Date: Saturday, April 19, 2008
Time: 1 – 4 PM
Where: Twin Lakes Brewing Company (Greenville, Delaware)
Cost: $12.50 (admission)
This past Saturday the sun was shining gloriously and all was right with the world. After a hot cup of java, some egg salad and a few pre-celebrations in honor of April 20th, I hopped in the shower and got dressed for my journey to Delaware.
A few days prior to the event, I had been in contact with Twin Lakes Brewing Company’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Matt Day. We had some excellent conversations and traded emails about the upcoming event and I was glad my schedule was free to accept his invitation.
The idea behind the Earth Day Celebration event hit home with me because I have been saving up my pennies to invest in my own solar panels so my wife and I can be more green and also cut down on energy costs. The investment is not a small one but is totally worth it to us.
As an added bonus, I learned that a local Delaware brew store had some 120-minute Dogfish in stock and I planned to take advantage of my trip to “The First State” by killing two birds with one stone and picking up some of the Holy Grail of IPAs.
So after an easy +/- 30 mile drive to the Twin Lakes farm, I arrived and was greeted by some very nice ladies at the front gate who took my $12.50 and gave me a Twin Lakes pint glass, which was to be left in the car as they informed me that they had tasting glasses at the beer stand already. Although I was already more than an hour and a half late, I could see that the party was still in full swing.
As I walked up the rolling hills past the twin lakes, I could immediately hear the beautiful sounds of an acoustic guitar being strummed and I made my way directly towards the cold beer. My first taste was the Route 52 Pilsner, named after Delaware’s very first scenic by-way. It was delicious and light and really hit the spot. I the proceeded to try both the Greenville Pale Ale and the limited Celebration Ale, both of which were simply perfection in a glass.
Looking around I spotted several patrons sporting half-gallon growlers and my focus immediately shot to what had to be Matt Day. My instincts told me this but it was quite obvious as he was busy chatting with a local newspaper writer from The News Journal. They were taking photos, examining the solar panels and pacing through the brewery to see Twin Lake’s brewing equipment in action. To see pictures and read the full story from the paper’s website, click here.
I enjoyed the warm sun and soulful music while I maintained my position directly next to the beer stand so each empty tasting glass was immediately filled. I made small talk with one of the investors in the company (sorry, I forget her name). This lovely woman, who is a long time friend of the company, was very cheerful and today filled beers alongside her son Andrew. We chatted quite a bit and she gave me the rough history of Twin Lakes two-year existence. She told me stories about how they use only the well water from the farm to make their beer and how it imparts a unique flavor to their line of unfiltered brews.
After a while, I inquired about the brewery tour I was promised earlier in the week and was soon greeted by the lovely woman’s husband, Ken. I had been watching Ken running around the farm most of the day and knew he was somehow a part of this very close, family-style business. Ken invited me to a refill and began the tour of the converted farm-house brewery.
It was spectacular! Inside of what appears to be a simple farm house was a very elaborate and shiny stainless steel brewery. Ken and I were joined only by a very nice couple from Delaware and their two dogs. Ken answered all of my questions and walked us through each step of the brewing process from grinding the malt to kegging the beer. We even chatted extensively about home-brewing as Ken is an avid home brewer and self-proclaimed beer connoisseur.
After the tour, I finally caught up with Matt, who was just as cheerful as could be. Throwing his arm around my shoulder, he was happily telling everyone that I was attending on behalf of The Full Pint and how he thought what we were doing for the craft beer industry was truly heroic. I reckon Matt had already had a few beers because he welcomed me to the crowd like we had known each other our whole lives. I felt very welcome and special as we continued to chat about Twin Lakes and their new solar powered brewery.
After more and more samples of the Route 52 Pilsner, Greenville Pale Ale and a special Earth Day Celebration Ale, I was starting to feel like I never wanted to leave this place. In fact, Andrew even ran into the brewery and snagged me a VIP taste of their Tweeds Tavern Stout, which was creamy, rich and delightful. The beer kept flowing all day and my cup was never empty.
When the party that was supposed to end at 4 PM, finally begun to wind down well after 6 PM, I found myself taking one last taste when Matt appeared again over my shoulder. To my surprise, he had arranged for Ken to fill growlers of the Pils, Pale Ale and Celebration Ale for me to take home to New Jersey. I was so pleasantly surprised at Twin Lake’s generosity and graciously accepted the free beer.
The beautiful day finally ended with a short drive back home in the setting sun with nothing but smiles and fond memories of what is now one of my favorite local breweries. I can’t hardly wait to empty these growlers and head back to Delaware for refills.