Standing amongst a sea of barrels and giant oak foeders filled nearly to capacity inside Trillium’s Barrelhouse, I can’t help but feel incredibly fortunate to be celebrating Zwanze Day in such a special location. Only a short distance from their brewery and taproom in Canton, JC and Esther Tetreault invited 180 lucky individuals through a random ticket selection process into their Barrelhouse for a behind-the-scenes look at their barrel program. Having spent past Zwanze Days lining up to get into a packed bar for a taste of Cantillon, I can say that celebrating Zwanze Day at a brewery is the only way to go if you can do so. Trillium not only put on one of the best Zwanze Days I’ve been to, but one of the most well-run beer events I’ve ever attended.
I walked into the Barrelhouse with no idea of what to expect; this was the first time that it had been opened to the public, after all. As I entered I was given a tulip glass filled with Trillium’s Lineage Spelt, a barrel-aged saison that was fruity, acidic, and refreshing; a nice introduction to the type of beer that awaited us. Walking down a hallway filled with Trillium’s signature label artwork, I eventually entered the Barrelhouse, where a few pop-up bars had been set up amidst mountains of barrels along with some tables and chairs as well as a food stand. It was truly an awesome sight to behold. As I sipped my saison I decided to walk around and read which beers were aging in the barrels that surrounded us, many of which I’ve had before. Several of the fantastic Trillium beers featured at the event had come from these barrels. There’s something very special about drinking beer in the room where it’s made, even moreso when the owners are drinking it with you.
JC and Esther walked around during the event mingling with everyone, from myself to brewers like Paul Jones from Cloudwater or Matt Tarpey from The Veil. When I spoke to JC he expressed nothing but humility about this day. He never thought that someone like him, originally a homebrewer from Brookline, would be chosen to host Zwanze Day. He was honored to be able to pour some of Cantillon’s lambics for the second year in a row. I was just as humbled to be there drinking them with him.
As the worldwide toast approached, JC and Esther both spoke about how excited they were to have everyone there and thanked everyone for supporting them over the years. If it were not for that support, they said, they would have never been given an opportunity like this one. The two parents of two raised their unique glasses filled with a lambic dedicated to the youngest son of Cantillon’s owner and toasted to friends and family. In that moment I had never felt more personally connected to a brewery and the people behind it.
So what was the coolest part of Zwanze Day for me? It wasn’t getting to see Trillium’s Koelschip or drinking a wide selection of superb sour beers. For me it was sharing that experience with people that cared just as much about Trillium as they did about Cantillon. People that had a great deal of respect and reverence for both breweries, as I’m certain the two breweries have for one another. That is what made this Zwanze Day celebration unlike any I had been to before, and it is why I hope to be able to celebrate every Zwanze Day at Trillium in the future.