Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Michigan Exports Go Quickly in Nation's Capital

Michigan Expats - Culture - See All Culture

"I've never seen such devotion in a droid before."

I was excited today when I came across a tweet stating that a Bell's Hopslam firkin keg would be available at a bar in DC today. More importantly, it was the only such keg in the our nation's capital. This excited me as both a Michigan Expat and as a beer connoisseur.

The bar opened at 4PM. Since I usually get off work at the same time, I figured I would be in good shape to arrive at the bar in time and enjoy a couple of pints of the fine Michigan brew. Although I was held up at work a little longer than usual, I still decided to take public transit (DC Metro), even though it would extend my travel time, because I am a responsible Michigan beer connoisseur.

I arrived at the bar at 5:45PM, less than 2 hours after it had opened and ordered without looking at the beer list - I knew what I wanted, I had made a special trip into the District from Northern Virginia, including a rare trip on the Metro - only to hear the dreadful reply, "sorry, dude, we're all out." 

All out? WTF ("Win the future")! I had made a special trip for this one beer and they'd already killed the keg? It had been less than two hours. I was devastated, and frustrated that I had made the trip in. Still, I should have known, Hopslam has been flying off shelves around the region all month.

Nonetheless, I'd gone this far, might as well have a beer. Fortunately, Churchkey has an excellent beer selection. I ordered a delicious cask Cappuccino Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Co. and followed it up with a Michigan brew, Founders' Double Trouble.

The pint of a solid, hoppy IPA, from my hometown quickly helped turn the evening around. Talking to the bartenders and listening to the customers, I quickly observed that I wasn't the only patron who had come specifically for the Hopslam. Customer after customer came forward to the bar ordering the Bell's beer, receiving the same reply: "we're out, it flew out of the cask."

Granted this was a well informed beer consumer crowd. Still, the mere mention of the Bell's firkin had drawn numerous beer fans, such as my self, to this single bar, for the common objective of enjoying the special brew from Kalamazoo.

I soon learned that not only had I missed the final pour by less than 10-15 minutes, but that the entire bar had shared a moment of silence when the Hopslam had gone dry. Slowly, disappointment from missing out on a pint of the Hopslam, grew into pride and respect for the reputation of the Bell's brewery and the Michigan beer industry.

Not many breweries carry such clout and reputation. It is a great reflection on the quality of the Bell's brand that it can clear out a keg prior to the heart of happy hour on a few hours notice in a town over 600 miles away. 

It's fantastic to see a Michigan product command such popularity and demand. The Michigan craft beer industry is evidence that business can continue to innovate, expand, and thrive in a national market based out of Michigan and represents hope in the state's entrepreneurial spirit.

Now if only I could get more of the Michigan brews in my local market. There's still areas from these businesses to expand. In the mean time, would somebody please pick up a six-pack of the Hopslam for me?

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