Friday, March 6, 2015

200 Fathoms

What a party it was.

The launch party of the 2015 version of Galway Bay Brewery’s 200 Fathoms Imperial Stout has earned its place in the history books. 

I entered The Brew Dock at 3 minutes to 6, wanting to make sure of a seat at the bar before the brew went on sale at 7. As I have come to expect of the Brew Dock staff, they had gone the extra mile and reserved half the bar with signs stating ‘Reserved for Brew Dock Regulars after 6PM’. My spot was secured.

Now what does one do with an hour to kill in a pub? Easy answer: drink.
Wanting to stick with Galway Bay Beers for the night, I ordered a Full Sail IPA. Yummy. 
59 minutes to go.

It was then that I spotted the tasting table that the good people of the Teeling Whiskey Company had set up. I went over to have a chat with the guys and see what they had been up to lately, other than collaborating on the 200 Fathoms that was about to launched in 52 minutes.
I was rewarded for my interest in their product with a sample of it so apart from killing some time I had now also secured free whiskey. Nice.
That should keep me warm for the next 47 minutes.

As the bar filled up with eager beer enthousiasts, a familiar yet still funny scenario played out. Because the Brew Dock is situated around the corner from the financial district, it attracts many after work drinkers who simply walk in to the first pub they come across and proceed to order Coors or heineken or other chemicals not deserving to be labeled as beer. While they are normally fazed by a choice of 28 beers that they have never heard of, today they were even more out of their depth at the sight of people eagerly awaiting the launch of the beer which was now only 39 minutes away.

The anticipation was palpable. Beers like this don’t come around very often, and when they do, they sell out fast. You don’t often get this spark in the air from a large group of adults, unless a Champions League final is about to kick off or the President is on tv and about to declare war on Russia.
Let’s just hope the war doesn’t start in the next 28 minutes.

I ordered another beer to kill time and got talking to a guy from Chicago who had taken up residence on the stool next to me. We exchanged the usual barfly getting-to-know-you chit chat about local breweries, sports teams and assorted ‘this one time I woke up in a dumpster in Connecticut’ stories.
You know, the usual.

This helped to speed up the clock a bit and it had run down to 7 minutes to go when I realised it was now actually quite busy in the bar. The word, it appeared, had spread. 

Just before 7, the offical presentation party appeared behind the bar, consisting of Brew Dock manager Rachel, Galway Bay Brewery manager Andy and the guest of honor; Alex Chasko.

About 150 pictures were taken by those present and then, finally, the moment was there.
200 Fathoms went on sale at 7, the first pint poured by  Alex Chasko, Teeling’s chief distiller.

The tap opened and did not close until the first keg was empty.
Bottles went on sale at 1 past 7. It looked like a stock exchange floor during a boom day: People just threw money over the bar trying to get their hands on whatever they could get. It was awesome.
At 7 past 7, the fridge was empty. Sold out.

The glasses kept being passed over my head at a steady pace though and as the night wore on, the mood amongst the happy drinkers changed from eager anticipation to happiness to bliss.
Not too strange, if you take into account that everyone was drinking beer with 10% alcohol that had been aged in whiskey casks.

Thanks to the great people from the Teeling Whiskey Company,  a steady influx of single malt and single grain whiskey kept appearing next to my beer, which added to my happiness level which was now approaching 11.
I was wondering how this party could possibly get any better when, towards the end of the night, the Teeling 21 year Old Single Malt Vintage Reserve was opened. I now understand why this was recently crowned Best Irish Single Malt in the world.

As you will understand, the end of the night was a bit hazy (I would like to thank The Academy for this Oscar for understatement) and I went to bed a happy man.

I have consumed a lot of beer over the past 26 years, but if I was to cast a vote on the best beer I ever drank, it would go to 200 Fathoms.
My thanks go out to everybody at the Brew Dock, the Galway Bay Brewery and the Teeling Whiskey Company for making this a night to remember through their  fantastic beer and fantastic whiskey.

Many years from now, when I finally grow up and my grandchildren ask me to tell them a bed time story, I will be able to tell them : Grandpa was there.

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