Gail and Steve want to know our beer tips and strategies on the road. (Perhaps for getting prized bottles home.)
I do not take on the road literally. Sure, there are roads from here to Sweden, and, with a week or two to spare, we can drive to Finland or Russia. But I travel, across Europe. And I have developed an eye for finding rare brews more or less everywhere. No, not in Cyprus.
The secret is mostly planning ahead. Find beer blogs and web sites from the country or region you are going to visit. Don’t understand the language? Google translates. Not perfectly, but good enough for the purpose. Then you use Google Maps to pinpoint the places near where you are going to stay.
Next, e-mail the breweries. They are flattered to have enquiries from far away places. If you tell them when you’re coming, they will open the doors for you at all hours. You might get to sample something not for general sale, they might deliver a box of beers to you hotel – or, at the least, they can tell you where the beer is to be found in bars, pubs and shops.
As I wrote the other day, we are going to Sardinia this summer. They used to have one industrial brewery – now they have almost a dozen micros, one of them ranked among Italy’s finest. Using the resources available at the web, I have managed to reach some of them. Most have a very local distribution, so I probably won’t get to them. But at least I increase my chances of getting something else than Peroni..
As for getting the bottles home, the answer is bubble wrap. A hard shell suitcase, sure, but bubble wrap is what you need.
And, once in a while, a cork will be leaking. It would be an unwise combination if your wife’s finest outfit is in the same suitcase. There is enough tut-tuting about the beer already, isn’t it?