When we threw the first Coast to Coast Toast in 2011 we had no idea what to expect from our Coast to Coast Toast Hosts. What would their parties be like? How would our Hosts impart their unique personalities upon their Belgian beer bashes? As word trickled in about the fetes from coast to coast, we were bowled over by how wonderfully creative, varied, and fun the parties were. We were so impressed that we decided to bestow some awards for excellence. We’re not eliminating anyone from 2011, we’re simply adding more fantastic executions from year #2! Without further ado…
El Rey Burrito Lounge | Montgomery, AL
Last year, 140 revelers enjoyed dinners of vegetarian burritos and Belgian beers (see the menu here). Don’t you wish you had been there? Good news: Tyler Bell has opened a Belgian bar, LeRoy Lounge, in the same town!
Who has yet to try Monk’s Stout with oysters? If the folks at L&E Oyster have anything to do with it, everyone will. This Silver Lake restaurant knows oysters!
The Aviary | Chicago, IL
The team at Chicago’s Aviary hosted our hometown event last year, serving our beers, cocktails made with our beers, and cocktails without beer (inspired by the flavors of our beers.) This year they won the James Beard Award for Best Bar Program, and at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail Festival, their own Charles Joly was named Bartender of the Year. We can’t say we’re surprised! Look for more and more beer cocktails this year.
The Ginger Man | New York, NY
The Award for best support materials for a Coast to Coast Toast Tap Takeover goes to The Gingerman and Union Beer. Anne Becerra wrote this lovely leaflet which was laid out by Gerard Galasso in the Union Beer Graphics department (it can be seen, along with lots of other lovely photos, in the event’s Facebook Album.) Not only was the menu used the night of the Toast but it was kept on hand at Gingerman for weeks thereafter prompting customers to try all our beers in greater numbers than would otherwise have been the case. What made this all the more extraordinary is that this was accomplished post hurricane when the distributorship had suffered serious damage. A big thanks and shout out to the entire Union team Matt Lefkowitz, Matt Rogers, Alex Kent, Robert Hodson, James Jennings and to Anne Becerra, Dave Urbanos and Bob Precious at Gingerman.
Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro | Milwaukee, WI
Bartolotta’s Executive Chef, Adam Seigal, has won Best Chef in the Midwest for the James Beard Foundation. After taking a peek at his Coast to Coast Toast dinner menu, there is no question that he earned that accolade.
ChurchKey | Washington DC
Everybody knows Greg Engert is one of the most extraordinary beer evangelists and scholars in America. He really blew us away when he did a total tap takeover at ChurchKey, using every single Vanberg & DeWulf beer available on tap – numbering upwards of 30 beers. He sets the bar pretty darn high! In year two, Greg added another five or six beers, and we paired ChurchKey with Moeder Lambic, the top craft beer bar in Brussels, Belgium, making it one of the first trans-continental toasts!
Tria | Philadelphia, PA
Speaking of tutored tastings, Tria and John Myerow take the prize for Best Use of a Beer Expert in a Tutorial Setting. Tria threw a Coast to Coast Toast party with our good friend, Lew Bryson, providing “color commentary” on our beer collection.
Tom Peters of Monk’s Café | Philadelphia, PA
While we’re in Philly, let’s not forget to mention that Tom Peters earned another ring on his halo by turning the Coast to Coast Toast into a fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Way to go, Tom!
Did you know that Tom was responsible for getting us to bring in the first Belgian beers on tap? Monk’s was the first place in America to pour Moinette and many other fine Belgians on tap. We have the beer dinner menus to prove it. Congrats to Tom for also being nominated for a James Beard Award!
Best Host of the Coast to Coast Toast Hosts
The Publican | Chicago, IL
The Publican was the National Headquarters for the first Coast to Coast Toast. Paul Kahan, Michael McAvena (Cicerone), Brian Huston (Chef) and his team created a beautiful menu. Re-live this spectacular night by viewing our photo album.
Loveliest Classic Belgian Dinner to Celebrate the Coast to Coast Toast
Leopold | Chicago, IL
Leopold wins the prize for the Loveliest Classic Belgian Dinner to Celebrate the Coast to Coast Toast. View the menu here. Sadly, Leopold has closed but we are looking forward to a spectacular new place from an alum in Tennessee.
Finest Interdisciplinary Effort in the Execution of the Coast to Coast Toast
Jimmy’s No. 43 | New York, NY
Jimmy’s No. 43 gets the award for Finest Interdisciplinary Effort in the Execution of the Coast to Coast Toast. That’s because not only did they throw a Coast to Coast Toast tap takeover, but Jimmy Carbone also hosts Beer Sessions Radio. Jimmy interviewed us about the party on the day of the event. Look for Jimmy to be doing something special with the Biere de Beloeil this year.
Best Bartender and Mensch of the Coast to Coast Toast
Anne Becerra of The Gingerman | New York, NY
Anne Beccera is such a great heroine of the beer movement. If she tells you to drink something or go somewhere, everybody falls into line. She made Gingerman a hub for the Coast to Coast Toast in NYC and single-handedly convinced a jillion people to take part. Yes, a jillion. She is a rising star of the good beer movement and her recommendations on what to drink were featured in Time Magazine. Way to go Anne!
New Distributor of the Year 2012
DiLorenzo-Penke leapt into action in order for Brix, one of NE’s top retailers, to be able to take part in the event, and have done a great job ever since. Ryan Penke is loved by his clients and suppliers alike. He is resourceful, action oriented, and fun to work with, which is why he’s our New Distributor Winner of 2012.
Best Individual Effort by a Distributor
Cliff Kaplan of Beechwood Distributing | Wisconsin
Cliff Kaplan not only put a tremendous amount of effort and intelligence into planning events in Wisconsin, but also cooked Don and Wendy a magnificent seven-course meal.
p.s. We love the whole team at Beechwood!
Single Best Effort by a Distributor Network
Union excelled at hand-selling fine beers and executing the ground game with aplomb. We are proud to be working with them. Special shout outs to Robert Hodson, Matt Rogers, Matt Lefkowitz, James Jennings, Ben Wood, Gerard Galasso, Pete Russell and their teams for their extra special efforts.