Sometimes you might check out this blog and say, "Cool beer, how do I get it?" Then you realize the beer is not available in your state or, even worse, only had a very limited run. For example, a recent beer I intended to review only had about 100 bottles ever produced. Nonetheless, I got my hands on it. This is the beer. (Sorry for the lack of review, folks. Didn't get around to it. But if you want some, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, because I think my local shop has some as of August 2012.)
And many beers I have reviewed -- and even more I haven't, like the upcoming AWESOME FRUIT BEERS I will review -- aren't even available in the state I'm writing from, New Jersey.
The good beers available in my state (and yours), that's easy. Just find the best liquor/beer store you can. Search around. Check hole-in-the-wall joints if you have to. Find a shop willing to bring in good stuff. And then be cool with the people there. I don't mean kiss up just so you can get good beer. That's lame. These are people, after all. I mean realize some of these guys are your fellow beer geeks, people you'd get along with anyway, so TALK TO THEM. Good shops will eventually remember you. If you're a good customer they'll set aside good stuff at your request. If you treat people well, they'll treat you well.
But what about stuff not available in your area?
Here's how I get beers like Son of a Peach, Russian River Temptation, Bell's Oarmans Ale, or Telegraph Gypsy Ale, none of which are available in my state. And it's simple.
I trade for them. And I get this in return (clock for a bigger view):
Yep. Trading. There is a robust beer trading scene online through which you can swap beers from all over the country, and sometimes the world. I've traded with fellow beer geeks from California, Georgia, Wisconsin and elsewhere to obtain beers I couldn't get elsewhere. (Wisconsin, for real, because WOW New Glarus sure is awesome.)
It's pretty easy. You get in contact with a trader offering something cool, offer them something cool in return, exchange details, and ship out your beer. Keep in mind, it's not legal to ship by the post office. Most traders ship by FedEx or UPS. But it works fine. Just operate in good faith and be smart enough to deal only with people who have a good rep and you'll be fine.
Anyway, here are some good tips to get you started. I trade through beertrade on Reddit, but many other communities, such as Beer Advocate, host even bigger trading communities. Just have some good beer available to you, get online, and start trading! It's pretty fun, you can get beers you couldn't otherwise, and opening a package of beers you've never seen before is AWESOME.
It really is. Imagine getting this package from Wisconsin:
You know it.