A special marketing push at better beer bars involves rare beers. Establishments that command high allocation build tap takeovers around white whales like Russian River Pliny the Younger, Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA or Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Brewery reps (or better yet, brewmasters) are in the house to answer questions, and people flock across the city, and sometimes further, to experience beers that would make their Beer Advocate brethren jealous. In most cases, those kegs kick within a couple hours, but the brewery generally brings other great beers that might not cause a fainting fit, but still taste damn good.
In last week’s L.A. Beer Blast alone, readers learned about Eagle Rock Brewery’s One Night Stand at Beer Belly, Eagle Rock Brewery’s Tap Takeover at The Overland, Smog City Brewing Co.’s appearance in support of The Bottle Room’s 6th Anniversary, and Saison Day at The Surly Goat. On a Sunday, Smog City brewmaster Jonathan Porter brought kegs of Chip Shot Porter and My Tai Hop T (coconut-infused Hop Tonic) to The Bottle Room in Uptown Whittier, two kegs that rarely appear outside their Torrance taproom. My Tai Hop T made it to Monday, and Chip Shot Porter was still flowing on Tuesday. Across town, The Surly Goat featured Allagash Interlude, Allagash Century Ale and The Lost Abbey Carnavale on a Saturday, which are all pretty compelling, and they were still in Tuesday’s opening line-up.
Basically, you probably won’t harpoon a white whale unless you arrive when the bar doors open (and sometimes earlier), but your chances of scoring a good beer the day(s) after a tap takeover are pretty strong. The better play is to let the white whales swim free, allow crowds to dissipate, and enjoy one of the “leftovers” without having to throw elbows for seats at the bar.