Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Week(end) in Beer: 7/13-7/14

Last week, I lamented the difficulty of maintaining this new beers resolution because of the financial constraints involved. Then, on Friday I accidentally stumbled onto a solution to the problem.

There are two beer stores in the little downtown area of the neighborhood where I live. When we moved here, almost two years ago, I quickly decided which of the two has a better craft beer selection and patronized that store almost exclusively for at least the first year.

But, at some point this year, I decided to give the other store another chance. It was then I realized they have a better selection of more reasonably priced bombers—I could get into a discussion here about what is a reasonably priced bomber, but I'll resist the urge—which fit in well with my quest to not drink the same beer twice this year. So, for a while, that was my store of choice. They even have a small selection of beers you can make a mixed six-pack with, but the choices are pretty weak, so that was a one-and-done idea.

Which brings me to Friday. For the sake of convenience, I returned to my original favorite store and, while I was browsing the aisles, another patron asked if they do mixed six-packs. The store clerk reached into a box at the end of the aisle and handed her an empty six-pack carton.

I was delighted, but I wasn't sure what to expect the prices for single beers would be, since they weren't advertised. Actually, lack of prices on many products in beer stores is another pet peeve of mine, but I'll refrain from going off on that tangent.

The box of cartons only contained a bunch of four-packs anyway, so I went with one of those and added a $5.49 bomber of Clown Shoes Miracle IPA, for good measure.

$5.49 for a bomber is definitely what I consider reasonably priced, even though, at slightly less volume than two beers, this is comparable to paying more than $16.50 for a six-pack. But, other than the $4.49 I paid for a 22 oz. Berkshire Steel Rail last weekend, they don't come much cheaper. In fact, I'd say that $7 is the high end of my acceptable range. There are beers I'll make an exception for, of course, but considering we're talking about Massachusetts brewers here, I don't think I should have to pay more.

However, a bomber of Somerville Brewing Company's Slumbrew Happy Sol was $8.99 and a couple different selections from Backlash Beer Company were $8.99-9.99. I realize smaller brewers don't have the economies of scale advantage their larger counterparts do, and I want to support the local guys (as Clown Shoes and Berkshire are) but I can't help but feel these are more than a little overpriced. Maybe it's just the store. I don't know for sure.

Anyway, the prices per bottle for the four 12-ouncers I settled on and drank over the weekend were all reasonably in the $1.50-$2 range. I probably don't need to do the math for you, but that's $9-$12 for a six-pack, which is totally acceptable, hence the aforementioned solution to my frugality problem.

Summer Love (Victory Brewing Company)
There's a baseball on the label, so of course it's good. Seriously, it is, mainly because Victory knows how to inject a little hoppy enthusiasm into a Blonde Lager style that is usually a little boring.

Centennial IPA (Founders Brewing Company)
Not my favorite, but a really solid IPA: subtle floral hop aroma, full-bodied with just the right amount of hop bitterness.

Pamola Xtra Pale Ale (Baxter Brewing Company)
This Lewiston, Maine craft brewery is the first in New England to can its entire line of beers. I love Baxter's Stowaway IPA, which I discovered when I was on my canned beer kick (not that I'm necessarily off it, but the canned selection is still somewhat limited). Pamola is very good also, an extremely well-balanced offering that makes for a great session beer. It was the perfect accompaniment to my Saturday night grilling.

A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale (Lagunitas Brewing Company)
This is not an IPA, but it has the fantastic citrusy aroma that many of my favorite IPAs have. As BeerAdvocate says "This one has it all figured out—an amazing ale." This was also my 100th of the year. I thought about saving my 100th for next weekend, but decided instead to share this one with KJ. She loves it too.

Next weekend, of course, I'll be hoisting a few in Cooperstown.

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