Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beer at The Berkeley Bowl

So you think 99 bottles of beer on the wall is a big thing? You oughta see this place. Five refrigerated shelves seemingly running the length of a bowling alley. I pace it off: roughly 60 to 70 feet of five shelves filled with beers of every type.

One of the young ladies restocking the shelves notices me and instead of calling security, smiles and says: "You could come here every day for two years and you still wouldn't be able to drink it all."

Possibly not, but I have a couple golf buddies who would love to give it a try.

She tells me the shelves hold about 600 different beers. I didn't know there were that many beers in the world.

Long, Lovely Line of Beers at Berkeley Bowl West
The Berkeley Bowl is a grocery store; a very large grocery store. I'm not sure why we are here so soon after being to Costco. I guess it's because of the rain, ever present this past week. 

Berkeley Bowl West is a 140,000-square foot facility that includes a cafe, prep kitchen, modest wine tasting bar, warehouse and offices. It employs 250 employees, 60 of them working side by side in the main kitchen to turn out baked goods and ready-to-eat items, as well as cuisine for the cafe, which is large enough to hold a three-ring circus.

Grocer Glenn Yasuda and his wife, Diane, opened the first Berkeley Bowl in central Berkeley more than 30 years ago. It was a tiny place and they named it Berkeley Bowl because they set up shop in a former bowling alley. Now with the opening of BB West they have two.

You'll see on the shelves Big Bear Black Stout, Woodchuck Hard Cider, St. Peter's Sorgham Beer, Red Seal Ale, Hop Head Red, plus some of the more well-known brands. Some of the beer labels have only Chinese or Japanese lettering, so we're not sure what they are.

Off to one side is a special display of 64-ounce mini-kegs of Dead Guy Ale from Oregon. There have been some mornings in the long ago past when I woke up convinced that I had some of that.

Choice. That's what it's all about in the United States of America.

Why aren't we allowed to buy our beer, wine and liquor where we buy our groceries? C'mon Dalton, set the people free!

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