Sunday, August 17, 2014

Helena 150 Birthday Brewfest Volunteering

One of the things the girls and I did over the years was to volunteer for things we liked to do.  We enjoyed the Ren Faire and volunteer over several years.  Not only was it something we enjoyed, but by volunteering, some of the costs of going to it were not there.  When you are a single mom, 'free' means a lot.  Time I had, money I didn't always have.

So when Savvy moved here (2 weeks ago) and I realized she enjoyed craft beer and we saw this sign for the Helena 150 Birthday Brew Fest, I checked it out.  Boy, $20 per person to get in.  BUT....if you volunteered you got in free and only had to work a 3 hour shift, which would leave you 3 hours to sample the different beers. 

Saturday dawned and it was promising to be a beautiful day.  Not too hot, no rain, sunny, light breeze - perfect day for being outside.  And the event was held only a short walk away from the house (that way I didn't have to worry about parking or driving when I possibly shouldn't - just in case).

We were assigned to work as servers at Quarry Brewing, out of Butte.  First off, the owner and brewer, Chuck Schnabel, was great.  He explained the 4 beers he had brought with him and let us taste each one.  Then I finally got an explanation of what an IPA beer was.  And then the fun began!

Chuck, owner and brewer, on the left.

Savvy really got into the whole event.  If she had been selling, rather than giving away the beer, we would have made a fortune.  Frankly, I started getting worried that Chuck was going to load her up and take her back to Butte with him to work.  (And what's really funny is that Chuck's father-in-law, Butch, was there visiting...from Arizona.  Like a couple of blocks away from where Savvy use to work. Can you say really small world?)

I learned that I like an "Irish Red", something malty, rather than something 'hoppy', like an IPA.  The venue where the event was held was great, and the crowd wasn't a 'spring-break' type crowd.  More mellow and less barely 21-ish.  The music was good and upbeat, mainly country.  I also learned that there wasn't enough food vendors to go around and the ones there were running out of food.

We had to wait almost an hour and a half to get our 3 tacos at 6pm.  They were good though and luckily the food truck we got them from parks out by the library every week.  My job was to bring Savvy different beers while she was in line.  There is a whole vocabulary involved with craft beer and it's really fun learning all about good beers.

Our swag from the event, beyond not having to pay $20 to get in, was an event t-shirt, a tasting glass, a t-shirt from Quarry Brewing, several bumper stickers and coasters from the different breweries.  The coasters interest me from an artistic/design point of view too.  And pork bones.  We were the first people to go over and ask the BBQ people, as they were stripping the pig, if we could have bones for our dogs.  Frankly, when we asked I think people in line were thinking they could gnaw on them until they got their food.

We are already eyeing the Montana Brewers Fall Festival in Missoula in October.  It's only 2 hours away!

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