1. The Deke and I drove down to Molly's and I took the car to Huntington Station, parked it, and took the Metro to Washington, D. C. and finally visited a bar that has, in its five years, become a nearly mythic destination for beer lovers: The ChurchKey. And, damn, did I ever pick the perfect day to go. It's the fifth anniversary week at the ChruchKey and the Saturday, Oct. 25 event was to open the Vintage Vault and serve tasters out of vintage bottles of beer the joint has had around for a while. Oh. My. God. Well, I got warmed up with a glass of cask beer. I haven't had a cask ale or an ESB since leaving Eugene, so I enjoyed a Jake's ESB from Sly Fox Brewing of PA.
2. Then I dove into the vault. I slowly relished a taster of Firestone's XV, then I had to have a taster of the divine Parabola from Firestone. Drinking these beers with all their maply, sugary, figgy, cherry-y, boozy, chocolaty deliciousness was like having Christmas in October. I really wished I'd had a beer loving friend seated next to me so we could talk about how awesome Firestone is. Then it was time for a sour and, to my delight, Bruery's Tart of Darkness had been set free from the vault and its biting raisin-y brown ale goodness hit the spot. These were all three oz tasters, so I cold swim a little deeper and ordered a Bink Grand Cru and I was in Belgium where I got to taste the molasses and cocoa and slight peppery qualities of a strong ale with the Belgian bonus of spice and yeast.
3. I closed out my session with one last taster from the tap list and it was my dessert (and I wish Molly could have joined me for this one) and it took me back to Pottstown, PA and the Sly Fox Brewery. And what a dessert it was: Black Raspberry Reserve, a sweet, fruity wheat beer featuring a pound of black and red raspberries per gallon of beer. It was like ending my session with a homemade cobbler, but not a la mode. I thought of so many friends I wished were with me, helping the ChurchKey celebrate number five and joining in on the opening of the Vintage Vault...and, by the way, thank goodness for the 3 oz taster...I could do some excellent sampling and walk out of the place and still be pretty steady!