Friday, February 18, 2011

The Mystery of the Missing Burton Baton – A Short (and True) Story About the Three Beers I Didn’t Get to Drink this Week.

Posted by: Stonecipher

Feb. 18, 2011

It has been a tough week here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights.  If all had gone well, we would have had three more of the Top 20 DIPAs reviewed and checked off the list, bringing us close to the halfway point.  Instead, the beer universe was against us and we are still stuck at #5.

I’ll begin with the worst news of all – the beer that went MIA and is now presumed dead.  As some of you may have read, we were in Nashville, TN over the past weekend.  While we were there we actually began the trip with a bit of good beer luck when we found some Oskar Blues Gordon Ale, one of the Top 20 that is not readily available here in Illinois.  That, however, is where our luck ended. 

When we got back from the bar that night we decided to throw the one bottle of beer that we had brought with us in the hotel room’s refrigerator.  That bottle was a Dogfish Head Burton Baton, which comes in at #11 on The List with 1,176 reviews.  The plan was to take advantage of some of the downtime I was hoping to have to review it and cross it off the list.  Unfortunately, I never ended up having too much downtime in the hotel room.  So, I never got around to it.

When we arrived back in Evanston on Monday, I asked my girlfriend where the beer was.  She thought it was in one of our bags.  Turns out it wasn’t.  I thought maybe I had left it in her refrigerator.  Turns out I had not.  Then she suggested maybe it was in my fridge.  Nope.  The trunk of the car?  No dice.  Was it rolling around in the back seat?  Negative.  We could just not figure out where it had vanished to. 

Finally, last night, while sitting at one of our local hangouts and sampling a few of Goose Island’s high-end sours, it hit me.  I turned to my girlfriend and said “I know where the beer is.”

“Where!?!” She replied.

“It’s in the hotel fridge.” 

And with that, the mystery of the missing Burton Baton was solved.

Of course, the Burton Baton would have been Beer #6 on The List, but what about the other two, #7 and #8?  Well, number seven, was supposed to have been the Weyerbacher Double Simcoe.  Many of you read about that last week.  Due to some minor technical difficulties, however, it looks like the Double Simcoe may not arrive until sometime this weekend… if I am lucky.  By the way, none of this was the fault of my trading partner; it was the middle man who totally dropped the ball on this one.  Said middle man has promised to straighten things out quickly, but we shall see.  Hopefully, there is a swift and happy conclusion to this story.
As for number eight, well, this one was simply a case of false advertising.  OK, maybe not false, but at the very least it was lazy advertising. 

Two nights ago, we planned to take my mother and my aunt to see Les Mis in the City.  On the way we picked out a nice restaurant called Erwin on Chicago’s North Side.  After picking it out I went on line to see if they had much of a beer list.  I was not very hopeful, but I figured there would at least be a standard Goose Island brew or two and maybe another craft selection.  As it turned out though, their beer selection was very impressive, I would even say inspired.  Of the 17 available bottles, only Amstel Light and Kaliber Non-Alcohol were non-craft selections.  If you click here and scroll down you can see just how impressive it is – Lagunitas, Two Brothers, Left Hand, even Ska! 

Sure enough, the Avery Maharaja was listed as well, and in fact, still is.  Shortly after we arrived, however, the waiter informed us that they have not had any in stock in quite some time.  I should have known better, Maharaja is not an easy beer to find and it is only brewed a few times a year (I believe three), but still, it was heartbreaking.  Plus, in all fairness, I probably would not have reviewed a beer in that setting, but still, I thought I was going to have a crack at a rare treat.  So Erwin, I appreciate the amazing salmon we had, the delicious burger I tried and whatever that delicious bean spread was that came out with the bread before the meal, but please do me a favor and take the Maharaja off of your online beer list.  Or, wait, better yet, get some Maharaja and let me know when you do so that I can come back.

The good news from all of this is that it shouldn’t take too long to get all of these beers back into my possession and reviewed.  Dogfish Head is distributed here in Chicago, so even though the Burton Baton is a tough find, I’m sure I can track it down.  Avery is also distributed here, but even if it continues to hide from me in Illinois, I will be in Boulder in late March and I will be sure to stop at the brewery then.  As for the Double Simcoe, well, it could show up any time between now and Wednesday and if not, well, I’ll have another topic for a blog post. 

Enjoy your weekend everyone, and remember, just say no to Bud, Miller-Coors.  Say yes to good, American craft beer!

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