Monterey Beer Week

Monterey Beer Week finished Sunday and I am happy to report we survived.

Our crew on Friday night at Ol' Factory Cafe

While in Belgium in December, we received an email from Jeff Moses asking us to host the 2009 Monterey Beer Festival. We really didn’t know what being the host meant, but we saw it as an opportunity to promote the Monterey Peninsula, our home, as a beer destination. It also seemed like a great way to continue getting the word out about Without hesitation, we said yes.

Over subsequent months, we, as well as others, planned a few events to coincide with the festival. We half-jokingly dubbed the collective events as ‘Monterey Beer Week.’ If other beer weeks could be over ten days, Monterey’s surely could be only four.

A classic

The first event was the showing of the cult classic Strange Brew at the Forest Theater in Carmel, the oldest outdoor community theater west of the Rockies. Every summer they have a movie series and together with the Monterey Beer Festival, we sponsored this particular night. Prior to the movie, we hosted a beer reception. Unfortunate circumstances caused me to miss most of the pre-movie celebration and Merideth had to go it alone as hostess.

Joining us that evening were our good friends Matt and Michelle. They were supposed to get in at 11am in San Jose. But their travel day from hell included two canceled flights on two different airlines.  I finally picked them up almost nine hours late, luckily just down the road in Monterey. I still missed most of the reception, but got the three of us there in time for the movie. Thanks to Carlo from for helping Merideth out.

On a pleasant evening in Carmel, over 100 people gathered to watch Bob and Doug McKenzie save the world from the evil brewmeister. Strange Brew, loosely based on Hamlet is one of those classic movies that is enhanced by a good crowd enjoying a few beers. The laughs were plentiful and the evening enjoyable.

With Matt and Michelle at the Ol' Factory Cafe's Belgian Beer dinner

The next evening’s activity was a Belgian beer dinner at the Ol’ Factory Cafe. Beginning with DeuS and ending with Duchess of Bourgogne, six courses were each paired with a different Belgian beer. The charge for the dinner even included a limo ride home. Merideth and her girlfriends enjoyed taking pictures in the limo, but only Amber took advantage of the complementary limo ride home.

Beer dinners are still a novel concept on the Peninsula, so it was nice to see a good crowd turn out for the event.

Of the six courses, the last two stood out for me. Course number five was a pork tenderloin with a mole sauce paired with Cantillion’s Lou Pepe Kriek. The final course was a beignet with raspberry sauce accompanied by the Duchess.

Like all beer weeks, there is no rest for the weary and on Friday night, we did it all again. To make it even better, we started with a big German meal at Stammtisch before the real festivities began.

Merideth hanging with friends

One of the reasons, we wanted to get involved with the Monterey Beer Festival was to help promote good beer on the Monterey Peninsula. This desire gave us the idea to have a beer festival reception on Friday night at the Ol’ Factory Cafe.

The concept was  to invite the out of town brewers and beer reps to OFC to hang out with our beer community and also showcase our flagship establishment. Great idea except for that most people didn’t come to town until Saturday. Despite the theoretical flaw, Friday night was a great evening. The crowd was large and fun was had by all. Special thanks go out to Dean from Carmel Valley Brewing, Shaun and Gabby from 21A, Matt from Belukus Imports and the Brewing Network crew. Their presence made the evening that much better.

With the preliminaries over, it was time for the main event: the Monterey Beer Festival.