Thursday, October 16, 2008

List-o-mania and beer shops

Those Top Ten lists.

Late night talk show host David Letterman's lists occasionally are humorous. Other such lists can be ponderous or inane.

Is #10 really better than all those #11s left off the list? What are the criteria? Were all choices researched? What are the qualifications or expertise of those judging?

But in that spirit,Imbibe Magazine, in its September/October issue, listed its top 10 choices for beer shops in the US.

The best ones are not just stores selling beer, they're destinations offering a carefully conceived selection, where beers are handled and stored properly, employees can recite the virtues of every ale on offer [what, no bock beer or other lagers?], and customers can go not only for their favorite suds [overused phrase alert] but for a sense of community and culture [amen].

From this area, two shops made the editors' cuts: Charlottesville, Virginia's Beer Run, and Washington, D.C.'s Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits.

Of relatively new Beer Run, they wrote:
In a college town where kegs of macrobrews may be the typical order of the day, Beer Run sells customers on an amazing lineup of bottled craft beers and serves some great draught ones on the shop's bar side. ...
Of the venerable Chevy Chase:
It stands to reason that a city full of diplomats would have a strong demand for international beers, and Chevy Chase meets that need with 1,200 options from around the world. ...

Larry Robinson of Chevy ChaseAs the editors implied, a crucial aspect in all this isn't mere size of inventory but rather a sense of welcome and discovery.

At Beer Run, that's supplied by brothers Josh and John Hunt and their mother Marianne. At Chevy Chase, it's father and son duo Buddy and Ian Weitzman, and Larry Robinson. Larry may remember more about beers past than most of us may ever learn about today's double Imperial bourbon-aged IPAs.

The full descriptions and the rest of the article are available in Imbibe's print edition only. I was alerted to this story by Julie Atallah, co-proprietor of Bruisin' Ales of Asheville, North Carolina, itself a wonderful store and on the list. Congratulations to all.

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