That's right, Black Sunday. For some reason, my local bottle shop opted to have their Bourbon County Brand Stout release on Sunday. They say it was to allow more customers the opportunity, as some might still be traveling or working, but I call horseshit. I think it was to create confusion, chaos, and more confusion. And to get people into the store on Friday only to tell them to come back on Sunday.
I was one of those people. I went on Friday. I hadn't planned on it until the venerable BeerGraphs commander-in-chief, Eno Sarris, started tweeting about it. When the tweets started, I had just gotten home from a late morning Black Friday tour de force that included Best Buy (not at all crowded at 10 am, for the very laptop I am typing on, and a camera lens), The Disney Store (an absolute mad house but I had a rewards card that was set to expire and I knew I wouldn't be anywhere near the Disney again before that date so don't judge me or my choices), and the Bon-Ton (an extra stop per Wife's request so I could buy CuddleDuds for her and her office lady friends).
Reading Eno's tweets, I thought to myself that there's a chance I might be able to still get a regular BCBS at my local shop. I had a vague recollection of a Facebook event being posted so I went there to try and find the details. But the event was gone. Last week's Vietnamese Speedway Stout event was still showing but nothing for today or the near future. I considered that I may have dreamed it all and that nothing was real, not even the sweet deal I scored on those CuddleDuds. I told Wife about the beer situation at hand, reminded her of the CuddleDud errand I had run for her, and hopped in my car to find out first hand what exactly was happening today at the beer store.
Nothing was happening at the beer store.
I asked the guy if they did BCBS in the morning and he explained that it was moved to Sunday. He told me they were opening at 10 a.m. for the event and that the regular and the rye and maybe something else would be first come first serve but the more sought after variants would be raffled. I thanked him for the information and then quickly spent $40 on other beer.
Fast forward to Sunday morning, and I'm leaving the house at 10 a.m. to go get myself a bottle of regular BCBS. I wasn't in a particular hurry because in years past I had found BCBS on the shelf a day or two after their release. As I pulled into the parking lot at 10:30, I was greeted with a line about 30 people deep. No big deal I thought, they must be opening at 11 and most of these guys probably want one the variants. Maybe I got it wrong, maybe the guy behind the counter did. Maybe now I have a chance at one of the variants.
Talking to some of the other people in line, there was a mild buzz of confusion and panic. Apparently, there were Facebook events that had been created and taken down. One post mentioned that supply would be very limited. Another said supply of certain variants would be very limited. Someone thought it was a raffle for the Rare. Another thought the raffle was for everything. I relayed what I had been told on Friday. Others relayed what they were told on Saturday. The one detail that appeared to constant through it all was that they would have 2013 BCBS on draft. So, at the very least I could drink some of that.
The store opened at 11 and everyone filed inside and formed a line behind the taps. A pleasant young lady worked her way down the line and gave everyone one green ticket. Very few people knew what the line was for other than to get a draft beer. From the back of the line, we watched as it appeared that no one was leaving with any bottles. Again, panic was growing. What was I in line for, exactly? What was going on? What was the ticket for?
I reached the front of the line quickly and ordered a draft of the 2013. I was then handed my draft and a red ticket. What is this sweet hell, I thought! I asked about the tickets and was told there would be an announcement shortly. Approximately 50 men roamed the aisles of the beer store, confused but content, holding tiny, fancy 8oz glasses of 2013 BCBS.
As promised there was an announcement: all bottles would be raffled. They would pull a ticket and then the holder of that ticket would then pull from a second bucket to determine which variant they were allowed to buy. The raffle would not happen until 2pm. You must be present to win. Your ticket could be drawn more than once.
I looked at my phone. It was 11:30.
I had not planned to be out of the house long. I had not showered. Or eaten. Or moved my bowels. I almost came to the store in sweat pants. I thought I would be in and out -- because I swear that was the case in previous years -- I'd walk in, there be some regular and maybe some of the lesser sought after variants, I'd buy one, maybe more if allowed, have a tiny glasss of the 2013, and be on my way. I called Wife and explained the situation. I've come this far, I said, I should probably stay. She hesitated. I reminded her of the CuddleDuds. She said stay.
The green ticket was the one that mattered. The red ticket was for a separate raffle of Goose Island swag. I went back to the bar and got a 5oz pour of 2013 and 5oz pour of the 2015. The 2013 was obviously the smoother of the two. The mouthfeel was more full and silkier. The booze was more mellow and seemed to last longer in the finish. The 2015 had less nuanced malt flavors and the booze was more upfront. Nothing ground breaking in that comparison but it was nice to drink them side by side.
I sat with a few of the guys I met in line and we passed the time until the raffle. Someone gave us a box of pizza, for which we were very thankful. However, we were more thankful when the raffle started.
My ticket was pulled early on and I won the right to purchase a BCBS Coffee. The empty handed people around me were envious, but by the end of the raffle the other guy at my table had his ticket pulled three times, all for regulars, and a guy next to us had his ticket pulled twice, again for regulars. Toward the end, some one had pulled a Rare ticket only to be told that there were no more Rare. That person, I assume, was dissappointed in how the event played out. The crowd loudly speculated how such a thing could happen.
One of the guys at my table offered me two regulars for the coffee. I took the deal. Monetarily, it made sense for me. And I have never had the coffee so I have no idea what I am missing, so please don't tell me what an idiot I am in the comments. But please do share your Black Friday or Sunday or whatever day experience...
Follow JR Shirt on Twitter and Untappd @beeronmyshirt. He and his brother T-Bone do a beer podcast called "Drinking With Shirt." Based on current data, the podcast currently has 8 listeners. You could be number 9! You can listen to it while your at BeerGraphs or through iTunes or wherever else you get your podcast fix.