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Friday, March 5, 2010

Kate & Katy

This tale starts as any might I suppose. There once was a grand woman named Catherine the Great. Ok, may be it’s not like any old story might start as this woman has a beer named after her, Kate the Great. The second heroine in this story isn’t so typical either. Katy (that’s me) has a cast and is in on crutches. The setting isn’t so typical either; on the streets of Portsmouth, NH in the wee hours of the morning in a cold winter drizzle. But I am getting ahead of myself.
I started hearing about Kate as soon as I started my journey to learn about beer. Before her I never realized that there such events as beer release days. I knew that in order to fully learn about beer I would need to attend, however I was quite naïve, thinking that I would be able to go down after work. Oh how silly I was. I started checking out BeerAdvocate posts and twitter and facebook and, and, and. I became a bit obsessed with all things Kate. I soon discovered that I would be getting no sleep on the eve of Kate’s big debut. After my surgery I was concerned with my ability to accomplish such a task but I knew I would have to man up. Porter was a bit worried about the whole thing….would my cast be alright? Would I be alright? Would we even get to meet Kate?
The week before Kate’s release we devised a plan: We would go down the night before and stay at Portsmouth Brewery until they closed. (They have a great bar and restaurant there. I highly recommend it.) After closing we would stay in our car and periodically check until people started getting in line and then join ourselves.
As the date got closer the weather began to take a turn for the worse. There was rain in the forecast all the way until after Kate Day. This added to Porter’s concerns. (Casts ARE NOT allowed to get wet!) On Sunday after we had finished watching Canada beat us in OT we started getting things together. It quite honestly looked like we were going camping. We packed nearly the whole house. Blankets and pillows for sleeping. My elevator pillow for my foot. Food and snacks to help us keep going. Rain clothes and layers to help us fight the weather. And chairs. I can not stand up very long these days and we had no idea how long we would have to wait in line. The car was packed and we were on the road by 8:00. The drive down we discussed how some of our friends think I have no other hobbies these days other than beer. Which they are mainly right. There isn’t a lot to do when you are laid up so I do lots of research and participate in lots of beer related discussions. I do not however drink all that often most of the time. (This week is an exception as there was Kate and then there is this festival but I will tell you more about that later! I get to try many different beers at a time because I very rarely have a fully pour. I generally have a half pour or a sampler of some sort.) We arrived in town at 8:45. We decided to drive by the brewery before finding a spot and good thing we did because there was a spot right in front! Later in the evening one of the guys that worked there said we currently resided at 56 and half Market Street. Portsmouth Brewery is at 56 Market Street. We parked and went in and had a delicious meal. I had Milk Stout and Porter had Flanders Red. I have reviewed them both be sure to check them out. Once dinner was done we played UNO at the bar while enjoying more beer. The bar closed at one and we headed back to our car there were already people in line. There is a video of them if you want to check it out. We sat in the car watching the line and playing more card games. There was an awning over part of the sidewalk so we decided to wait until the line got there in order to help keep my cast dry. At 1:30 ish three more people got in line. At 1:45 another person got in line. At 2:00 another four got in line. This is when we started getting ready. On went the rain pants and every layer I had brought. I covered my foot in a Hannaford shopping bag to help it stay dry. Porter got out our chairs and set them under the awning. We were both bundled and seated by 2:30. People started filling behind us and we got to meet some really great people. (One decided to start a blog so as soon as I get his blog address I will be sure to share it with you.) By 4:30 my toes were thoroughly cold as shopping bags don’t offer much in the warmth department. But that is just when they started handing out calendar pages. (If you watch the video from above and look way in the background under the awning, the girl on the crutches is me.) Porter received February 5 and I received February 6/7. (I didn’t receive two the weekend dates shared a page.) We hopped in our car and drove off. We had 4.5 hours to wait until they gave us our bottles. We found a parking lot and snoozed for about 2 hours. We grabbed breakfast at a local bagel place and then finished our waiting parked by the water. All we could seem to find on the radio was Indian music. At 8:30ish we started back towards the brewery and amazingly enough there was another parking spot right out front. At 9:00 in the dot they started calling us down by calendar date to buy our Kates, two per person. The nice folks at Portsmouth didn’t make me hobble down the stairs and pick it up so Porter went and grabbed both of ours. We jumped back into the car and headed home. Total wait once they started handing them out: 9 minutes. We had originally thought about sticking around for a pint afterwards but the line for that wrapped around the block and there still was 2 hours before anyone would be allowed in. We also had thought about hitting up a few beer store down there or going to Redhook but we were so exhausted we went straight home.
It took us 2 days to recuperate from Kate Day and we didn’t even drink any. We finally tried her on Wednesday night. Here is the sad news; I didn’t find it all that great. I love Portsmouth’s Milk Stout and the Flanders is really good and many of their others I love too, just not Kate. This is definitely a personal thing though because nearly everyone else raves about her. Even Porter likes her a whole lot more than I do. Oh well. Kate Day was a real beer adventure and I am glad I was there. I am not so sure how many more beer release events I will attend but it is more my love of sleep that would keep me away than anything else. I would recommend it to everyone to try at least once-
-because you don’t want to be afraid to try something new. You might just like it.

Katy Too

I will have all reviews from last weekend through the weekend by the end of the day Sunday. I also have lots of little tid bits that I need to put together in some sort of random things blog. Perhaps that will get up this weekend too.  

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