Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Christmas in July

Every year, Blind Tiger saves up some special holiday kegs from the winter and puts them on in the middle of the summer because you know that there's nothing you want more on a humid, 90º day than a strong winter warmer. But as strange as this logic may be, it's an extremely popular event and we've dug deep into our ice cave in the Arctic to provide a few stocking stuffers such as Slaapmutske Kerstmutske ("Christmas Nightcap"), Géants Noël des Géants, Serafijn Christmas Angel, Weissenohe Monk's Christmas, and Jolly Pumpkin Noël de Calabaza.

I'll let Dave Brodrick of the Blind Tiger say a few more words about the event and where the inspiration came from:

Christmas in July & Happy Hanukkah
Weds July 20th
@ 3pm

Back in 1997, when we began doing beer events to drum up interest in craft beer and its breweries, we came up with the idea of saving barrels of holiday ales and putting them on in the middle of summer. When I say we came up with the idea for Christmas in July, I mean we actually borrowed the concept from Ray and Dennis over at dba. It was kind of hard not to copy a lot of the things they were up to over in the East Village: Ray and Dennis basically invented the New York City beer bar when they opened dba in 1994. Blind Tiger and Gingerman, both of which opened in early 1996, were simply our own variations on a theme they pioneered.

I bring this up because we had a memorial service for Ray Deter this past Wednesday, following his tragic death on July 3rd. He was only 53 years old, and seemed to be loving life more than ever, if that was possible. Ray was a true connoisseur, a person who enjoyed the finer things with incredible joy. Over the past year, I got to see that first hand when I joined Beer Sessions Radio as the roving reporter, which Ray and Jimmy Carbone co-hosted. I can’t think of a person more qualified to talk about good beer, and good stuff in general, than Raymond James Deter III.

Working with Ray was fun, but I especially enjoyed our dinners at Roberta’s after the show. Ignoring the brick oven pizza Roberta’s was famous for, Ray always ordered the dry aged steak for all of us. It came with a marrow bone and Ray liked to slather the stuff on his bread and munch it down until his lips were shiny. The perfect metaphor for a guy who sucked the essence out of everything that interested him, often with that infectious smile on his face. A smile that always made me think, “Man, I’ll have what he’s having...”

Here’s to you, Ray.


There will be a benefit for Ray at dba Brooklyn on August 1st and once we have more details, we'll post the information here.

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