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Apparently Our Angel’s Speak the Queen’s English

On Wednesday morning at 4:30 AM I was rustled from my sleep by the sound of my Blackberry roaring to life with incoming emails. Apparently, something was VERY important. Turns out, it was. I rolled over and flicked the scroll wheel of fortune on my PDA to find an email from Jolly Old England announcing that we were big winners (tell me something I didn’t already know I thought to myself).

Our cask of Bourbon Angel’s Share was named Best in Show at the 2008 Great British Beer Festival in London and the emails (all 6 of them) confirmed this. All told, there were 46 casks of American Beer on display at the largest cask conditioned beer festival in the world and somehow, our beer was deeemed the best Yankee example. Bravo! Smashing! Cherrio I say! Well played… How efffin cool is that? As a big proponent of cask conditioned ale for all these years, it’s a nice feather in my cap to have sent beer across the pond and suceeded at such a high level. Considering our casks nearly went to Africa and back, it makes it doubly cool.

I am also going to take a moment to congratulate the first runner up my buddy Matt who is the brewer at Mayflower Brewing Company. It’s pretty impressive that the first and second place beers came from two breweries who have been in business a whopping three years combined! Perhaps the coolest part of the award (for Matt and myself) is that Northern Arizona University can no lay claim to being a great brewing school. It’s a little known fact that Matt and I both attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff (at the same time no less)! As such, it is certain that NAU should start rewriting their promotional literature for propsective students to include an underground brewing culture that ferments world class brewers. Or as of Wednesday, at the very least it graduates brewers who understand the art of cask conditioning.

If you throw in Jim Roper (Brewer at 4 Peaks in Tempe, Arizona) you end up with a great cask conditioning class. Somedays, I laugh when I think of the three of us in school at the same time. And to think, Flagstaff didn’t get a brewpub until my senior year of college. I’ve considered after talking to them that it’s even possible we had a class or two together. And to think, none of us declared a science as our major. Yet, I can’t help but think it might be time for Moms and Dads to send their aspiring brewers to Northern Arizona University. Clearly, there was something in that Flagstaff water that produced three pretty good brewers.

Congratulations Matt. You deserve the kudos (even the ironic ones that come from a Brewery named Mayflower Brewing Company sending beer east and winning). As for us, we’re ecstatic that our Angel’s speak proper English. Lord knows the rest of us around here certainly don’t. Sage asked me for a quote last night about this victory for the press release. I went with the vanilla ”It feels good.” He pressed for something a little more savory.

I don’t think I emerged with a brilliant enough quote for him. He said it was like pulling teeth with me (if he only knew how much laughing gas I was on). True I replied. But, I reminded him that we never send beer out the door without wanting to impress. At the end of the day, The Angel’s Share is one of those beers. Sure, we could have fired up two casks of Wipeout IPA and they would have tied some taste buds. But, I made a decision that day. Some guys are happy to be invited. Us, we aim to knock down the door like an uninvited cousin on Thanksgiving.

Yesterday was a good day. We got great news from England and Chicago. Both were about Real Ale. I also learned at 4:30 AM Pacific Standard Time that the Angel’s working out in the brewery speak the Queen’s English. Apparently they aim to please here and abroad as well. So last night, I decided that I should aim to please my taste buds and reward myself for a days hard work. I fired up the Ipod, hit play on Yellow Submarine and swam my way through a bottle of 2006 Angel’s Share. I suppose I should apologize to the Queen Mum today for my actions or at least my Karaoke laced singing. Nah, that would take all the fun out of it.

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