People often ask me what it is I do, exactly, as the “beer guy” for my company. Is it all it sounds like; drinking brew, schmoozing with ale smiths, visiting breweries and basic suds-fueled hedonism?
No, but those are a few perks of the trade. The job does have me constantly thinking about and trying to procure the best beer available. Not a bad job if you can get it.
Sales reports, business meetings and data analytics aside, much of what I do is tracking down product information and making an informed decision whether or not it’s something we should carry. Often times I spot one-offs and rarities others might overlook. This gives us a slight edge in our status as a beer destination.
Case in point is the first-ever release of Founders “Kentucky Breakfast Stout” in Florida. In the recent past, this was only ever offered at the brewery in Michigan. The single-day release would draw hundreds to line up a day in advance. I got us a scant case of this highly-regarded rarity for Hopjacks Downtown last week. Our distributor rep tells us that we were the first account on the Panhandle to put any on sale. It went so fast we got whiplash.
I like that word. “First.” It tells me that I’m doing something right. I hope.
Recently I happened to be scanning over one distributor’s inventory and noticed a meager four kegs of something called Holy Brother from Red Brick Brewing out of Atlanta. Doing what I do, I began digging around online for info. Nothing on the website. Only one review on Beer Advocate. Intriguing.
I managed to find a quick blurb on Beer Street Journal about it. From what I can tell, this is part of a special experimental series of draft-only – and brewery-only – releases. How did we get it in Florida? I don’t care. Their reputation for making stellar beer is well-known to me. Bring us one of those four kegs!
This Belgian-style stout is something we don’t see very often, never mind how small-batch this particular beer is already. Holy Brother is dark cola brown sporting a frothy head that recedes to a thin veil leaving behind spotty lacing. Wheat toast scents vie for attention over leafy – almost medicinal – hops and coffee. The kiln-roasted grains take center stage on the palate while small hints of caramel cream and earthy hops take things along to a bitter finish with well-hidden touches of apple and Bing cherry. A little of the 9% alcohol by volume is hinted at on the nose and provides a nice warming sensation in the end.
I actually get paid to hunt down excellent, rare product like Holy Brother. Ah, the life of a beer nerd.