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Libri Divini – May 2011

The Official Newsletter of Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey
Volume 3, Issue 2

In This Issue:

Where’s Tomme? | New Faces: Meet Gwen Conley | 5th Anniversary Party | New Beer Releases | Upcoming Events | The Cat is Back!

Let’s Play Where’s Tomme!

Greeting members of the faithful!

We are skipping the usual message from the DOBO this month as Tomme, world traveler that he is, is out and about being Tomme Arthur. Having just returned from Europe (Scotland, Belgium and Denmark, specifically), this week he’s up in Chico, CA at Sierra Nevada doing a collaboration brew with a few of the other members of the “Brett Pack” (Adam from Avery Brewing, Sam from Dogfish Head, and Rob from Allagash).

Next week he’ll be back home for our 5th Anniversary celebration (more on that below), and then he’ll be heading out to do a coast-to-coast beer week tour. If you’d like to say hi to Tomme, you’ll be able to find him at the following:

  • May 19 to 26 – Seattle Beer Week
  • June 3 to 4 – Savor, Washington DC
  • June 5 to 8 – Philly Beer Week

We don’t have a full list of his appearance schedule just yet, so stay tuned via our Twitter and Facebook feeds. Or better yet, subscribe to our calendar and you’ll get all the updates delivered right to your computer / phone / tablet / etc.

New Faces: Meet Gwen Conley

Gwen Conley

One of the more exciting things to happen here at The Abbey is the arrival of our new Quality Assurance Director, Gwen Conley. For those not familiar with her name, Gwen comes to us from the famous Flying Dog Brewery in Maryland where she headed their QA department for years.

Gwen actually got into the beer business back in the 90’s through what she calls “dumb luck” — more or less wandering into it when she went to work as a microbiologist for Coors in Golden, Colorado. After leaving Coors she went to work for the Ball Corporation (the container people) where she went through their sensory training program and became an expert on how colors, aromas, and flavors work together to create full-fledged sensory experiences. That ended up getting her part time work doing food and drink pairings and eventually earned her the moniker “Sensory Goddess.”

She eventually parlayed her unique background into her gig at Flying Dog where she not only managed their QA efforts, but also conducted educational programs in beer and food pairings. As for her reasons for jumping to the left coast and joining us here at Port / Lost Abbey, Gwen said “It was the opportunity to do the sort of experimentation that goes on here. Working with so many barrels and different beers was hard to pass up.” (She also admitted that living in San Diego isn’t so bad either.)

As QA director Gwen has jumped in and taken over oversight of our brewing and production processes, finally putting all that really cool equipment in our shiny new lab to work. She’s also held a number of sensory sessions for the staff, and we’re trying to convince her to do a few classes for the general public as well (keep your fingers crossed).

Asked what she’d be doing if she wasn’t helping make great beer, Gwen revealed an interesting aspiration. “I think I’d run a snorkel bar somewhere in the Caribbean or Central America,” shed said. Guests would snorkel half the day, then at 3pm the snorkeling stops and the drinking starts.”

A snorkel bar? Sounds like a pretty good plan to us.

Want to hear more from Gwen? Follow her on Twitter at

5th Anniversary Party

Our fifth birthday party is Saturday, May 14, 2011 — just a little more than a week and a half away — and we’re inviting all our friends, fans and members of the faithful to drop by and say hello!

As with last year, so everyone has plenty of room and can enjoy the food, music and (of course) beer, we’re dividing the party into two sessions — an early one from 11am to 3pm and a later one from 4pm to 8pm.

Items on tap for our daylong festivities include specialty kegs from the barrel archives, bottled beer releases, special barrelhouse tours, amazing street food from our in-house chefs, and live music from our two special guests — Kiera and the Lesbians and The Professors.

The $15 ticket includes a commemorative glass, 8 beer tasting tickets, food and live music. Tickets are very limited, however, so if you’d like to attend, you should buy them sooner rather than later.

For full details and to buy tickets, click here.

New Beer Releases

Speaking of our Anniversary Party, we also have two beer releases from the Port Brewing side of the house coinciding with the party. On May 14 we will issue the following beers:

Anniversary Ale – Our annual hoppy strong pale ale.
Older Viscosity – Old Viscosity aged in Bourbon oak barrels for a year.

No need to worry if you can’t attend the anniversary party. Both of these beers will reach our full distribution network. Look for them on shelves and your favorite pubs and eateries in mid-to-late May.

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars (or subscribe to ours) — the following events are coming up!

May 16 to 22 – American Craft Beer Week
The annual nationwide ode to American craft brews. We’ll be kicking it off a couple of days early with our anniversary party, but you can expect some fun in the tasting room May 20 – 22 as well.

June 16 to 18 – National Homebrewer’s Conference
The NHC is here in San Diego this year and we’ll be rolling out the red carpet all week long for our homebrewer friends. Tomme & Co. have already brewed a special beer for the conference, and we’ll be extending tasting room hours to accommodate all the folks who will be in town earlier in the week. Details will be posted on our calendar and website as we get closer to the dates.

July 16 – Christmas in July
Our annual celebration and fundraiser for Toys for Tots will be a little earlier than last year (so people can go to ComicCon and our party). As with previous years we’ll be releasing Santa’s Little Helper aged in Bourbon oak barrels, Santa will be on hand for photos, and there will be live music and food. Oh, and it’s all FREE (except for the beer) if you just bring a new, unwrapped toy worth $15 or more! Last year we raised close to $10,000 in cash and toys for the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots foundation and this year we’d like to do even better, so make plans to attend.

Amarillo is Back!

Amarillo holding court in the tasting room

For those of you who follow our Twitter and/or Facebook feeds, you’re probably aware that one of our brewcats, Amarillo, disappeared a couple of weeks back, much to our dismay (the tasting room just isn’t the same without him holding court on the bar or the barrel tables).

We are please to report that last Saturday night he suddenly re-appeared. Skinny, disheveled and exhausted, he ate two cans of cat food and a whole bowl of dry food in a matter of minutes, and spent the entire next day “talking” to anyone and everyone who came into the tasting room (usually his sister, Cascade is the talkative one).

We’re not entirely certain what happened (nobody here speaks cat), but we’re pretty sure he had a quite an adventure. All we can say is everyone — Amarillo included — is happy that he’s back.

Thanks to all those who put out the call that he was missing (he even made it on a local TV news broadcast), sent kind words, and brought him treats and gifts since his return. You guys are the best!

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