Thursday, 21 April 2016

Historic Williamsburg day one

I’ve arranged to meet Paul and Jamie after breakfast in my hotel.

I scour the lobby, but can’t spot them. Then I hear a female voice say: “Ron!”. It’s Andrea Stanley, my favourite maltster, and her family. The full set this time, not just her and husband Christian. It’s good to see them again. Especially I’m supposed to be participating in Andrea’s talk.

Paul and Jamie appear with Brian Hunt, brewer at Moonlight, who they’d bumped into at their hotel over a particularly disgusting breakfast. They hadn’t met before but seem to be getting along fine. I get a feeling the day is going to continue in this vein.

There are a few things on today’s schedule. Like registering for the conference. And a technical rehearsal in the auditorium. I’m no too concerned, having spoken there before.

I pick up the bumph at registration and bump into Craig, another one of the crew from Washington. It’s getting close to lunchtime, so we wander over to DoG Street Pub with a few others. Though we’ve managed to lose Paul and Jamie. I’m sure they’ll feed themselves somewhere.

The name DoG Street Pub has nothing to do with our canine friends. It comes from the name of the street it’s on: Duke of Gloucester. We can’t get a table, so we sit at the bar. Which is a good place to admire all the taps. I’m soon wrapping my chops around something IPA-ey. Just what I needed. It’s the first beer of the day.

It bills itself as an unpretentious gastropub. Which I guess isn’t far from the mark. It’s light and airy inside, with high ceilings and a long bar running almost the length of the building. I’ve been here before. I had a couple of resolve-strengthening whiskies here before the last time I spoke.

I troll back to the auditorium for my technical rehearsal. It doesn’t take long. It’s basically just a question of copying my powerpoint and making sure it works. I slip back to DoG Street for a couple more beers. There’s almost an hour before the first event of the weekend, a beer tasting at Chownings Tavern Garden.

DoG Street Pub just outside Colonial Williamsburg proper, in a commercial area on its western edge. While Chownings is a part of Colonial Williamsburg, being a reconstruction of a 1760’s tavern. A pretty suitable place to try some recreations of 18th-century beers.

As you know, historical recreations are my thing. I stand eagerly at the bar waiting to be served. But I must have accidentally put on my invisibility cloak. The barman serves customers to my right and left while looking through me. Those serves he wanders off to do something else behind the bar. It takes a frustratingly long time to get a Stitch (a type of strong Brown Ale) in my hand.

Everyone and his dog is at the tasting. It’s hard to know who to talk to. Not leaving me much time for any actual beer tasting.

Once the tasting is over, we hurry back to the auditorium for Randy Mosher’s keynote address. He’s a confident and fluent presenter, but has a few timing issues. Not so much of a problem today as he’s the only speaker.

The reception that follows gives me a chance to catch up with Stan Hieronymus, Martyn Cornell, Chris Bowen and Mitch Steele. It’s not often you’ll see those three in one room. I’m certainly not going to pass on the opportunity.

I’ve one more appointment. In the hotel bar, with Andrea and John Mallett, her presenting partner. We’re running through their talk, which is in the form of a play. I’m the narrator. It goes pretty well. Especially after Andrea fetches some whiskies. Everything goes better with whisky

I don’t stay up late. Tomorrow is another busy day.

DoG Street Pub
401 W Duke of Gloucester St,
Williamsburg, VA 23185.

Josiah Chowning's Tavern
109 E Duke of Gloucester St,
Williamsburg, VA 23185.
Tel: +1 757-229-2141


JDailey said...

Oh man, I went to college there. Williamsburg Alewerks is pretty darn good, and I hear great things about Virginia Beer Company (walking distance on 2nd street).

Lady Luck Brewing said...

I've met Mitch and Stan at NHC events. Both very nice and don't mind sharing their knowledge.
That was quite a group!