Recently I've been receiving alot more emails through Beer O'Clock Australia than I used to. I try to reply to everyone of them and I've started to notice a trend in the questions. Alot of people are interested in purchasing beer. They don't just want to know about where to buy beer but how to buy a wide selection of beers and styles without being overwhelmed. I've been thinking for a while how to answer this best and I think I've come up with the solution; I'll run through my beer shop from yesterday.
So the picture above has one of everything I bought yesterday in it. I'm going to run through it from left to right and try and show how and why I pick the beers I pick. This was all bought at Purvis Beer in Richmond, my favourite beer store. It's a little different to my normally shopping trips but the idea is still the same.
It's time to get down to business. We start at the far left with the brand new imports to Australia, BridgePort Brewing Company has finally agreed to send some stock downunder so naturally I wasn't leaving without some! Oregon's oldest craft brewery have sent down their IPA, Hop Czar (an Imperial IPA) and Kingpin (a double red ale). These will be reviewed down the track I imagine.
2 Brothers Grizz was the next beer to find it's way home with me. An American Amber Ale, which I have only sampled on tap before. I was interested to find out how the bottled version would taste. A single James Squire The Chancer came home as well. It's an American Pale Ale which used to be sensational, with the commercialization of James Squire the quality fell for a while but with an increase in the quality of the other beers, I thought it would time to give the Golden Ale another shot (watch this space for a review very shortly!)
The second closest brewery to my work, Mountain Goat, gives us the next beer. The IPA becomes just the third year-round brew from Mountain Goat and they tell us that this is the same as the Rare Breed IPA from a few months back. King Goblin from Wychwood is basically a suped-up version of Hob Goblin, speaks for itself really. The Black Panther IBA from Prickly Moses fills the Black IPA hole that has been in my fridge recently, it's such an enjoyable style that every craft beer lover should always have at least one at hand.
Bootleg Brewery from W.A. have a fantastic Oatmeal Stout, which was bought as a present for a stout loving friend of mine. It's a really underated style of beer. XeRRex is the Imperial version of Yeastie Boys' (New Zealand) Rex Attitude. It's a Smoked Beer, note NOT a Rauchbier, and from all reports is incredible. I'm a big fan of New Zealand craft breweries so can't wait to try this one from one of my favourites.
Cuba's Palma Cristal was just freshly brought back into the country and was on sale. It's pretty hard to turn down cheap drinkable beer! A brewery that I used to think was so-so, Red Duck, provides the next 4 beers! Red Duck has really won me over with some collaborative beers with Anders Kissmeyer. Gnaume is another of these Kissmeyer collaborative beers, while Ra #2 and Gruiter are both intended to replicate ancient styles of beer. I also bought Smells Like a Pony because I read an article about it the other day.
The IPA quota in the fridge has been remarkably low recently so it was great to be able to add another new beer that I hadn't had, Rogue Yellow Snow IPA. Rogue is an amazing brewery and I just wish more of their stuff was brought out here. Finally I am giving Pistonhead Full Throttle a chance to bring some credibility back to the brewery after a number of horrendous tastings by Pistonhead Low Ridin' lager, it couldn't possibly be worse could it?
So there we go, that was my shopping trip yesterday. Peter, Steve, Neill and all the others that emailed about craft beer shopping I hope this sort of answers you questions. At first beer shops can be quite intimidating, they don't need to be. Know the names of a couple of beers you like and ask the shop keeper for something similar. As you expand your knowledge you will find breweries you like and then you can try more beers from those breweries. Most importantly don't be afraid to try new beers!
Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!