1) Bottle shops have come a long way in the last few years. I’ve only been a beer geek for about four year and, when I started, the idea of finding anything interesting at a mainstream bottlo like Liquorland or BWS was pretty damn slim. Non-existent in fact. It’d all be the mass-market stuff – which is fine if you drink that. But less so if you don’t.
2) But then things started changing. Beers started turning up in BWS or Liquorland that you previously had assumed would never be stocked. I mean, what is a mainstream bottlo doing with Bridge Road, Vale Brewing, Murray’s or even Sierra Nevada? But they stock them now.
3) Dan Murphy’s has been leading the way for mainstream bottle shops in this regard. I can remember just two years ago being shocked that Dan’s was stocking Rogue from the US and Baird from Japan. Then last year I was just as shocked that they have Victory as well.
But nothing surprised me quite as much as finding Bridge Road’s Chevalier Saison on the shelf at my local Dan’s. Sure, it doesn’t have to travel as far as Sierra Nevada – just over the border rather than halfway around the world. And Dan’s does stock other Bridge Road beers. But those big Chevalier bottles are a little bit fancy. Never ever thought I’d see them at Dan’s. In fact, the morning after I bought a bottle I had to go downstairs to look at it because I figured I must have dreamed that I bought it from the Dan’s up the road.
4) The Chevalier series is a little bit fancy because of head brewer Ben Kraus’ foresight. He decided that beer deserved an equal place on the dinner table alongside wine. The way to achieve that was to put it in a lovely-looking bottle designed for sharing, rather than a 300ml bottle made for one person. This was taking the long view because, back then, the idea that beer was any sort of rival to wine was laughable to most. And to have beer with food? You had to be joking. But he wasn’t – and time showed he was on the right track. You could even say he was a trailblazer of that track.
5) I had this beer at the end of a long, hot and tiring day. And it was lovely – aromas of bubblegum and doughy bread and a complicated flavour profile that includes white pepper and orange peel. It’s great. And I still can’t believe it’s available at my local Dan’s just down the road.
Categories: Beer of the Week