It has been a busy week.
Busier than I expected it would be. And to compound things…or alleviate, depending on how you look at it, I spent last night, when I would normally be composing my weekly column, at the Ian Anderson show at Wolf Trap.
Believe it or not, it was my first time at the venue. Beautiful place – watching live music under the stars.
And I have to give the concessions stand props for a solid selection of craft brews – most of which were local.
That said, I didn’t have a single one of their offerings. Why? Because the prices were ludicrous.
Yes, I will spend $6.00 on a 9 ounce pour at places like Dan’s, JoJo’s, Madrones, or the Roasthouse. And I will do that when they are beers that are typically hard to find, or special, one-brewing-time-only sorts of beers. Not things that are easy for me to acquire.
And even if these were hard to find brews, the starting price for a beer was $8.50, and it ranged to as high as $11.00 (for a 12 oz bottle). The taps were all around $9.50. Even if that bottle was from a $16.00 four pack, the mark-up is steep, and the price point daunting.
I know that we craft beer geeks are willing to pay extra for a better beer experience, and I can’t speak for all of us, but I know that at those prices and given Wolf Trap’s liberal policies in regards to food and drink (you can bring in beer, wine and other munchies – and there is no corkage fee), I feel as though I have no reason to fork over the price of a good six pack for a single beer.
A Message and Plea to the Brewers
I’m sure some brewery somewhere has the marketing numbers that somehow prove that they have better sales by being the first brewery to get their seasonal on the shelves, thus creating this race wherein fall seasonals are already appearing in our local beers stores in July (who really wants to be drinking a pumpkin beer when it’s 97 degrees out?). Again, I can’t speak for everyone, but I have to say, just because you’re the first pumpkin beer on the shelf, or first Oktoberfest brew, the fact that you were first has absolutely NO impact on my purchasing decision. None.
If you’re doing it so that you can increase the amount you sell for having the beer on the shelves longer, then just increase you production. I’m guessing that most of the consumers don’t really care if you’re first to market, and most of the hard core beer geeks aren’t going to buy it until it’s time to drink it – and if they do buy it before hand, most will let it sit until the season is upon us anyway, making your beer something that your brewer didn’t necessarily intend for it to be.
Is it too much to ask that the first pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers and other harvest ales don’t actually hit the shelves until harvest time?
Tapped and Uncapped
This week’s recommendation comes from Baltimore…well, Baltimore-Washington Beer Works to be precise. I had myself some of the Tell Tale Heart(y) Ale back in April. The Tell Tale Heart, named for the Poe story of the same name, is a more than respectable entry into the world of American IPA’s from a brewery that spent a very long time doing only The Raven, a lager which happens to be BWBW’s flagship beer.
A nice, hoppy beer, the Tell Tale should satisfy all but the most ardent hop-heads who have long since moved onto double IPA’s.
Until next week, be well and drink good beer.