I told the story behind Registration Ale a few weeks back on DrinkPhilly.com. This weekend, I benefitted from the prudent patience of Jeff from TJ's Restaurant and Drinkery in Paoli, who had the foresight to save his keg of Registration for an event a week after Philly Beer Week. Not only did I get to have this lovely hop bomb of an IPA again, I actually ended up with a growler to take home (as did most of the other Beer Advocate types who showed up for the event.)
Here's why this matters: The geekiest of us beer folk are always on the look out for those special one-off beers that I referred to in my last post. In fact, Russian River's Pliny the Younger is almost synonymous for "I ain't gettin' any younger while I'm waiting in this line outside the bar for the Pliny event." By the time you get through all of the barriers to entry to getting PtY, it psychologically results in you thinking it was the best beer you ever had, even if they served you a Bud Light Lime. I should know, I waited an hour outside Tria on a very nasty day for it.
But with the confluence of events that led up to the TJ's event, the lines just didn't show up for Registration the way they do for PtY, even though Registration is rarer and possibly just as vaunted. Maybe its name isn't as big, maybe the Philly area beer geeks were tapped out from Beer Week, maybe all of the Main Line snobs were on vacation. Whatever it was, I genuinely lost sleep when I heard through Twitter that the Registration got tapped a night early, thinking that I would lose my chance to have it one more time, only to find the keg still running strong the next morning (hey, it was 5 o'clock somewhere).
Incidentally, this one was made specifically for Philly, so even the beer folk who live right next to the Russian River brewery in Santa Clara, California, were out of luck for this one. That's a limited release, my friends.
The point is that the score was so profound that some of my lucky fellow beer geeks are now using their Registration growlers as barter for some serious whales from around the world.
Personally, I don't like the hassle, so I'm just going to enjoy Registration for the next week, a little at a time.