Sunday, May 19, 2013

Chicone's Liquor Mart (Hudson, WI)

One of three beer coolers brimming
beyond the stacks of macrobrew
One of the bonuses of living in the Twin Cities is being able to drive to Hudson to pick up beer that's not distributed in Minnesota. I've pick up Dogfish Head before their retreat from this part of the country and a drive over the river was my go to source for Stone before they finally moved into Minnesota.  Also, during speech season, when I work Saturday's for three months in a row, trips to Hudson are necessary to replenish the beer fridge because of MN blue laws.

There are two choices in Hudson from my experience: Casanova Liquors and Chicone's Liquor Mart. Both are better than good; I've switched back and forth over the years, but I slightly prefer Chicone's, especially after some of their recent changes.

New single bottle case
My main reason for going to Chicone's is that they generally are a good bet for picking up New Glarus Belgian Red (or Serendipity this year), my wife's favorite that I stock continuously. Normally, I would go to Chicone's for Belgian Red and a few standard six packs from a smaller selection; Casanova's would be for more variety in spite of a higher cost. However, on my latest trip, I was hunting Serendipity and found a re-vamped store. Chicone's seems to have added variety to its coolers, repacking them a bit more efficiently.

Plus, they've created an extensive single bottle case to take home mixed six packs.  Despite (or maybe because of) my 5000 plus beers I've tried, I'm becoming more conservative in my choices, tolerating a mediocre or worse beer less than I used to early in my beer quest.  A large variety of out-of-market singles makes the risk of a new brewery palatable.

The high point of the single bottles were both New Glarus: Black Top, a Black IPA, and the Thumbprint series IIPA, a double IPA.  Not a surprise and fun additions to my New Glarus collection. Tommyknocker Hop Strike Black IPA and Perkulator from Dark Horse were just fine, but a bottle each was good enough.  I added two breweries to my tally as well: Milwaukee Brewing and 3 Sheeps. I won't be going out of my way for either of them, but some times new for the sake of new is enough.

I just like dedication to the beer quality of Chicone's and, more importantly, having the entire beer stock in coolers (except single bottles) gives me confidence in what I buy. Just like any store that sells a fair amount of macrobrew, every beer drinker needs to be wary of how long the beer's been on the shelf (pass up on the summer ales in December, etc); however, between their normal movement of stock and extensive refrigeration, I have no complaints about my purchases over the years. Chicone's is one of my go-to beer stores and, happily, it just got better.

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