Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Monday, January 26, 2015

Got A Pair?

Krysta offers a flight
I doubt if there is anyone of beer-drinking age who has not heard of “renting a beer.” That’s because beer and kidneys have a long, storied—and often humorous—relationship.

And it was just that relationship that motivated me and my beer/biker buddy Natalie to motor down the NJ Turnpike to Cherry Hill and the Forgotten Boardwalk Brewery.

As you can see by the badge at the right, my son is in need of a kidney transplant, so any event with volunteers who have sacrificed kidneys to save someone’s life gets my attention. That there is beer involved seals the deal.

Jamie Queli, the face of Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing (sometimes sharing billing with a feral cat named Growler) was not only proffering her beers, she was celebrating the ninth anniversary of the Gift of Life one of her brewery friends—Seth Dolled—gave to his mother Sharon when he donated a kidney to save her life.

L-R: Satyra, Dave, Jamie, Sasquatch, Seth, Sharon and Jason
 I met both Sharon and Seth yesterday at this event along with others who have been impacted in some way by kidney disease. There were other donors, like Satyra, a volunteer from the Gift of Life Donor Program, who avowed that if she had one hundred kidneys, she would donate every one she could. And there was table mate Jason, a beer drinking kidney donor who was getting along just fine, thank you, since saving the life of someone he may not have even known. Both Seth and Jason asserted that they are fine and feeling great—and just as able to enjoy good beer as they always were.

And there was plenty of that flowing freely in the boardwalk-themed space, complete with skee-ball machines. It’s actually housed in the cavernous building that was once home to the Flying Fish Brewery, now relocated to Somerdale.

 Natalie and I, as members of The elite Refuge Club which grants special privileges to members, arrived ahead of the crowd. We each grabbed a flight, and The PubScout was mightily impressed that this very young brewery was putting out some quality beers so soon. Brewer David Bronstein, who made his bones at Sly Fox is quite creative, and his beers were quite unique.

 Funnel Cake Nitro with its vanilla cookie notes was quite good and very smooth, as was Tilt-a-Swirl and a citrusy, spicy Directory for Gentlemen. But The PubScout, not normally a quaffer of IPA’s in the bleak midwinter, was very impressed by the 1916 Shore Shiver, primarily because the hop character, while resiny and spicy, did not cause my cheeks to pucker back into my throat.

Jamie Queli, who once worked for a multimillion dollar company that built custom emergency vehicles—including two now used in the Presidential Motorcade—is the high-energy engine that powers Forgotten Boardwalk. But yesterday was not the first time I interacted with her. No, that opportunity arose when I sought three quality NJ brewers who would assist in supporting my kidney-transplant-needing son.

Natalie and Brewer Dave
Without a moment’s hesitation or “sorry-but’s,” Jamie Queli jumped in. And the Spice of Life Event she held yesterday seemed tailor-made for this writer’s attendance. Speaking of tailor-made, the Spice of Life Beer created by Brewer Bronstein was outstandingly different. Using what Queli refers to as “The Butler” for a base beer, Bronstein added Amarillo hops and a healthy dose of locally grown habanero honey, provided by Spring Valley Honey. The result was distinctive, memorable and worthy of such an event.

Queli, as it happens, “is no stranger to charity events, having held multiple food drives, including one prior to receiving its state license to operate as a brewery, including a coat drive, donations to Sustainable Cherry Hill, a non-profit organization that fosters the global sustainability movement at a local level, as well as donating profits from the two Skeeball machines in the brewery tasting room to the Pink Boots Society as well as The Food Bank of South Jersey.”

Beer/biker buddy Natalie and I stayed for a few hours enjoying the beers, the company (which at one point saw people in pajamas playing skee-ball) and the visible support of The Cause.

Tracy throws a non-deflated ball...

 If you see any of Forgotten Boardwalk’s beers on tap at your local watering hole, give them a try. I doubt you’ll be disappointed, and you can give your own kidneys a workout.

If you have one to spare, let somebody know.
Because somebody I know needs one.

The PubScout

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