15 Years In A Glass

Why The Perfect Storm? Because I just saw the movie – again.

It’s our birthday. After 15 years in town we still feel like kids. We readily admit that we don’t have this thing completely figured out. But we are only 15, still adolescents, barely with whiskers. You might have missed this, but our birthday was the last weekend in June. Anybody that knows the Ale House and knows the owner probably feels the way we all do here: we just got started, we’re the new business in town, still figuring things out. This is a real feeling, not just imagination. There is something young about us. Something immature. Like Rick, me.

And what goes with such adolescent inexperience? An abundance of unsubstantiated, unwarranted and unjustified, over confidence. It could get us in trouble. But something has happened to us here; we are better, at least we think so. And we are celebrating ‘15’ all year. 15. It’s getting real.

Let’s get to the title of this article – The Perfect Storm. After 15 years in the business, we have the audacity to suggest we have our own perfect storm. Our industry – hospitality – can experience something like a perfect storm. If you recall the movie, it was about three weather systems coming together in the Atlantic to create a perhaps, never-before-seen, perfect storm, which was the doom of George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg (Billy & Bobby). Perfect? Right! Maybe unbelievable, but perfect? We have a better perfect storm in the world of hospitality, and it is also pretty rare to experience. Our perfect storm occurs at the juncture of three ‘storm’ systems too: 1) Atmosphere, 2) Service, 3) Food & Beverage. Imagine with me this perfect storm. You walk into a place (our place?) and you experience the mood and vibe, that’s the first storm, atmosphere (people, paint, music, furniture, the smells). Then you are greeted & guided. Your server arrives at table, your drinks arrive promptly, carried by a server who is truly glad to see you, no, really, glad. That’s the second storm. Service. Atmosphere continues to pervade, roiling the surface. Next your appetizer arrives. Service and food/beverage storms coalesce. Atmosphere in the form of noise, music and community continues to pour. Waves are beginning to crash. The storms are merging, mutually assisting. In a huge clash of systems, dinner arrives and you are inundated, soaking it up. Atmosphere, service and food/drink are just as you hoped, and then some. Your ship capsizes and you are lost. And this is a good thing. Our perfect storm is a crashing concert. And it is not a trifle to pull off. Think Ravel’s Bolero or the more esoteric crescendo bridging the 3rd and 4th movements in Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5. I’m talking goose bumps here.

I could go on and on and review our history of hospitality at the Ale House and Moon Hill Brewing; our miserable failures and feel-good successes, but I would risk to bore you then, assuming you are not now (bored). Just know that we are better than we’ve ever been and can put on a concert for you. Well, most of the time.

Continuing with the concert metaphor, let’s talk about our lead instrument, craft beer. We created a new one just for our 15th birthday; our 15th Anniversary Lager. I call it our 15-year Lager but was prevented from putting that on the label because it is misleading. I maintain that it is a true 15-year lager, because it is the culmination of 15 years of learning what people enjoy and figuring how to put that in a glass. It’s a 15-year lager and no hokey pokey about it.

Here is what we’ve written on the can:
“Moon Hill Brewing’s anniversary lager is the culmination of 15 years of brewing experience on our 7-barrel brewhouse. We think of it as a masterpiece, but only our latest masterpiece! Our highly filtered water is combined with nothing but Saaz hops and Pilsen & Munich malts. The result is a Bohemian Pilsner that proves true to the style with a mild noble hop presence and a light biscuit, toasty malt flavor. A crisp pilsner like this is a delightful drink any time of year, but in the summer it’s just the best!”

We’ve decided not to distribute this one (very much); you have to get it here. Right now.

Happy birthday to us!

Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention: Oktoberfest “Party In The Street” is rumored to be happening Saturday, September 25th. Four bands, German food and music, and all of Gardner pouring out for the first time in two years! And I am not putting the kaibosh on this rumor.

Gardner Ale House
Moon Hill Brewing Co

74 Parker Street
Gardner, MA 01440

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