The In-Laws spend each March in Myrtle Beach, an effort to enjoy retirement, escape the cold weather and watch television in another state. Seeing the need to help them be productive, I offered them a challenge: bring me back beer. Not just any beer, but beer I can’t get here. (Hey, that rhymed.)
Now, transporting alcohol over state lines is a crime in two areas of the country — Tennessee and Pennsylvania. Since they would drive home through the latter of those two, I’m certain that my mother-in-law would have refused to commit such a heinous crime.
This wouldn’t be an issue if New York state did not have such garbage rules about beer distribution. Empire State beer wholesaler laws requires a brewer that produces more than 60,000 barrels per year to utilize a distributor network and provide enough product to reach all ends of the state. For instance, if Spoetzl Brewery or New Belgium Brewing wanted to come to New York, it needs to provide beer to any distributor that requests it. That requires them to truck the beer in to each distributor in the state and provide enough product to meet the demand.
It’s crap. It means that I have to “import” beer like Shiner Bock or New Belgium’s Fat Tire from friends and family traveling south (or when I go south). It also means that some high quality beer will not make its way to our shelves because a company like 21st Amendment Brewery can’t pick and choose how it distributes.
Now, that said, New York has great breweries. Baachus Brewing, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Great South Bay, Empire Brewing Company…all solid, first-rate products. But, sometimes I want a Shiner Bock.
I want a choice. And The In-Laws obliged, returning with:
- Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale: This sister beer of Shiner Bock, made by Spoetzl Brewery in Texas. It’s a nice, smooth pale ale rating a 32 on the International Bitterness Units (IBU) and coming in at 5.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
- New Belgium Dig: Another pale ale. Sense a trend? I’ve never had this one, but it’s the spring seasonal from one of my favorite brewers, based in Colorado but now brewing in Asheville, N.C. 36 IBU and 5.6% ABV.
- New South Brewery White Ale: Think something along the lines of Blue Moon or a traditional witte. It’s a white unfiltered ale with orange and coriander. It’s brewed right in Myrtle. 4.6% ABV.
- Sweetwater Brewing Company Blue: A blueberry beer from Georgia coming in at 4.9% ABV.
- R.J. Rocker’s Son of a Peach: Brewed in Spartanburg, this is a wheat ale made with peaches. Sometimes, I like fruity beer. What can I say? 6.0% ABV.