Monday, July 26, 2010

The High Price of Low Living

"Work is the curse of the drinking class."
-Oscar Wilde

Ah, beer. We talk endlessly about wine around these parts, but how can suds be neglected? The drink of the people, so often associated and intertwined with the working class throughout history; an affordable comfort; a perfect diversion to help forget the toils of the day when one has some folding money is his back pocket.

But is drinking with the everyman still economical? It can be, but I've happened upon a scam. A scam that has hopelessly victimized me..., not Ronco product infomercials this time...

...not that stupid carnival game where you have to futilely toss a ring around one of the hundreds of bottles...

...Caribbean Stud Poker...

...Atlanta Dream season tickets...

...Okay, so I've succumbed to a lot of scams. But this one's really not bad. Yeah, when's the last time you paid $26 for a 12-pack of beer? That's a lotta dimp for a dozen brewskies. Being said, I really do love places that offer the "mix n' match" six packs, especially if the offering is expansive and interesting.

Oddly enough, as much as I don't really like Total Wine for wine, it's a great place to buy beer. Six-packs, kegs, pony kegs, torpedo kegs, and individuals. Particularly the latter; where about six walls from top-to-bottom are stacked with singles.

Basically, the store charges about $1.50 - $4 per bottle, and they provide empty six-pack sleeves to load up (okay, Miller Hi-Life is $0.79...and that's the biggest bamboozling of them all). When you get into the 22 0z. microbrews and weird German and British selections, it's easy to see how the pricetag can skyrocket. However, I look at this way: would I only be paying $1.99 for a bottle of Kölsch at a bar? Can I even find a bottle of Kölsch at said bar? Probably not.

So, this being my justification, I went a little hog-wild the last time out there:

(from left to right): Jever Pilsener, Murphy's Red Beer, Old Speckled Hen English Ale, Gaffel Kölsch, Dogfish Head Raison D'être, Highland Brewing Oatmeal Porter, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, McSorley's Irish Pale Ale, Anchor Steam Beer, Guinness Foreign Export, Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale, and Fuller's London Pride.

And while I could've drank all of these myself (with painful consequence), I opted to taste with my two brothers-in-law and my wife- eager to get back into tasting beers and wines post-pregnancy. It's a recommended exercise: you only drink about 3 beers total, get a nice 3-0z. pour of each, and really experience the myriad styles of beer. Not the mention that food pairings are not exclusive to wine; one can conjur some amazing matches with brew.

Lots of places seem to offer beers this way, so seek out a local shop and get drinkin'!

Best of all, splitting the $26 four ways assures that you can still have your beer the way it's meant to be enjoyed: on the cheap.

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