This is our second installment of “Remembering the Brickskeller,” in which we take a look back at some great events and get a true sense of what some of the industry giants will remember best about The Brickskeller.
Part one can be found here: Remembering The Brickskeller Part One
You always remember your “first time.” It was the summer of 2001 and there was love in the air. It was a West Coast kind of love. Dave’s presenter for the two night affair canceled, and he was left hanging. We stepped in and rocked that stage as fame and fortune followed. It was the first time I ever “took a stage” for brewing and it was intoxicating. That place just oozed history (among other things).
Over the years, Dave and I have become good friends and I have presented numerous times at both The Brickskeller and RFD. They have all been amazing. Working with Dave and Sam Calagione to come up with The Lupulin Slam (and Reunions) was the best. Sam even broke out his Strap on “Randall” at the very first Lupulin Slam. Without Dave, there would be no Randalls in the world and Vinnie wouldn’t have Pliny the Elder t-shirts declaring “No Randall Required.”
Dave and Diane’s Brickskeller was “it” before there was a movement. When I think of all the amazing beers and brewers that crossed that stage, I shed a tear. Not for the loss of an institution but for the brain cells that gave their lives in the glorious pursuit of a beer infused happiness.
Cheers Dave! Heading east to DC will never quite be the same.
Lost Abbey / Port Brewing
My memories of the Brickskeller are mostly related to meeting peers in the industry and having a great time with brewers whom I have had the pleasure of sharing the “Brick” experience from the Brewer’s table. The Brewer’s table was where we mostly sat during events and it was a series of smaller tables brought together that would be just as you entered the upstairs room of the Brick to your left across from the bar. Brewer’s would gather there, talk shop, break bread, have a beer (or two) and that’s also where Dave Alexander or Bob Tupper would give you your position for the nights line up of brewers.
I can remember early on in my brewing career public speaking and dreading the moment I had to get up in front of the crowd. The paying patrons were forgiving and Bob Tupper was always there to smooth it over but it was like sixth grade in front of the class all over again. It’s much better now and I got older in the process. On top of the fear of public speaking, God forbid you draw the short straw and have to go after an entertaining speaker like Sam Calagione, a poetry reading Jason Oliver, or the “preacher” Mark Thompson, these guys would bring down the house and then you had to fatefully follow.
One of my fondest memories at the Brick was the Michael Jackson 60th Birthday bash eight short years ago in 2002. Not only was it an honor to be asked to be one of the Brewers to provide a beer for the event but we were asked how Michael had affected the way we brewed and were able to tell the Bard of Beer directly. For me to be able to express that to the very man whose books had so inspired brewers so much through his writing was a thrill. I had been reading about beer and brewing through Micheal’s books for years before I had professionally brewed and was able to thank him directly and Michael being the man that he was accepted it graciously.
Another fond memory on another earlier occasion in January 2001, Michael Jackson had an event at the Brick that I was invited to present our beer, and I was also asked by Dave Alexander to bring the Great American Beer Festival Medals that were recently awarded to Capitol City Brewing Company for my Kolsch and Wee Heavy recipes (I was working for CCBC at the time). Michael relayed the fact that he had judged the Kolsch category that year to the folks in the room and then proceeded to place the medals over my head for the first time (I could not afford to go to Denver those days). What an honor that I remember to this day better than having received any medal at GABF.
I miss those events at the Brick with MJ and we all miss MJ very much. Now we will miss the Brick too…..
Mad Fox Brewing Company
The brick was an institution in beer world. David certainly pushed the boundaries of beer selection before just about anyone else in the US. I was lucky enough to attend Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday celebration at the Brick. It seemed that everyone in the beer community attended: the Tuppers, Tom Daldorf, Tony Forder, Sam Calagione, Ray Dieter, our crew from Monk’s Cafe, brewers & beer writers from far and wide. It was a great assembly of people to honor a great man and the Brick was the perfect place to host this event.
The Brick was beer before beer was cool. The Brick will be missed, but David will still be deeply involved with the beer scene.
I recall hoisting a pint at Michael’s local in Hammersmith, London the day after attending his funeral. It was a special moment for David and Me, to be able to say goodbye to Michael in a the very spot where he spent so much time drinking Fullers.
It has been a pleasure to talk with so many great people within the beer industry that are obviously better off both professionally and personally because of The Brickskeller’s contributions.
“My memory is not even what most people’s is, much less what it oughta be for a discussion like this” – Warren Zevon