Farm-Bois (and girlz)
We were excited. Sometime in Late July we had an all staff meeting and I made a sign up sheet for anyone that wanted to come pick raspberries for Framboise. We made a big stink about how much fun we had (read: laborious misery) and it worked. They all thought they were going to have a wonderful time frolicking through a field like a tribe of dryads, feasting on berries and nectar like some kind of woodland bacchanal. They would soon learn the truth.
A few months passed, and the majority of the group that wanted to join the pick party were getting closer to moving on. A good deal of our staff at the restaurant and pub were going to finish up the summer and move on to the next stage of their lives and I still had not gotten that text back I was so desperately waiting for. We had held off Framboise on the hopes that we could use these specific berries in this years blend. At any point I could have probably called her and just bought what I needed but, where is the fun in that! There is no simple task at The Libertine that we can’t find a way to complicate further.
August passed us by. September showed up and still no call. I was ready to cave; find raspberries elsewhere. I told Tyler, he said he would source some for us because we couldn’t just not make Framboise this year and we had to get it going basically now (this was September, first week) for it to work out. So that Tuesday we ordered some Raspberries, it was all over. It was the last week for most of the people that signed up and we were all getting ready to say goodbye. We wouldn’t even have a group to help with the labor fun. Then the phone rang.
“Hi Stephen! It’s Lori, can you come out on Thursday? I have a few rows set aside for you but we can only do it that morning.”
I was dejected, defeated. I didn’t think it was going to happen but life happens while you make other plans. I sent a mass text out to everyone on my list, with explicit instructions that no one respond to the group text (there were like twenty people on it) and to text me personally if anyone had questions. Not gonna lie, felt a little slighted when everyone followed my instructions and said absolutely nothing in the group chat. I had no idea who all would come but I thought we should definitely have doughnuts for the occasion. The majority of the group were servers or college students so I imagine they hadn’t seen 6 am in a long time, unless they were still up from the night before. SLO Donut Co hooked us up with two dozen, we loaded up on coffee from our in-house cafe and rolled out to see Lori.
It was muggy that morning. We came in full sleeves and closed toes, but slowly delayered as the morning labored on. It was loud at first, but everyone focused in on the task at hand. More people showed up, a few left early. There was a slight malaise to the day, for a lot of people out there it was the end of an era. At the same time, The Libertine brought an eclectic group together for a short period of time that all think of each other as family now. To me it speaks volumes to the culture of people we employ, and that this industry brings together, everyone was that excited to get in on the process of making a beer. I don’t imagine construction companies have too many bookkeepers dying to swing a hammer to say they helped with a house.
Fat on berries, with red faces to match, we thanked Lori and split up. Half of us went to our aging facility in Santa Maria to process the fruit and float it on some beer to ferment. The rest headed back to San Luis to toast a full day of work with a well deserved brew. Framboise will be available in our new bottle format and draft February 14th, 2019.