I just ducked out to a bottle shop near work that is known to stock the odd beer from HopDog in Nowra.
I was specifically after brewer Tim Thomas’ White Christmas. I knew it’d been bottled recently and figured there was a chance I’d find it in the bottle shop fridge. But no.
Which left me with a not-uncommon conundrum – how to leave a bottle shop without buying anything.
As well as beer, I’m also a book lover and can happily browse through a book store but walk out empty-handed if I don’t find anything I like. I can’t do the same with beer. I think it’s because people don’t associate bottle shops with browsing – you don’t go in there to have a look around and see if anything takes your fancy. The idea is that you’re going in there because you want some beer (or wine, spirits or whatever else takes your fancy) and you’ll take the best of what they have to offer.
Maybe the bulk of people who go to bottle shops are like that, maybe they’re going to pick up something guaranteed to be in the fridge, like a six-pack of Toohey’s Extra Dry or some Crownies.
But that’s not me – I don’t want to drink that stuff. And yet I feel weird when I leave a bottle shop without buying anything. Like the staff are looking at me like I’m some sort of freak.
So with no HopDog on offer, the place at least had a few kinda sorta decent beers. I opted for a Swell pale ale, even though I’d had it before and wasn’t all that impressed by it. But I had to buy something – I was the only guy in the store and the staff were looking at me already because I’d spent more than 12 seconds standing in front of the fridges.
So I picked a Swell beer. Not that I especially wanted it but because I needed to take something up to the counter.
Jeez I wish I could just go “Nah, nothing good here” and walk out.