ascertain that they were talking about a Larry's Market, not Larry's Warehouse and Brewing Supply. Having settled that argument, I informed them that no, there was no Larry's Market nearby. However, I did tell them that I'd always wanted to stop off at the store south of Auburn (formerly known as Slaughterville) whose sign, visible from the freeway, mentioned having over 300 beers available, and that they could stop in and find something appropriate. Well, stop in they did, and their disappointment carried over into the meeting. It turns out that the sign was old, and while maybe they had over 300 beers available, that translated into fifty six-packs of Budweiser, Coors, and Miller. Having decided to skip on the "How 'bout a good 'ole Macrobrew?" hype, they hit the road towards my house, failing in their most important mission. So there we were. One Brews Brother, and four Sudzers. I was definitely outnumbered. I was also definitely under-brewed. I had put stuff in my 'fridge with the idea that it would be drawn upon to serve as a highlight, an under tone, an augmentation to the evening's festivities. Ha! There were five thirsty beer beeks there, and I had to come up with something. So we started in on the dark beer from the Really Big Brew whose existence they had read about in the Brews News. Then we hit on the cider from last fall's pressings, something they had also read about in the BN. Then another person showed up. However, it wasn't another member to help me out on the beach volleyball game that we kept trying to get up. It was the present Vice-Overlord of the Impaling Alers, and the only beer he had brought was for the bock tasting that was to take place later, much later, in the evening. I was doomed, and even more outnumbered than before!

Soon, hunger set in, and conversations had to be raised in decibelic level to be heard over the growling bellies. I fired up the grill, and two of the Sudzers leapt to their feet, jumped into a convenient phone booth, donned barbecue aprons, and emerged as the Fire God Twins! They then proceeded to save my bacon from the fire by professionally putting heat to the meat products which I had bought to satiate the masses. And a damn fine job they did of it too! Truly a great spread of food for the few who showed up.

It seemed that we were just finishing our repast when other people started showing up. The next to arrive were my Mother-in-law, my Sister-in-Law, and a potential Brother-in-law (now THERE'S a long story!) who were invited, but never came down. Sometime later, some actual Brews Brothers began to arrive. I forget who all was there, as well as their order of battle, but in eventual attendance were the aforementioned Scribe-bro Rob Nelson, Pat Anderson, Steve Luizzo, the Palmer twins, Charles Rich, Vern Johnson, another fellow whose name escapes me now, and Darryl Richman. Among the last to arrive was the infamous Dr. Bro Dick Livingston, who arrived with an actual KEG OF BEER. Now THERE was a welcome face! The pretty hoppy batch that he brought was one of the refugee's of beer from the alternate emergency batch of stuff that the two clubs had made together so many weeks earlier. Most appreciated!

After the food was consumed (and more of it now, thanks to the smoked pork and ostrich burgers that were brought!) and a lot more homebrew consumed, we decided that our palates were sufficiently compromised to have the Bock tasting. (No wonder we tend to like exceptionally hoppy beers: it needs all that resiny solvent to cut through the fog of the tongue clogging stuff that has passed before!) We needn't have worried too much on that account. There were only three bocks brought to the meeting in sufficient quantity to compare. One of those was a "ringer", made on a professional brewing premises by our resident still-attending Pro-Bro Dawn Palmer and her lovely husband Ted. We tasted it and graded it, but this beer, which remained unnamed until the following Wednesday (I don't think that "Goat Scrotum" made the grade) when the baptism and naming ceremony was to take place at the Redmond "I know the Web site is old!" Brewing Company where it was made. A fine beer, but unfortunately, a professional brew, and therefore ineligible for entry. (We may dispense with this ruling in the future. I've got enough gripe with the AHA to toss their rules out the window!) Another entry was provided by our visiting Vice-Overlord type. Another fine beer, also ineligible for entry from our club. So the winner, by default and despite de faults, was our very own defrocked Scribe-Bro "Beat me, Whip me, make me forget the directions" buddy Rob Nelson. Another personal triumph for the Duvall Brewing Company...

After the minimal business meeting (motorcycle trip is later, and no one there could speak Farsi), we held the latest of the beer raffle series. So much for our own little economy. As you would know if you've read last month's Emp-Bro column in the Brews News where it didn't appear, or off of my Web page where it did, I'd intended to take a 12-pack of clean twist off bottles for the first ever dice roll raffle, except that I'd forgotten them. As it was such a long drive from my house to Snoqualmie, I'd decided to enter a bottle of mead that I'd brought instead. It was quite a stroke to see your entry go first as people figured out their priorities. This month, the 12-pack of bottles made it to the meeting (from the garage to the patio), but it's reception was rather subdued. Apathetic, in fact. The truth of the matter is, it may have been selected (last), but it was not actually taken home by anybody! I retain the right to bring them to the next raffle. The grand prize this month was a series of beer magnets from Totem Graphics, a side project of one of the Sudzers that attended the meeting. First taken and most appreciated. I think Nelson got these, and he was most impressed in that the beer styles depicted on the magnets were shown in the authentic glass ware just as they should be consumed in. We now have a direct translation of our beer raffle chance economy to a real world monetary economy. A pack of beer magnets, worth about thirteen bucks in U.S. currency is worth the maximum allowable five chances in a dice throwing beer raffle. And I still think that Merle, who supplied the magnets, got the worst end of the deal!

The hard-core party members sat around the bonfire after the others had left. Unfortunately, this group consisted of me and the various in-laws mentioned earlier. Even so, it was the end of another great and memorable meeting. I just wish they could all be so much fun. I also wish that they were all so close to my house. I just have to convince the ale-wife now. I don't think that's gonna happen any time soon...

Copyright 1997 by Rich Webb, aka The Outsider.

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This document was placed here on May 16, 1997, and has been viewed countless times.