An Ode to The Beer Store

Eno Sarris, March 15, 2016

I tell my mother in law not to stress. I laugh when people say I'm a beer snob and say, no, it's fine, I'll drink whatever you got. There are days that go by when I don't think of beer at all! 

But when it was time to go to the beer store in Arizona, I felt unmoored. A cursory internet search for 'craft beer store' just brought up a hodge-podge of local liquor stores, chain options, and your usual mess of unrelated detritus.

I tried acting on those results twice, and once I ended up at a low-rent drive-thru liquor store which offered some SanTan in cans and then the nationally distributed beers. The other time? Total Wine and its unrefrigerated masses of beer. I mean, I found some good stuff, but if I wanted a cold, heartless experience, I could find a Costco. 

I yearned for Willow's Market in Menlo Park, where the refrigerators gleam with great IPAs from far and near, and where the staff has picks ready for me when I walk in. I yearned for the actual feeling of deciding, of having too many options, of having to narrow it down to fit in the budget and the basket.

I also yearned for my children, and not in that order, in case my wife is reading. 

Some of that allure of the local beer store is the Cheers moment -- everyone knows my name -- but part of that is curation and preservation. The great local beer store has carefully thought out their selections to remain high velocity and yet also in high demand among the more discerning buyers. It also has thought about the light, and the temperature, of the beers you are buying. It's really an amazing thing given how many different beers in different sizes there are today. They care about beer first and foremost.

So I wanted to make this a simple thing. Tell us here about your favorite beer store.

Where is it? Why is it awesome? What have they done that you find unique?