We weren’t really going for Gonzofest, though. We’ve been trying to plan a brewery tour for six months, and it just happens that we managed to clear our schedules enough at the same time Gonzofest was going on. Which was, at first, a bit of a worry, as we thought tours would be suspended. At the rate it takes me to plan things with friends, that would have meant waiting till spring to get a tour in.
But we were lucky. We arrived and paid our 15 bucks to get in, which included all the beer you could drink. Since Reggie doesn’t drink, I forced him to get glasses of beer as well so I could spend about three hours doublefisting Flying Dog. Then we ran into our tour guide, who was also one of the brewmasters. I was at the point where, even though he introduced himself, and talked to me at length, I can’t recall his name…or much else, except for the fact that he was slightly drunker than I was. This was because he was plowing through some sort of weird off market bitter that was not fit for public consumption. Though he gave me some to sample. And some more after that. The official bartenders refused to serve it to the normal folk, and that should have been the giveaway, because I was pretty far gone after a few minutes.
The 4pm tour started around 4:20, and was a rambling affair that Reggie and I eventually ditched in favor of wandering free through the bottling plant.
I’ve toured breweries and distilleries from the Czech Republic to shitkickersville, Ohio and, strangely, the Flying Dog trip was the most pleasant. (Not the best, but they’re small and I have nothing but love for Flying Dog, so they can do what they want.) Not only am I a fan of their beer, but I appreciated the lack of security and organization. It made me feel vaguely pre-9/11. Because everywhere else in the world labels you as a jihadist if you don’t stick with the tour group.
Gonzofest, thousands of people wandering around, and, as far as the Flying Dog people were concerned, everyone was groovy.
I sure hope this doesn’t get the brewmaster guy fired, because he was awesome.
One complaint: No beer sales. Because I was drunkenly ready to buy about eight cases on the way out. And I do recall hugging a shipping pallet of Snake Dog India Pale Ale. Or did I dream that? I don’t know… So that means I have to go up for another tour where I can buy cases of beer.
Random pictures can be found in the forums right here. I should note, again, that Reggie does not drink, so I’m not able to explain why he looks drunk in a couple of those shots. I think maybe he got a contact drunk from standing next to me for several hours, which has been known to happen to a few of my teetotaler friends.