I’m not the type of person who goes to special releases or waits in line for many things. Before craft beer made its way into my life, the last thing I remember specifically waiting in line for was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I waited in a line outside of Borders in North Attleboro, MA. And we all know that was definitely worth it.
There are a few different reasons you might wait in line for beer:
- You’ve had it before, and it’s so good that you’ll stand for hours waiting to buy it.
- You’ve never had it, but have heard such good things you’re willing to stand in line for hours.
- It’s brand new, and waiting in line is the only way to be able to try it.
A few Saturdays ago, we were a mix of 2 and 3. We arrive at Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn around 8:30, and got in line about a block and a half from the brewery doors. We picked up coffee and bagels and waited. And waited. While the doors opened at 10am, we made it in around 11:30 to pick up:
- Citra (a regular release that we had heard nothing but good things about)
- Make it Rain (a new release that day; a collaborative beer with Barrier Brewing from Oceanside, NY)
- Short, Dark, and Extra Handsome (a new release)
So, are these beers so incredible that I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else for those 3 hours just to be able to taste them? I’ve only tasted two of them, but I wouldn’t say so.
But is it all really for the beer? One can or glass? No. It’s for the experience. Just like most parts of the craft beer community, the people and the experience is what makes it worth it (on top of the really, really great beer we get to taste). Waiting in line gives you a few hours to chat with the people around you, possibly try the beers other people have brought (while sharing your own), and get to know your line neighbors. You hear and share opinions, get recommendations from the locals who have had the releases before, and find out where you should grab a bite to eat afterwards.
So, maybe it’s crazy to wait in line for hours. Maybe it’s not worth it to you. But if it’s not, that’s fine. Don’t wait. More conversation and beer for the rest of us.