“The Ten Years of BeerFest: A WCS Original Blog.”
Ten years, over 100 kegs and 400+ competitors.
Guys, I’m noticing while writing this “Ten Years of BeerFest” blog series, we’re only four years (days) in, but this is a freaking struggle trying to chronicle!! Every year of BeerFest is like a snowflake – unique and beautiful, but in time it melts away and all we’re left with is a memory.
I have spoke to some long time BeerFest players the last few days, and apparently taking this stroll through BeerFest history is fun for more people than just me – so that’s #neat to hear… But it’s also hilarious hearing the things I missed/mis-remember. The problem is, during these parties, my brain is on another planet – not because I’m drunk but because I literally can’t think of anything besides organizing the 128 people I have in front of me to play all these games within a decent time-frame.
Luckily for me and my trash brain, we have technology!
The BeerFest twitter handle – @Lourde_Taylor – chronicled from 2012 onward… So I’m able to rely on pictures more than just my memory, a welcome assist because admittedly, 2011 through 2015 blend together quite a bit.
The first ENORMOUS help in this was being able to find the pamphlet from 2012. This helped me remember who was in the tournament, and with that, came a flood of how 2012 went down.
Here’s that beauty:
(As I’m reading tweets from 2012 AND this pamphlet, I’m realizing I already confused 2011 with 2012. I thought Woods, Hosford, Thewski & myself only played together once in 2011… Wrong! Because there we are, together again (or was 2012 the first time?). Also, apparently the baseball guys attended Beerfest in 2011, NOT 2012, so I was wrong again there! I guess you all caught me with my pants at my ankles – it’d be a REAL shame if you did anything about that!! Whatever, I warned you all that my memory sucked!)
Let’s see though… Where to start? Where to start???
Let’s talk upgrades and the plans we had to make it better year-over-year, because that was actually a thing I often thought about: “We already did what we did last year, people expect THAT. We can easily do THAT again. We need to make it BETTER!”
Two big things we focused on were officiating and pace-of-play (aka efficiency).
Let’s talk officiating first. Up until this point, we hadn’t had a team of dedicated officials there to help us throughout the day. Typically, it was one of a small group of guys I knew weren’t going to officiate like assholes and dick one team over – you know, real men of honor. But honestly, I noticed it was a lot to ask of them and I didn’t want their days to be too much work. Plus, if I could take one less responsibility off my own plate, that’d be neat too.
Another thing we noticed in 2011 was that lots of people wanted to come to witness the glory that was BeerFest, so in order to control the crowds, we told people we’d hit you with a $20 charge… That deterred MOST people – but hilariously, people did still pay the $20.
(The reason for this was that while the attic could fit 200 people, we needed room to play these games. If we allowed everyone in who wanted to come, we couldn’t possibly play these games efficiently. By increasing the price, we effectively gave ourselves room to play, while making back some of the money we lost on the few ballers who paid it anyway)
However, if I had a friend of mine wanted to come, BUT didn’t want to play, or couldn’t play for whatever reason, I wasn’t going to hit them for $20… instead? I turned lemons into lemonade baby!
I would say, “Yeah, don’t worry about the $20… I need your help. Come and ref the games. I’ll get you a ref jersey, and you can drink for free all day, and that’s it. I’ll explain the games the day of – you just gotta be the mediator.”
I figured as opposed to me going to every single table and explaining the games (as I had done in previous years), I just had to tell one person – the ref, and he/she could repeat my words to the teams. Honestly, they could make up the rules for all I cared, just be fair and balanced (like Fox News).
From a purely optics point of view, the introduction of refs was an enormous improvement. Not just because they were a bunch of gorgeous human beings (shoutout Michael Phelps) – though that was true. Do you know how much more legit it got when we had people in black & white striped officials’ jerseys? All of a sudden you weren’t in an attic at a house… you felt like you were in a legit official game with a hired referee. And there wasn’t just a few of them… We had at least 7 refs that year and figured with about two refs per, you could rotate who would run to bar to re-fill the pitchers once a game was over… It all was this perfectly oiled machine – a thing of beauty.
The investment on my part was maybe like $20/ref jersey but it took a load off my plate that I couldn’t describe. It was well worth it.
Tough calls were made, arguments got settled and these refs would find what team was next up, and go get them on their respective tables… I, seven years later, literally cannot give these guys enough credit. Well, I guess they were inducted into the BeerFest Hall of Fame, which is quite an honor:
I remember one ref – who will remain nameless to protect his/her identity – had a team playing on their table who was made up of teammates from their actual sports program, against another team of the same gender… So there was definitely competition in the air. Well, this ref made a tough call AGAINST HIS/HER OWN TEAMMATES and I remember there was a lot of “that was bullshit, (he/she) should have sided with us.”
