I saw my first whale hunter today!

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Jazzpha, May 16, 2013.

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  1. Jazzpha

    Jazzpha Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2013 District of Columbia

    Until this afternoon, I had assumed the mysterious "Whale Hunter" was the craft-beer equivalent of the contents of Marcellus Wallace's briefcase. Discussed, wondered at, but never actually seen.

    And then it happened. I'd been talking to the head beer guy at my local beer shop just a few minutes earlier about possibly getting something ordered from AleWerks in Williamsburg, and how hard it was for him to deal with people who aren't regulars who only want to score "rare beers".

    And lo, the Hunter did come riding in on a pale horse, and the death of good beer conversation followed him.

    The guy comes in, glances at the shelves, and quickly collars the nearest employee. He asks for Parabola, and the employee responds that, sadly, they sold out of Parabola some time ago. I verify this when the Whale Hunter seemed unconvinced. Still not to be deterred from his grand quest, the Whale Hunter proceeds to dig into his vast archive of beer knowledge and describe Parabola, so that the employee might be reminded of what something the employee helped stock himself looks and tastes like.

    The grand revelation: "It comes in a box. It's a single bottle."

    At this point, the beer guy I'd been talking to earlier intervenes. He does his job well, explaining with the appropriate amount of sympathy and seriousness that Parabola is no longer in their store, and has not been for some time. He tries to steer the Hunter towards different beers, first appealing to the "This is also rare" side of the Whale Hunter mind. That fails spectacularly, so the beer guy tries steering the Hunter towards beers that are just really solid brews instead.

    After about three solid agonizing minutes of the Hunter barely paying attention and the beer guy doing his best to acquit himself with dignity, the Hunter looks at the beer guy and says, in complete seriousness:

    "Do you have any KBS sitting around in the back?"

    Oh, how I would love to live in the magical world where there's KBS lying around for the taking. The beer guy tells the Hunter that they don't have KBS either. The Hunter looks surprised, mildly irritated and finally resigned in sequence, before saying goodbye and leaving. Without buying a single beer.

    I'd been struggling not to laugh out loud this whole time at the bizarreness of it all, but when it was finally over I didn't know if I would have rather laughed or cried. It was just surreal.

    Is this what it always feels like seeing a Whale Hunter in the flesh? Or did I just stumble across my neighborhood's Ahab?
  2. kevanb

    kevanb Poo-Bah (1,975) Apr 4, 2011 Illinois


    but seriously though, that guy sucks, at least buy something after wasting the shop owners time.
  3. stealth

    stealth Zealot (532) Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota

    I say to you, cool story, bro, and I mean it.
  4. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (534) Feb 22, 2011 California

    That's not a whale hunter, Parabola and KBS aren't whales.
    dar482, cwreay90, kojevergas and 31 others like this.
  5. Whiskeydeez

    Whiskeydeez Crusader (711) Jan 23, 2012 Kansas

    He doesn't seem like that good of a hunter if he was that late for those beers "spawning" time, if you will....do whales spawn? :astonished:
    Clonies720 and RobertColianni like this.
  6. jbeezification

    jbeezification Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2012 Texas

    Holding in laughter causes cancer. Next time laugh at the dude.
  7. vacax

    vacax Initiate (0) Jun 3, 2008 California

    A lot of stores do have KBS and Parabola. How do you think people get them?
    quindog, Errto, Hugonaut13 and 2 others like this.
  8. Jazzpha

    Jazzpha Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2013 District of Columbia

    Yeah, the whole not-buying thing was what got to me the most. Just confirmed my suspicion that he wasn't after the beer so much as bragging rights with someone, which is lame.
  9. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Aspirant (219) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    KBS? Shit, I didn't even get one this year.
  10. Agold

    Agold Defender (623) Mar 13, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Yea. What a jackass. Walks into a store and leaves without buying anything when he finds out the thing he was looking for is not there. Fuck him.

    Also trying to buy parabola != whale hunter.
  11. Stinger80OH

    Stinger80OH Champion (851) Nov 11, 2011 Ohio

    In some areas of this great country, aforementioned beers may in fact be "whales" if say you don't live in Chicagoland where great "whale-like" beers(to some people) are readily available when they hit distro. That being said, I still think the OP has a point to make and that is there are people out there that think they are due certain things even though they are obviously way outside of the window to get them. In other words, this "Whale Hunter" came in expecting Parabola AND KBS, both of which hit distro some time ago. Instead of being a good customer and listening to the beer guy and his recommendations, he squandered off probably pissed off at the store, without having any good reason to be.
  12. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Aspirant (219) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    I feel obligated to mention: It is not required, nor should it be assumed or expected to be so, for a person to buy something just because he walked into a store. He had a list and stuck to it, and probably went to the next store to look for them... Following rumors most likely.
    LSMroz, BrettHead, dianimal and 14 others like this.
  13. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    I think if you just replace "whale-hunter" with "general rare-ish-craft-beer seeking d-bag", the OPs post should make us all grin and roll our eyes a little bit...
  14. Jazzpha

    Jazzpha Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2013 District of Columbia

    Fair, but he could also have had the good graces not to look bored out of his skull when someone was going out of their way to try to make sure his trip wasn't a total bust... assuming, of course, that he was there to try to find a good beer, and that he just would have preferred said beer to be Parabola or KBS.

