Let me be clear. I refuse to denigrate (i.e., blacken…pun intended) the reputation of the Bruery. Their beers are first rate and high class. My aim is not at all to criticize them in this post. I will certainly make some critical statements, but they do not reflect my thoughts about the Bruery itself.
***WARNING*** this is a rant.
Do you ever attend beer events? If you have been to one, you will probably know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, prepare yourself to eventually meet some of the people I’m about to describe.
What the hell is wrong with people? Seriously! Like many others, I’d been planning to attend the Black Tuesday festivities for some time. All is well and good. Through personal correspondance, website information, and personal admonition, it was pretty easy to ascertain that Patrick and company did not want visitors to show up to the brewery until 4:30 or after. It was courtesy to their neighbors that ilicitated the request from the Bruery. But some people are simply habitual line steppers…literally (but more on that in a moment). Sometimes the thing that makes beerfests, events, and occasions horrible is the people that show up to them.
As an aside, I’m willing to grant that the Bruery might have been able to organize the event a little better. They may even admit this proposition themselves. Of course, it is rare that the first go at something achieves the end in mind. So, I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Patrick and staff; they did an excellent job in spite of the circumstances. Did they think Black Tuesday would attain the level of popularity that it did? I don’t think so. But Beer Advocate has a way of changing things. Who knows, maybe some of the members (I’m not talking about the brothers or even many of the respectable members) will recommend Coffee Stout Oak-Aged Gasoline as the next big thing (I’m not bashing Black Tuesday in any way). Either way, I don’t think Patrick and crew expected the turn out that they got. And therefore, their yields were nowhere near what the demand required.
There were those who could not help but trample the wishes of the Bruery and show up a few minutes (or hours) early. They camped in their tents, cars, and parking lots in order to get what they wanted, despite the best hopes that the Bruery had. After all, he wasn’t talking about you anyway…he must have meant someone else. The “I’m the exception to the rule” mentality is sometimes too pervasive to stop.
My real problem isn’t with those people, as big of jerks as they are. My real problem with the event was Mr. “I’ll pretend to talk to you until cutting in line is a seamless transition” guy. What a jerk. Did I get some Black Tuesday? Yes, I did. But what about the guy who was the cut off? I saw at least 30 people cut the line in order to join the line that they did not wait to form. It’s not enough for some to come early, complicity with their friends; to cut is too much. Oh, to have immunity from the penal system for a few moments in time. Simply said, these people are absolutely deplorable. Not only do they not arrive on time for the event, they have the gall to jump in front of people who put in the effort to score some of this coveted beer.
Honestly, the last 30 people in line were the real losers in this deal. The sense of kinship and fun that Nate and I had at Dark Lord Day serves as a stark contrast to the crashing feel that Black Tuesday had for many people (especially the “no Black Tuesday for you” crowd). Meanwhile, the eBay prices for this hot commodity are soaring.
One unfortunate facet of the Black Tuesday event was the fact that people could not consume a beer or two while waiting in the five hour (at the very back) line, due to Calfornia’s liquor laws. This is one more contrast that serves to sharply define this night from other beer events. Again, this is no fault of the brewer; it’s a state and a grounds issue. They simply don’t have the setting to allow drinking around the facility.
Please do not take this as an attempt to excoriate the Bruery in any way; they are a great group of hard working, beer loving, and innovative minded people. They graciously brought cheese, chocolate truffles, and water around, too. My beef is with some of the true jerks that showed up, in true jerk form, to what might have been a fun (albeit slightly unorganized) event.
When I did my interview with the Bruery, I brought a bottle of Dark Lord to taste side by side with Black Tuesday. When we tasted the beers side by side, Patrick stated, and I think accurately, that he felt pretty good about Black Tuesday. He is surely correct about the beer.
As far as the day goes, I think Black Tuesday left a lot to be desired compared to Dark Lord Day. The sad and ironic part is that the experience had little to do with the people at the Bruery and a lot to due with some of the people that showed up. Kinks, and there were some, will be worked out by Patrick and company–that comes with doing this thing a few times. Unfortunately, the bottle hoarding, line cutting, self-interested scum will be in the line, unless they are weeded out.
Isn’t it amazing how a few people can crash a whole market…or an event? If you went, what did you think? Personally, I’d like to see most of the changes affect these type of people next year. What experiences have the rest of you had at beer events?