Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Roar? Please, God, Anything But That

So long story short, Heavy Seas got asked to be the sole provider of craft beer for the two-day holiday party at the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C. Now in case you don't know how important the IMF is, the director is listed here as the 7th most powerful woman in the world. And there I was, at her holiday party for 1800 people in the nation's capital on Friday night. There were 1800 more people coming the following night. Pretty cool. I don't know the last time you threw a party for 3600 people, but the last time I did was never.
Even at the IMF, eye patches are a big hit.

This was no ordinary holiday party. No ugly sweaters, no eggnog, no cookies (as far as I could tell). Just people from all over the world, people who manage the economies of entire countries, in all kinds of dressy clothes of their nations of origin. The food was top-notch, there were three floors of party surrounding a central atrium, two different stages with live bands, and yep, you guessed it...karaoke. You can class up a joint all you want, but I guess you just can't have a proper office Christmas party without a damn karaoke machine. And let me tell you something, if you think Katy Perry sings like shit (and she does), wait until you hear a bunch of half-drunk economists get their hands on her material. Oh god, please make it stop. The tone-deaf caterwauling still haunts me in my sleep.

On the bright side, it was amazing to see how many people in that group were huge fans of Heavy Seas. One girl from some country in Asia, who weighed maybe 80 pounds, seemed to love Loose Cannon more than life itself. And she proved her point by having WAY too many, and eventually needing to be cared for by a slightly more sober friend. Ah, those wild and wacky IMF people. Even more encouraging than the number of fans we had in the room was the number of people who had never had Heavy Seas before, but became fans almost instantly. Based on the other beers they had to choose from--huge European imports and the usual domestic suspects--we were the only interesting beers in the building. People from all walks of life were enjoying fresh, locally made beer, and having a personal discovery right then and there. Good times.

My journey into the city prior to the event was difficult to say the least. D.C. is an unforgiving city to people who are driving around lost on a Friday afternoon. I'm sorry, but the one street I absolutely needed to find was closed for construction at the exact point I needed to be. A few wrong turns and some one-way streets later, well, it was a mess. But that's why you leave early when you don't know where you're going. Parking? Don't get me started. Once I finally found the deck I was supposed to be in I had already spent $10.00 on the street and had to move my car twice. And when the evening was all over at 1:30 am, do you think the door to the parking deck on the street was unlocked? Of course not. Do you think that the driving entrance to the deck was on the absolute opposite end of the building, and that it required walking all the way around that building which occupies an entire city block? Precisely. But that is just where the fun begins. Once I found the entrance and walked down to the elevator, do you think it worked? No, of course it didn't work. Now here is where you need to pay attention. When I opened the door to the stairwell, I immediately found another door just inches from the first one. That was the first clue that trouble was ahead. The first door opened towards me, but the second one opened away from me. OK, I thought, that's messed up, but just one floor down is my car, and let's just get this over with and go. Down one flight of stairs, and the door...was locked. Yes, dear readers, the door into the parking deck where my car sat was locked. So back upstairs to where I started, and I'll just walk down the ramp to my car. If you guessed that the door on that level was also locked, and that I was now trapped in the stairwell, you guessed right. Oh yes, creeping up on 2:00 am, trapped in a stairwell, and I had to urinate. Now you may recall that I originally walked down to the elevator that did not work, in order to find the doors that open oddly and lock behind you. So there was a street level above the top of where I appeared to be trapped. By walking up another flight of stairs to that level, a door opened into a guard station area, where a security guard was sitting, laughing, having watched this all transpire on his camera monitor. Glad that someone was enjoying this. When I got to my hotel it was 2:30 am, and I had to be up early to get back to Baltimore. I was too tired to be angry any longer, and a long, weird day was finally over.

I guess that's my story for now. On a high note, it looks like the colony of crows outside my windows that was trying to drive me insane has finally moved on to torture someone else. That was smart, because I was about to get serious about some avian extermination. I had a plan, and they would not have won. Turns out I had a very determined neighbor with an impressively loud air horn. This guy was up at 5:00 am blasting these birds with the air horn as soon as they started raising hell each morning. Apparently they love to make an incredible racket on their own, but when people return the favor, they can't deal with it. I was going to point a strobe light at their tree and hit 'em with a water hose at the same time. They don't like to wet I guess, or have light directed at them. For what are essentially flying rats, they sure are picky.

One last thing before I go. I am going to my third consecutive Cowboys/Redskins game in D.C. this Sunday. Typically this game has a little more meaning for at least one of the teams, but not this time. Either way, I will get to spend some time with a friend from Atlanta, which is the first time for that since I moved a month ago. I have a big beer trip planned for February as well. This year it is Munch, Vienna, Prague and Pilsen, so stay tuned for details and photos from that. Have a great holiday season folks. I will be in Michigan most of next week, so you may not hear from me for a while. Stay warm everyone. Bye.


From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse

From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse
This is the top floor of the brewhouse, with buckets of fresh hops about to go into the kettles.