First off: I've been a member of Beer Advocate for quite a long time, but didn't use it for more than beer and places review browsing up until a few weeks ago. Since then, I've been using the forums a lot more and have started to get the itch to see what's beyond my local distribution area. Naturally, that led me to start reading the beer trading forums and introduced me to the idea of a BIF. I think the BIF concept is excellent, especially for someone like me who really doesn't have an in-depth knowledge of other regions other than "hey, that Hillstead Farm place is REALLY popular these days!" The idea of a box of beer curated by someone who knows their local distribution well sounds like a fantastic way of experiencing the beer world outside of my little area. It also seemed like something I could jump into fairly easily, since I've got good access to well-regarded locals, even though I'm light on "Whales." I then read through the Lame BIF Box thread and got scared off a little, thinking maybe some ISO/FTs would be the way to go - but honestly, the wild-west ways of that forum are a bit intimidating. With all that said (sorry for the long intro), I guess my questions are: How often does a pure newbie BIF come around? That sounds like the best way to dive in, since I've got no references yet. I've seen one or two on the BIF boards, but not sure what the scheduling is. Is there another entry path to BIF? Other newbie friendly ones that come around? Am I going about this the right way even? Should I just suck it up and work through a few ISO/FT trades? The idea of everyone being out to WIN a trade really turns me off... and I have no idea of proper values. Trying to read the ISO/FT forum and figure out reasonable trades is difficult at least to me. Just trying to seek some advice here and appreciate the thoughts of the veterans out there.