The Session #128: Bottle Shops: Good, Bad & The Ugly

The SessionThis month’s edition of The Session is hosted by Jack Perdue of Deep Beer, and the topic he’s chosen is one I’m a bit surprised we haven’t touched on before. (Though to be fair, I haven’t dug back through the archives to verify if this is one hundred percent accurate.) Jack’s topic is Bottle Shops: Good, Bad & The Ugly:

Deep Beer will be hosting The Session #128 — Beer Blogging Friday for October 2017. The theme chosen is Bottle Shops: Good, Bad & The Ugly. I find bottle shops interesting and would like to learn other perspectives on these places many of us purchase our favorite quaffs. We love our beer and have a variety of options in acquiring it. Some home brew, others like to visit their local pubs, beer tourism and beer destinations have become a trend, but the ever popular bottle shop is often the best and most reliable means for finding our next beer.

Of course, not all bottle shops are the same.

I’m pretty late to the party on this post, but I did want to highlight the two bottle shops we have here in Bend, Oregon. Now, I’m not counting stores such as Whole Foods, (local) Newport Avenue Market, Market of Choice, and so on, that have great beer selections simply because those are components of larger boutique/specialty stores. Those aren’t bottle shops in the sense that this topic is about. But if you are looking for additional sources of good beer, these are definitely options.

The two Bend bottle shops are The Brew Shop and Broken Top Bottle Shop. For each, the bottle shop portion is not necessarily their primary business; The Brew Shop is first a homebrew supply shop, and a bottle shop second, while BTBS is a beer bar/pub first, with bottles the secondary addition.

Both have very good selections of bottled and canned beer (and cider), and while neither is perfect (older/stale bottles can be an issue, for instance), they each take pains to offer a varied selection of beers as well as offer guidance for customers who are unsure what they want. Knowing the beer, and keeping a good rotation—that’s pretty essential to running a good bottle shop. Also looking for new beers and keeping your regulars informed as to what’s new is a key component of that.

So if you ever visit Bend, they are good stops to make if you are hunting beer. And of course as a bonus, you can drink from a good taplist at both establishments as well! For me that makes a pretty compelling argument for a good to great bottle shop.