Well, Election day was today, that’s cool. Another important event was today too, though. The anticipated release of Saint Arnold‘s 10th offering in it’s Divine Reserve series. this year it was an English barleywine that “will be based on the recipe of Chris Landis of the Kuykendahl Gran Brewers, who won the 2010 Big Batch Brew Bash with a barleywine he bottled during Hurricane Gustav in 2008.” (from an article by Ronnie Crocker, resident Houston Chronicle beer guy). I was excited to try this release since I had DR9 (a Pumpkin Imperial Stout) last year and tried DR8 at a bar before that. I was also excited because barleywines have become a new favorite of mine. So when I saw that my local HEB (Bunker Hill) was going to have some, I made sure to get over there quick, because these releases sell out fast!
I haven’t actually tried the beer from this purchase, yet. I want to age some, and I will also probably enjoy one bottle as well, but in a super secret tasting a few weeks ago- I got a sneak peek at the Divine Reserve #10 and quite enjoyed it. This post is more about the hunt. Coming soon though I will post my thoughts on the actual beer, but I felt like a few things I saw, while following Houston’s mad search on twitter, needed to be addressed.
If Twitter is to believed (follow along by searching for the hashtag #DR10), Houston and surrounding burbs were a madhouse today. At my HEB, there were about 15 people in line, but over at the Spec’s in Midtown, there were over 100 people in line and they sold out in 15 minutes! Someone said a couple got there at 2 AM! (in the rain, seriously?!). Other than the scavenger hunt going on, I noticed another phenomenon that quite pissed me off. Some stores were limiting it to 1 six-pack (that’s fine…) but if you wanted a second they were charging almost double! DAMN! With the Divine Reserves already going anywhere from $14-$17 a six-pack, double is simply outrageous. I feel lucky that my HEB’s limit was 2 and that I was able to afford and get both before they sold out (which was pretty fast too!). A friend of mine, Diane, tweeted a picture from her local Fiesta (Dunlavy at Alabama) of the sign.
Now, I know it would be very disappointing not to be able to find any Divine Reserve, so I do understand the policy, BUT why not just say no- limit 1? The up charge on the second 6 pack is ridiculous. Obviously people will pay that much, especially if they think they can’t get it anywhere else due to limited supplies, but seriously making money off of people’s fear of not getting any at all? That is just plain wrong. Good thing there isn’t a Fiesta near me, or I wouldn’t be shopping there until my pissy-ness wore off.
Then on the other side of the spectrum, there were the places that didn’t limit anyone at all. Apparently, Kroger on W 43rd had this policy and one guy bought a whole case (48 bottles/4 six packs) according to @deneyterrio‘s tweet. As well as another person on twitter who posted a picture of what looked to be like 54 bottles! Two and a quarter cases, which most people replied (somewhat angrily) about him hoarding and being greedy.
This all circles back to Saint Arnold and our lovely beer laws. From last year’s super fast sell-out they decided to try to increase the production of this year’s Divine by 50%, but due to some system issues they could only put out an extra 20% (which we are all very grateful for). But for the crappy laws though, we would just be able to all go to Saint Arnold’s brewery, stand in line there and receive our one or two six packs directly from them, eliminating the need for these crazy searches (some argue it’s fun, but not for those who miss out!) and also not having to worry about paying double for the second, not getting a second at all, or some homeboy in front of you buying it all up, right in front of your own eyes.
There is another factor to limiting the production and only releasing once a year- the whole exclusivity factor. Just like 3 Floyds Dark Lord Day (they do it to raise money for a charity though) where people buy tickets and stand in line to buy this special brew, with a limit as well. But, I definitely understand people’s frustrations at not getting to have any of their own Divine and being subjected to high pint prices at bars, the few that actually get a keg. For those interested, it looks like Anvil will be tapping a keg at 5PM when they open, Petrol Station will put theirs on at 7 and Flying Saucer will tap theirs Thursday night for their rare beer tap night.
That is all. Rant over. I do feel lucky that I got mine, and know that next year will probably be worse as the popularity grows and grows, but maybe next year we’ll also see more of it!