Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chasing Our Tail - Overdue Updates

It’s been far too long since we posted here, but we hope you understand that’s part of the gig when you’re a two-man operation like Odonata is. Where to begin? How about San Francisco Beer Week?

If you’re a resident of Northern California we hope you had an opportunity to check out at least one amazing beer event for SF Beer Week, there were hundreds to choose from! We were fortunate to participate in several ourselves, having beers poured for the Brewing Network festival (not quite beer week, but close enough), sour-beer and barrel-aged festivals in Berkeley and a sour festival in San Francisco! The response to our beers at these events was outstanding! Our “Rosa” was among the first to kick at the BN party and the feedback received from other events was humbling, to say the least! We finished off the week with swelled heads and an even greater desire to make more beer! Thank you, people of the Bay Area, for making us feel so darned special!

Of course, we were barely able to let our livers recover when it was time for Sacramento’s own Beer Week, right in our own back yard! Whatever measure of success we felt in San Francisco… well, it’s hard to put into words what our hometown did four our egos! For starters there was the opening gala that I was a keynote speaker for (this is Rick, FYI). Given this was the inaugural year for Sacramento, I really didn’t know what to expect as a speaker, not to mention a partner in a new brewery! Had you asked before the Gala what I thought we’d see in attendance, I’d speculate right around 100 – and I’d be happy with that. Well, turns out Sacramento is thirstier for good beer than I thought, as evidenced by the more than 400 people that showed up to listen, learn and enjoy Sacramento’s great beers! The local news crew was there to talk about Odonata, as well as reporters for some news magazines – the feedback was tremendous!

Tuesday we partnered with Chris “The Bicycle Chef” Davis-Murai & a local craft beer bar to introduce the Odonata Strong Ale Glass (or, our Water Witch glass, as it were). To say this was a successful event wouldn’t begin to do it justice. At one point there was a line out the door, in the pouring rain, for people hoping to try the beer, get a glass and enjoy some killer mussels & handmade sausages. It was surreal, unlike anything I’d seen in a Sacramento bar before – especially on a rainy Tuesday night! We met a lot of new friends, shook hands with many we have known for years and generally had us a good time.

The following day we partnered with Chef David Hill in Rocklin to celebrate the first-ever “Water Witch Wednesday” and, again, were blown away. The crowds weren’t as big, but the food & beer pairings, the long conversations with people who just discovered our beers – it was pretty amazing. One thing we learned for certain: Water Witch + Duck Cassoulet = Happiness. Unbelievably good time.

As if we needed more food, Thursday we worked with Sacramento’s biggest celebrity chef, Michael Touhy, to put on an Odonata Grain & Grape dinner, where we paired dishes with Odonata Wine as well as some Odonata Beer. Chef Touhy needs no more praise for his food, that’s been pretty well covered by the media and locals, but still – the pairings with each drink were outstanding! Four great courses, five great beverages – life was exceptionally good to us that Thursday night.

We had an event lined up for Friday, but apparently you folks in Sacramento didn’t get the memo that Water Witch was supposed to last a few more days! We got the call on Tuesday saying the place that we planned on being at on Friday was out of beer. In fact, right around midweek we got several calls asking for more beer! So, in order to keep the party of Beer Week rolling, we sold EVERY LAST KEG of beer we’d stashed away. That’s right, we’re out of beer! That, by the way, is not a terrible problem to have – a truly great measure of what you really think about our beer!

Saturday Odonata was part of a Belgium vs. America beer tasting in East Sacramento where versions of a particular style went head to head. Water Witch went up against Van Twee, and I have to say – folks really like this Water Witch thing, we’re going to have to make it again!

It’s amazing to look back on just the last month, see where we’ve been and contemplate on the number of new friends we’ve made along the way. It’s pretty amazing, from where I sit, to see the enthusiasm people have for good beer and local companies. We are proud to be a Northern California brewery, we’re elated to be associated with the likes of you – we’re ecstatic to think about our future here, with you all. Thank you. You have no idea what your support has meant to a new small business like ours, it’s filled us with hope that we’re on the right path and made us confident that you are, indeed, ready for some new beers like Saison.

Speaking of Saison… How about that label?

I can’t possibly put into words the gratitude we have for our label design artist, Damian Fagan. He’s a NorCal beer geek, just like Peter and me, but with an artistic eye we can’t even begin to understand. Damian was able to tell a story of Saison with pictures, colors and shapes – and he told his story brilliantly! Our actual label is even better than what you see online, there’s one added element we are pretty excited about and we can’t wait to hear back from you about not just the label, but the actual Saison that will be released in Northern California mid-April. It’s been a long time coming, but the wait is nearly over.

Again, thank you all. We have a lot more to write about and hopefully that will happen soon. For now, know that we are humbled by the generous support you have all shown – with word and deed. Thank you.

- Peter & Rick


  1. Congratulations on all of the success! I am sad that I couldn't make the Sac Beer Week opening gala. Your beers have been abuzzin' all over the beer blog scene, and I am proud to be able to say that I am OG-Odonata. Can't wait to try the saison.

  2. Wow, Congrats. We were at River City Saloon in Old Sacramento for two beer week celebrations, and thou they did not have your beers we will tell them to get it going for next year!

  3. Rick, Peter: I was at the Sac Gala opening, and had a good time. Rick I thought your presentation was great. Crowd was a bit raucous, but you handled them well. Anyway I for one would be happy to see your notes posted somewhere, I think it would make a fun read.

    I was also at the "local craft beer bar" you mentioned on Tuesday. Standing room only! It was a lot of fun, lots of great beers.

    I also got to try Water Witch a couple of times, once at the Gala and once again at a local place in East Sac. That 2nd time I had it back-to-back with Rodenback, and I have to say Water Witch was the bigger beer. For me the two are about equal in drinkability and enjoyability.

    Best wishes to guys!

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