The new year has no-so-gently reminded that winter has taken a bite and appears to not want to let go. Somewhat unusual in Southwestern Ohio, where mild winter days are usually common, but such is not the case (so far) this year.
Blame it on the end of The Long Count of the Mayan Calendar (1year, 10 months, and days), or maybe it is just Cincinnati (where sometimes the clocks seem to run backwards) but change is certainly happening and it is both abrupt and baffling. What I mean is that a local grocery store, Keller’s IGA in Clifton, closed its doors in early January, due to (I am told) a failure to pay state sales taxes. With its demise, the neighborhood residents are deprived of a source for groceries, but worse for myself, this brings to an end the store with the finest beer selection in the city.
How many beers had I purchased and sampled from Keller’s? That would have to be in the hundreds. An incredibly large assortment, both domestic and foreign, they were often ahead of the curve. Bell’s Hopslam, which so many are so gaga about now, appeared there seasons ago, when it was still a ridiculously high priced six-pack, only a couple of dollars cheaper.
Thanks to Keller’s I was able to experience Dogfish Head Miles Davis Bitches Brew without having to travel to Fairfield, Ohio’s Jungle Jim’s. From Saranac to local Mt. Carmel and Rivertown, Keller’s IGA had an entire range of beers to accommodate nearly any taste.
What makes this even sadder is when I think of the good friendly people who worked there who have lost employment. Being known as the beer doctor, there was often humor and passionate discovery when I visited the store. Now, all of that is gone.
The train of transition requires adjustment. Keeping a good supply of beer on hand is not a problem. My local store, a convenience gas station two blocks from my house, orders up whatever I request. Because of this, the annual return of Genesee Bock continues. But it is not the same as visiting that brewery smorgasbord once known as Keller’s IGA. Buying beer there wasn’t really about shopping, but much more about exploring possibilities.
A toast to the little store that could!
The Beer Doctor