Summer Vacation Beer, Part 1

I took some time away from blogging to refresh my interest in it, and to research a great variety of beers.  It is with pleasure that I present to you the following report.

“What I Drank on my Summer Vacation”

My first excursion into the wide world of beer took me to Verona, WI, to the home of world-class home brewer Neil Selzer and his family.  Along with his brewing partner Ray (I can’t find your last name in my notes, I apologize Ray!), they have been producing amazingly good beers under the name Swil H2O (swill water couldn’t be farther from the truth) for a few years.  They met in a dental office as patient/dental tech and discovered they were both beer enthusiasts and neighbors as well.  At their annual outdoor party, known as Swil Fest, I was able to sample at least 6 beers on tap, enjoy Neil’s yard art (he is a talented sculptor) and get a good deal of insight as to what it is that makes a home brewer tick.  Ray says it is a passion, a way to be creative and a form of therapy.  With beer as good as those in the Swil H2O line, I can see that the therapy is working well.  My question is, when does home brewing go from being therapy and a hobby to becoming a necessity, and when does it become an obligation to share it on a larger scale?  This beer is good enough to be the house brand at a restaurant or pub, without question.

Neil and Ray, the Hops Brothers

The line up at Swil Fest included a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone, with ample Cascade hops for a fresh floral quality, and a hazy, copper color that floated a fine-beaded head.  The Czech Pils was light gold and mild in comparison, but true to the style and a crowd favorite.  The nitrogen infused Chocolate Porter, made with real cocoa nibs was a beautiful production in shades of mahogany and a treat from start to finish.  The Nut Brown Ale was better than a Newcastle, and had more character.  It was hearty and what I imagine a nut brown would have tasted like in the old days.  By the time I got to their amazing Witbier, my note taking skills were shot, so I spent the rest of the evening enjoying conversation and belly laughs with my good pal and former bandmate, Lu Vitiritti, a champion of the Swil H2O cause, and the reason I was invited to the fest.  Thanks to all, and I hope for a day that Swil H2O is a highly-regarded regional treasure.

One last note:  I got a Swil Fest t-shirt and pint glass as a complimentary gift!  SCORE!

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