One thing about moving back to Pennsylvania that I dislike, is the case store. In Baltimore, I would be able to go into Wine Underground, Wine Source or Chesapeake Wine and pick up a six pack, or sometimes just single bottles of the beers that I wanted to try. Not so in Pennsylvania. Unless a bar has a carry out license, you cannot buy singles/sixers (there are a few exceptions, but they are very few and far between).
This lead me to buying a case of beer. Which leads to the question- What beer do I like enough to buy and entire case of? This was a hard thing to answer. My tastes can go from saison one day, to stout the next. IPA to Belgian Dubbel. Sure, a case of Dale's Pale Ale, Dogfish Head 60 Minute or Troegs Hopback are welcome in my house (I am almost always in the mood for those beers), but I like to experiment and get something different. This was the internal confrontation that I was dealing with.
In comes the variety case. The variety case, normally a brewery's main year round beers packaged together (many times it is 4 six packs in a case) gives the buyer the opportunity to sample four different beers in their case. I have been accustomed to buying the Troeg's Anthology Series (they have 2, one Spring/Summer, one Fall/Winter), Magic Hat's Variety Case with their seasonal Odd Notion mixed in and the Victory variety, but these cases all contain beers that I have had what feels like a million times.
Sitting next to each other on the shelf were the variety cases that I narrowed my choice down to.
1. Bell's Brewery (Kalamazoo, Michigan)- to many beer geeks that live in Pennsylvania, Bell's is a regular find, but you cannot get it in Maryland. The case includes their Amber Ale, Two Hearted ale, Kalamazoo Stout and Oberon. I have had the Oberon and the Two Hearted previously. How I explain the Oberon (an American wheat) is like Magic Hat #9, but a million times better- and that is not saying #9 is bad, but Oberon is very good. Two Hearted ale is a delicious IPA, that any hophead would be happy to drink.
2. Founders (Grand Rapids, Michigan)- like Bell's, Founders can be found in Pennsylvania, but I have not been able to get it in Maryland. I have had few beers from them, but they too have a great reputation. Included in their case was Centennial IPA, Pale Ale, Porter, and Breakfast Stout (not the Kentucky or Canadian Breakfast Stout). I knew the Centennial IPA was a good basic IPA, and the Breakfast Stout was good, but did not know much about the other two.
I ended up purchasing the Bell's. The huge difference was the range of beers that was offered. I was able to get a wheat, IPA, amber and stout all in one case. This should allow me to be satisfied no matter what beer I am looking for.
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