    It was his abrupt attitude that made me a lot less inclined to be generous, but I still see your point. No one *has* to buy something from a beer section-- but I do know that even if I personally don't buy, I've put at least two new things on my wishlist for next time, thanks to tips from the staff.
  15. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Aspirant (219) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    I probably would have agreed about the attitude, from how you described him. I tend to use more tact than others may do.
    kemoarps likes this.
  16. Ahappyhiker2

    Ahappyhiker2 Initiate (0) Mar 27, 2013 New Jersey

    Surprisingly enough, there are stores that have that stuff in the back. A few years ago I picked up four bottles of Rare, four bottles of CBS and four bottles of Better Half. Sometimes you just get lucky. There's a store by me in NJ that I'm confident has KBS and Parabola sitting in the back. They won't just give it to anybody, but they have it.
    Jazzpha likes this.
  17. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    You don't have to capitulate OP. What you saw was an extremely rude customer, whatever some here want to call it. Seems you've hit a reflective nerve with some of your readers.

    No, they're mammals just like us. Hair, breasts and live birth.
    They however are more advanced in that, even though they once were land dwellers, they realized the folly in that and retreated to the oceans.
  18. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Aspirant (219) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    ...and soon they will break out into song and dance moments before flying off into space.
    Sarlacc83, JrGtr, kemoarps and 4 others like this.
  19. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Devotee (497) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    If they're so advanced, why don't they drink beer? Pfsh.
    Spaten454, Kerrie and kemoarps like this.
  20. Dactrius

    Dactrius Meyvn (1,477) Apr 23, 2012 Wisconsin
    Society Trader

    I'm traveling for work and I saw some parabola (and sucaba, utopia, etc) on the shelf today so it is possible. I skipped all those and just went for locals. Also, I want a bottle of Utopia but not at $300 (no idea what they were charging for the FW stuff). I'm not sure I'm going to get all the beer I bought into my $25 checked bag anyways....
  21. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2005 District of Columbia

    Everyone knows you can't buy whales. You have to trade for them.

  22. MetalMountainMastiff

    MetalMountainMastiff Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2012 California

    maybe...more of really really REALLY large sturgeons....whales?no. You encountered the crazy person who thinks they're awesome for bagging a Sturgeon a million others have already had and have cellared.
    kemoarps likes this.
  23. GrumpyOldTroll

    GrumpyOldTroll Initiate (0) May 5, 2012 New Jersey

  24. davey101

    davey101 Meyvn (1,114) Apr 14, 2009 Connecticut

    I do this all the time, but for Loerik. It saw shelves bro, might be hanging in the back knawmean?
  25. Jazzpha

    Jazzpha Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2013 District of Columbia


    Mostly I'm just replying to this so I can tell you how awesome that avatar picture of yours is, though. Let's be honest here.
    GrumpyOldTroll likes this.
  26. lb81larry23

    lb81larry23 Initiate (87) Jan 24, 2012 California

    I will be in Hawthorne, NJ in less than two weeks. Where is THAT store? Hahahaha
  27. alelover

    alelover Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2012 Michigan

    head beer guy?.. now that's a title i wouldn't mind having!
    cwreay90 and kemoarps like this.
  28. OakedCanuck

    OakedCanuck Initiate (0) Jun 23, 2009 Washington

    Sounds like he had a case of the Twenty Twelves.
  29. CellarGimp

    CellarGimp Initiate (0) Sep 14, 2011 Missouri

    Sounds more like an a-hole than an Ahab.
  30. Hdredfern

    Hdredfern Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2012 Texas

    I feel like a whale hunter now...
    Cvescalante likes this.
  31. JulianB

    JulianB Initiate (0) Feb 1, 2012 South Carolina

    Dude's not a whale hunter, he's a shelf minnow fisherman.

