Have you ever slowly driven up to a stranger on the sidewalk and yelled to them to sell you beer cans at 10:55 AM on a Saturday morning?
Well…just this one time. And I didn’t yell as much as whisper due to having lost my voice at the Great Wolf Lodge with the kids the day before. To be fair, it sounds worse than it was. With an unexpected change of plans for my weekend, I was able to head to Brooklyn for the the release of a limited collaboration from two highly-acclaimed brewers. The alternatives were returning home empty-handed or waiting for hours in a line I can only liken to an iPhone release, with a chance of still not getting the sweet hop elixir I had traveled to buy. I mean, I had already told my wife that she was on her own for the morning, paid the tolls, drove an hour, and waited another hour.
My car was also parked illegally and the host of the event had just broken the bad news with a sullen tone, drowned out by terrible, cacophonic music from a passing car (windows down in November and bumping the stock system before noon = bad form). “If you are in *this* section of the line, there is no guarantee that you are getting cans today, the host said.” Now, I wasn’t totally surprised but had joined many other eager hop heads with naïve hope. I had seen the tweet on my drive down warning me that if I wasn’t already in position, my chances for procurement would be limited (hence my illegal parking decision). Still, I held strong……for 10 more minutes.
Two months earlier when I first made this pilgrimage, I had no trouble getting a legal parking spot, a spot in the queue that had a view of the entrance, a case and a half of cans, a growler, a glass, a t-shirt, and a picture of the brewery. The prize was a release of All Green Everything—which I had tried before and loved—and Green Diamonds, which I had not yet tried but was confident would be worth the effort. I guess when two of the most hyped breweries in the northeast collaborate and multiple articles name said breweries the best in NY, the folks get interested. Trillium of Boston was the partner to Other Half for the creation of Street Green IPA . As a bonus for this second trip, more Green Diamonds available for purchase.
Some disappointed patrons have taken to social media to blame the brewery for not managing the event well, as if making a great beer that generates demand far exceeding supply is somehow immoral and inconsiderate. Others politely suggested options like a ticketing method. I for one was pleasantly surprised with the continued effort from Other Half to serve their fans well. In addition to communication throughout the morning, they also changed the allotment multiple times to give more people a chance to try the beer (an unpopular decision for the those who waited longer than the folks behind them). Whatever your take on the madness, these guys have been pumping out an impressive array of beers and deserve the attention they are receiving.
It is easy to forget that the scene itself was entertaining. The local community near Other Half did not really know what to make of this early morning line for beer. Beer? A line? Isn’t that stuff pretty regularly available? One curious couple that appeared to reside under a nearby bridge strolled by awestruck at the line while those lined up returned the gaze (learning that what appeared to be an infant over the woman’s shoulder was actually a cat more well groomed than its owner). Still, we were all there for a rare beer that may never make a second appearance.
I was torn on whether to spend the better part of a Saturday with optimism or retreat with a “better luck next time” credo on repeat in my head. My enterprising side won out and I proceeded to catcall at a series of unsuspecting dudes with an offer they couldn’t refuse (although two people did). In the end, I paid too much for two cans of beer that could never be that much better than the many regularly available offerings available in the store less than a mile from my house. Guess what? No regrets at all and the beer was pretty delicious. So my unsolicited advice:s the cafeteria cashier at work says to me every morning when it is time to swipe my card, “Go for it!” Get to a release to experience the hype and hopefully a great beer for your efforts