|August 11, 2007|
After the 21st Amendment beer dinner, I hightailed it back to the Toronado where the party had kicked into high gear.
The back room was considerably more packed than when I left two hours before.
But then I spied, sitting by itself on a table, a ginormous bottle of Russian River’s Temptation. Its name was never more appropriate than at that moment, because it sat there teasing me, and everyone else around me. It seemed to whisper, “open me.” But I just stood there willing it to open, hoping if I just stared at it long enough it would spill open its contents. I grabbed a Chimay glass with the Toronado logo on the reverse side thoughtfully provided by Manneken-Brussel Imports, on the off chance that my attempts at telekinesis worked.
Others took even more extreme measures, as Tomme Arthur, brewmaster at The Lost Abbey, and Ed Friedland, a Philadelphia beer distributor in town for a family vacation, tried flipping off the bottle perhaps hoping to antagonize it and make it blow its top. Or perhaps they were thinking about stealing it for themselves? Nah, they’d never do that.
Eventually, Vinnie Cilurzo returned to the table to open the bottle, dragging an entourage of thirsty souls hoping for a taste of Temptation. Like us, they’d already been tempted and in the absence of any Salvation were hoping to taste some golden Temptation instead.
Fittingly, Dave Keene got the first pour since it was the inspiration he’d fostered over the last twenty years that was the reason we were all there in the first place. As he stood back to enjoy his first sip of Temptation, the rest of the throng rushed forward, glass outstretched, like panhandlers hoping for a handout, to get a little slice of heaven.
Tomme Arthur and Ed Friedland trying to open the bottle with magic hand gestures.
Vinnie opening the bottle amidst a mob of spectators.
Giving Dave Keene the first pour.
Then filling the cups around the table.
I’d love to know how many cups were filled with Temptation that night.
Logan, Jeremy and even Jeff Bagby — giving me the evil eye — got in line for some Temptation. But I kept my promise, he’s in every Toronado post.
Adrienne, Moonlight Brewing’s Brian Hunt, and Shaun O’Sullivan.
Gabby and Justine, unless, of course, Justine isn’t wearing her own jacket.
Caroline and James Costa, who brews at E.J. Phair, with Triple Rock brewer Christian Kazakoff and his girlfriend, Jodi.
Dave Keene sporting the Watermelon chapeau.
Motor, Adrienne and possibly Gabby, with Steve in the foreground, who’d starting judging with me around ten o’clock that morning.
Out on the sidewalk for some fresh air, Tomme Arthur shows off the original painting that became the label for his Lost Abbey’s Cable Car beer, which he brewed especially for the Toronado anniversary. Apparently it’s the only label to ever leave the brewery. This was about the same point in the evening when Rick Sellers from Pacific Brew News snapped a picture of me and Dave Suurballe talking.