Beer, Bratwurst and Veterans
This weekend I will be a judge at the We Heart Veterans Beer and Brat Off competition. There was a time when I would agree to do pretty much anything food-related. As I’ve grown older, and as I have accumulated children, I have learned how to say “no.”
But when I was approached for this event, I didn’t hesitate beyond making sure my calendar was clear. Almost everyone talks about gratitude for veterans. Even folks who oppose the missions on which our troops are sent generally support the troops themselves. I guess that’s because most people recognize that our security is only guaranteed by the sacrifices of young men and women who serve our country.
Two of the greatest lawyers I’ve ever encountered – and I’ve encountered a lot of great lawyers – were Dick and Bill Christovich. I met them as a child, in the 1970s, and I got to know them when I started practicing law in 1994. I had the privilege of watching Dick Christovich argue a number of cases and the privilege of assisting Bill in trial. They were smart, generous and tenacious advocates for their clients. They both epitomized what lawyers should be and were widely and rightly recognized for it. They were also both veterans of World War II.
Dick flew 35 missions in Europe as a navigator in B-17 bombers. He was a lieutenant in the 100th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force, the “Bloody 100th.” He had a model B-17 in his office but otherwise didn’t talk about his experiences in the war. He preferred to discuss “war” stories from his legal practice.
Bill served as a radioman on board the USS Wingfield DE 194. Other than my father, I think Bill likely had the most influence on me as a lawyer. For years I began every argument before a Judge by saying, “If your Honor please…” as Bill would invariably, and it took me quite a while to realize I wasn’t pulling it off as Bill would, invariably.
I miss both of them a great deal.
So when I was asked to be a judge at a competition where I will eat bratwurst sausage and drink beer and the whole thing is to honor aging veterans? That is what we call a “no-brainer.”
So apart from the fact that we’ll be honoring veterans, what’s on tap? Well, the event takes place at Shelter No. 10 in Audubon Park, this Saturday, Oct. 29, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $30, and you can purchase them in advance by following this link.
Nine “Fire Teams” are going to be competing, and there are some pretty heavy hitters in the mix; the brewer/chef pairings are:
Chafunkta Brewery and Chef Ryan Haigler
Old Rail Brewery and Chef Brett Monteleone
Abita Brewery and Chef Jeremy Wolgamott
Covington Brewery and Chef Robert Vasquez
Bayou Teche LA 31 Brewery and Chef Jeff Mattia
40 Arpent Brewery and Chef David Raines
NOLA Brewery and Chef Neil McClure
Chappapeela Farms Brewery and Chef Tim Bordes
Mudbugs Brewery and Chef Brian Mottola
There are four categories: best pairing, best beer, best brat and a People’s Choice award. As I understand it, judging will begin fairly early, and the winners will be announced by 2 p.m. I could be mistaken about that, and even if that’s the plan, things can go pear-shaped, but regardless, I doubt they’ll run out of either beer or bratwurst before 5 p.m.
So if you are looking for an excuse to get out and start Oktober-festing things up, in a family-friendly setting (I swear to GOD I’ll behave myself), then this is a good bet, a good time and for a good cause.
A final note: I am aware that my great physical beauty combined with my eloquence and savoir faire can be intimidating. But you should not be intimidated by any of that; I mean, you should, but please come say hello to me anyway if you attend the event.