During this time of year it is not uncommon for breweries to release their heavier beers. For instance, last month Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter was release to great fanfare at the brewer’s South Florida brewery. Closer to home, this weekend Jacksonville brewery Intuition Ale Works is releasing its annual Underdark Imperial Stout and next month Tampa brewery Cigar City will host a beer festival where they will release their Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout.
All three of these release events draw heavy beer fans from all over the state and region. Fans stand in line for hours to get their hands on their allotment of these highly-coveted and extremely-limited bottles. Often, the hearty souls share bottles of other high-end brews among themselves as they wait.
Scoring a bottle of these brews is akin to catching a home run baseball at Camden Yards, it is something beer aficionados treat as a badge of honor. Many collectors have multiple vintages of the beers aging in their beer cellars and bring them out only on special occasions.
But, what happens if you cannot make one of these bottle release extravaganzas? Well, there is always the beer trading circuit. If a collector has a bottle that is desired by another collector a trade may be negotiated. Or, if a taste of the beer is enough to satiate craving, bottle shares are common within the craft beer community.
Another way to score a taste of these rare beers is to watch for tasting events at local bars and bottle shops sponsored by the breweries. For instance, if you were unable to make the pilgrimage to South Florida for the Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter release event last month, your chances of tasting the brew are not lost. In a recent post on its website, the brewery has announced that the beer is going on tour throughout Florida.
Over the next few months you will likely see several tastings of Underdark pop up around Jacksonville and other markets where Intuition beers are sold. Hunahpu’s though is a rare find on tap. It may show up in one or two places after the bottle release, but traditionally it is pretty hard to find.
So, if you are after these big beers, it is best to try to make it to a bottle release. But, if that is not possible, ask around at local beer pubs about bottle shares and watch for special tappings. For lovers of big beers, the brews discussed in this article are more than worth the effort to find them.