Lakewood Brewing Company's first anniversary party started just after noon, but at 7 p.m., when the sun had given up punishing everything beneath it, owner Wim Bens' event felt like it was just getting started.
Cars filed behind the building where auxiliary parking had been set up for the day, and customers continued to pour in. A steady deluge of white smoke poured from the top of the building, emanating from a kitchen that was turning out burgers at some incomprehensible rate. The patio was packed. The dining room was packed. The bar area was packed and everybody was bumping into everybody.
While a few of Goodfriend's regulars sat at the bar, drank Bud Light and wondered what had happened to their favorite burger spot, most had come to sample an endless barrage of beer, some of which had been specially crafted for the event. A Till and Toil aged in a syrah barrel disappeared in 30 minutes, according to Goodfriend owner Matt Tobin. A slim keg of Temptress Milk Stout aged in bourbon barrels vanished in 10. Between special releases, which were tapped every hour, everyone drank Rock Ryder, Hop Trapp and other beers in the Lakewood family. There was a lot of beer.
One beer that didn't fly out of the keg was the Lion's Share #1. The oak-aged Double Belgian-Style IPA was the only specialty brew I was able to purchase, and at 9.8 percent ABV, it wasn't exactly a summer sipper. It tasted like funk and wood and was very heavy. The Zomer Pilsner, on the other hand, drank like the cool breeze this party desperately needed.
The high yesterday was 101, which is not perfect weather to swill a collection of hand-crafted, barrel-aged beers, and certainly not good weather to have the refrigeration on your beer truck fail. Not that the setback was even noticed by the beer drinkers. Bens and his crew simply iced the kegs and got back to drinking. "With beer-brewing you always have a plan B," he said.
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Outside on the patio I talked with Eve, who found herself in need of a backup plan too. She'd come after hearing about the event at a beer brewing class she took with her daughter. Eve hoped to try that bourbon-barrel Temptress, too, but arrived far too late. She settled in with a Rock Ryder instead.
Everybody seemed to settle in for an extended beer-drinking session. There were older folks, drunk college kids and whole families with really sober and bored-looking children. It was a local Dallas beer celebration of the highest order.
Tobin conceded that the lines during some of the party had gotten a little longer that he liked, but the event was a success in his mind.
"I think it went great," he said, while somehow not holding a beer. I noticed that mine was missing, too, and squeezed in at the bar to order another.