On one regional e-mail group recently, someone asked if there were a place where he could get a certain unobtainable-in-this-area beer, because, as he said, "I need to try this beer." (Said beer was supposedly on one of those "BeerIsHolyAndMighty.com" website's Top Ten list or something.)
I responded, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, "No. You WANT to try this beer. Unless you're being paid to review or report on the beer, or people are holding your family hostage until you drink it, you don't need to drink any specific beer." This, of course aroused a storm of unappreciative responses from the humor-impaired on the list.
Every good-beer bar and liquor store manager will tell you: You can stock 1,520 different beers, and the beer aficionados STILL come in asking for #1,522, #1,649, and #1,737. Why bother? It's almost not worth the aggravation.
Think about this for now:
The entire controversy in Philadelphia with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and several beer bars came about, no matter what boneheaded overreactions the police and PLCB pulled, because a couple bars were pouring beers that weren't legally available in Pennsylvania--AND it was being openly discussed, if not promoted.
(One of the bars, Resurrection Ale House, was given a keg of Brewer's Art Resurrection by said brewery as a sort of "housewarming present." No money changed hands, but I was asked not to mention that fact, lest it get the place in trouble, and I did not. The bar still got an official warning from the PLCB over that keg, apparently in part because other folks blabbed.)
They wouldn't have gotten the stuff (and violated the law, as specious as the law and bureaucracy may be) if they didn't have folks asking for the stuff, or willing to pay (probably dearly) for it. And it's probable the customers knew darn well that they were getting beers that weren't officially approved for sale in the commonwealth.
Aren't we beer geeks making bar and liquor store managers' lives miserable enough without asking for the other galaxies when we already have the moon and the stars? It's not like we're asking them to carry locally-made beer when all they have is industrially-produced lagers. It's not the famous "Cheese Shop" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus. It's as if they're taking the trouble to stock extra-special herbed goat cheese, and we're asking what breed of goats gave the milk and which state the herbs grew in.
Yes, I love BrewDog's Tokio. And I'm lucky that a plastic keg of the stuff made it over here for me to sample on draft, and that I can get a bottle or three if the spirit moves me. But if I couldn't? There are other beers out there. LOTS of other good beers. I'll live. It's SOOOOOOOO much better than the day when Sam Adams was considered a "microbrewery."
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