Well, the time had finally come to
bid farewell to the two nicest people in the (beer) world, Tom Baker and
Peggy Zwerver. The impact they've made is incalculable, not only on my
life, but on the entire beer industry.
Their final Open Houses were held on July 1 & 2 to enthusiastic crowds of adoring fans. It seemed the underlying reason for these events, the demise of Heavyweight, was forgotten for a while and only surfaced when goodbyes were said. I thought it was going to be much more emotional for me, but I made it through the day. Keeping myself busy by manning the beer sales table certainly helped!
Mary Lu and I attended the Sunday event as I needed to take a vacation day. In retrospect, I should have taken both days!
As was normal for these happenings, many people brought their favorite beers from their collections and beer flowed like water. Tom served up 10 of his beers on tap and several more in bottles. What a day!!! In addition, people brought foods of all kinds for consumption.
The day was a scorcher and the brewery was like a sauna, but few let it bother them. Some people found their way into the walk-in box and spent their time drinking and eating cheese in the cooler, but it just made it worse when you exited!
I expected to see more people attending, but the place was full and beer sales were brisk. After all, you'll have a hell of a time finding Tom's Beer anywhere now and the OTOP's for sale will not be seen in most places anyway. His limited bottlings did not afford wide distribution. The clamoring for his final supplies started right after the affirmation of a timetable. I can tell you that NJ will have little to no supply. Look to the Philadelphia area and NY's Spuyten Duyvil and Blind Tiger for future releases.
Of course, there is also the August 5 tapping of 15 beers at the Drafting Room in Exton, PA. Don't miss that!!! It will be Tom and Peggy's final official event as Heavyweight. I'm sure there will several nostalgia events in the coming years, but most of their effort will now be put into getting the new project to fruition.
Needless to say, if you weren't at the Open House, you missed a momentous occasion! It still has yet to hit me that the brewery is no more. I was just there to help Tom keg up some of the last few batches and it just seemed so empty. This week, he will be delivering most of it to the distributors and will be officially out of beer.
My visits to the brewery will probably only be once or twice more before he vacates the premises. Soon, the equipment will be moved to storage and the place that Heavyweight's called home for the last seven years will be no more. The brewery was a place I could get away from the pressures that have plagued me for the last couple of years and just sit back and enjoy doing some work and sharing lots of beers with friends. I will miss it terribly.
It will not be the last we hear from the "Dynamic Duo". I am confident that a new project will be forthcoming. Keep an eye on their website and the newsletter for developments as they happen.
Hope we see you all at upcoming events in the area!! Slainte!!