Sunday, May 13, 2001

Find good beers where you shop

By Ed Westemeier

        I receive a great deal of e-mail in response to this column, and I try to answer each message. This week, I want to showcase my two most frequently asked questions.

        Most common is: “Where can I buy that beer you wrote about last week?”

        This is a great question, so I think it's worthwhile answering in full.

        The first part of the answer is easy. My No. 1 source for beer is Jungle Jim's Market in Fairfield. You ought to be able to find any beer there — if it's available from Tristate distributors. It's also fun to browse Jungle's “wall of beer.”

        Beyond Jungle Jim's, there are a few excellent retailers who have a wide variety of craft beers: Dilly Deli in Mariemont, Cork & Bottle in Covington, Party Source in Bellevue and Florence, Bridgetown Finer Meats & Wines, Bracke's Market in Mount Lookout and Hyde Park Wine & Spirits.

        Many of these stores have superb selections displayed in limited shelf space. If you know of other retailers with good variety, let me know so I can spread the word.

        The second part of the answer to this common question is just as important. The best place to buy the finest beer is the place you patronize for more common beers. Just ask the manager to get something new for you.

        You might be surprised at how willing a store owner will be to contact a distributor and stock a new beer that has a guaranteed customer. Everyone benefits on this deal. You get a new and interesting beer in your neighborhood, the retailer gets a product that won't gather dust and the distributor gets a new outlet. head Or make your own

        Another question that comes up often: “How difficult is it to brew beer at home?”

        It's a lot like baking bread. Many people can make a decent loaf of bread or a drinkable batch of beer on the first try. With enough practice, you can produce an incredible loaf of bread that your friends go nuts over, or a superb beer that wins awards and tastes better than anything you can buy.

        If you're interested in checking out the home brewing hobby, I recommend a visit to Listermann Brewery Supply (1621 Dana Ave.) in Evanston, near Xavier University. This is one of the best-stocked home brewing retailers in the country, and you'll find every kind of equipment and all the ingredients you'll need.

        Owner Dan Listermann is a good source of information about using the equipment, and he can put you in touch with local home brewers' clubs.

        Listermann also stocks an extensive supply of books on home brewing. My favorite for its comprehensive approach is Homebrewing — Volume I (Sheaf & Vine; $14.95) by Al Korzonas.

        Keep sending those questions and suggestions.

        Ed Westemeier is a master beer judge, home brewer and writer who lives in New Richmond. He welcomes questions at


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