Atlanta Beer Adventures: The Amazing 2017 Bourbon County Beer Shop-a-Thon

It’s a bad idea to suddenly start buying things after a week of not doing that. We arrived home fresh (ish) from a week at a Mexican all-inclusive resort. This means that we paid for all of our food and drink in advance therefore it was anything goes. It also meant that we were playing with the minimal acceptable quality level for food and drink that everyone has and hoping that what we received exceeded that. We sat on beaches, went into pools and too-cool jacuzzis, had massages, tried to decipher American movies dubbed into Spanish, and endured the longest time share pitch in modern history. We were tuckered from relaxing so much.

Naturally, I couldn’t rest. We got home late Friday afternoon, reveled in the choices of Netflix for an evening and on Saturday morning I got up at 6:30. I knew a sacred beer day had passed without me paying proper homage, and by that I mean cash.

Goose Island either

I decided to do a Saturday verion of my normal Sunday routine. On Sunday mornings I have to get a day’s worth of chores completed so I can spend the afternoon on the couch in a football, beer and grilled meat haze. On this Saturday, I decided to visit as many beer stores in town to see what was left of the Black Friday Bourbon County Stout stash.

My first stop was Friday night, a Whole Foods. I heard Whole Foods carried BCBS and wasn’t a fave of the beer snob crowd. I was wrong. This minor rejection made me think that as I drove to the DeKalb County Farmer’s Market to deposit beer bottles and peruse their selection. Once again, I struck out. Would I fail this year to procure any of the good stuff? Last year I stood in line in Nashville and came away with one bottle, which was consumed a week later. I’ve since acquired a few bottles in trades but a man can always get more.

I drove from downtown Decatur to the Greens Beverage World in Ponce De Leon. Behind the register there was a last case of the orange-tinted coffee varietal. I was allowed to buy two, and there were three bottles left. The not-thrifty price was $13 for a 500 milliliter bottle.


As I Waze’d directions to the other Greens, I decided to make a side trip to Hop City. There are two, and like the Greens, both locations are close. The Krog City location was quiet on a Saturday morning and they had a few cases of the coffee left. The Northwoods variety, a blueberry-almond stout, just ignore the flavor profile and remember that it’s limited, therefore MUST HAZ, was sold out.


Hop City knows their customers. The genius of Black Friday is that people come in for that one super marked down item but they always leave with more items. Hop City carried some other limited beers from Wicked Weed, who lost their luster after selling out although nobody seems to care that Goose Island sold out to beer giant InBev years ago one day a year, and Prairie, which is like the starter brewery for the beer aficionado. Any time I see a Prairie that I’ve either read about or just seen once, I have to buy one bottle and I did for Vanilla Noir (imperial stout aged in oak whiskey barrels with vanilla beans).


I next visited Hop City in Westside. If you’re a saavy beer buyer, and the full list of beer that I will display from the day’s purchases shows that I am not, you pay attention to relative prices. I know where I can get my Dragon’s Milk four-pack for $14, and it’s usually slightly more expensive elsewhere. Once I paid the Greens’ $13 price for the bomber, seeing it listed at $15 at Hop City Westside made me pause. They had a few cases, and were the only place on my list to have the Northwoods, which I happily grabbed despite the $22.99 price for a 500 ml bottle. I just paid about that price per ounce for a Funky Buddha Morning Wood, but I’ve had that and it’s one of the best beers I’ve ever tried. This is a brand-new style. I saw a Prairie Bourbon Barrel Paradise, and after buying plenty of the non-bourbon variety I needed to see what this version was all about. Sucker.


Greens Buford had a few cases of the coffee so I grabbed two. I probably could have picked up a case, but I know this is a beer that I’m going to trade and eventually I will run out of money or get divorced so that was that. I still had the screw it attitude so I picked up a Bourbon Barrel Drafty Kilt, interested to see how Monday Night packages this in 2017 since they are all-can now. It was the day for shiny objects as I saw a few bottles of Bell’s Blue Note behind the register and that’s yet another bourbon barrel beer that I’ve yet to try so at the bargain price of $7 for a 12 ounce bottle, I bought two.


I wasn’t quite done. I stopped at the hole in the wall Toco Hills Giant which is closest to my place. They had Coffee because duh but I passed at the $14 for one bottle price. I did see a Sierra Nevada Narwhal aged in coconut and chocolate and paid the $20 bomber price because I was beer numb and thought why not.

So yeah, I went to six beer places, bought stuff at all of them, and came home with the following haul in about 20 different paper bags.


Zach’s beer purchase summary:
DeKalb Farmer’s Market: six-pack of Sierra Nevada Narwhal
Greens Ponce: BCBS Coffee (2), four-pack New Holland Dragon’s Milk, four-pack Ommegang Three Philosophers
Hop City Krog: BCBS Coffee (3), Prairie Vanilla Noir
Hop City Westside: BCBS Northwoods (1), Prairie Bourbon Paradise, four-pack Boulevard Whiskey Barrel Stout
Greens Buford: BCBS Coffee (2), Bells Blue Note (2), Monday Night Drafty Kilt
Toco Hills Giant: Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Narwhal with coconut and chocolate

Bad Beer Beat of the Week

There’s a term in poker called the bad beat where you do exactly what you’re supposed to do to win but lose anyway. It’s like in fantasy football where you see a running back promoted from the practice squad who gets the starting gig against the worst run defense in the league, fumbles on his first carry and is benched. I tracked down two bottles of the Barrel Aged Old Rasputin a couple of days before my Mexican journey. I decided to obsessively look up reviews after purchasing, and one told of many of the bottles being infected, having a particular flavor that might not ever leave your mouth, and that sounded awful.

I tried the bottle on Friday and instead of an aged bourbon-barrel ale I got buttler. Imagine having a mouthful of Parkay. I tried to drink past it but the situation was futile. It’s bad enough buying a bad beer, as BCBS fans found out two years ago when many of the beers turned out sour, but when you buy two, at $20 for a 500 ml bottle, and you still have one? That’s a bad beat, although I could have done more detective work.

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