As a die-hard beer drinker, I suffer from an affliction dubbed "the pint is always better on the other side of the country." Though my Brooklyn hometown is lousy with lovely craft beers such as Cigar City's mango-hinted Jai Alai IPA, Sixpoint's bracing Crisp lager and Firestone Walker's balanced, citrusy Union Jack IPA, there are hundreds of brews I'd sacrifice a pinkie to sip every day. To ensure a steady supply of Bell's Two Hearted Ale, I'd even up the ante to two fingers.
Yet amputation is not enough to sway brewers' allocation plans. While some breweries such as Sierra Nevada, Rogue and Stone distribute their suds from coast to coast, they're the exception to the rule. In recent months, well-regarded breweries counting Dogfish Head and Flying Dog have reined in their distribution and pulled out of states, leaving drinkers high and dry. This is not a comment on quality; instead, breweries are experiencing skyrocketing local demand. Instead of sending beer to far-flung lands, they're focusing on slaking local thirst. I understand that you must take care of your own first, but that doesn't make the reality any easier to stomach.
Here are some of the beers that haunt my head -- and are worthy of taking a trip to taste.