As the father of two young children, my time is an all too precious commodity, one to be savored and measured with a steady hand. I’m fortunate to report that I have some time over the holidays off from work, and a few of those days -but only a few- somehow managed to neither be consumed with immediate parenting needs or holiday activities. So what do I turn to in my scant moments of free time? Drinking some a good beers and reading some fine comics. While my bar is kind of low for comics (make mine superhero stuff!), I’m a fickle beer drinker to say the least. Definitely fickle enough to become a member of a group on Facebook named Louisville Beer Snobs. I guess maybe that name is a persnickety or something, like maybe you don’t want to seem condescending or anything, but it is what is: I like fancy beers and I’m not making any bones about it.
My tastes have gotten out of hand. For example, where I used to be impressed with Leinenkugel beers and stuff like that, now I think of them as pretty tame. I’m not saying bad, I’m just saying that I’m not as impressed as I used to be, especially if it’s a beer I can snatch up at Kroger. There will always be a place in my heart for shitty domestics (and in my gut), but once I went down the rabbit hole, I just kept going and there is no turning back. It’s an expensive habit, but I’m okay with that. Between the cost and all of my other responsibilities, I just don’t have the time to power drink like I did in my twenties. Should I feel good about that being a thing? I don’t know that I really care. I like to drink. I like to have fun. I like to stay responsible. I’m safe now and keep it that way, so that’s really all that matters.
Nowadays, I rarely drink more than two or three at a sitting, and even that isn’t all that often. So I decided to chase that white whale this holiday season and try and find the more superlative collection of beers in the region. My constraints were mostly time oriented, although money is always a factor, which is why I didn’t do my shopping at Sergio’s, which is fantastic and always worth a visit, but pricey. All signs pointed to the Liquor Barn in Middletown.
It’s worth noting that I live in the Highlands, which is surrounded by high quality liquor stores. The drive to that location is approximately 30 minutes one way, accounting for traffic, etc., which is exactly what I set upon to do on one of my precious days off, kids tended to, day free. And so my journey began.
Middletown may as well be a different country to me. I came to age in the late 90’s when gas was under 1.00 per gallon. In fact, I have distinct memories of feeling gouged when it went beyond that, to the extent that a two dollar tank felt exorbitant after 9/11. And as a sidenote, I honestly recall that it was considered price gouging at the time and that filling stations found guilty of this were penalized in some way, but I can’t find any reports on that; either my Google-fu is rusty or The Mandela Effect strikes again). Regardless, my point stands that as gas was inexpensive, I was able to explore, which never really took me too far East, leaving this Liquor Barn as somewhat of an expedition from my perspective.
The store is excellent. They have an exemplary collection of beers and a wonderful filling station. I’m neither a connoisseur of spirits or wine, so I cannot competently comment on their available selection, although judging by their beer choices, I would wager it’s equally to par. Still, I was left wanting. It’s not in any one failing on the part of this Liquor Barn by any means. They had a great selection and the staff member that I spoke with, Michael, was incredibly knowledgable and easy to speak with. (note to any member of Liquor Barn management reading this: give Michael a raise).
I realized while I was there that what I’m chasing is a white whale, a fantastic utopia of unheard of beers all with remarkable premises. What I found instead was a great selection, but one matched by Old Town, a neighborhood favorite, the Mid City Mall Valumarket, or the Louisville Beer Store, all of which would’ve give me the same basic set of options, but more time to explore them from the comfort of my couch.
So is this a negative review of that Liquor Barn? Absolutely not! Nor is it meant to turn anyone off from getting out into the world and exploring. Go and find a great beer, burrito, comic, or whatever it is that gets you motivated in this world. But don’t chase that white whale.