23 Feb Gravity Head Opening Day – Pour By Pour
So…. I’m sitting in my car after a 2 hour drive. The sun isn’t thinking of coming up yet, but I’m getting ready to drink some beer. This is not for the faint of heart; this is Gravity Head Opening Day at New Albanian Brewing.
I haven’t tried this before, but here is a running commentary for as long as I can hold out.
6:45 am – 18 people waiting in line for the doors to open, mostly men, but not all.
6:59 am – doors open, lots of people get out of cars, didn’t want to stand in line in a drizzle.
7:01 am – the list is posted on the board in the main room, this is the only listing of the beers. The opening day list on FB didn’t include the NA beers that are higher in alcohol and part of the festival. Here’s the opening lineup:
Bruery The Wanderer American Wild Ale 8.00%
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA Imperial IPA 18.00%
Great Divide Chai Tea Yeti Imperial Stout 9.50%
Great Divide Espresso Yeti 2016 Imperial Stout 9.50%
Great Divide Hibernation 2014 Old Ale 8.70%
Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti 2014 Imperial Stout 9.50%
Great Divide Oatmeal Yeti 2015 Imperial Stout 9.50%
Great Divide Old Ruffian 2016 American Barleywine 10.20%
Hoppin Frog Barrel Aged T.O.R.I.S Russian Imperial Stout 13.80%
North Coast BA Rasputin XX Russian Imperial Stout 11.90%
Oskar Blue Barrel Aged Ten Fidy Russian Imperial Stout 12.90%
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2012 American Barleywine 9.60%
New Albanian Quad Sothoth
New Albanian Huldra’s Hollow
7:05 am – I ordered an Oak aged Yeti (2014) from Great Divide. I hadn’t looked at the board, just remembered that it was one of the opening line up beers. Lucky, it was one of the $5.50 beers, not one of the $15 beers. All are 10 oz. pours.
7:10 am – It’s apparent that most of the people arriving this early are regulars, or at least semi-regulars. Most everyone knows the names of other folks. They congregate in small groups, but these change up time to time.
7:15 am – There are couches that filled early. It seems that these might be long timers, they went for the most comfortable seats.
7:30 am – My oak aged Yeti has a whole of tannin, the roast has mellowed, bringing out more of the barrel or staves, mostly this is what I’m getting now.
7:30 am – There are more couches in the back (the game room), but this is the only part of the entire restaurant that isn’t filled. Actually, I do see one table for two that isn’t taken, otherwise, all the standing positions at the various bars and all the chairs and tables are full. I don’t know what they’re going to do with people that show up at normal hours.
7:40 am – Mike next to me says knows the old school folks in the house today, but that there are a good number of new folks that he doesn’t know who they are. He names of some guys in the corners and talking together, but the folks on the couches are new to him.
7:40 am – Next to me is Jamie, and he’s having the biscuits and gravy. I’m getting hungry and it looks really good. The full menu is on, and some folks do have bread sticks and other stuff,
7:45 am – the guys across the way talking about “the Indian version of the mush mouth slow talker.” Two of them are drinking coffee and the other two haven’t finished their first beers yet, so this conversation must be deeper than I am giving it credit for being.
OK, he just got here. They have a small table against the wall that they have used for the past five years of Opening Day (or on the couches next to the table, but others got their first this year).
7:45 am – People are generally slow playing their beers. Several groups are on their second cups of coffee, but everyone I see is still on their first beer.
8:00 am – I have been ID’d as an outsider. A VERY regular visitor came in asked. Who are all these people?” looking directly at me. One table has become available in the front room, but some people are happy to stand at the rails.
8:05 am – a good number of people are into their second beers now. And a deep dish pizza has arrived for the a table nearby. Beer early in the morning – OK. Deep dish pizza? I don’t think so, unless it’s cold and left over from the night before.
8:10 am – I think I will do the New Albanian Belgian Quad (Quad Sothoth) for my next beer. Support the hosts, I say.
8:15 am – my 2nd beer arrives, a nice quad, lots of esters, kind of a sneaky beer. I think I will try to stick to one beer an hour – that’s a strategy that may work.
8:20 am – guy behind me on the couch tells someone on the phone that he always takes today off so as to not miss any of Opening Day. That’s dedication.
8:25 am – it turns out the Mike down the way from me worked all night and just stayed up to come to Opening Day. That explains all the coffee. He’s going home and get some rest soon.
8:35 am – Mike and Jamie next to me are talking art. Not just BS’ing… they know art. And beer. It never fails to impress me how eclectic craft drinkers are.
8:45 am – The gift shop is open. They have a 2018 Gravity Head logo T-shirt – THAT HAS A BOTTLE OPENER BUILT INTO IT NEAR THE BOTTOM RIGHT. So that’s definitely happening.
9:00 am – Jamie already took off, but Mike and I are having a discussion of all the New Albanian Gravity Head posters and their beer art. It’s true, the artwork is fantastic. All done in house by a fellow named Tony Beard. The banner image above is from his work for the 2015. The one to the above right is 2014
9:15 am – about time for my third beer. Think I’ll go with The Wanderer from The Bruery – it’s pricier, but it’s a wild ale so I know I’ll like it.
9:30 am – now even the game room is packed. I think I’ll do the first post now and see if anyone is reading.