Since they opened in Columbia a few months ago, the World of Beer location in The Vista has been quite a popular spot for beer geeks. As an alternative to Flying Saucer, World of Beer is a straight-up bar with restaurant-style service and a pretty impressive bottle and tap selection that rotates every few days.
In hopes of being the go-to bar for craft beer fans, World of Beer regularly hosts special releases and parties for breweries and limited-release beers. That included Wednesday night when they were selling bottles of Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Ops.
Black Ops is a much-sought 11.3% imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. Brooklyn takes their excellent Black Chocolate Stout, age it in bourbon barrels, bottle the beer flat and then add champagne yeast in the bottle to re-ferment it. It’s got a perfect 100 on RateBeer and a 92 on BeerAdvocate. With only 1,000 cases released a year, it’s pretty hard to come by, and since I’m a sucker for limited release beers I jumped at the chance to get some.
I exchanged some messages with whoever runs the bar’s Twitter account and found out they had about 40 bottle on hand, meaning there was little chance they would run out. That’s not what actually happened, though. Only 10 of the bottles would be available for purchase, and then only through a raffle, all of which was announced just a couple hours before the release. Side rant: Look, I understand holding on to a few bottles for friends and coworkers. Lots of bars and beer stores do it, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And sure, having this image of manufactured limited availability is a great way to get people in the door. But if you’re going to brag for a week that you’re the only place in town that’s going to have this beer and hype it up so much, only to pull something shady like that at the last minute – especially after telling a loyal customer you’ve got way more than you’re giving away – is kind of a dick move. Hell, they were using MY tweets to promote the thing, only to pull a bait-and-switch. I’m not complaining, and I don’t think I was entitled to anything, but come on. SEE UPDATE BELOW
With about only a dozen bottles on hand, the bar decided to have a raffle instead. My fiancee and I got to the bar, met up with some friends and put our name into the raffle. The crowd was pretty sparse and I figured we would have a good chance of getting at least a bottle or two.
The raffle never happened. Only nine people signed up, according to our waitress, meaning if you wanted a bottle, you got one. (As I said before, stouts aren’t usually a big thing in Columbia, and the fact it was 75 degrees in February didn’t help.) Minutes later, we had four bottles sitting at our table: one for me, one for the lady and one for each of our two friends. There were some some nice signature tulip glasses to go along with the bottles as well.
So after all that confusion, I ended up with two bottles of our own and one I bought off a friend. I’ll be cracking one open this weekend and keeping the other two in my cellar for future enjoyment.
Was the whole “raffle” shtick needed? Apparently not. Are they worth the price? Maybe. Am I happy I’m stocked with delicious beer? Hell yes.
To quote “Gotta Have It” off Watch the Throne, “It’s just blacks on blacks on blacks.”
UPDATE: There was apparently some miscommunication and confusion during all the back and forth about the event. WoB received only 12 bottles of Black Ops; the 40 remaining bottles were of another beer. So yes, the raffle was in fact a good idea. Fortunately for us, there weren’t many people there. I’ve updated the post in accordance. A big thanks to the folks at World of Beer for clearing that up for me.