The first time I encountered Perennial’s Abraxas was at Torst in Brooklyn, NY. I was immediately impressed with this beer and consider it one of few “HOLY SHIT” beers that I tried in 2013. It really was like nothing I ever tasted. Combinations of cinnamon and chocolate with a hot pepper background were something that made a permanent impression in my mind. I started looking for bottles throughout New York City the next day since Perennial is distributed there, but was unable to find this release. After doing a little more research, I realized that this one was pretty limited in availability and that I was fortunate to try it in the first place.
A few months passed after the night at Torst, and as the end of the year approached, I was looking for a way to boost up my airline status (My obsession with airline miles and hotel points is a whole other topic). I realized that I could do this by visiting St Louis. As always, I looked around for some type of beer events and other awesome places to visit. I know Perennial is located there and was hoping to visit the brewery, but when I saw that they were having their Abraxas release party the weekend I was visiting (November 9th), my plans were booked.
Fast forward a month or two and I was on my way to St Louis. I landed at the airport at around 10am and raced to get to the brewery. I’ve been to plenty of beer releases and I know that the lines can get huge quickly depending on the release. I didn’t know how this one would be since Perennial is a fairly new brewery. But with a beer so good, I just assumed the place would be packed. I arrived at the brewery by 11:00am and was pleasantly surprised to see that the place wasn’t a complete madhouse.
While walking up to the brewery, I noticed a line of empty lawn chairs that were set up in the walkway leading to the tasting room. These were the place markers for the people that got there early to sit in line. The brewery has a large patio that was being used as a venue for a pre-release bottle share. Plenty of people from the area were there popping awesome bottles of some great beers and someone even brought some Mexican Chocolate donuts. I figured that one of these shares would be going on, so I opened some of the local New Jersey brews that I brought with me (Carton Brewing's Boat Beer) and threw them into the mix.
When noon hit, everyone scattered for their spots in line. Even though I got there late, one of the guys from the bottle share let me stand with him at his spot. We talked in line for a bit and the line started moving. There were a decent amount of people in line, but it moved quickly and everyone kept themselves in decent orer. It was surprising how fast I was inside the brewery and getting my allocations.
The brewery was allowing everyone to purchase two bottles of Abraxas and one bottle of the special coffee Abraxas variation. From what I heard, there were only 300 bottles of the coffee variation produced, so pretty much everyone bought their share. Afterwards, you can put the bottles in your car and continue on with the rest of the celebration.
Since Perennial doesn’t sell any food, they had food trucks come by. Both of the food trucks made special dishes that used Abraxas as an ingredient. The food trucks took shifts and I ate at Completely Sauced. I was starving and didn’t want to start drinking until I had some food in me, so this was perfect. The meat dish I ordered was good, but what really stuck out was the beignets with Abraxas sauce. It was the perfect food to start the celebration and it certainly helped get me ready.
I stuck around until 3oclock for the tapping of the coffee variation. Those who weren’t able to get there that morning had the opportunity to grab some of the coffee variation on tap. It also worked out well so that I could try it without opening my bottle. I left shortly after drinking my coffee Abraxas only to come back later that night and grab some more bottles of the regular version.
This was a really fun event and surprisingly well planned. Everyone that got there early was able to grab their bottles of regular and coffee variations. The hospitality of the people visiting along with the great beer made it worth going to. Hopefully I can get over there again this year and participate in the festivities again. It wouldn’t shock me if the lines got much longer this year, so I’ll have to prepare accordingly.