It was at that moment that I was like, this is great for me, but also no one should ever want to be a ref because even your friends end up mad at you. I learned it took a special breed of human to be a ref for multiple years.
Beyond officiating though – and this addition was so game-changing it was insane – was the addition of technology. If you remember, in 2011 I had mentioned I was still doing the tracking of the winners & losers brackets on chalk boards, and doing it all in my head. This year, we mounted two TV’s (a 55″ and a 40″) in the attic displaying the winner’s and loser’s brackets.
The way these worked was that we had a laptop behind the bar. When a game ended, the refs would go to the bar to refill their pitchers so the next game could run, while doing so, they’d mention to the bartenders who won the previous game. The bartenders would enter the results into an excel sheet, with duplicate displays on the TV’s in the center of the attic – the 55″ and 40″ TV’s which updated accordingly.
It was nothing shy of magical.
That year, Matty O became our forever CTO and honestly, that Excel he made has made every BeerFest infinitely times less stressful for every year to come thereafter. Having something else track this 7-hour long tournament, a computer that can’t possibly fuck things up*****, was awesome.
Besides officiating & the tracker, we added another small element to the tournament, and that was to have people fill out brackets from the Facebook page – like the NCAA tournament – and the person with the most correct answers won $50. That was sweet and all, but one of those things it just added one more thing I needed to do (plus if you know BeerFest, I end up spending WAY more than I bring in… so adding $50 to my cost total SUCKED). It was just one of those things that wasn’t going to happen again. WAYYYYYY too much work for a pretty small reward. BeerFest’s fun was in the games, not gambling on the games. Lesson learned!
Moving onto the actual teams, Team USA came dressed as the “1%” – which was a play off Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, where he was scrutinized for being so rich he was in the 1% (that feels like literally centuries ago)… Naturally, Team USA championed his financial success and came dressed in suits & ties, and had fake $100 bills they’d throw around willy nilly, they’d use the money to wipe the tables dry, etc. This Team USA theme was an all time epic move*.
Other memorable jerseys from that year:
- India with four girls in traditional Indian garb and the weird arm tattoos with a dot on their heads
- Mexico all came dressed as landscapers
- Monaco was a team of babes dressed like they were casino chicks? (Actually in hindsight this doesn’t make any sense and I must not have understood what they were dressed as)
- Sanduskyland was a team of kids from Penn State (hilariously dubbed after the infamous Jerry Sandusky) and they had baby dolls stuffed in their pants
- Team Niger with the word “NIGER” on a white t-shirt in sharpie… KEEP IN MIND this tournament was hosted in a shady part of power and, let’s just say, it was dangerous to have that on your shirts where we were!
This year, we also had a dedicated crew behind the bar, whose sole job was to pump kegs and fill up pitchers, taking that job out of the hands of competitors themselves… the reason this was important is that when refs came, they got prioritized, so the day went on even faster. So, so, sooooo clutch.
Now, I know what you may be thinking, “Taylor, you said you had a dog last year… What happened to him? How’d you fix that one?”
— BeerFest (@Lourde_Taylor) April 14, 2012
Well, TWO things happened with Bocephus in 2012. One, he took a shit in the attic before everyone arrived like the sneaky bastard that he was, and someone (literally still unknown to this day) stepped in it on the day of. The entire attic WREAKED during the Scott Stapp national anthem. And, to boot, it was hot as shit that year, so the smell was multiplied by like 10. God, what a dog he was…
Now, if you remember, him pooping in 2011 wasn’t my issue. Him howling all day was. My solution in 2012? I had one of our fearless refs – shoutout cuzzo Erin – take him to the local PetSmart to get groomed… I figured, he can have a spa day for like 4 hours and that way he’s preoccupied and quiet all day (well, quiet as far as my neighbors were concerned) but more importantly, I didn’t have to have a worry about him. Hilariously though, he gets to PetSmart, they groomed him in what felt like only an hour and called me saying (basically), “You need to come pick your dog up, he hasn’t stopped howling since he got here.”
The rest of Erin’s day was spent hanging with Bo. I had lost a ref but at least my dog was taken care of! That was the last year I kept a dog around for the party. Ever since then, I literally made a trip all the way to my parents place in NJ – a 6-hour round-trip – to drop the dog off and pick him up the following day. It’s a crazy move, yes, but you have to be a crazy person to do this tournament and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly who I am.
But getting down to actual games, the big storyline was that Turkey was no longer a team. We were guaranteed to have a new champion and everyone wanted to be the first.
(NOTE: Looking at the tweets and such, and once again I noticed I confused 2011 with 2012… Germany lost in 2012 in 40 hands. I have NO IDEA what happened in 2011. )
The entire day itself is tough to remember – two highlights I have in my brain was a squirt gun held by a member of Sierra Leona filled with vodka being squirted ALL OVER the place, and a girl on India who ended up trying to dance on a quarters table fell and BUSTED her ass. I remember I tried to stop the dancing, but I was too late. She fell and sliced her leg on the table, but she was a boss wrapped it in paper towels and kept partying… Gotta love it!
