Of all of the elements in the craft beer world, the one that I make fun of the most is the willingness to stand in line for the release of a beer. Now, there’s nothing wrong with standing in lines. Sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary, like waiting in the queue at the super market or to get into a concert or a game; Other times, it’s frivolous, but rewarding, like waiting two and a half hours for the newest attraction at the Magic Kingdom at Disney World.
Standing in line for beer is a necessary evil, in other words, part of our life that is sometimes avoidable and other times perversely satisfying.
There are over 5,000 breweries in America. It’s truly the golden age if you’re a beer drinker. There are literally tens of thousands of beers to drink, with varying availabilities, I’ll admit. Lining up for a special release seems incredibly silly when you can walk into most breweries or specialty beer stores and walk out minutes later with whatever bounty you choose. Yet people do it.
An aside: I wonder if this is a regional thing. I live in the Northeast. When I told my friend from San Diego –also a region brimming with breweries – that people wait hours in line for the release of a limited amount of beer, his exact words were, “That sounds really stupid.” And this is a guy who is extremely into beer.
It’s been my goal to avoid lines altogether. Can I avoid a small backup of people? Of course not. It seems unreasonable that I’d be behind no one at all times when trying to order a beer. But, in terms of lining up, inching my way forward every three minutes for any hour? No way. Leave that to the others.
Yet recently, I found myself in a line.
Drink this one straight from the can and marvel six minutes later that your beer is mostly gone.”
Bissell Brothers Brewing Company in Portland, Maine is doing great things. Their brewery has a great vibe and atmosphere, their beer is good, and the people are nice. It’s a pleasurable experience: You grab a pint, you enjoy the scene, you buy some beer to go. When I heard they were releasing Baby Genius, a blonde ale, I thought I’d shoot up to Portland and grab a few four-packs for my upcoming weekend away with some college buddies.
I figured if there was any style of beer that warrants a release, but won’t garner a huge line, it’s a blonde ale. I could see the masses coming for an IPA or it’s bigger cousin the double IPA or even a barrel-aged stout, but a blonde ale? Not a chance. I was wrong, but I’m glad that I dutifully lined up behind the others and waited (I considered hauling across town to any of Portland’s others great taprooms).
It’s a perfect day drinker: 4% alcohol by volume; light citrusy hops with a malt finish that resembled a thin cracker bite. It’s light-bodied, but a lower carbonation that hits every note of a classic session beer. In a 16 ounce can, it’s crushable (this is a word I hate) and would likely evoke similar tasting notes out of whatever you serve it in, but, as a traditionalist, drink this one straight from the can and marvel six minutes later that your beer is mostly gone.
To make a long story short, seek out Baby Genius. It’s Bissell Brothers best beer, in my opinion. And maybe, just maybe, waiting in line can be a little bit tolerable, so long as there’s a great concert, an entertaining game, Splash Mountain, or a Baby Genius at the end of it.