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QuaranBEERing

Well folks, we’re in the thick of it, stuck at home or deemed an essential worker on the front-lines. Caring directly for COVID patients or homeschooling the kiddos. Revamping our small businesses to keep up with the current changes or looking for a new job altogether. Creating new recipes in our kitchens, wondering when toilet paper will be fully stocked on grocery store shelves, and getting used to wearing facemasks everywhere. Times are strange and social distancing has us missing our friends, our favorite bartenders, and simply the freedom to live our lives unhindered. So, what’s a craft beer lover to do? The good news is that you can still enjoy your favorite breweries, brews and find new ways to socialize, even if it isn’t within your favorite establishment.

Curb-side pickup, it’s not just for restaurants anymore! Many of your favorite local breweries are adjusting their hours and have created a system so that they are able to bring beer right out to your vehicle when you pull up. Talking Cursive Brewing Company (301 Erie Blvd West, Syracuse/Creekwalk Commons) has an option (via their Facebook page) to order beer “now” or schedule a pick up time for later in the day. You can choose from a variety of options including canned beer, bottled beer, and draft beer freshly canned into a 32 oz. Crowler; add a few options to your cart and check out by entering your information, paying with a credit card (or a gift card if you have one to use – and don’t forget to leave a tip if you’re feeling generous!) and then driving on over to the brewery. When you get there, use your cell to call the brewery and they’ll deliver it right to you, without you ever even having to leave the comfort of your heated seats.

In some cases, breweries have even developed a way to deliver beer to you at your home! IBU Brewery (3703B Brewerton Rd, Syracuse) not only has a website to order beer for curb-side pickup, but will also deliver within a 15-mile radius to your house! (www.beermeibu.com) For pick-up they’ll fill your growler on their tap lines (see what’s available online) or you can choose from a variety of cans available. Just honk your horn when you arrive at the brewery so they know you’re there. Delivery is available for a ZERO-dollar fee for cans or growler fills (with a purchase of an IBU growler). Enter your info and address upon check out, enter your phone number for text updates of your order status, pay via credit/debit card (again, you have the option to tip here!), and wait for your order to arrive on your doorstep.

Speaking of doorsteps… some fun that you can have with friends and family during this quarantine would be to drop a “porch bomb!” A porch bomb is when you leave a package or make a delivery of an assortment of beer at someone’s house as a surprise! It can be a fun way to make someone smile and pay-it-forward in this crazy time we’re living in. As well, it could also be a neat way to trade amongst friends and look forward to having something new to drink.

Another way to interact with others is to do “beer trade” with someone who’s not local. We’re all looking for a way to ‘get away’ and ‘vacation’ and a beer trade is a great way to accomplish this. While I can’t officially condone sending beer via USPS, UPS or FedEx, it’s something that is done more often than you think and you can even find online groups to find a beer pen-pal to trade with! The key is to making sure your box is sturdy and your beers well-protected with bubble-wrap, etc. Bottles are also not recommended, as they’re more prone to breakage. I’ve completed two trades with a friend (whom I’ve never met!) in Colorado. It’s a really fun way to try craft brews from places you might never get to visit, and perhaps even make new friends in the process!

A fun way to see friends during quarantine is to host a Zoom, Facetime, or Facebook Messenger Happy Hour since we all can’t meet at the bar. Plus, it gives everyone an excuse to pull themselves away from work at home, kids, or talking to themselves on a regular basis, in order to maintain some sort of socializing with the adults you call friends. Sure, it’s not the same, but it’s still SOMETHING to keep ourselves sane.

Breweries are hosting online social activities too – Currently, my day job, when I’m not writing Brew Time articles, is an RN on travel assignment to Rochester, NY. Prior to quarantine, I started to become active in the Rochester Craft Beer Ladies group and met my now-friend Rachel. We became brewery-hoppers in crime and had big plans for my 13-week stint until COVID descended and forced our shenanigans to a screeching halt. Rachel, being the social butterfly she is, found us some online activities that local breweries were hosting. For example, Irondequoit Beer Company (765 Titus Ave, Irondequoit NY) is currently hosting a weekly online BINGO game via Facebook Live on Wednesdays and we partook in their opening night this past Wednesday. …IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!! I never knew how bad I was missing some social interaction until that evening, plus, it was free with a chance to win a gift certificate and a crowler! (No, I didn’t win, but came close!) & I can’t wait to do it again next week.

In conclusion, there’s no reason why we can’t still have some fun, drink some great beer, and “see” our friends during our quarantining … or as I like to call it, quaranBEERing. Cheers! (& wash your hands!!!)

Kristin Merritt
Just a brief introduction that I’ve joined the Table Hopping crew as your new craft-brew-loving gal who will be bringing you your monthly pour of beer education and the low-down on all things beer related in the immediate CNY area and beyond. Along the way I hope that I can give a few recommendations for your grocery lists, event suggestions and local hotspots for an afternoon out with friends or planning a date, and if not for nothing, perhaps enlighten you with some random knowledge that you can amaze your teammates with at trivia night – or at least give you and your pals a suggestion on what to drink at the bar! I have some mighty large shoes to fill that my friend and fellow Syracuse Women of Craft Beer member (& founder), Gloria Rakowsky, left for me, but I hope that my style (and shenanigans) will keep all y’all coming back for more each month. Cheers!