“It is a lot like a live high school party, except we are thirty years older and our heads hurt worse in the morning,” says Dave Thibodeau of Ska Brewing when I ran into him at breakfast after their 18th Anniversary party. For those not in the know, this is probably the best birthday party you can go to all year. You could call it a “beer festival”, I guess, but that would not do it justice. It is more of a bash. The magic of it is that it is a rad concert featuring some great music and excellent beers. Over the last few years I have seen the Supersuckers, Reel Big Fish, and this year, The English Beat. I unfortunately missed the Toasters two years ago. If you are a fan of Ska and related music, go for that. If you are a fan of drinking great beers in the shade of a pretty great brewery, that is a good reason. You could just simply go for how much Dave loves the party. He says he frets about it and tussles with the logistics and excitement for a good chunk of the year, parties for a day and then is sad when it is over. I can really respect that.
He talked a bit about the event and told me that it was a way to celebrate their success but also to bring out their friends in the industry and celebrate them too. It is a an invitational, of sorts, and the beers represented are all from breweries that fall under Ska’s distribution umbrella as well as people that they have a personal relationship with. Marble Brewery, Wynkoop, Oskar Blues and quite a few others were there. Three Barrel Brewing made a hell of a showing with a couple of sours hanging out on their back table, one so potent and acidic, it crushed with big fruit flavor as well as the resulting heartburn. Ska themselves brought some of the best of the day with Hoperation Ivy and a beer that I thought was going to be kind of gross turned out to be my favorite of the day. They took their True Blonde Dubbel and aged it in a rum barrel. I believe I was told that it was also spiked with some additional organisms, but I can’t be sure. Regardless, it was a fantastic slightly tart slightly sweet version of an already great beer.
Next year, make the trip. Who knows what band you might see? I could not pry out who next year’s headliner might be. My fingers are crossed that I finally get to see Buster Bloodvessel and Bad Manners. Hint, hint, Dave. Fill the car up with your friends and the energy drinks of your choice and drive to Durango to party it up for the weekend. Don’t forget to pick up some of the weird beef jerky in Del Norte. It is a beautiful trip and the party cannot be beat.
Hey look, I made it through a whole article about Ska Brewing without mentioning skanking!