Sunday, September 1, 2013

Beer Ambassador? Not Quite, but a Great Time Was Had by All


When Don Russell, a nationally know beer columnist from Philadelphia, agreed to come to Lithuania to explore local microbrews and share the experience of American brewers, he probably didn't know his report of the trip would end up in Washington Post
But it did. Whether it was the great variety of Lithuanian micro- and nano-brews, or the great interest in Don's experience as a blogger and writer, or the beatiful summer day Don spent at the Pakruojis Beer Festival--there was plenty to write home about. Here some highlights Don especially enjoyed:

In Vilnius, members of the local chapter of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the worldwide gastronomic society, agreed that the Philly beers served with a gourmet menu were at least as good as wine. So good, in fact, it took them just three hours to nearly polish off a supply of Yards and Weyerbacher that was supposed to last a full week.
At a beer festival in Pakruojis, a small town not far from the Latvian border, I was introduced to the mayor as "Donas Russellas," and the organizers let me help tap the first keg.
In a taping of a popular Lithuanian cooking show, "Virtuves Mitu Griovejai", I gobbled down an excellent Asian-spiced salmon dish that the hosts had simmered in +Yards Brewing Co. George Washington's Tavern Porter
At the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, I briefed Lithuanian journalists and bloggers on the growing American microbrewery scene. Then I presented the deputy chief of mission with a +Philly.com Beer Week T-shirt, which he promptly wore at the Pakruojis festival, where we greeted more than 4,000 attendees.
At a farmhouse brewery in Joniškelis, a village 175 kilometers north of Vilnius, I was smothered in kisses by a brewer's wife (or cousin or fiancée - it was kind of lost in translation). Apparently"Virtuves Mitu Griovejai" is her favorite TV show.
"John Kerry, eat your heart out," wrote Don in his column about the trip. When you watch this video, you'll probably agree.