In the January and February months every year there is the Hopslam hype. If you aren't either lucky or well prepared, you will have a hard time getting a 6 pack. Two years ago I missed out. Both last year and this year, I was able to score a pack.
Is the beer good, yes? Is it as fantastic as the hype... maybe. But in the craft beer world, you can easily be classified as one who found some or one who missed out. So here are three tips to make sure you are able to pick up the rare and hard to find beer.
1. Know what day your store gets the delivery from the distributor. Get to know the beer manager and ask about the upcoming beers and special releases.
2. Network. Check social media, get engaged with friends on social media, and let them know what you are looking for.
3. Ask at the counter. Look behind the counter. Often the limited release hot sellers will be placed behind the counter and sold as an "ask for it" basis. Don't plan on buying a whole case though, as they will be smart to let more people participate...plus if you are limited to one pack, you may purchase something additional in the store at the same time.
(Serious beer geeks will also get to know the distributors and ask about what they get and when. This will give a heads up as to when that specialty beer will hit retail.)
Here is an example. The local ABC store here gets their deliveries on Thursdays to sell new items on Friday. I began seeing Hopslam posts in January from some of the northern states and started asking the manager, Steve, when he expected it to be in. I know that it would be possible at any week now. I asked a friend to let me know if he saw it. I received a text Friday afternoon, went to the store, and voila. 6 pack for me.
They received 8 cases only. I posted about the find on social media, and heard back from several people that they were able to get a pack from the same store only because of my heads up about it. So, if I may add a #4 to the list, it is this. 4. Share information and reciprocate. It's about the enjoyment as well as helping each other out.