Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Early Thanksgiving

We popped open a Southern Tier Pumking last night and the temp was below 70F while I drove to work this morning. Fall is on its way and I can't wait. So here I am already thinking about giving thanks to what we have...

My brother and his girlfriend-of-12-years recently came to visit for a week and I think I'm still hung over. We tapped into the Wort Hog Stockpile and my brother brought some beers from Portland (note: Deschutes Jubel 2010 is awesome - worth trading). While we drank our fill of beer we can't get here in KC, I briefly lamented over not being able to get HUB, Russian River, Port Brewing, Smuttynose, Deschutes, Great Lakes, and so on.

However, as we reveled over our piles of empty bottles, Mr Wort Hog and I were both struck by how many great breweries have gained distribution to the KC metro just in the past few years. Hoppin Frog, Ballast Point, Lagunitas, Founders, New Holland, Anderson Valley, Dieu du Ciel, Ska, Moylan's, and others. Of course, even regional breweries like Tin Mill and soon Free State are (or will be) distributed here. There are several breweries we can get here that those on the west coast cannot. Brother Wort Hog was able to try a bunch of Founders while visiting - Devil Dancer, Double Trouble, Red's Rye, Breakfast Stout, and KBS. (Man, I love that brewery.) He also enjoyed some Schlafly, Bells, Left Hand, Breckenridge, New Holland, Odell, and O'Fallon - all breweries whose beers we can easily find at our local liquor stores but aren't available in "beervana."

I often go back & forth between picking up some regular favorites and hunting around the liquor store trying to find the Next Best Thing. After his visit, I was reminded of all of the great beers we can get here and not to take them for granted. (On that note, we also ate our fill of awesome KC BBQ and commiserated with Brother Wort Hog's inability to get good BBQ in the northwest.)

Overall, it was a good visit. We drank our weight in some awesome beer, ate excellent food, and laughed ourselves silly playing Cranium (OK, we only play the green & blue cards - those are the best ones anyway). I'm thankful to be able to share a passion for great beer & food with my kickass brother and his awesome girlfriend, and that they were able to come out here to visit - even if it was 115F nearly every single day.

All the more reason to stay inside and drink more beer.


  1. Is Pumking out now? I need to get some, it always seems to sell out pretty quickly. I love that stuff.

    The KC beer selection has really improved over the past few years. It's easy to just look for what's new and take for granted all the good stuff that's available year round.

  2. Royal had pumpking the day I bought it, which might have been Tuesday. They had 2-3 cases and I bought maybe the second one out of the open case.

  3. That is a very nice gang of beers...

  4. Not pictured: about 6-7 gallons of homebrew (mostly mead) and draught beer at Tap Room, Grunauer, Flying Saucer, Free State and Swagger.

    Long week.

    The cellar is looking week without that Red Poppy and those 199X Old Crustys.

  5. How do you usually transport beers from out of town? Is there a special shipping technique (aside from "don't tell") or do you use checked luggage?

    I don't know how many times I've run into something I wanted to buy but thought, "How am I going to get this home?"

  6. I’ve always just wrapped the bottles really well using a combination of bubble wrap & hotel newspaper (USA Today DOES have a use!!), then either put the bottles in my luggage (with clothes wrapped around the bottles again for extra padding), OR a 12x12x12 box bought at Walgreens, then checked the box as luggage. The downside to checking the box is that it now appears some airlines will ask you what’s in the box and if you tell them beer, they’ll require that you’ve had it packed professionally before they check it. This has happened to people on BA and it happened once to me (I had to buy these inflatable bottle wrappers for $5 each from SWA, grrr). So I’d recommend doing one of two things:

    1) Use your luggage & check the bag (they won't ask what's in your bag)
    2) Pack the beers in a box very well, then ship the box to yourself via FedEx or UPS

  7. Shipping makes the most sense these days with very few airlines checking bags for free.

    All you need to do to pack well is a single sheet of bubble wrap (with the little bubbles, like 12" square) and then firmly packing them inside of a garbage bag. The goals are that the bottles don't move, that glass never touch glass, and that if you do break a bottle the shipper doesn't find out.

    We have shipped hundreds of bottles with zero breaks though, just a single sheet of bubble wrap on each and a tight packing.

  8. Interesting read. We live in Cleveland (Great Lakes Brewery capital). Let me know if you'd like some shipped!


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