    SPLITGRIN Poo-Bah (1,620) May 13, 2003 Kentucky

    To those of you who are busting the op's balls about his version of whales, congrats now go find yourself a boat Ishmael. The guy he describes is to common in todays beer world. If you are into that kind of thing there is a great site for you. It's called whaleadvocate.com.
    antzman likes this.
  33. Ahappyhiker2

    Ahappyhiker2 Initiate (0) Mar 27, 2013 New Jersey

    If you really want to know the store BM me, although it's at least an hour from Hawthorne. Like I said though, they're not going to give it to you if they don't know you. Don't want you to waste a trip.
  34. Hdredfern

    Hdredfern Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2012 Texas

    In my area I always try to find certain beers and have a list of stuff people talk about on here that I want to try, but I never leave any store without buying something (usually what the employee recommends)
  35. jmarce

    jmarce Initiate (0) May 15, 2011 Connecticut

    I don't even know why I'm sharing this but here's my method for liberating captive back room whales:

    1. The scouting trip - when I'm scouting a new location the most important thing is to not arouse suspicion, always make sure to dress in neutral colors without loud designs that don't draw attention (no Tapout or Ed Hardy shirts, no fedoras) and make sure that before entering the shop your phone is on silent so there isn't a shutter noise when using the camera function. Casually stroll in like you're looking for a 6pk of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Once you're in the beer isle take out your phone and pretend like your reading reviews or a text message while you wait for an employee to come over to assist you (make sure that your camera app is open.) As the employee approaches casually snap a picture of any vital elements of their uniform such as a name tag or logo'd shirt/embroidered polo. When he/she approaches and asks you what you are looking for be sure to ask for something you know there's no chance they have so that you aren't forced into buying anything (ex. "do you have Heady or Pliny the Younger?") Now you are free to leave without buying any shelf turds.

    2. The prep - return home, download your photos to your computer and assess the employee uniform situation, if you are lucky it will be just a simple name tag. Embroidered polos/printed t's take much longer to duplicate. Create a duplicate name tag (DO NOT use your real name) and whatever else you need to infiltrate the back room.

    3. The extraction - return to the place with a sweatshirt on to cover up your faux employee uniform (make sure it's a cheap one you don't mind losing, if you are caught you'll have to get out of there quickly and abandon it.) Once you're in remove the sweatshirt discretely, act like you own the place and waltz into the promised land. When you find the bottles you're looking for casually pluck them from their shelf shackles and escort them out of the back room. When you get out, find your sweatshirt and put it back on then proceed to the register. If possible find an employee that looks like they don't give a shit to ring you up, if that's not possible play dumb if the cashier questions where you found them on the shelves, if that doesn't work and they still won't sell them to you then the last resort is to try outrage, if this doesn't work you'll have to abort mission and storm out of there (also ensures they can't try to sell you shelf turds when they refuse to sell you the whales.) I've found there to be about a 67% success rate with this strategy.
    cwreay90, Hatzilla, aty11b and 16 others like this.
  36. jtg5678

    jtg5678 Initiate (144) Nov 27, 2012 Illinois

    Yo, people, your personal opinion of what defines a whale is beside the point - OP witnessed the type of douchebag behavior that makes this whole "beer scene" really lame sometimes.
  37. lb81larry23

    lb81larry23 Initiate (87) Jan 24, 2012 California

    That's fine, too far for a strikeout. But isn't the point of owning a brewery, brewpub , bottleshop, liquor store......to actually SELL the beer they stock? I will admit, I may be that guy sometimes trying to land beers to trade for others that I have absolutely no chance of finding in my area....I'm just more friendly and will usually buy something I have not tried yet. Nobody has tried everything.
  38. malatinodesign

    malatinodesign Initiate (39) Mar 10, 2010 California

    I don't know about this thread. If you have not entered a store looking for Parabola how will you ever find some. Yes he was late to the game but life has a way of suddenly making me very busy the week that such a beer is released. So I understand. Also mostly I have a fridge at home filled with quality beer and might just be on a quick, time the wife allows me, fishing expedition. I am quite sure I have been that guy. Sucks but it is the only way to get some of these beers. It the sad reality of the modern beer search. Sometime you are on it and other times you are late and a d-bag.
    frothyhead likes this.
  39. frothyhead

    frothyhead Initiate (187) Mar 14, 2007 New Jersey

    Pretty much agree with this. It can be a full time job to compete with the truck chasers these days. The whole thing is really out of control. The guy in the OP sounds awkward and maybe a little douchy, but I can't imagine we all haven't stumbled into a store just hoping on the off chance they didn't sell out of <hot new release> in 15 minutes. KBS, Doom, Parabola... This year's releases have been a clusterfuck. The frenzy is at an all time high.
  40. jmgrub

    jmgrub Aspirant (210) Nov 20, 2010 California

    He doesn't need a whale harpoon to spear dolphins
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