Smart Craft Beer Buyer

Yes, there’s more to buying beer than grabbing any old bottle or six-pack off the shelf. Really smart buyers get theirs through their favorite Beer of the Month Club at Clubs of America.

Liken it to buying a pair of shoes. You can pick up a pair of Wally-Walkers or latch on to two shoes tied together by that little string-thing at your local Kame-Apart store, but your feet are screaming, “Don’t do it!” Want a really good fit? Go to a store that specializes in what you’re shopping for.

Stores that specialize in beer know how to handle it properly, and there are people there who can answer any questions you may have. Yes, beer is sometimes cheaper at the grocery store, but they don’t concentrate their efforts on making sure their beer stock is rotated, kept fresh, and stored properly.

Heat, light and time are three arch enemies of beer. In general, fresh beer is better beer. After three months on the shelf, most of it is past its prime, although there are a few that actually improve with age. Which ones?

Usually the strong, dark specialty beers improve with age, but that would be a question for the learned folks working at your specialty beer store.

Some displays to avoid: Don’t reach for any beer that’s past the freshness date on the carton, or any from a display near bright windows or under strong fluorescent lights. (Ever opened a bottle of beer and thought there was a skunk in the vicinity? That’s the odor of beer that has been exposed to harsh light and has undergone a breakdown in character.) Don’t blow the dust off that beer bottle in your hand – blow off that selection! Dusty packaging tells you it’s been around a while.

And read those labels! You’ll be happier getting your servings of both corn and rice in your daily diet, but not in your beer. These two ingredients add up to a low quality brew.

Our humble recommendation? Rely on Clubs of America’s Great American Beer Club to provide you with the best brews available.

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