Who's the Healthiest of them all?
There hasn't been much pimping of local beer biz around these parts lately, partially since there hasn't been much pimping of anything, and partly because other local writers have been doing such a proper job of reporting on all beer-related newsiness. One recent development, however, seems to have avoided the warranted blogosphere press: the transformation of Healthy Spirits from a neighborhood shop into an undisputed beer destination, currently boasting the largest bottled beer selection in the Bay Area within a space that can't be more than 600 square feet.
Most fascinating to me is how this has all come about, all within your typical urban corner store, similar to dozens within a mile's radius and amongst hundreds within city limits. Unlike a business that's made it their outright original goal, as part of a model to establish themselves as outright beacons for beer geeks, this little shop that stands within a quick stroll of my childhood home is a sort of accidental mecca for beer hunters. The big question for me, though, is: Do they have the largest selection in the Bay Area? Last I checked, Dave, their beer manager, informed me that they were up to 570 choices with more on the way, with two new shelves being put in since the photo I took last week to corral them (which you can now see here). It says a lot about the management to allow their mom & pop store undergo such a focused transformation, one riding on the somewhat feverish and fantastical vision of a single, beer-obsessed soul.
See this as a shameless plug for an institution I admire or just as a reflection on the curious development in my old stomping grounds, whichever you prefer. Just make sure you stop by if you can, and marvel in its unexpected glory (and pick me up something while you're there).