Chasing rarities

Some things are rare, special and worth pursuing…

I made a beer run the other day.

San Diego-area brewery Stone Brewing’s Enjoy By series of imperial IPA is always rare, special, and worth pursuing! These insanely hopped big beers are brewed and bottled in small batches every month or so, with a drink-by date emblazoned in huge numbers right on the label — each beer is actually named for its unique “enjoy by” date. To further enhance the “buzz” around this beer, Stone ships each batch only to a few selected markets around the US. Which markets? Well, each batch’s destination is decided by fan voting (via Twitter and Facebook). This brilliant marketing idea creates a scarcity mentality that keeps beer nerds clamoring for the next batch. This scarcity mentality, in turn, leads retailers to guard their supplies and limit sales to just a bottle or two per customer.

Of the half dozen or so batches brewed so far, three have come to my corner of the country. I managed to find a single bottle of Enjoy By 2/15/13 at a convenience store right in my small town, just a couple of days before the expiration date. That one bottle was enough to hook me, and now I regularly check Stone’s web site for news of their latest release.

Enjoy By 4/1/13 was here also, but I actually drank plenty of it in San Diego when I was there in March. I never needed to look for it here.

The latest release, Enjoy By 7/4/13, was my target when I set out on my beer run. I knew from Stone’s helpful map that two stores on my side of Puget Sound had probably received some. As it happened, both stores were in the same town about 65 miles away. What a perfect excuse for a road trip on a sunny spring day!

At the first store they were sold out! But I struck gold at the second store, where they surprised me by willingly selling me… umm… a bottle or two more than I expected. I now have a nice supply of Enjoy By 7/4/13, and I expect to enjoy them a few times between now and the 4th of July.

Having a bottle or two of a rare beer like this one in the fridge is a tasty temptation to anticipate while out on a hike. Recently we hiked up the Elwha for the first time since last autumn. The river was running just a tad higher than it was back on that day. The mossy rocks I photographed were nowhere to be seen!

Along our way we encountered a few rarities. Wildflowers, mushrooms, and odd specimens are popping out everywhere! This is a candystick. It’s one of the strangest but aptly-named plants I’ve ever seen.

It’s not always necessary to hike upriver to find rare and special things. The other day we went to a picnic with some friends at a local county park. Here is the view from very near our table.

That’s a Nootka rose, our local wild rose, in the foreground. Nootka roses aren’t particularly rare here, but special? Indeed! Worth chasing? Completely.

Until next time, keeping it slow and happy….

6 responses to “Chasing rarities

  1. Another rarity is the Stone BBQ sauce. Okay, maybe not as rare as the candystick but I bet it taste better.

    • Yvonne, I will trust your judgment on the Stone BBQ sauce. It’s not my thing but I know you appreciate good barbecue. And I’ve never known Stone to produce anything awful… although I am still challenged by their Belgian style beers.

      Cheers!

  2. What a gorgeous view for a picnic! And I love the little candystick and local rose, too. It changes our lives when we begin to really find the “every day” or “under our noses” special. And as for Stone…I just had to laugh. That’s the big topic this week as my son-in-law and daughter are going to be down in Temecula for a few days, so gathered all the random growlers to bring back filled! The Pasadena Stone store is great, or so I hear, but nothing to compare with what they can get in San Diego. They get so excited, it is amusing to me. And slowly, I’m getting onboard, too. Your beer runs sound very satisfying, Lori! :-)

    • Debra,

      The Nootka rose was completely “under my radar” for the first few years I lived here. It’s a wee and unassuming rose. Then one day I SAW it, and I’ve loved it ever since.

      As for Stone, I thought you might be tickled by my beer run! I’m sure your son-in-law and daughter already know about this one, but just in case… Make sure they don’t miss RuinTen (that’s not a typo). I may need to make another beer run for that!!

  3. I drink Stone Mountain’s Levitation Ale. I think that’s what it’s called. After I have a few the label says Leviathan. Love the full flavor. I have not seen these limited editions in the Boston area. My local “Packy” specilizes in craft brews and I don’t think they have it either.

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