Seriously – We need to talk about beer releases.
Los Angeles has been pretty lucky so far in that most craft beers that hit the market have a reasonably sized footprint. For years, if you wanted a beer and made half an effort, you could get your hands on it fairly easily. That’s certainly not the case anymore. With people lining up 4-5 hours in advance for can releases at Monkish its clear that LA beer’s hype train is flying off the rails. Throw in frequent releases at Highland Park and the constant whale production over at Bottle Logic and its becoming a full time job (with a considerable salary) to get your hands on every hyped release.
Which is great or course! I’ll be the first to say ‘told you so’ when it comes to people finally figuring out that Monkish is making some of the best beers in California. Hype brings profits that allow these breweries to expand and make more beer, but hype also brings assholes and I’m really tired of seeing extreme levels of douche-baggery on display at these releases. In an attempt to help, I’ve put together this simple flowchart to determine whether you are a Beer Release Asshole or not.
Look, I love beer. I love drinking beer, I love talking about beer, I love the people involved in the beer industry. I spend a considerable amount of my life working for little-to-no money on beer-related things. But people need to chill out.
First and foremost: it is just beer. I don’t care how good (or rare) a special release is – is anything worth 5 hours in line? There’s plenty of good beer in Los Angeles that doesn’t require that kind of commitment – and maybe if everyone relaxed for a second and only bought what they were going to consume, the whole line-up madness wouldn’t be necessary in the first place. Not to mention the price – most people are dropping $100+ to max out their allocations and I’ve spoken to numerous people who admit to not actually having that money to spend. There’s countless people that are racking up credit card debt to get their hands on BEER.
Second – the people in these lines need a lesson in respect. I understand the appeal of a bottleshare while you wait in line, but be discreet about it. Drink out of a paper cup instead of your fancy FWIBF taster glass, keep the bottles out of sight and don’t openly pass them down the line in full view of the world. Recently I heard stories of a group that was caught drinking in their car in the Monkish parking lot on a release day! First of all – don’t drink in your car. Second of all – don’t drink in your car on the property of a brewery! Honestly I could care less if you get a ticket for public drinking – but these things can have seriously negative effects on both future beer releases and the host brewery. Don’t do things that will threaten the license of the brewery you are there to support.
Of course, Beer Release Assholes aren’t exclusive to in-person releases. Online pre-sales are equally fraught with self-entitled brats who seem to think getting their hands on every bottle release is some kind of god-given right.
Lets keep this simple: there is no conspiracy against you, the brewery is not holding things back to generate black market value and they are doing literally everything in their power to make things as easy and fair as possible. Instead of throwing a tantrum in the comment section of an Instagram post, go drink one of the 500 other oxidized beers in your cellar. (See also: John Holzer’s rant on a recent episode of Four Brewers).
Breweries in Los Angeles & Orange County make great beer. I’ve been all over the North America and can honestly say that our best breweries rival the best in any other area, so beer is only going to get more rare, more in demand and honestly – more expensive. Here’s hoping that the community can get a bit more relaxed about the whole thing and remember that at the end of the day, it’s just beer.