When I drove into the parking lot and saw brewers setting up their gear outside, I knew that I was in the right place. Not only would I be doing my standard spiel and Making Fine Spirits book-signing at NorCal Brewing Solutions in Redding CA, but I would get to spend the whole “International Big Brew Day” playing. I knew it would entail beer-making and beer-tasting, but I had no real idea of how grand a day it would be.
My first impression of NorCal is that it’s huge, well-stocked, sumptuous, well-staffed and busy as hell, although some of that may just be that today was a special day. Second impression was that everyone, staff, customers, just visiting friends, book-signing attendees, and most especially the owners Jay and Victor and their wives Tina and Michelle, were friendly, helpful, and warmly receptive, almost to a fault.
The pre-signing hobby distilling lecture was well attended, and I’d make a wild guess that 3/4 of them were already distilling on some level, although I know of a couple of noobs for sure. Even at that, everyone seemed tolerant of the fact that my material starts at the very beginning and covers a lot that the experienced distiller may already know. Attendees were focused and asking good questions. For my first time with the new Power Point material working, I was really happy with how it went.
After spending a late afternoon loafing at cafe tables on the mezzanine (I told you this place was nice) and sampling all kinds of potables, I was taken to dinner by the owners, where (thanks to a dinner-order failure) we spent a lot of time in simple friendly conversation, a super end to a great day.
Now I can’t wait until next year!