early queue

The queue when I first arrived.

Saturday the 15th of August was the first time outside of a beer festival that I’ve ever queued up for beer.  That was the day that Four Winds Brewing Company released the first in their Single Barrel Series: Edna, the crabapple cranberry sour farmhouse ale.

As of this writing I haven’t yet popped the cork on either of the two bottles I walked away with that day. But rest assured, I intend to open one soon. I also plan to let the other one hang out for a while to see if some more time in the bottle will change anything.

When I arrived at Four Winds (for the first time, I might add – I can’t believe I still hadn’t visited before Saturday) there were already a substantial number of people queued up waiting. I got there half an hour before they opened, and those at the front had been waiting since at least 11am.

I stood in line for about another hour waiting for my turn to walk away with a nondescript paper bag, stamped with the four winds logo, that held the two prizes I sought.

limited edition bottle label

Back label of one of my Edna bottles.

And while I did manage to get my hands on my allotted two 500mL bottles of Edna, I’m not so sure that everyone who lined up was so lucky. As Four Winds themselves said, there wasn’t enough for everyone, and when I left, there looked to be at least another 100 or so people in line. But that’s what happens when you’re an award-winning brewery and you make but a single barrel of beer! The labels of my bottles read like a limited edition art print: 709/750. It’s a stark reminder of just how few bottles of Edna were produced.

What is surprising to me about this whole thing is the response to the release, and how the whole beer community reacted to it.

A few of us bloggers were there, though I must’ve been blind and not noticed that West Coast Beer Geek (@wcbeergeek) was there too. I didn’t even tweet to him to be able to meet in person! Next time, Terry!

On Twitter, I saw a few telling hashtags: #edna and #ednamadness being two notable ones.

Also on Twitter, R&B Brewing mentioned the special release to remind everyone they had growler fills and beer for all – a clever and good-natured jab, I thought.

Four Winds has won numerous awards for their beer and for good reason. They craft high-quality brews and are immensely creative in what they produce. I need only look back earlier in the year when the Vexillum IPA was such a hot commodity, and that beer was not nearly as limited as Edna…we should’ve seen this coming.

So when the next beer in the Single Barrel Series is released, the hype train may mean that there’ll be a few of us camped out, outside Four Winds like we were waiting to buy a flat-screen TV on Boxing Day. Watch out, things could get rough.

“Back-off, get your own bottle!” may be the refrain heard ‘round the Twitter-verse.

early queue

The queue when I first arrived.

inside four winds end of queue

Oh, so close!

four winds bottles and growler

After standing in line that long, I had to come away with a little something more…

four winds thank you instagram

Four Winds’ instagram post about the release, thanking everyone for their support. I thought it a classy act.

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