Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Imagine, if you will, a warm summer night out on Fire Island. A man- one of the founders of Fire Island Beer Company, in fact- is sitting out on his porch in Atlantique, kicking back some Lighthouse Ales and watching a random deer hang out. After one beer too many, a strange and unshakeable thought enters his mind:
What if I put a saddle on that deer and rode it over to Ocean Beach?!
Fortunately for the deer, the co-founder in question (who has asked that he not be identified, in accordance with the Beer Drinker’s Code) voiced his idea to his brother and cousin before acting on it. They were a few beers behind him, so reason won out and the lucky deer was spared a twenty minute walk with a drunk human being on its back.
Sometimes you can’t always get what you want. But dreams never die- they just retreat to the back of the mind, where they wait for the right moment to re-emerge. That moment came some months later when that same Fire Island Beer co-founder went to Johnny Famous Bar and Restaurant in Bayside, NY. Over there, he found himself face to face with a rather impressive and fierce-looking mechanical bull.
In that moment, he knew what had to happen, with as much certainty as he’d known anything else in his life:
I’m going to turn that mechanical bull into a mechanical deer. And then I’m going to ride the damn thing.
Unfortunately, flashes of genius never come with insurance: putting antlers on the bull would probably make it too dangerous to ride. But like it is with all endeavors, there’s always another solution. Our very talented creative team made an antlered bib for the bull to reveal its deepest secret: that this mechanical bovine wished it was a deer.
We actually think this was funnier than antlers would have ever been- not to mention the potential as a fashion accessory. (Don’t you wish you were a deer too?) Only the bull knows if it has recovered from the psychological trauma though...
With the promise of a pint of Fire Island Beer for everyone who dared to ride the deer, it was no time before people started pouring into Johnny Famous that fateful Thursday night. We were the only people in the bar when we got there at 9pm, and by midnight, there were well over 200 partygoers, watching people fall off the deer and dancing to the DJ’s slammin’ beats.
When all was said and done, 362 people walked through the saloon doors to join us for a night of fun and debauchery. Props to the bartenders for holding it down!
Thank you for all of those who showed up, cause this really was quite the special night. And if you missed out, no worries- we’ll be hosting another event at Johnny Famous in the very near future. So stay tuned and you’ll have your chance to live the dream and ride the deer too.
In fact, if you do come to the next one, find one of us- we’ll challenge you to a deer riding contest. Loser buys a beer and a nice venison steak.
Cheers, and till we meet again-
The Fire Island Beer Company Crew
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Ten thousand people, three hundred beers, one hundred brewers but just six kegs of Red Wagon IPA and Lighthouse Ale. We did it. You did it. We did it together, all ten thousand-plus of us. We poured and tasted and chugged and danced (along to live bands) and noshed (on gourmet pretzels) and laughed our way through New York Brewfest 2010. Set on Governor's Island, the most picturesque best-kept secret off the southern tip of Manhattan, we couldn't have dreamt up a better crowd or better weather. This was hands down one of the most exhilarating events we've been a part of to date. Check it out for yourself:
The lines were long, but the day was beautiful, the music was great, and the beer just wouldn’t stop flowing. All in all, a great recipe for a BrewFest.
Everyone was given a small sampling glass, but they definitely added up. By the end of it, people were more than happy to show us their beer faces.
Alas, all good things must slowly come winding down to their end. Beer-drinkers, who have an innate knack for sensing such things, were camping out by the Fire Island booth to get as much delicious beverage as they could possibly imbibe before the event shut down. Fire Island Beer Company stickers were being snatched off the tables in the dozens and stuck on the most inappropriate of places.
After all was said and done, we packed up our booth and headed for the ferry. We then ran into a human traffic jam of about a thousand people, all trying to get off the island. The combination of a day at BrewFest and the ongoing World Cup led to some very interesting chants as we waited for the ferry with nine hundred and ninety-seven other beer fans.
It took about an hour to cover the last hundred yards to the ferry, but we finally made it back to the mainland. Then came the final part of our journey: finding a taxi. In the midst of high-fiving BrewFest survivors who may or may not have recognized us from earlier in the day, we wandered through the deserted Financial District for about twenty minutes with Fire Island Beer Co. president Jeff Glassman and his friend Victor, as we tried to find a cab. Jeff was pulling around a cart loaded with all our promotional materials, included the giant wooden box you can see in the earlier photos. That's how you know you've got a cool boss.
All in all, it was quite the day, and if you didn’t make it out this year, you owe it to yourself as a beer fan to make it to the next one!
Monday, July 5, 2010
The Resonance Machine (as I took to calling it after a beer or two) looked every bit as impressive as its name suggests. The ceiling and walls were covered in a succession of 56 wall-mounted “units” connected, by means of an elaborate and arcane pulley system, to a keyboard that anyone could play around with.
Joshua Kirsch explains his interactive sculpture to the crowd.
Of course, this machine was situated a little bit away from the bar, so I didn’t get a good look at it until a couple hours later, when the beer ran out. At that point, I also got to chat with Joshua Kirsch. In addition to being insanely talented, he’s also a very cool dude. As it turns out, Joshua blurs the lines between sculpture and engineering- Sympathetic Resonance isn’t just a sculpture, it’s an interactive musical instrument, a playable machine that makes music- art and performance art, merged into one.
Meanwhile, I was behind the bar hooking people up with bottles of Lighthouse Ale and Red Wagon IPA, soaking in the ambience and, of course, the sweat (that perennial summertime hazard). I felt a little isolated from the music, until around 9pm, when I suddenly noticed two very interesting characters standing in front of the bar. Words can’t really do them justice:
At first I was convinced it was some kind of strange trip brought about by a combination of beer and the sympathetic resonance machine. Then I learned it was just the Xylopholks. Playing the xylophone and the double bass on a sweltering summer day, while dressed in heavy, fur-covered costumes- now THAT’S commitment to one’s art! They play some great tunes too.
All in all, it was quite the party. A little different from anything we’ve attended before, but certainly the kind of different that one could easily get to enjoy. We’ll definitely be teaming up again with 3rd Ward soon- in a couple weeks, in fact, for their annual Pig Out! event. So if you’re in the Morgan Ave area on July 18th, come on down for some crazy times and some Fire Island Brews.