Living in San Diego can be taken for granted at times. There are approximately ninety-some days in Summer and I might only hit the surf, sand, water, etc. twice in that span. The great weather all year round actually permits residents of America's Finest City to visit the beach during any season, so I actually have almost 365 days this summer. Aside from great weather, better attitudes than our neighbors 100 miles north, swaying palm trees and hip neighborhoods, what else does San Diego have that the city likes to boast about? If you answered transplants you're right but most locals don't boast about that, the answer.... craft beer. So much craft beer in fact your average 7-11 or corner liquor store carries an abundance of options, something foreign to people in other cities. As of this blog post San Diego boasts about 151 operational craft breweries, from Oceanside to Otay Mesa the city is swimming in beer.
I've worked and studied in the craft beer industry here in San Diego, so this may be the first of many blogs included about craft beer here and around the world as i've traveled and sampled beer anywhere my plane has touched down. However when you land back in a hometown like San Diego, it's time to check the plentiful stock our city holds. One night earlier this year I found myself in a dilemma, I had already had two beers at home and needed at least another two to quench my thirst palette. Now with that said, please do not drink and drive! With so many options like Lyft or Uber there isn't really a need to think about driving. Ahhh the thought of being pulled over and having to get a buck naked cavity search in a jail because I drove instead of calling a ride. Anyways back to my problem, I thought about walking to the nearest liquor store that stocks a lot of local craft beer, but they had closed thirty minutes earlier. I promptly opened my laptop and looked up alcohol delivery service. I heard about delivery services that exist and that's when I stumbled upon Crafthounds due to their great SEO service through Google. Crafthounds boasts fresh craft beer in a one hour delivery time? Oh yeah? Well i'm here to tell you how my experience with them went.
Crafthounds works with local craft beer retailers and breweries around town to pull from their inventory. Most of the inventory on their site reflects a true number, however I found that isn't always true. I selected a few beers and waited.... and waited. No beer showed up, but I received an email from Crafthounds apologizing for the mix up. Apparently their supplier that evening, a local liquor store, closed early without notifying them. Well to make up for it they offered free delivery on my next order. The following weekend I decided to give Crafthounds another try and went through their inventory ordering Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA, Speakeasy ale, Ska Brewing Bump N' Grind and Clown Shoes Sombrero Mexican Stout. Their site breaks the beers down by style so you can browse for whatever ale or lager you're in the mood for. Click ASAP for delivery and they state they will have it to you within an hour. Crafthounds did text me stating they were out of two selections I made. They offer you the chance to text them back with replacements and at times will give you suggestions to match the style of beer you were originally ordering. I ended up with the Horchata Imperial Stout from Belching Beaver, Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing, Clown Shoes Sombrero did actually come in and as a four pack at that! The Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA also came in a four pack. So two of my original options did arrive and I had to settle for replacements on the other two. When the delivery does arrive happiness overcomes a rather somber mood. A delivery driver comes to your door with a stamped logo bag, asks for your driver's license and if I remember correctly they took a picture of it. The driver explained my replacement beers to me to the best of his knowledge and was excited about my choices. They smile and if you want to (I did) you can hand them a tip for their services. This was all three months ago when I initially made that order.
Fast forward three months later to a fine summertime evening. A house guest and I got to talking about beer and he's truly intrigued by my story about visiting Westvleteren (Belgium) and going to Saint Sixtus Abbey, which is where trappist monks brew one of the most coveted and rare beers in the world, Westvleteren 12. In our conversation I mentioned the history behind St. Bernardus brewing Westvleteren 12 for them in the past and that the closest thing to Westvleteren 12 he could try is St. Bernardus ABT 12. With so much hype I mention we might be able to order it right then and there for delivery. So here I am again on Crafthounds at about 11:45pm trying to order two bottles of St. Bernardus ABT 12. I put in my order delivery for ASAP and here we go again. I got to the checkout section and clicked to finish my order. The Crafthounds site just reset and I had to enter my information again. So my guest really wants to try ABT 12 and I try to make the order again....... hmmmm no dice on that one either. We agreed that maybe the site is down and our order won't go through. Boo hoo we didn't get the beer we ordered that night, but we sufficed with whiskey. The next day I grabbed two bottles of ABT 12 at a nearby bottle shop and checked my email. Crafthounds contacted me about two orders placed for ABT 12. What? I think to myself my orders never went through, however it showed I was charged twice for the two entries I made with my card. Unfortunately none of those orders came through at the time I ordered them so I asked for my full refund and mentioned I grabbed my bottles at a retailer instead of having them within the promised hour the night before. Two errors on their part, but they again offered me free delivery on my next order which usually saves me about ten dollars. I plan on using them again since they are gaining more suppliers for their inventory, but I am going to try the many other alcohol delivery services to see how they stand up against Crafthounds. They're still a young company so i'll give them the benefit of the doubt. There are always kinks to work out when you're introducing a new service. Peace - Art.