Man the harpoon! Or not…Why I don’t chase “whales”

I’ve been drinking craft beer since I’ve been able to legally buy alcohol, but I would say I haven’t really dove DEEP into the craft beer scene until the last 2 years or so. I would consider myself a connoisseur to an extent, but when I look at reviews and stuff on Beer Advocate or Rate Beer I can’t help but wonder why people get so into the specifics of beer. I mean I know beer is a complex drink with many aspects that go into it, but when I talk about beer I just get into why it’s good and bad. Maybe that’s just because I’m young into getting deep into it and I’ll get there eventually, but as of now I just drink good beer because I like it. Does that make me a lesser craft beer lover? To some, probably, but I don’t care about what other people think about me.

This post was inspired by a post over at The Full Pint about how Beer Trading has been getting out of hand lately.

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As we look deeper into the craft community you end up running into the “whale” hunters. People who do anything they can do to get their hands on rare one of a kind beers. Don’t get me wrong…I want to try them as well, but I really don’t want to fight people for them or have to trade 10 beers to get that one I really want to try. My goal is to try as many beers as I possibly can, but there are tons of more awesome beers out there that are easy to find and are great. Look at the article Brewminds did about ratings on Rate Beer. Tom did a great job breaking down a big chunk of data. That alone shows why you don’t have to hunt whales in order to enjoy good beer. Beer drinking needs to be fun, not a job, and seeking out these whales can sometimes be a chore, not to mention a rip off for you in the end because of greedy traders.

Now with that said I do try to get every local release I can get my hands on because I love and support local beer. I think Cincinnati makes some killer beers and being that I am local here I want to try them all. So the only time you will see me in line for a beer will be a local release. But even then some breweries’ release practices still boggle my mind…Especially when they release beers on a weekday in the afternoon when most of us are at work. Even with a one bottle limit they’re going to be out by the time 5 o’clock rolls around between the people who can take work off and the countless mules coming in and snatching up bottles for friends. It’s rather frustrating. But hey…I don’t sweat it, maybe I will run across it at some point or will be able to try it in the taproom.

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I have to give Braxton Brewing Co. a HUGE thank you for doing something that, to my knowledge, no local brewery has done before. For their anniversary party this weekend they are releasing some special beers. Beers that will most likely sell out fast like their first bottle release that I arrived to late and could only get one variant of their Dark Charge series. But…what is this? They are allowing pre-orders for their Yesterday’s Headlines¬†Kiwi Berliner Weisse online. This guarantees people who pre-order a bottle no matter when they show up! Finally a brewery who knows people want to try their limited releases and gives them a way to without the hassle of standing in lines or fighting for a bottle after they are gone. You’ll still have to get down there for their other bottles that are being released the same day, but at least you can secure yourself a piece of Braxton’s history before the event. So mad props to you guys! More breweries should follow suit in my opinion.

So in conclusion I don’t chase the whales because it’s honestly not worth it to me. There are awesome beers that I haven’t tried yet that are probably right in front of my face. But if I come across one I would totally snatch it up, that’s for sure. I also travel a lot so I get to experience some beers from other parts of the country as well which is pretty awesome. So instead of whale hunting get on down to your local bottle shop and explore some beers you haven’t had that are right there in front of you.

2 thoughts on “Man the harpoon! Or not…Why I don’t chase “whales”

  • March 24, 2016 at 11:22 am
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    I agree; I am not going to go to extremes to try a beer but for some the hunt is something they are passionate about. I just don’t have the time or finances to fund a hobby on that level. I continually try to avoid the temptation of searching out hard to find beers and rest in the comfort of the amazing local selection we get. For the bottle releases, I do not mind the midweek releases. I run out at lunch and pick them up but I know for many that doesn’t work. Weekends are hard for me to give up with a family. I think many do midweek releases because they do not want to drive additional traffic on the weekend when they are already busy. They release during a slow time to ensure they can focus on the release. In the end, there are always pros/cons to every method. Great article and thanks for sharing!

    • March 24, 2016 at 11:50 am
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      There are indeed pros and cons to either way of doing it. I have heard people from Madtree give the reason of their weekday afternoon releases is that it fits into their schedule better and stops them from being overwhelmed on a weekend. I get it, but that doesn’t mean I like it. I only get a 30min lunch and I can’t make it there and back in time.

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