This seems to be a trendy thing now for a bunch of geeks to load up and make a pilgrimage to stand in line for some magical beer release. I’d have to think our own Larry Bell was one of the innovaters with this, as Eccentric Day has taken place over two decades now and his Solson/Oberon seasonal spring release has long inspired “Release Parties” and such.
Other breweries hopped on the scarcity train as well and two of the bigger local Midwest release events are Founder’s KBS release in Grand Rapids and Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds in Munster. Even the Lonely Planet includes Dark Lord among their travel tips for Indiana – which admittedly probably runs a pretty short list for tourist events.
Of course, there are others throughout the country capitalizing on some real limited production, but probably more often artificially scarce products that generate a bit of hysteria among fans. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a big fan of Starkbierzeit in Bavaria, when the bock beers are released by many brewers. One of the biggest advantages there is that you can show up and be sure to quench your thirst, without going to sometimes absurd lengths only to risk leaving empty handed.
Seasonal beers generate publicity, to be sure, but I wonder if some producers are pissing off too many people or creating unrealistic expectations that will only lead to ultimate disappointment by making a beer too exclusive.
I’ll have to consider that a bit…as I’m working my way through the 18 bottles of KBS lagering in my wine cellar.