Thursday, July 19, 2007

Beer Hunting: The Midwest, June 2007

I will always be swayed by the occasional surprise while beer hunting but I typically have a focus, a general idea of what I'm looking for before embarking on a trip. On this trip out west, I was looking for La Folie, New Belgium's limited edition brew that seems to be sporadically distributed around the mid-west but I never seem able to find. Since I would be travelling from Atlanta to South Dakota, it seemed to be a good bet that I would find it somewhere...

I used Beer Advocate's BeerFly to locate some good beer stores along the way and hoped for the best.

Kansas City, MO - First things first, we grabbed some dinner at one of the better (I'm told) BBQ restaurants in town, Hayward's Pit Barbeque. the beef brisket burger is outstanding and the sauce was spicy with just enough sweetness to balance it out. They also had bottles of Boulevard Pale Ale so I ordered one of those. It was hoppy enough to hold it's own against the sauce and complemented my meal nicely. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Boulevard was carried widely in restaurants from KC all the way to Mitchell, SD and if you've tried anything from Boulevard, you know that's not a bad thing.

That night I ran out to Luka's a few miles away as fellow Beer Advocates had deemed it the best place for beer in Kansas City (at least on the side of town I was on). My plans of just picking up one six-pack were quickly dashed as I wandered the aisles of beer. They had make-your-own sixpacks, a rarity in Atlanta, so I was guaranteed to have to get one of those and they had a lot of Bell's beers which I had not laid hands on in nearly two years so I was going to have to get a sixer of one of their stouts. In the end I got a mixed six of various Bell's and O'Dell beers, a sixer of Bell's Java Stout and a bomber of O'Fallon Smoke (I'm a sucker for smoked beers). I could've bought a lot more but was already over my self-imposed limit. La Folie? I wandered the aisles, scanned the shelves but there was no sign of it. If this store didn't carry it, who would?

The next day we were headed north, up through Omaha on the way to South Dakota. BeerFly had recommended Brewtopia, which was an easy drive for me off the interstate. I ran in and for a small store, this one packed quite a wallop. I got a mixed sixer of various beers from Summit, Spanish Peaks and Empyrean and also an interesting looking beer in a corked and caged 750 ml bottle called Batch 1000 from Upstream Brewing. And...they had the New Belgium La Folie! I grabbed two pricey bottles. I later found out that it was fellow BA bditty187 who rang up my order. Mission accomplished...for now.

On our way home, we stopped by Taylor's Pantry in Sioux Falls, SD to see what was there. The answer was: Not much that you haven't gotten elsewhere on this trip. I did get a mixed sixer of beers from Big Sky, Schell's, Boulder and more Spanish Peaks.

We stopped in KC once more on the way home and I had to go to Luka's just one more time. This time I walked out with a case plus of beer. I got some more Bell's Java Stout, O'Dells Imperial Stout, Goose Island Demolition, Anchor Small Beer and a mixed sixer with Schafly, O'Dell and Flying Monkey.

Some very nice scores on this trip. Reports on the actual beer to follow.

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