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Beer tastings in my town can have many different formats. I’m used to the formal sit-down beer tasting that I have hosted and attended many times in Sweden. Sällskapet Malte in Malmö have  four or five of these every year and they are always very good. And then you have the Prime Time Beer Tasting that is a totally different format from the Malte’s and very American. This is very informal with beers on tables along the wall, description of every beer on a sign and you pour the beer your self. You mingle with other people there and talk about the beers or something else you have in common. The food is brought by the people attending. This is something very American, you often bring food to the parties you go to for everyone to share. The Prime Time beer tasting is for invited friend and family and it’s free of charge.

Prime Time Players started about 15 years ago and beer was not at all the focus of the group back then. It was a few guys that had know each other for 30 years and that started to play volleyball together. After a few years they changed to ping pong. As one of the Prime Timers said “White men can’t jump so we had to changes to something else”. So now when they are all in their late fifties and early sixties they play ping pong and cycle. How does beer come in to the picture? When they had been on trips around America and the world they brought with them interesting beers home for their Prime Time friends to sample. This was before the law changed here in North Carolina. Before 2005 beers above 6% ABV was not allowed to be sold in this state. The quest to find something new and interesting was always present for the Prime Timers. They saved all the bottles and displayed them on the wall in their ping pong room. They started the annual beer tasting to let other people sample the treasures they had found around the world. Ping pong and cycling was still the focus for the group but beer was during this time an important side track. Since North Carolina changed the laws from a maximum of 6% ABV to 15% ABV the quest for new and interesting beers has weakened. “The beers that we had to go half across the world to find we can find just down the street now” one of the Prime Timers says. “The challenge is not there anymore”. The annual beer tasting is still a reoccurring event that is coveted by friend and family.

At this the tenth annual event they had about 10 different beers. I was happy to see that they had Fullers ESB. I enjoy many of the beers from Fullers. I don’t see them to often here so when they show up I just have to have one. Kölsch is a style that has bec0me really popular here. One of the imported beers was Reissdorf Kölsch. Many of the domestic breweries have a Kölsch in their line-up. Reisdorf is a Kölsch that I often see here. Being a beer tasting in America there were of course a good selection of “hop bombs”. Dogfish Head 60 and 90 Minute, Stone Ruination and  Bells Two Hearted Ale were a few of them.

Thank you Prime Time Players for a great beer tasting and I’m already looking forward to next year.

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