I want something and I’m going to get it.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The truck loads up mid-morning according to my sources. If I get out on the streets early enough I can probably hit all of the drop-off locations. That’s the plan, at least. And if everything goes according to plan, this could be one of the greatest scores in craft beer history.
Store One: One 4-pack.
It is the middle of the week, Wednesday. Normally I would be at work today, but this is too important. In life, you have to know what your priorities are. Mine is buying as much of it as I can. I am Ishmael searching for my great white whale.
Except I know where my white whale is. Sitting at a stop light on an early spring day, I follow behind the great white beast from store to store, hoping to get my fix. I am not alone in my quest. Like a funeral procession, two more cars follow behind me riding my bumper intently, not letting our lead vehicle get out of their sight.
Store Two: Two bottles.
Every so often, I get a glimpse of the driver’s face in his mirror. Wearing a blue hat and sporting a clean shaven face, he grins and shakes his head at me. He knows I am stalking him, following his every move. In most situations this would be illegal, but this is beer. Rare beer. All of the rules are out the window.
At every single store he pulls up front and parks. Getting out of the truck he waves at me, knowing full well why I am there. He walks to the side of the truck and lifts open one of the doors. I watch him as he lifts five cases onto a hand truck and brings it into the store. Before he enters, he winks at me, smiles again and disappears inside.
Store Three: Two 4-packs.
I’m in the next store. Act natural. People say that all of the time, but how do I really do it? Do I just continue looking at the bottles, pretending I’m interested in a purchase?
Blonde Ale. Brown Ale. Pilsner.
Amateur beers. I can get these any day of the week. Do you know why? Because they aren’t good. They aren’t rich, full of flavor and impactful. No one brags about these rejects or travels at great lengths just for a sip. Anyone who is anyone wouldn’t care less if they weren’t on the shelf tomorrow.
They are...common. They are the salmon to my great white whale.
Store Four: One 4-pack.
The clerk knows why I am here. It’s clear that he isn’t stupid. He asks my name and if I’ve been to his store before. Lying is easy when you do it to get something you want. After a moment’s pause, he walks three steps to the right, bends down and picks up a case. He rings it up at the register and adrenaline starts racing through my veins.
Before he hands me the beer, he looks at me and asks how long I have been chasing the truck around today.
Chasing? I just stumbled in randomly I say.
He asks how many bottles I already have.
Store Five: A CASE.
Craft beer is a competition.
I am winning.