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Buying beer: A guide to shopping for your favorite craft beers Part Two

Don’t look now, but that guy sitting across from you at Toronado knows more about craft beer than you do. He also wants to drink the beer you have been wanting to try since you read about it two weeks ago and he knows where to find it before you will.

With the increasing popularity of craft beer across the nation, and especially locally, your chances of getting your hands on the newest bottled release from your favorite brewery are getting slimmer by the minute. Follow these pointers to make sure you’re not left with a bottle opener in one hand and a Coke bottle in the other.

Try, Try Again
Talk to any craft beer drinker and they might tell you they despise a particular beer style. It may take only one bad experience with a Belgian-style stout to ruin a drinker’s palate for the style. But with over 140 different styles of craft beer, one should not stamp a seal of approval or disapproval on just one tasting alone. If you didn’t like the first sour beer you purchased, try try again. If the Duchesse De Bourgogne was too tart for your liking, try a variation like a sour-brown or sour-stout which mellow out the impact a bit.

Ask Questions
The person stocking the shelves of the bottle shop you visit once a week has likely tried or heard many reviews of the beer you came in looking to buy. Pick his/her brain and see which is a favorite of the shop or a favorite of the customers coming in that week/month. Chances are if everyone is buying up all the new releases/seasonals or a particular style is flying off the shelves, your hard earned money is worthy of a purchase. Most owners/buyers/stockers are happy to share their opinions on the latest and greatest craft beer.

Be Social
You tag photos of your kids, the meal you just prepared, the shoes you chose to wear to walk to your mailbox, why not post about the beer you discovered over the weekend. Chances are somewhere in the mediasphere another craft beer enthusiast is consuming or wanting to consume the same thing you are. Instagram and Twitter are full of craft beer geeks just like yourself, and what a current way to meet a new friend or discover new beers you never thought you’d try. And by all means, convert as many lite beer drinkers as possible.

Shop Til You Drop
Walking in to any establishment and having the patrons shout your name like Norm from Cheers is great, but don’t let your comfort level be minimized to just one craft beer retail shop. Not all shops will deal with the same vendors or distributors and even if they do, not all will bring in the exact same products. Not to mention your corner liquor store just does not have the buying power that BevMo or Costco has. Stay true to your favorite shop, but also peek at the shelves around town and you might come up on a gem. And if you do find a great random bottle or deal somewhere, let people know.

Ready your favorite bottle opener and appropriate glassware and take these tips with you the next time you push through the doors of your favorite bottle shop. But do it quick because I know exactly who has that new DIPA you’ve been looking to try.