Friday, October 12, 2007

When Work Throws You a Beer Bust

I love my job. At least I guess I must, I've been working for the same company for the last 24 years. And while I won't mention the name of my company, let's just say it's a large Fortune 500 company that makes PCs, printers and takes on the IT duties of other companies including it's own.

Back in the golden age of IT (mid 80's to late 90's), it was a common sight to see our company throw a celebration for it's employees on a regular basis. We called these celebrations Beer Busts. The company would spare no expense in providing a wealth of food and beer. It was a way to bond all the employees together and celebrate having a great financial quarter.

But then the dark times hit shortly after Y2K was over. The IT industry was employing too many workers. Many had already left and went bust trying to strike it rich when the Internet start-ups all began. Companies were tightening their belts, reducing benefits, laying off workers and hiring much cheaper offshore contract employees. There seemed to be no loyalty to the employee anymore. It was a dark time for the IT industry. Beer Busts became a thing of the past.

Then suddenly, a surprise came with the announcement that our beloved company was going to pull out all the stops and host a big Oktoberfest celebration for us. I was shocked! Not only were they providing beer, but plenty of it along with tons of food, deserts, raffle prizes and a live band. Holy cow! Was I dreaming? Nay, it was real.

Yesterday at 2pm, everyone headed out to the company cafeteria to witness not 1, not 2 but 7 different kegs of beer being served. The beer they were pouring included some of the traditional mass market swill (Coors, Bud, Michelob) but to my pleasure, they were also pouring New Belgium's Fat Tire Amber Ale and Sunshine Wheat as well as Odell's 90 Shilling, classic Colorado microbrews. I was in beer heaven! There was also a long line to get some nice brats. I quickly opted to try the 90 Shilling and got in line for the brats and struck up a conversation with some of my co-workers. It was just like the old days.

Seeing how this is a beer blog, I'll give a quick review of the Odell's 90 Shilling. This beer has been around since 1989 as Odell Brewing Company's flagship beer. It's an offshoot of a classic Scottish Ale. Odell is based in Fort Collins Colorado which just happens to be where I work. It's billed as am amber beer and a Scottish ale, but is a bit darker than most ambers, certainly darker than New Belgium's Fat Tire. A friend of mine introduced it to me back in the late 90's, a time when I was drinking nothing but commercial swill. This was the beer that changed my mind about other styles of beer and got me to start trying other beers. In fact, shortly after tasting that for the first time, I started homebrewing. But I digress.

Odell's 90 Shilling is a refreshing dark amber with a rich smooth taste. It goes down clean with no aftertaste. A beer that certainly invites you to want a 2nd one. I wish I had brought a glass with me as the plastic cups that we were drinking out of certainly did nothing to enhance the experience, however, the quality of the beer shone through the container. At least this beer was flowing out of a keg and not a can. Plus it was free so I can't really complain.

I'd heartily recommend this beer to anyone. I may make this one of my staple beers alongside New Belgium's Fat Tire Amber Ale. I'll give it a hefty Thumbs Up.

It was great of my employer to throw this Oktoberfest celebration for all of us. It's been way too long since we've had a nice celebration like this. It only helps to build morale and boost spirits. At least the person in charge of this event knew what kind of beer to order. Nothing beats good old local microbrew. Gotta support our local breweries, and in Colorado, we have a lot of them.

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