30 April 2010

Hops & Props 2010

On April 24, I headed out to Midland to visit Satan and go to The Commemorative Air Force's Hops & Props 2010. Last year Satan and his brew club, the Basin Brewers, attended and they think they had a good time. As best they can remember, anyway.

We arrived at the CAF hanger about 6:30, and went inside. Hops and Props is sponsored by Glazer's Distributing, one of the largest liquor, wine, and beer distributors in the state, and thus a member of the Forces of Darkness. They provided 20 imported beers, including Pyramid and Saint Arnold. (Sigh. More on that later.)

As we entered the hanger, the silent auction items were on our left along the back wall, commemorative t-shirts were sold to the right of the door, and next to them a stand selling Brian Milson & The Short Road Band,the the music for the evening, and next to that, in the corner, the sound board. And apparently, they like their Brian Milson & The Short Road Band deafeningly loud. (Warning! The site plays music when it loads. Web designers, please stop doing that!) Along the right wall of the hanger was a large silver twin engine plane, and in front of that, the buffet and four tables where volunteers poured two beers off of each table. Along the right wall of the hanger were two planes, and in front of them 6 tables each with 2 beers. Along the far wall was the stage where Brian Milson and band were tuning up.

Thirsty, Satan and I went off to get beer before meeting up with the Basin Brewers. There was a nice selection, for only 20 choices. Sapporo (I'm an Asahi man, myself, but still it was good), Piretti, Saint Arnold Amber, Bitberger, Warsteiner (premium and dunkel), Guinness, and a French beer in a flip top bottle I had never heard of before. I ordered a glass of French Beer and the volunteer poured me a quarter glass.

A quarter glass? WTF?

Look, I understand that you want to maximize your beer purchase. I understand that you have to pay for what the Forces of Darkness drop off and set on the floor. I can even understand trying to limit what the customers consume to prevent drunkeness. But a quarter cup? I would have been happy for a half glass, but then why did you give me a pint glass with my paid admission? So I could admire the logo when there is no beer behind it?


We met up with the Basin Brewers and chatted until the band started playing. Then we had to stop. Brian Milson plays Country music, and he's pretty good. Nice voice, great fiddle player, and danceable. From the music on his site, he writes pretty well, too. But his sound guy had the volume cranked up for a crowd twice as large as was there. To carry on a conversation, we were shouting at each other. It's one of the many times that I wish we all were fluent in American Sign Language, so we could communicate. I yelled to Tom, one of the Basin Brewers, they could back the sound down to 4, and he yelled back, in an English accent, "But it goes to 11! That's one more that 10!"

After a couple more Spinal Tap quotes, I wandered over to table serving Pyramid Hefewiezen. The guy in front of me asked the server about the beer. "It's a German Beer," she said. He didn't look around when I slapped my forehead. After I drank that quarter pint, I went to the Warsteiner table (It was a short walk.) and asked for a dunkel. The blonde hottie behind the table pointed to the NewCastle Brown Ale and asked, "That one?" She was hot. I forgave her.

Another complaint was that there was only one distributor. Before stopping at Satan's house, I had stopped by The Wine Rack, probably the best beer store in Midland. Most Midland liquor stores have large displays of Budweiser. The Wine Rack doesn't carry BMC. It's one of the best selections of imported beer I have seen, and even has twenty or thirty Belgian beers, including three from Mikkeller, who I have come to love. They also carry four Ommegang beers. Obviously, Glazer's Distributors doesn't carry those brands, because there was nothing like that at Hops & Props. That's the danger of a one distributor event.

So, except for the volume of the band, and the quarter pours, I had a good time at Hops & Props. But I walked away feeling like the CAF was a little cheap. Now, excuse me, I have to download some Brian Milson tunes.


posted by Jeff Holt at 13:26


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