Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Brewery Project: Lightning

I've talked time and again about the fact that a great brewery is made up of more than just great beer.  This fact was hit home with my visit to Lightning Brewery.  There is nothing fancy here, with the brewing floor serving as the rudimentary "tasting room".  Right in the middle of the action, there's no mystery as to where you are or where the beer you're drinking comes from.  Sipping your beer, you feel as if you are an honorary member of the team taking a quick break before getting back to work crafting the next batch of brew.  They don't need a fancy tasting room, a spacious seating area, or even chairs, because what makes this brewery great, aside from the beer of course, is the people behind the beer.  Rick, one of the two people manning the brewery at the time, greeted me with a firm handshake, introduced himself, and warmly welcomed me to the brewery for the first time.  Explaining how tastings worked there, he set me up with a tasting flight of 6 samplers.  He was more than happy to answer any questions he could, but didn't hesitate to admit it if there was something he didn't know.  A "real" person, he made me feel at home in the heart of a thriving brewing environment.  He wasn't trying to sell me on the brewery or the beer, but that's exactly what he did.  That's what makes a great brewery.  That, and great beer, which they also had.  Familiar with most of their offerings, I was happy to see a beer I had never seen before.  Double Strike IPA, a 9% alcohol IIPA, was excellent.  Bold and flavorful, it fit the style without beating you over the head about it.  I'll be looking for this one the next time I shop for beer.  I've always liked this brewery, but this trip has turned me into a true fan.  Make your own trip to the brewery and join the club!

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