Just what exactly is the beer world coming to?

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        There was a time when I would traipse on down to Peas & Pickles, a small little bodega on Henry street. Set against the grimy bricked street, a blue scaffolding competing with its green canopy touting their fresh fruits and vegetables which were housed in their compact atrium of flowers, fruit, and and least one employee - always on the way through the same tiny doorway I was. I was on my way to bask in their selection of emerging craft brews. Pete's Wicked ale was at its peak, Hart Brewing had recently changed their name to Pyramid - who had just gone crazy wild with their idea to make an Apricot Ale - and Rogue Ale was still the new cool funky brewery in its first decade of production. When October had rounded the corner a great seasonal would appear, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, a deep, dark, Imperial Stout that rivaled all stouts.

        Time passed and beers grew, breweries like Three Floyds, Founders, Goose Island, and a host of other breweries began to make their mark. But one thing never changed, each year I would look forward to my seasonal favorites. I would meander in, just I had done in Peas & Pickles, and pick that favorite seasonal up off the shelf of my local beer store. Founders KBS, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, and Brooklyn Monster. They all remained on shelves for weeks. But then something happened one spring, Founders KBS never appeared on the shelf, it had sold out before it even appeared. A mystical and invisible transformation had taken place behind the scenes, no longer out for discovery by happy-go-lucky beer enthusiasts, no longer an ale that regular beer drinking eyes would ever land their gaze on, KBS didn't exist in the shelf universe anymore. Hidden from prying eyes in the dark back room, where only the beer gods could see it, where clumsy stock boys would never bump into it, and only cosmic forces could bring it to those on the now months old, pre-order short list, of elite ale connoisseurs.

        With enough begging, driving around town, making phone calls, and pretty much pure insanity for a day, I was finally able to get some, for a price. Never would that happen again, I had to start building my beer network, Steve, Dave, Victor, Ajay, Rishi, the stewards of the back rooms. While still subject to the cosmic forces of beer distribution, these Wizards could, if called upon, conjure up the necessary magic, to at least increase the likelihood of ones being blessed by rare beer. But this was really all overkill, after all it was just one beer. Even Goose Island Bourbon County Stout remained on shelves for weeks, sometimes months. Why all the hoopla about KBS. But then the winds of fall came, and with them they carried the harrowing threats of shortage. Bourbon County Stout might not even appear, not even in back rooms, no one knew what the cosmic forces were even up to. Once again it was time to call upon the gods, the wizards, and they came through.

      Despite all this retarded geekdom, I still had my brews, like Plead the 5th from Dark Horse, just a little unknown Imperial Stout from a brewery, that was so small, and so insignificant I passed it many times without seeing it. Hidden back behind Wacky's a little hole in the wall shack, a gas station without gas, by the tracks in Marshall, MI. Certainly this beer would appear on shelves. No need to rush fifty miles through a blizzard for this brew. It would still be there the next day after it arrived, and then it happened. It too was gone. There I was, driving around, making phone calls, until Victor picked up, a powerful wizard who had taken a couple days off from his magic, and had not got time to sell off his soon to be extinct Plead the 5th.

     Evidently the good old days have come to an end and the only way to assure oneself the greatest of all stouts is to brew one in your own backyard, and relish in the power you hold as it sits, quietly, hidden in the deep dark depths, behind the cold door of your own beer cellar.


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This page contains a single entry by Brewmaster published on February 28, 2012 8:59 PM.

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