Back. I made it back. I hit four beer stores over around 500 km and nine and a half hours. Now, whereas Pretty Things was just a one time bottle that I passed in the night, now I have seven bottles representing three of their brews and any number of batches. Those canny little cap labels are mighty handy. Plenty of other good stuff, too.
I hit a Wegmans in Cicero, Party Source on Erie Blvd., Galeville Grocery in Liverpool and then headed north via C's Farm Market in Owsego. What did I learn? I had a good old chat with the guy who runs Party Source and finally met Bernie, the owner of Galeville Grocery. As is usually the case, talk is about other stuff as much as beer when they find out that I am from north of the border - health care and lucky Canada they say, taxes and unlucky Canada they say. The shops were all giving each other a run for the money with Party Source showing off its new siding less neon blue and green siding (as so poorly illustrated) as well as growler pours including a Rooster Fish. The other three were as packed with new and interesting beer as I have ever seen them.
Prices? I noticed that The LCBO sells Orval for about 60% of what it costs in Syracuse and that Rogue Yellow Snow is about a buck more there than here. Great deals... if you can find those beers on shelves in Ontario. Funny thing about a monopoly. But the real difference is selection. Over 90% of the beers are unavailable up here and are at prices that make a Canadian beer lover weep. Wegans grocery store wanted just $15.99 for a Great Lakes variety 12 pack and $9.49 for Brooklyn 1. Wegmans even had 750 ml bottles of Saison Dupont for 9.19 and St. Bernie Abt. for $10. 95. At the grocery. Made me think of Mel in Braveheart shouting "Freedom!". Then it didn't. Then I paid my duties and taxes at the border. Then I went home.