When I first read the topic in the announcement at Deep Beer I read "the body shop" and was a little surprised. Thought for a moment about a beer beauty line but on then the second run I got it. So, this month Friday session's topic is "The bottle shop". While writing the following lines I always had that tune in mind: "little shop, little shoppa bottles. little shop, little shoppa bottles"...
I first ran into a bottle shop in Brussels. The characteristics of those shops is that they have a huge variety of different brands and types and only some bottles of the same beer. When you enter a bottle shop you immediately realize "I have not enough money with me" and start putting some bottles back into the shelf while you then have a second thought: "I have the credit card with me". Everything is just fixed and the amount of bottles you can buy is determined by how many you can carry (and of course if you need to catch a plane: the weight of your luggage). If you can't carry them all come back a second time. You will be welcomed again. After all they are business and happy customers is all what is about.
Most famous: Beer Planet & Beer World
Bottle shops are fascinating. The first one I bought many beers (11) was the Beer Planet in Brussels. I was amazed by the shelves full of beers without labels. But also by beers that were already years (yes, years) over their best before date. It was really nice to see how they supported local small breweries but also how many beers came from breweries across the globe. During that visit I didn't buy any beers from Beer Word. As far as I remember their shop was kept at very high temperatures and I couldn't buy from a shop that doesn't store the bottles at an appropriate temperature.
Bottle shops in Finland: Alko
Since then I haven't been that much in bottle shops. I came across one here and there but nothing was as cool as those in Brussels. But I have to admit Alko, the Finnish state's alcoholic beverage shop, is nearly as good as a bottle shop and actually the fulfill the criteria of one. They have a lot of different brands and types but besides beer they also sell wine and hard liquor. The good part about that is: I have a bottle shop within a 30 km range and I can order beers online (the have about 766) to be delivered to an Alko shop of my choice. How awesome is that? Ok, beer prices here in Finland are ridiculously high when it comes to imported beers - but sometimes it is worth it.
Next to visit: Bierothek Nürnberg
I got notified that there is a pretty good bottle shop in Nürnberg. And as I stay in Nürnberg at least once a year this will be the next one to check out. It is called "Bierothek" (like videothek, but you can't just lend the beer) and I already got 2 beers from there from a friend. I have to admit: The Gruffti Kellerpils was a pretty decent one.
I really do like bottle shops. They cost me a lot of money but they serve the coolest beers ever. In some of them I could stay for a long time having fun by just looking at the bottles and talking with the staff. In Germany it was always difficult to get decent beers as most of the shops were "crate shops" instead of "bottle shops". In Germany it was more about quantity than quality. In Finland my heart for hand crafted local beers is finally satisfied.