A Journey to the Last Tap at the Airport

This evening I walked a distance that can only be described as the length of two football fields. Trust me, it’s a lot when you’re lugging a carry-on and laptop bag.

But see – when you’re on the prowl for a pint of craft beer, no distance is too great.

There are five different bars at the Buffalo airport, four once you have passed through security. All four bars seem to be stocked by a distributor that macro breweries keep on retainer.

Every single adjunct domestic and importer lager that you would expect was available. It was a craft heads worst nightmare. As I posted on Twitter, I was half expecting Freddy to show up and shake me out of a dream with metal claws.

A funny thing happens when someone like myself is placed in a situation like this – I try to trick myself into thinking a beer is not what it really is. Persuading myself that some creative aspect went into making that “beer”.

Sam Adams Light becomes “the new offering”, Guinness is a “rare ale” from the Isle of Eire, and Bud Light Lime … Ugh, I can’t keep this up. Bud Light Lime tastes like lime flavored sugar water – disgusting.

There’s gotta be something better.

I finished half the bottle before I said no more (masochistic much?). I got up and looked down the terminal where I knew the remaining three bars stood. I started a walk that I thought ended in a place I’ve already been to – macro hell.

As I walked past the first stop I glanced at the bottles and saw the same as before. But the taps proved different – something caught my eye.

I wiggled up to the front of the bar and did one of those awkward shoulder, neck, head reaches to get a better view over the guy sitting right next to me. He looked right at me, they always do, with a look saying “what’re you doing weirdo?”. Whatever – back to the taps – false alarm. Sam Oktoberfest – better, but still not good enough.

The second stop was worst than the first. One final bar left – literally at THE OTHER END of the airport. I start the walk.

As I approach the bar, it feels different. I don’t know why – I sense… craft beer optimism in the air. I glance at the tap handles.

Bud Light. LaBatt. Sam. Dundee?

Um, kind sir, Mr. Bartender – WTF is that at the end there?

Dundee Oktoberfest?

Wait, is Freddy playing a trick on me? When Daniel the bartender pours it, will cockroaches spill from the copper handle into that frosted (I know, right) pint glass? Is it a mislabeled tap that actually pours Bud?

Alas, it’s none of those. It’s actually the best Oktoberfest I’ve had all year. No lie. Of course, I’m not a huge Marzen fan so I can’t pretend to give these beers a shot – but I really enjoyed this one.

Malty, just the right amount of spice, and almost creamy and oily in feel – it really hit the spot. What a find.

Daniel explained that this singular tap handle is rotated with Rochester, NY’s own J.B. Dundee Brewery offering up IPAs, wheats, and stouts to those willing to try something different.

It was quite literally THE LAST tap in the airport. Amazing. Moral of the story, never give up. I certainly won’t in the future.

After I polished off two pints, I jumped in line to board my 4.5 hour delayed flight home. Mostly every other passenger looked frustrated, yet I sat with a look of content.

I found today’s holy grail.

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