Tap This: Beer hunting includes ‘line sharing’ and avoiding ‘beer braggers’
While beer in general is seemingly available everywhere in some form, macro beers seem to have a presence anywhere that even the thought of drinking might occur.
Craft brewers have been steadily gaining in the world of availability, and while the numbers may not be the same as macro, craft beers are nearly everywhere. But there are some that require a lot of extra work to procure.
Many craft beer devotees have become acclimated to the idea of waiting in line for great beers or having to drive a few hours to get their hands on their favorite brews. This is not an idea that casual beer drinkers grasp, but those in the know understand that there is a great deal of fun around the experience of the hunt.
Just as fishing can be boring to those who do not enjoy it, beer hunting has the same notoriety to those who prefer drinking a can of macro beer. But much like fishing, the joy is not necessarily in the acquisition but in the act itself. Many craft beer lovers who drive long distances to wait in lines or camp out at breweries to get their favorite beer also enjoy the experience of “line sharing.”
Line sharing is when craft beer lovers bring many of their favorite craft beers to share with other beer lovers while waiting in line. This is a great way for craft beer lovers to try some new great beers and, in some instances, the only way. This makes the hunt even more fun and enjoyable for all.
But there is much more happening for craft lovers than simply sharing beers in line. Beer lovers enjoy finding the “next big thing” in the beer market and try long and hard to find these up and coming brewers with great beers.
While it seems like every week a new brewery is opening its doors and making great beers available, it does not necessarily mean that those beers will become sought-after brews. So what does it take?
That is up for debate, but one thing is true within the craft beer market, and this truth is related specifically to the popularity of IPA’s. Craft brewers can quickly gain the upper hand by brewing a well-balanced and delicious IPA as hops are a great way to gain a stellar reputation.
Brewers also gain great followings from stouts, especially those which are barrel aged. Above all, the key to gaining a great reputation in the craft beer market is through consistency and repeatability. Nothing will kill a brewer’s hard-earned reputation faster than brewing a world-class beer for their first batch, while quickly following up with a second batch that falls well below the standard the brewer set.
There is no use in stating what the “must have” beers are as anyone that loves craft beer has heard the names Heady Topper, Pliny, Zombie Dust, Julius, and Dark Lord batted around enough. The best way to get your hands on some sought after beers is to keep trying new beers as breweries open and begin to hit the market. This will help to stave off the lines and insanity that come with being the “next big thing.”
It is not easy and sometimes requires the consumption of less than stellar beers. However, the payoff of trying that great beer before anyone else is priceless and makes you feel great to help promote a brewery in its early days.
No matter what you enjoy or how many great beers you consume, there is one thing that is central and should be front and center for any beer lover.
And that is to share and not be a judgmental jerk.
Just because you tried something before someone else does not make you a better person. It should push you to want to share the experience with another beer lover.
So if you find yourself with one of these “beer braggers” the best advice is to ask if they have any to share. If the answer is a smug response, simply walk away. No one needs that kind of negativity.
Be sure to share great beer with great people, it makes the craft beer industry stronger and showcases the greatness of the community.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.