The top four teams ended up being Kenya, Germany, the Confederacy and Sanduskyland… I remember we, Germany, actually were in the winner’s bracket of Turbo Quarters, two wins away from Daas Boot and we were playing Kenya – a team of the Costello twins (heart eyes emoji, heart eyes emoji, heart eyes emoji) and their two friends from home. They were ripping through this tournament, but had met us – the “best” team in the field. I went first, ding, hit the cup my first shot, chugged my beer and knowing I had done by job, turned around. I began talking to someone thinking we were on our way to civil war, one game away from being back in Daas Boot – this time with a team I knew could win.
Four years. It took four years to get here – we did it! Buuuuuuut… what actually happened?
I turned back and the quarters just weren’t bouncing our way. We lost that quarters game to Kenya (which, again, had two girls) and we had to hit the loser’s bracket but were eliminated the next round in 40 Hands to the Confederacy (see the story from yesterday because I’m retarded and mixed these years up). Kenya must have lost in Civil War to Sanduskyland and had to play the Confederacy then in Civil War, an event the Confederacy seemed built to win at – tremendous, tremendous pong players.
The Confederacy went on to meet Sanduskyland in Daas Boot…
This photo is so epic for so many reasons. B-Hos (co-founder Hosford’s younger brother and legend from the NOLA story) was recruited onto Sanduskyland after one of their kids dropped out last second. One of these kids is now a doctor and one is a lawyer. That stage is hilarious to look at in hindsight, I’m almost kinda stunned at what these kids became (most proud of B-Hos though who we’ll see in one week – MEAT MEAT!!).
That beast you see drinking in the flannel on the right? His nickname was “Pooh Bear.” He had drank a 40 of beer just 15 minutes before this photo. He then downed that 3-beer boot and went on to win our Golden Keg MVP trophy (a tradition started in 2011 and ended in 2012… again, just not enough bang for our buck there).
Sanduskyland ended up getting bested and the first non-Turkey team to win Lourde Taylor’s cup was the Confederacy****.
That was the last year the Confederacy played at a BeerFest**. They came, they saw, they conquered. They avenged the war of Northern Aggression, but they were a one-hit wonder.
BeerFest ended and we had 12 keg shells laying around that Sunday. I remember getting asked by this kid from my class – who ended up being the Wizard of Dolphy Day (a Le Moyne tradition) – if he could borrow the kegs for their deposit and get them back the next day.
I gave him his kegs, but hilariously they were all on my younger brother’s credit card. At this point in my senior year, I had no money of my own left and I was just using his as essentially a personal loan (which I’d eventually balloon to about $4,000… Classic!). Guys, the kegs for Dolphy Day my senior year had deposits that were Tim’s – a freshman at the time, probably 19-years old.
(P.S. We did lose 4 of the kegs that day and I’d like to say that it was complete bullshit the person that had to eat those costs was
me Tim. Dolphy Day is trash.)
This was my senior year of college BeerFest, and there was plenty of speculation as to who was going to take it over. What’s going to happen when I left? Could Tim do it? Would I do it again? Was it over?
Well, tomorrow, on the actual Lord’s Day (reminder to go to church), we’ll take a look at 2013 and how it actually all went down!!
* = The best story of the 1%’ers was at the end of the night at Mully’s. Matty O was leaving the bar, and sees Jimbo on his way walking out… I remember walking behind him and seeing this all go down… Matty O (aged ~25) still dressed in his suit, taps Jimbo (aged ~21) on the shoulder and hands him a STACK of fake $100’s and says “Hey man, have fun tonight!” The kids around Jimbo – his teammates on the basketball team 😉 not realizing the money was fake, SWARM him like, “Yoooooo wtf did that baller just give you?!” Absolutely epic to witness this as the cherry on top of my night.
** = Worth noting these guys mostly graduated in 2012 and probably wouldn’t have wanted to come, so it worked out regardless. But that one comment didn’t sit well with me, so I was okay with how it all went down. The rest of them could have come back, but I think they wouldn’t have without him, so… YOLO, I was young and held grudges.
**** = At the end of this year, I remember a kid on Confederacy had told me something along the lines of “I really let that civil war game get away from me” as it had gotten contentious and I couldn’t control the players as well as maybe I needed to… I was not a fan of those comments, as I put a little too much time and effort into these things to be told anything other than “this was sick man, thanks” after it all.
***** = except of course when people would hit the lightswitch at the bottom of the stairs to the attic, thereby cutting off ALL POWER to the entire attic. That would could the TV’s to turn off and was an insane pain in the ass to have to reset everything (the duplicate screens for example)… I had forgotten people used to do that at that house, but my God is that hilarious to me right now.